College shut, no word on refund: The future is bleak for 99 medical students in Andhra

Almost 9 months into their course, the students got to know that their admissions were null and void.
College shut, no word on refund: The future is bleak for 99 medical students in Andhra
College shut, no word on refund: The future is bleak for 99 medical students in Andhra
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"What can we do? If nothing comes out of this, we will all commit suicide in front of the Secretariat and our dead bodies will become their red carpet."

This is what T Indira, the mother of a student from the 2015-16 batch of the Fathima Institute of Medical Sciences (FIMS) has to say. The students – 99 of them – are looking at a bleak future as their college has been derecognised, and despite appeals, the concerned authorities haven’t relocated them in other medical colleges.

Angry and frustrated, some of the students and their parents are currently holding a relay hunger strike at Dharna Chowk in Vijayawada, demanding justice from the government and the college as they’ve lost two years of their education.

The Fathima College story

It all started in 2015, when the Medical Council of India (MCI) derecognised the institution before the academic year began. However, the FIMS management went to the Hyderabad High Court and were allowed to provisionally admit students. 

On April 24, 2016, almost nine months into their course, the students got to know that their college was derecognised, and that their admissions were null and void.

The students were angry and upset at this development – and that’s when an alternate proposal was put on the table, supported by the Andhra government. According to the proposal, five students each from the FIMS 2015-16 batch would be relocated to 20 other medical colleges across the state.

However, the MCI did not agree with the proposal, and the case went to court. On October 27 this year, the Supreme Court dismissed a case filed by the Andhra Pradesh government on behalf of the students of FIMS.

Present status 

Students allege that the college management and later, the government, have both have cheated them. The students haven’t been relocated, and nor has their money been returned.

Twenty-one-year-old Aruna Sree Raprolu came to Vijayawada two days ago with her father, hoping that the government would find a solution. She dropped a year after her 12th standard to prepare for EAMCET (Engineering Agricultural and Medical Common Entrance Test), the test required for entrance to colleges in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “I don’t even stand a chance now to go for a regular degree,” she says.

While talking about her present situation, Aruna breaks down. She doesn’t know what to do anymore. "My father had to pay Rs 50 lakh for admission. Now, the college is not paying the amount back, and my father is in debt,” she says.

V Tejaswini, another affected student, voices the same concerns. ”We still don't know what will happen. Altogether, we have paid Rs 60 crore to the college. The government should direct the college to pay our money back," she says.

Hoping for justice

The students and their parents have been running from pillar to post, and have been asking Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to come to their aid.

Speaking to TNM, Dhanunjaya Reddy, one of the students of FIMS, says, "Even during the Nandyal bye-elections, the Chief Minister assured us that he will relocate us to other colleges to continue our medical education. Everyone was hopeful, including me. I even shopped for new clothes thinking that college will begin soon."

The students are currently on a dharna, hoping for some semblance of justice. Some students and parents met Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in his office on Wednesday. "Even if there is 0.01% chance to help you out, I will,” Naidu told them, and assured them that he would send nine people along with government officials to Delhi on government expenses.

Kousar Thasleema Khan, a student who met the CM, says he was assured that the CM would look into the matter personally. “It's our last hope, though we were told the same thing many times."

The college was derecognised by the MCI before the academic year, so why did the students and parents decide to join anyway? Kousar says that they were hoodwinked by the college, which kept insisting on ‘provisional admission’ and ‘interim order’.

The students have been left with no options, no money, and with three academic years gone to waste and are exhausted because of the number of rounds they have been making to the courts, the MCI, the CMO etc.

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