Jalpaiguri, Aug. 22: The subdivisional judicial magistrate here today rejected the bail petition of the four students of Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College arrested on charges of ragging a fresher two weeks ago.
The parents of the students, waiting at the court, were dismayed as Laxmikanta Das, the magistrate, turned down the plea on the ground that their release would affect the ongoing police investigation.
Parashar Kishore Singh, Nigam Prasad Kundu, Subhadeep Naha and Mainak Choudhury were booked after Sayandip Bandopadhyay, a first-year student, complained to police against them.
Hours after he entered the college hostel, the student from Sinthee in north Calcutta was stripped, beaten with iron rods and slashed by seniors. Before being released a little after midnight, he was forced to scribble a suicide note.
The magistrate said the arrested students were booked under sections that were non- bailable and dealt with attempted murder.
Court sources said Das asked police to submit the case diary on August 28. The bail plea is likely to be moved again that day.
The petition was to come up before the court yesterday but it had to be put off because of the SUCI-sponsored strike.
Assistant public prosecutor M. Alam opposed the bail petition. The defence lawyer pressed for the bail. In the end, the magistrate rejected the plea.
“He is innocent. Why wouldn’t the court believe my son'” asked Subhadeep’s mother Bina Naha. She then broke down. “The last two weeks were painful. I don’t know how I am going to get through another week.”
Her husband, Sudip, said they were too distraught to decide whether they should appeal to a higher court to get their son released on bail.
“Our mind is blank. We cannot think of anything now. Our son has been in jail for over a fortnight. We don’t know what to do,” the father said.
The students of the college, many of whom were present at the courthouse, said they were upset by the rejection of the petition. “We had hoped that they would be freed on bail today. They have been behind bars for more than two weeks. It’s terrible,” said Tamojit Chakroborty, a spokesman for the college students’ union. “We will soon decide on our course of action.”
The students submitted memorandums to the district magistrate and the subdivisional officer of Jalpaiguri, urging them to look into the plight of the arrested students “keeping in mind their career”.
“The Supreme Court, in a ruling on ragging, made it clear the accused, if arrested, should be treated as students and not as criminals. But here, the four students are being treated as criminals,” Chakroborty said.