Missing Fijian Students In India Continue To Worry Indian High Commission Here
The antics of Fijian students in India under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships continue to be a concern for the Indian High Commission in Fiji.
Well-placed sources from India, alleged that a Fijian student who had gone to India under a scholarship was arrested by Police officers at a brothel in India.
The director of the Indian Cultural Centre in Fiji, Kishan Lal Kanojia said he was not aware of this case and questions had to be relayed to the Fijian High Commission in Delhi.
Questions sent via electronic mail to the Fijian High Commission’s first secretary, Sakeasi Waikere in New Delhi had not been answered when this issue went to press.
Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Gitesh Sarma refused to comment when contacted yesterday.
Currently 20 Fijian students are studying in India.
However, the Fiji Sun was reliably informed that the female student who stayed in an all girl hostel initially went missing from the hostel.
A few days later, during a routine raid at a brothel, India’s Police officers apprehended her allegedly working as a prostitute.
Officials have also confirmed that Fijian students often failed their courses and do not inform their relatives back at home or the scholarship unit.
In another case, another female student based in Bangalore was arrested by Police.
Mr Kanojia also confirmed that last year a girl went missing in Bangalore.
“One case last year a girl went missing and the family had already been fighting for the case in Bangalore. The girl was lost because her visa was expired and Police arrested her.
“The parents were financially supporting her for ten months until they got stuck and they ended up asking for our assistance to help their daughter.
“That was when I finally knew what was happening.
“They should have informed us first beforehand about their daughter instead of trying to take things on their own hands. I advised them that I will have to contact the ICCR office in Bangalore first,” he said.
Mr Kanojia said he was able to inform the regional officer at Bangalore’s ICCR office and arrangements were made to send the girl home within three days.
He said in another similar incident, a Fijian student who was studying in Calcutta had failed her course.
“She informed her mother that if her visa expires then that would cause more problems for her, so we opted to assist her where ICCR gave 1000 dollars and her family gave 600 dollars for her airfare back home.
“I don’t see any reason why students have to fail their courses because every month ICCR is depositing their allowance into their bank accounts and if other previous students were able to accomplish their purpose in India and are now having good jobs in Fiji, then I don’t see any reason why other students should be complaining or having problems.
“Everything we try to accomplish in life comes with challenges, but it depends on the individual on how they handle them.
“They can also seek the assistance of the Fiji High Commission in Delhi if they stumble upon difficulties or inform us because we are willing to help them if they come to us,” Mr Kanojia said.
He said these problems had spoiled the chance for other Fijian students who deserve scholarships and were willing to study in India.
“There have been a couple of students who have not completed their studies.
“All they did was having a good time in India and decided to return to Fiji without informing ICCR when there are students who are desperately hoping to get scholarships and are determined to further their studies,” he said.
A successful ICCR scholarship recipient, Betty Bharka said it would be a shame to see students losing out on educational opportunities just because of a few “not so grateful” ones.