The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bail break for ragging accused

Jalpaiguri, Sept. 1: After staying behind bars for 25 days, the four students accused of ragging a fresher at Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College got bail today as police said in the chargesheet they had found no evidence that the boys had “attempted to murder” Sayandip Bandopadhyay.

Subdivisional judicial magistrate Laxmikanta Das granted the quartet interim conditional bail and fixed the next date of hearing for September 19.

The four students — Parashar Kishore Singh, Nigam Prasad Kundu, Mainak Choudhury and Subhadip Naha — were arrested on August 6 following a complaint lodged by Sayandip saying he was “tortured and made to write a suicide note” the previous night.

The magistrate twice turned down their bail pleas. The second blow, on August 28 because the police could not table the chargesheet, prompted the students’ union, which had rallied around the four boys saying they had been “framed”, to call an indefinite strike on the campus.

On August 28, the magistrate had ordered the four to be produced again on September 3 but police filed the chargesheet today, stating they had found no evidence to suggest “attempt to murder” as alleged by Sayandip. However, the document lists the other charges mentioned by the first-year student from Calcutta in his complaint.

The magistrate granted conditional bail to the four students along with two sureties of Rs 1,000 each.

The relief to the boys came on a day when the union representatives met technical education director Amalendu Basu in Calcutta and appealed to him for justice. Speaking over phone from Calcutta, union spokesperson Tamojit Chakrobarty said: “We discussed the matter with him for about two hours. He reacted positively and listened to us.”

The college authorities claimed that the situation on the campus was normal and that the students’ union had withdrawn the strike. But the students condemned the attitude of the college authorities and said they were forced to join classes.

Abhishek Bandopadhyay, the general secretary of the students’ union, said: “We have not withdrawn the strike but were forced to join classes today as the college authorities threatened us that if we continue the strike, they would call the police and vacate the hostels. We condemned the attitude of the college authorities and joined classes wearing black badges. We have not moved from our stand.”

Principal Shyam Sunder Chatterjee said: “At a meeting with the students’ representatives, we specifically mentioned the directives of the higher education department. The students had to vacate hostels in case they stayed there without attending classes, says the directive.”

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