60 Dalit Students Threatens Suicide in Bihar

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Patna: Sixty Dalit engineering students from Bihar studying in Odisha have threatened to commit suicide after the Bihar government allegedly stopped paying their stipend to the college, and the students were forced to leave the institution.

All the 60 students had secured their admission in Rajdhani Engineering College, Bhubaneswar, in 2014 under the Bihar government’s Dalit Students Stipend Scheme. However, six months after the students’ admission to the college, the State government allegedly stopped the payment of the stipend, despite repeated requests by college authorities.

Under the Dalit Students Stipend Scheme, the State government pays Rs.1.1 lakh for each student annually. One of the 60 students, Gajendra Kumar, said: “The college authorities forced us to leave the institution and the hostel on January 8 this year, saying the Bihar government had failed to pay our stipend despite their repeated requests”.

“Our fate is hung, if the Bihar government fails to pay our stipend the only way we have is to end our life”, said a group of students. The parents of the students have met concerned officials but so far got hollow assurances only, said a girl student.

Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav said that the issue would be resolved soon and appealed to the students “not to take extreme steps”. State Minister for Welfare of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, Santosh Kumar Nirala, said that there might be some mix-up in the bank account numbers given by the students. “The stipend for the students was released on January 22. The government is sensitive to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students and nobody will be denied stipend”, said the Minister.

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