Afghan students devoid of hostel rooms due to PU elections

  • Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2015 11:46 IST
(Clockwise) Ali Raza, Abbas Rastragrar and Shahaqa Besharat from Panjab University, Chandigarh (Karun Sharma/HT)

Afghan students studying in Panjab University (PU) on scholarship are startled at the grand scale of elections organised in the university due to which their hostel allotments have been delayed. PU is going to polls for the posts of students’ council office-bearers and department representatives on August 26.

Shahaqa Besharat, a student of MA-I political science, said he was facing accommodation difficulties.” One of my classmates is a candidate for the post of department representative. I am facing hostel problems and have to live in a hotel but no one considers it a problem. We have gone to the dean’s office many times in vain.” Besharat hails from the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

“I expect student leaders to solve our problem as it is because of these elections that our hostel accommodation have been delayed,” said Mohd Idris, student of MA-I political science department. He hails from the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Ali Raza of MA-I political science, from Kabul said, “We had applied for the hostel last week and don’t know how long it will take till accommodation is provided. We have been told to stay in hotels.”

Dean International Students professor Ramanjit Kaur Johal said their requests had been forwarded to the Dean Students Welfare professor Navdeep Goyal. “They will get the hostel rooms as soon as possible,” said Goyal.

Elections are held on grand scale in PU

Besharat who has observed elections in Balkh University located in Mazari Sharif in northern Afghanistan said, “Department representatives are elected by respective departments who go onto elect their heads. There is no exchange of money, no big cars and no campaigning during official time,” added Besharat.

“The indirect system of electing through department representatives is not systematic, as there is no common point between the representatives and their heads” said Ali Raza.

Language a barrier

Often language becomes a barrier for Afghan students limiting their participation in elections. “When the candidate, who is standing for the post of department representative, came to us, he talked in English. We are usually approached in English here. Though during my stay in Punjab I have learnt a little Hindi from Bollywood movies,” said Ali Raza.

Abbas Rastragrar, student of MA-I public administration said, “Some campaigners came to our class and spoke in Hindi so I couldn’t make much of their agendas or plans or what they intended to do after coming to power.” Rastragrar hails from Ghazni province in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has sent the maximum number of students to study at Panjab University, Chandigarh, and its affiliated colleges over the last six years.

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