The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After ragging, techies take on scribes

Salbari, Sept. 9: North Bengal's only private engineering college seems to be making headlines for always the wrong reasons.

This time the students of Siliguri Institute of Technology (SIT), 8 km from Siliguri, are in the news for first allegedly ragging their juniors, and second, manhandling journalists.

Earlier in June five teachers of the institute were assaulted reportedly for trying to prevent students from adopting unfair means during examinations.

The latest drama in the campus unfurled yesterday when some second-year students, as eye-witnesses said, were making newcomers parade in the open space outside the college campus under the scorching afternoon sun, as part of their 'ice-breaking ritual'.

Arinendu Mandal, a humanities faculty member, who happened to pass by at that hour objected to their behaviour and reportedly called them 'uncivilised', besides reprimanding them strongly for ragging the juniors.

This morning, second-year students refused to attend classes to protest against Mandal's 'highhandedness'. They also demanded an apology from them. Mandal complied.

Arindam Roy, SIT's deputy registrar, however, refused to accept there was any 'ragging' as such. 'As long as there are no official, written and specific complaint from a student, we cannot confirm ragging,' he said, though he admitted that several parents have been telling him over phone that their wards were being ragged. Nevertheless, Roy said an internal inquiry would be conducted into yesterday's incident.

The incident took an ugly turn today when excited students manhandled scribes who were there to cover the goings on in the college. While the concern of the students was genuine in that they did not want their 'institute's name to be maligned', their actions were such that college authorities had to issue an official statement condemning them and apologising.

Electronic media reporters and photojournalists were not allowed to shoot. Five journalists, who had entered the campus, were threatened with 'dire consequences' in the choicest of expletives if they reported anything.

All five of them were kept confined to the 'safety' of principal Ashis Ranjan Nath's chamber for three hours. The scribes managed to come out escorted by the police. 'Some boys also kicked and punched me,' said Bachhu Das, a cameraman of a TV channel. Roy said an inquiry would be conducted into this incident too.

Anticipating trouble, the authorities had called the police in the morning itself. 'We had taken all measures to ensure that there was no flare-up. The situation otherwise remained peaceful,' said Tripurari, the additional superintendent of police.

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