The Telegraph
 
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100 tribal girls held hostage in AP colleges

Ranchi, June 28: Over 100 tribal girls from Jharkhand are being allegedly held “captive” by two private nursing colleges of Andhra Pradesh as they are unable to pay the course fee that was suddenly raised in the middle of the term.

One of the girls, hailing from extremely poor families from nondescript villages across different districts, managed to contact Jharkhand State Women Commission chairperson Mahua Maji, who, in turn, urged director-general of police (DGP) Rajeev Kumar to intervene and bring them back immediately.

According to Maji, the students are pursuing one year’s diploma in general nursing and midwifery at Dileep School of Nursing in Vedayapalem and Balaji School of Nursing in Talpagiri Colony, both in Nellore district of Andhra.

At the time of admissions, they were told that the course fee was Rs 53,000. They paid half the amount — around Rs 25,000 — while the rest had to be coughed up during the course’s tenure. However, after five months, the colleges suddenly jacked up the fee to Rs 80,000 and asked the students to clear the dues soon.

But the students, who had already braved a lot of difficulties in arranging the initial sum of Rs 25,000, have not been able to arrange the money, prompting the authorities to forcibly held them back.

“A girl called Anshu from Gumla called me a few days ago. She was crying and told me that the authorities of the nursing college, where she is studying, are not allowing her to attend classes as she is not being able to pay the fee that was suddenly raised from Rs 53,000 to Rs 80,000 five months into the course. The officials are misbehaving with her and not allowing her to go out. There are at least 100 girls like her in the two colleges,” Maji told The Telegraph today.

The colleges have also apparently seized the students’ certificates and mobile phones, as a result of which they are not being able to contact their families.

Besides Maji, senior BJP leader Sanjay Seth has also taken up the girls’ cause after some of the parents got in touch with him.

“Seth approached me a few days back and requested me to take steps to bring back these girls. I have informed the DGP. Hopefully, the girls will be return within two to three days,” said the chairperson.

She further said that once the girls came back, she would request the government to admit them in nursing colleges in the state so that their career is not ruined.

Seth said he was in touch with some of the girls through their classmates. “We are praying for their return,” he added.

Additional director-general, CID, S.N. Pradhan said he had been asked by the DGP to look into the allegations. “I am in touch with the local police of Nellore, who have assured us of support,” he added.

Chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty also promised to take up the matter.