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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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CIMA Gallary

Ragging action, four months late

New Delhi, Jan. 29: The School of Planning and Architecture here suspended seven students yesterday after sitting on a ragging complaint for months, its delayed action drawing criticism and the threat of a lawsuit from the complainant’s father.

Pending inquiry, the seven second-year architecture students have been asked to vacate the hostel too, a media release issued by registrar C.P. Raghave said.

Navin Kujur, a 22-year-old tribal student from Ranchi, had got admitted to the institute’s BArch course last year. On September 2, the seven seniors allegedly forced him to do push-ups with bricks on his back, causing him severe knee injury. Navin has returned home and is yet to recover.

His father David Kujur said Navin had informed the institute authorities about the incident on September 12 but not named the accused “out of fear”. The institute used this omission to sit on the complaint.

David then filed a petition in Jharkhand High Court, which asked the institute to file a first information report (FIR) with the police. The institute did so in the last week of December and started an internal probe under pressure from the Union human resource development ministry.

The suspensions came 13 days after Navin identified the accused in an email sent to the institute on January 15.

“Action should have been taken in September, when my son filed a complaint,” David said over the phone from Ranchi today. “He did not name the accused out of fear. But the institute should have investigated and found out who the culprits were.”

David said action should be taken against all the officials who neglected the case. He plans to file a case in a Delhi court against the institute for its delayed action.

Navin’s lawyer Meera Kaura Patel said that under the anti-ragging regulations of higher education regulator University Grants Commission, an institution must file an FIR within 24 hours of receiving a complaint of ragging. The institution must also begin its own probe within seven days of the incident coming to light.

When David met institute director Chetan Vaidya earlier this month, he was told Navin may have to repeat the year if he does not attend classes.

“This is unfair. When he is ill, how can he attend classes?” lawyer Patel asked.

Contacted by The Telegraph, Vaidya stressed that the institute had taken action after Navin provided the names.

He said the required attendance for promotion to the next year is 75 per cent and pleaded he was powerless to relax the rules for Navin.

Asked why a student should lose a year for illness caused by ragging, Vaidya said the charge of ragging had not yet been established.

“Unless the probe establishes the incident of ragging, how can I comment on any possible relaxation for Navin? The probe is on,” he said.