The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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College shut down, boarders told to leave

Siliguri, Sept. 12: The steadily worsening academic environment at Siliguri Institute of Technology (SIT) has forced authorities to suspend classes indefinitely, besides asking boarders to vacate the hostel.

A formal notice to this effect was put up at the institute's gate this morning. Yesterday the authorities had announced that classes would be called off for a single day.

It was also announced today that the three-member inquiry committee ' to probe last week's incidents of ragging, and subsequent manhandling and detention of journalists by some students ' will comprise Samir Ghosh, Shampa Dey and Bula Roy (all lawyers).

'The committee will identify the students involved in the acts of indiscipline and suggest a course of action, which will be forwarded to the general body of the institute for approval and implementation,' said Ashish Ranjan Nath, the principal of SIT.

Sources said the decision to suspend classes for an indefinite period was taken after teachers expressed their reluctance to take classes until complete normality was restored on campus.

'Things have come to such a pass that we feel insecure to even walk on the campus, let alone teach. Strong action must be taken against the rowdy elements among the students as a first step to restoring normality in the college,' said a teacher.

In fact, the pervading sense of fear meant that none of the teachers with whom this correspondent spoke wanted to go on record. The teachers believe that, apart from a few 'rowdy' students there are other elements contributing to the lack of academic discipline at the institute.

'The management is equally responsible for the present mess the college is in. Had they taken stern action against students responsible for committing gross acts of indiscipline on earlier occasions, we would have been far better off today,' said another teacher.

About two months ago, the students of the college had assaulted some teachers after they objected to students adopting unfair means during their examinations.

'Following that incident, an inquiry committee was set up, but nothing came of it, and the guilty students went unpunished. Frankly, I do not have much hope in such panels, which are nothing but eyewashes,' said a senior faculty member.

The Calcutta-based director of the institute, S. Roychowdhury, said the governing body of the institute has been fully authorised to take action against the guilty students involved in the latest incidents.

'The governing body can take whatever decision it deems fit, and we will honour that,' he said over phone from Calcutta.

The governing body of the college was holding a late evening meeting here today to take stock of the situation on the campus. 'We will try to come up with the best way to handle such situations,' said the college principal.

Meanwhile, students ' especially the boarders who have been asked to vacate the hostel within 24 hours ' found themselves in a fix. Some of them have already left for their homes in Calcutta, Gangtok and Guwahati.

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