Yes, you can be forced to pay rent. Failure to do so may lead to eviction. Your physical presence is irrelevant in this case as you are legally occupying the place. Payment of rent is the essence of an agreement and the law presumes that every person will save for a rainy day. However, you may request your landlord for a "novation of contract" according to Section 62 of the Indian Contract Act, wherein both you and your landlord agree to substitute the existing contract with a new contarat, with new terms which may include a lesser amount of rent.
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