Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tech boy raises ragging charge - Bankura student to discontinue study at SIT

Siliguri, Aug. 16: A first-year student of the Siliguri Institute of Technology was forced to return to his Bankura home yesterday after he was allegedly ragged by two senior boys who beat him up with shoes and forced his face into a commode at a private hostel here.

The father of the victim has lodged an FIR at the Pradhannagar police station against Kaushik Chakraborty and Aritra Bhattacharya, accusing them of physically and mentally torturing Riju Ghosh, who was pursuing a BTech course in computer science at the SIT.

While Kaushik is a BCA student at the SIT, Aritra is pursuing electrical engineering course at Surendra Institute of Engineering and Management (SIEM). Both are into the second year of their courses

“There are around 10-12 students at the private hostel at Pradhannagar. Five of them, including my son, were first-year students, while others are senior to them at different colleges. Riju had been staying in the boarding since August 9 when first-year classes began at the SIT. He was facing physical and mental torture from some of the seniors,” said Subir Ghosh, Riju’s father.

Ghosh said Riju had never told his parents about the ragging.

“He feared the seniors would torture him more if they found out that he had been complaining. When I or his mother asked him if he was being treated well at the hostel, he would avoid giving any reply. We never suspected anything foul. However, the situation turned ugly on Friday night when the seniors tortured him so much that my son went into shock. One of his friends called me up in the dead of night to tell me about his condition. I immediately boarded a bus and reached Siliguri on Saturday,” Ghosh said over the phone from Bankura.

The father reached Bankura with Riju this morning.

According to Ghosh, Riju was suffering from fever on Friday night.

“The other senior students had gone home for the weekend and only Kaushik and Aritra were present. They called the junior boys to their rooms and asked them to do sit-ups 250 times, sing and dance. They were also forced to smoke ganja. Riju was feeling feeble and requested the seniors to spare him. But Kaushik and Aritra were not ready to relent. My son did what they asked him to as long as he could. But he started feeling weak and could not carry on any more,” said Ghosh.

But the senior boys refused to listen. They beat Riju with shoes and forcibly took him to the toilet.

“The seniors put my face in the commode and turned on the flush,” Riju.

Ghosh said Riju would never be sent back to the college.

“I will never send my son back to that college even if it means he will lose an academic year. I have spoken to the SIT authorities and requested them to take severe steps against the guilty students. Riju has been examined by a doctor in Bankura. The doctor said my son is depressed and prescribed some medicines,” said Ghosh.

The 48-year-old man runs a grocery shop near his house at Natunganj in Bankura.

Riju’s mother Ruplekha, too, is against sending the boy back to Siliguri.

“We hope he gets admission to any college here. He may have to change stream but it is better than facing such horrific situations. His career is shattered; I hope the culprits are punished so that other boys like Riju don’t go through such situations,” she said.

The SIT authorities admitted having received a verbal complaint from the boy’s father.

“We were informed of the incident by Riju’s guardians as well as police authorities. The college has an anti-ragging committee that will start an inquiry immediately. We do not encourage students indulging in ragging and in case the boy against whom the allegation has been levelled is found guilty, we can either suspend or rusticate him,” said Gautam Das, the principal-in-charge of the SIT.

Principal of the SIEM said the college had not received any complaint. “We have received no complaint so far. However, we take undertakings from students during admissions that they can face severe consequences if they indulge in ragging. We will start an inquiry and if the student is found guilty, we will suspend or rusticate him,” said R.K. Jha, the SIEM principal.

The police, too, are investigating the case.

“We received the complaint yesterday and have already started an investigation,” said Swapan Ghosh, the inspector in charge at Pradhannagar police station.

According to police sources, the Supreme Court had ruled in February, 2009, that all cases of ragging had to be reported to police who would then immediately set in motion criminal laws. The court had also observed that ragging is a “human rights abuse”.

Aritra and Kaushik were removed from the three-storied private hostel yesterday. Shivotosh Chakraborty, the owner of the facility, said he often kept tabs on the boarders.

“We regularly check on the boys to find out if they are facing any difficulties. We had asked Riju also whether he had any complaints. But he did not talk about any sort of harassment and neither did the other first-year students. We came to know about the ragging only after Riju’s father came here on Saturday. Both Aritra and Kaushik were asked to vacate the hostel and they left yesterday. While Kaushik’s maternal uncle and father came and took him away, Aritra left saying that he would shift to a friend’s house,” Chakraborty said.

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