MOTIHARI: Sixty Dalit students from Bihar studying at Rajdhani Engineering College (REC), Bhubaneswar, were forced to leave the college and their respective hostels on January 8 for non-payment of stipend by the Bihar government have threatened to commit suicide, Times of India reported.

The 60 dalit students -- 18 from East Champaran and 42 from West Champaran -- secured admission in the college in 2014 under the state government's Dalit Stipend Scheme. They alleged that the Bihar government had last paid the stipend to the college one-and-a-half-year ago.

"We have decided to commit suicide because our future is at stake due to the negligence of SC/ST welfare department of the Bihar government," said one of the students, adding that the college principal has asked them to return only when all their dues are cleared.

According to a joint press release signed by four students of REC -- Loknath Kumar, Gajendra Kumar, Mukesh Kumar and Ujjawal Kumar -- the college that falls under Biju Patnaik Technical University provided them free education, boarding and lodging for more than a year. "In 2015, Bihar government did not send stipend to the college," said the joint press release.

"We even met Ashok Kumar Nagbansi, the district welfare officer of East Champaran, and urged him to send the stipend to the college, but to no avail," they said.