Thursday, October 04, 2007

[Telegraph] Ragging stick for five sparks furore in JU

Calcutta, Oct. 3: Jadavpur University erupted in rage this evening after authorities decided to punish five students for ragging a junior.

An army of students from the engineering and science faculties staged demonstrations and gheraoed officials for several hours in protest against the decision of the executive council.

“Our friends have been falsely implicated…. We haven’t heard of any complaint of ragging. Our question is how could the authorities take a decision like this when there are doubts over the complaint?” asked Surajit Bhakta, a leader of the engineering and technology students’ union.

Two of the accused — Chittaranjan Burma and Milton Baidya of the civil and mechanical engineering departments, respectively — have been suspended for the coming semester scheduled to begin from January 2008. They will not be able to attend classes or appear in the semester examination. The duo have been rusticated from the hostel along with co-accused Srimanta Kumar Khanra of the mathematics department.

Kaji Imam Alam of the chemical engineering department and electronic engineering student Nilanjan Biswas have been suspended from the hostel for a year.

The executive council, the university’s highest policy-making body, decided to punish the boys on the basis of a recommendation of the institution’s anti-ragging committee. A first-year student had lodged a complaint with the authorities in the third week of August, alleging that he had been subjected to ragging.

The complaint was forwarded to the anti-ragging committee, which held a month-long inquiry and found the five students guilty.

It suggested three categories of punishment for the boys, depending on the gravity of their offence.

Following a Supreme Court order banning ragging in all educational institutions, the University Grants Commission had made it compulsory for all universities to set up panels to check ragging and bring offenders to book.

“The anti-ragging committee has thoroughly probed the complaint and suggested penal measures against the five boys. After examining the committee’s findings, the executive council has unanimously accepted its suggestions,” said Parthapratim Biswas, a member of the council.

After news of the punishments reached the university’s hostels and classrooms around 5pm, students gathered outside the conference hall where a council meeting was on. They demanded that the authorities withdraw their decision.

The meeting ended around 7, but the protesters did not allow the members to leave the hall till late at night.

“The anti-ragging committee did not conduct the inquiry in a democratic manner. We don’t believe the five students are guilty. We will continue our agitation till the authorities withdraw the suspension orders,” said Bhakta.

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