The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hostel tryst turns into torment

Santiniketan, Sept. 14: A second-year girl student who sneaked into a boy’s hostel room at Visva-Bharati had to be driven to hospital, sick with anxiety and face covered with black cloth, after other inmates decided to act moral police.

Boarders at the Sangeet Bhavan boys’ hostel piled humiliation on the couple last night, locking the room from outside, raising an outcry in front of it, informing security and calling the principal to the spot.

Some teachers, however, said the boarders had overreacted. “This sort of thing (trysts) has been happening for a long time. It’s being blown out of proportion. We’ll take it up with the vice-chancellor,” said Kishore Bhattacharya, Path Bhavan teacher and secretary of Adhyapak Sabha, the university teacher’s body.

Some boarders said they saw the BMusic student steal into her third-year-student boyfriend’s room around 7 pm. The couple then locked themselves in.

The inmates immediately raised the alarm. About 50 of them stood guard before the room while some others left to inform Sangeet Bhavan principal Ashok Ganguly.

To add to the chaos, the whole of Santiniketan plunged into darkness around 7.30. The generators were switched on but the bulbs shone dimly.

After Ganguly reached the hostel with a group of security guards, the boarders, their initial excitement having ebbed, seemed to have lost their nerve.

None could decide who should knock on the door and ask the couple to come out.

“The girl must be extremely agitated; who’ll take responsibility if she does something extreme,” said a university employee present among the crowd.

Ganguly himself was visibly nervous but he and the guards kept knocking. Around 10 pm, the door opened.

“The girl was sweating in sheer nervousness,” an official said. “A little later she felt sick.”

An ambulance arrived. Girls’ hostel warden Archana Mondal was summoned to accompany the girl, her face covered, to the campus hospital.

Some employees suggested an old grudge could have been the motive for humiliating the couple.

“From the way a section of students reacted, we think it was motivated,” said Debabrata Sarkar, president of Karmi Sabha, the university employees’ body.

SFI member Susanta Ghosh said: “This isn’t the first time the atmosphere of the boys’ hostel was being vitiated. We want stern action so that others will not repeat the mistake.”

Ganguly admitted that university rules were unclear about dealing with such clandestine meetings.

“Steps may have to be taken to restrict such entries,” he said.

Vice-chancellor Rajat Kanta Roy said a probe had been ordered.

Ganguly said the teachers’ council would discuss the matter. “We’ll submit a report. Then it’ll be decided whether the matter should be referred to the disciplinary committee.”

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