| Sayandip. Picture by Biplab Basak
Jalpaiguri, Aug. 6: Hours after his father and uncle saw him off at the hostel yesterday, Sayandip Bandopadhyay was called in the evening to introduce himself to his seniors. As evening gave way to night, the first-year student of Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College was stripped, beaten up by iron rods and slashed with blades and knives.
The ordeal ended past midnight. Sayandip fled the hostel early in the morning.
“Around 7.40 pm, I was called to a senior student’s room for an introduction. As soon as I entered, they started beating me up. I was stripped and asked to run up and down the three-storey hostel. They asked me to crawl. As I crawled in front of them, they thrashed me again with rods, sticks and chains. Somebody even slashed my chest and shoulders with a knife,” recounted a shaken Sayandip.
“As I was about to lose my senses, I was called to another room. A fourth-year student, who said he was the former general secretary of the students’ union, asked me to write a suicide note. They finally released me at 12.30 pm,” said the teenager, with bruises all over his face and deep gashes visible on the chest.
At the crack of dawn, Sayandip fled to the hotel where his father and uncle had put up. They had come from their Sinthee house in Calcutta to get him admitted to the college.
“I still cannot believe that I am alive. My life had almost ended after I wrote that suicide note and signed on it. Mentally, I was so shocked that had I been asked to consume poison or jump from the roof, I would have done that,” said the St. James’ School alumni.
Sayandip’s father, Paritosh Bandopadhyay, rushed him to the Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital, where he forced the doctors to release him on bond, and lodged a complaint with the Kotwali police station.
After much persuasion, a shocked Sayandip went to the college to identify his tormentors. Parashar Kishore Singh, a former general secretary of the students’ union, and three senior students — Mainak Choudhury, Subhadeep Naha and Nigam Kundu — were arrested. They claimed innocence.
“I saved him from ragging. I don’t know why he has named me and made such allegations,” Singh said.
Sayandip’s father was equally shocked. “We had got him admitted to the electronics and communications stream in this college with a lot of hope. Even yesterday I told the seniors to take care of him before I left. They assured me but I do not know how this happened,” said Bandopadhyay, who works as a system analyst in Vadodara.
Principal Shyam Sunder Chatterjee said he did not know of the incident. “We have no idea. Neither the student nor his guardians have approached us. We have six anti-ragging committees. Nothing has been reported to any of the committees either. The committee members pay regular visits to the hostel in the evenings but they did not notice anything unusual yesterday. I also paid a visit to the hostel yesterday, but nothing was unusual,” he said.
Later, the principal sent four teachers to get the details from the student, only due to “intimation by the newsmen”. He said “the college authorities would take necessary steps in case anyone is found guilty”.
The general secretary of the students union also claimed ignorance. “We came to know about the matter from you. We went to the hostels yesterday but did not find anything unnatural,” said Abhishek Bandopadhyay, the general secretary of the students union.