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Ragging sparks expulsions

Burdwan, Aug. 28: Ragging reared its ugly head in Bengal again, this time in Katwa College near here. Four final-year students were expelled today for allegedly ragging a fresher and another eight were cautioned and their parents summoned by the principal.

“We will not tolerate incidences of ragging in the college hostel and we are tackling the menace with a strong hand,” said principal D.K. Samanta even as allegations of discrimination in handing out punishment have begun to surface.

The victim, Soumen Santra, was woken up in the dead of night on August 23 by four seniors and made to climb up and down the stairs of the three-storey hostel, his father Subhas Santra said in a written complaint to the principal. “Not only did they make him climb the stairs without a break, the senior students placed lighted cigarettes and bidis on my son’s body,” he added.

The letter arrived shortly after Soumen returned home at Galsi, exhausted and ill. On receiving the complaint, a probe team posted a list of 12 third-year science students on the notice board, asking them to report for interrogation. The decision to expel Paritosh Pramanik, Soumen Kundu, Saiful Islam and Amit Mondal was taken after questioning the students.

“The dozen students involved in various degrees in ragging the fresher were questioned by the team headed by the sub-divisional officer of Katwa. Action against the eight others will be decided after talking to their guardians,” hostel superintendent Lochan Roy said.

The issue has taken on a political colour with the Chhatra Parishad students’ union demanding revoking of the expulsion notices. “This is flagrant nepotism by the college authorities. They have left out of the list Sanjit Majhi, son of former CPM MLA Raicharan Majhi of Ketugram. Instead, they have expelled Soumen Kundu, who is blameless,” alleged student union leader Bijon Das.

Das said Soumen’s name was not on the original list of 12 names put up by the college administration. “Sanjit, despite being named in the list, has been let off,” he charged.

The union has decided to place a deputation before the principal, urging him to reconsider the step. If he does not respond, they will launch an indefinite movement.

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