| The four students held for ragging being led away from the Jalpaiguri court by policemen. Telegraph picture
Jalpaiguri, Aug. 7: Sayandip Bandopadhyay packed his bags and moved out of hostel today, his dreams of becoming an engineer shattered in less than two days.
“I want to get out of this place as soon as possible. I cannot think of anything else now. I am too tired and shocked,” said the fresher, who faced a night of horror on his first day at the Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College, where he had gone to study electronics and communications.
The ordeal of the first-year student from Sinthee in north Calcutta began hours after he entered the hostel on Tuesday evening. He was stripped, beaten by iron rods and slashed with blades and knives by seniors. He was released a little after midnight, but not before he was forced to write a suicide note by a fourth-year student. The boy, an alumni of Calcutta’s St James’ School, fled the hostel last morning.
He was admitted to the Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital by his father, who then lodged a complaint with the Kotwali police station. Sayandip, after much persuasion, agreed to go to the college to identify his tormentors. Parashar Kishore Singh, a former general secretary of the college union, and three senior students — Mainak Choudhury, Subhadeep Naha and Nigam Kundu — were arrested.
Sayandip’s father Paritosh Bandopadhyay was adamant on pulling his son out of the college. “We want to leave this town now. We are still unsure about his future but we will not allow him to continue in this college. We will somehow manage a seat in any institution or a private college in Calcutta,” said Bandopadhyay, as he stood outside Hostel I with his son’s luggage.
Principal Shyam Sunder Chatterjee, who had yesterday claimed ignorance about the incident, said he would crack down on ragging. “We had talks with the central anti-ragging committee and have suspended the four students who were alleged to have been involved. We will take steps against them. An inquiry is on. Four years ago, we had suspended four students when they were found guilty,” Chatterjee said.
Shaken by the magnitude of the torture, the government today swung into action and asked the college authorities to submit a report on how such an incident could take place in a state which is among the first in the country to have banned ragging by law.
Higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty said in Calcutta the government was concerned over the manner Sayandip was “tortured”.
The arrested students were produced before the sub-divisional judicial magistrate, who sent them to jail custody for 14 days. His three mates broke down but Singh insisted that he had been “framed”. “I stand by whatever I said yesterday. No way did I pressure him to write a suicide note,” said the fourth-year student.
The Jalpaiguri administration has ordered an inquiry. At a hurriedly convened news conference, district magistrate Subrata Gupta said: “The subdivisional officer of Jalpaiguri will conduct an independent probe, apart from the police investigation.”