Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ragging raises stink at JB College Panel to probe harass charge

 Jorhat, July 26: The anti-ragging committee of JB College constituted a four-member panel today to look into allegations of ragging in the boys’ hostel last night.

 This came in the wake of a sting operation by TV channels showing footage of activities, resembling ragging, in a room in the hostel. A TV channel has deposited the entire footage to the college authorities so that the probe could be conducted at the earliest.

 Principal Bimal Barah said preliminary questioning of students could not establish that ragging had taken place. “None of the junior or senior students, who were separately questioned by me, admitted to ragging. According to our findings, the rehearsal for the freshers social, to be held in the hostel in a few days, was on. This was being done with permission from us.

The footage was taken of the common room where the practice was on,” he said. Barah said the seniors were instructing the students on how to dance and how to do march past properly “maybe in a rough manner but this cannot be construed as ragging in the true sense where a student is tortured or beaten”. On the march past, Barah said it was part of the practice.

 On one of the students being made to hold his ears and kneel down, Barah said he was a second year student who was forced to do so by seniors (graduate students) “as he was speaking in a foul tongue with juniors” while explaining the moves.

 The principal said no senior or junior student has complained to the authorities. “We are yet to go through the entire footage and no student will be spared if identified to be ragging a junior,” he added. Regarding the row of students sitting outside semi-clad on the verandah, he said he had identified all of them to be seniors who were cooling themselves outside because of the heat.

 “Maybe from a distance they looked like juniors as one or two were standing in front of them and lecturing but I saw that all those students were senior students.” The principal said hostel warden N. Bhuyan, a teacher of the zoology department, had done the rounds till 11pm.

 On why the students were allowed to stay up that late for social practice, he said since classes were held during the day and the students completed their studies in the evening, they had sought permission for the practice to be held after dinner.

 Saying that the college does enforce discipline, he said they had expelled a student last week for drinking as he was a second time offender, while three others who been caught for the first time were let off. “The other night, when the college freshers’ social was on and some elements had created an incident which was taking an ugly turn, I called in the police.” Additional deputy commissioner Dijen Singh and members of the college’s anti-ragging committee said if the panel found anyone guilty, action would be taken according the anti-ragging act.

 “We have got the footage and are on a fast track to go into the root of the matter. If anyone is found guilty, he will be expelled. But if this is not ragging as it appears, we cannot harass innocent students,” Singh said. The police said no complaint had been lodged by either the college authorities or any student so far.

 Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor said the police would also identify the students after going through the footage and conduct a separate inquiry. “If it is ragging, then the matter is very serious and will be dealt with accordingly,” she said.

 Those involved in the operation said they had zoomed their camera in on the common room located on the ground floor from the road but refused to say how they could be at the same place at the same time. The principal said vested interests could be involved in the matter but refused to divulge any more.

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