A final-year engineering student of Jadavpur University has been expelled for a year and another suspended for six months on the basis of a complaint over the UGC’s toll-free anti-ragging helpline that guarantees the caller anonymity.
The decision was taken on Tuesday, less than 20 days after the incident on the Salt Lake campus of the university had been reported. The complainant said the two seniors physically assaulted and mentally tortured him in his hostel room on August 23.
The penalised students were also accused of smearing excreta on the door of the hostel room but the charge could not be established, university officials said.
“They beat me up and broke window panes to intimidate me, after which I decided to lodge a complaint over the UGC’s toll-free helpline. The university authorities started a probe and called me for a hearing,” the complainant, who is from Darjeeling, said.
The parents of two students of the Marine Engineering and Research Institute in Taratala had chosen the UGC’s online anti-ragging portal to lodge complaints last month. The duo accused of ragging have been suspended pending completion of the probe.
“These instances prove that both the helpline and the portal are working. They are forcing institutes to promptly act on allegations of ragging,” a university teacher said.
Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) expelled five second-year students for a year in August on charges of ragging a first-year student. A roving squad from the Shibpur-based institute’s anti-ragging unit had approached the victim, who is from Bihar, based on a tip from the campus guards. The team heard the student’s account before registering a complaint.
JU doesn’t have a roving squad but each hostel has an anti-ragging team to track any such incident.
“The student whose complaint led to two seniors being penalised was confident about reporting his plight to his hostel superintendent because he had already called the helpline. Before the helpline was launched, most victims were wary of lodging a complaint with the superintendent lest the official hush up the incident,” a JU student said.
Sources said the JU authorities started a probe immediately after the UGC forwarded the complaint on August 24. A committee set up by vice-chancellor Shouvik Bhattacharya visited the Salt Lake campus and gave the victim as well as the accused a hearing.
The committee also spoke to the hostel superintendent and other inmates of the hostel. The probe report was submitted to the vice-chancellor last week, holding the two students guilty of ragging.
“Based on the recommendations of the probe team, the anti-ragging committee met on Tuesday evening and decided to penalise the two,” registrar Pradip Ghosh said.
The expelled student is from the construction engineering department. The one who has been suspended is from the printing technology department.
The student expelled for a year, or two semesters, would need to take admission again next year. The student suspended for a semester won’t be allowed to write the seventh semester exam scheduled for December.
“The suspended student will be able to write the eighth semester exam but take admission afresh to appear for the seventh semester test,” an official said.