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Ragging charge in medical college
- Students allege ‘soap girl’ act, no formal complaint

Siliguri, March 23: First year students of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital have alleged that their seniors had asked them to “enact vulgar scenes” at the freshers’ welcome held yesterday.

A general diary was lodged with Matigara police last evening, alleging “ragging” and “assault”. No complaint has been submitted to the principal of the college, which does not have an anti-ragging cell. The programme had been organised by the second year students under the aegis of the SFI, which runs the college union.

Most of the new comers to the college refused to speak today. However, one of them on condition of anonymity, said: “We were called in groups of two and three on the stage and given vulgar subjects to enact. They asked us obscene questions. It was a humiliating situation for the girls and boys alike. We were hesitant to act out the scenes at first, but gave in eventually for fear of being victimised in future.”

Another first year student, while giving an example of the “vulgarities”, said: “A girl was summoned with three boys on stage. Each boy was told to be a brand of soap and demonstrate how they would bathe the girl.”

The SFI is carrying out a signature campaign among the first year students to suggest that there was nothing controversial in the freshers' welcome programme. “We will submit the signature campaign to the principal by tomorrow,” said Ruval Ganguly, the SFI secretary of the union.

The officer in charge of the Matigara police station, Debabrata Jha, denied having received any complaint on ragging. “Ragging? What ragging? I don’t think any compliant has been filed.”

Earlier, when The Telegraph had called up the Matigara police station, a person who identified himself as the duty officer, had read out the complaint over the phone.

“I have heard about the ragging, but nobody has complained to me about the incident as yet,” said J.B. Saha, the acting principal of the college.

The Supreme Court had recently ruled that it was upon educational institutions to file an FIR if an incident of harassment was brought to their notice. Otherwise, it had said, their funds tap could be turned off. Heads of institutions or wardens (of hostels) would not be absolved of their liabilities even if the victim or parents had already filed an FIR, the court had clarified.

The organising members of the programme for freshers were all from the SFI, said Tushar Kanti Sarkar, the vice-president of the AIDSO, the student wing of the SUCI. “They rule the roost here and such instances of ragging have been going on for a long time.” He alleged that AIDSO members were beaten up when they protested.

Denying the charges, the student wing of the CPM said the AIDSO had brought in outsiders when the programme was going on to create chaos.

“The AIDSO had lost all the seats in the recent elections held in the college. They are just trying to get some publicity by levelling these allegations. They got outsiders and assaulted some of our members for which we have lodged an FIR against them. We have also complained to the principal,” said Ganguly.

The college confirmed that it had received a complaint from the SFI (against the AIDSO). “We will set up an inquiry committee to probe the charges (of assault levelled by the SFI),” Saha said.

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