Monday, January 31, 2011

VNIT final yr students held for ragging

NAGPUR: In what's ostensibly the biggest blot on the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), the only NIT in Maharashtra, 6 students of the city-based college were arrested by the Ambazari police on Thursday for alleged ragging. They were also charged with physical assault and threatening the victims, under Sections 323, 504, and 109 read with 34 of IPC.

Those arrested include Abhishek Mishra (21) from Kolkata, Pranav Dikshit from Agra, Gauravdip Chakraborty (20) from Ashish Nagar, Tanay Mahajan (22) from Pune, Pravin Jha (20) from Rajasthan and Ankit Chabra (20) from Punjab. The first three are from final year mechanical branch, Tanay from final year architecture and Pravin and Ankit from final year civil engineering.

Interestingly, the incident took place on January 5 but the complaint was lodged only on Thursday. All were released on bail on the same day.

The chief warden of VNIT hostels, Aniruddh Ghare, told TOI that all the students were rusticated from the hostels after the complaint was lodged and also debarred from appearing in any of the training and placement activities. Their parents were also informed about the incident.

According to Ghare, after Jayant Kumar Tiwari, a third-year student, lodged a complaint on January 6 with the students' dean SS Umare, the issue was referred to the officiating director Chintamanu Moghe. He constituted a special enquiry panel under mathematics lecturer AG Deshpande who, in his report, recommended filing of police complaint. After the submission of the report, the victim was told to lodge an FIR.

Moghe could not be contacted for his comments while the complainant refused to pick up calls.

Ghare refused to call it an act of ragging and instead termed it as a group clash between third year and final year student. According TOI's sources, the panel report confirmed that it was a clear case of ragging where the victims were abused and threatened.

On the date of incident the accused inquired with Moghe, who was sitting with his friends outside the hostel, about one of their classmate. When he pleaded ignorance, Moghe and his friends were taken to the hostel terrace and badly humiliated by the accused. They allegedly abused the victim and his friends in vulgar words and made them to perform indecent acts. The drama went on for nearly two hours, sources added.

As per section 4 of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, the accused should have been sent to jail for a term, which may extend to two years, and slapped with a fine, which may extend to Rs 10,000. Surprisingly, they were released on bail raising serious doubts on the action taken on them by the police. Though the VNIT officials displayed courage to provide information to the police, they failed to take stern action on the culprits by not dismissing or suspending them from attending the college.

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