The Telegraph
Thursday , January 31 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ragging action, four months late
Delhi architecture cradle suspends 7 students for tormenting Jharkhand boy

The School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi has suspended seven students after sitting on a ragging complaint filed by a Ranchi boy four months ago. Its delayed action has drawn criticism and the threat of a lawsuit from the complainant’s father.

Pending inquiry, the seven second-year architecture students have been asked to vacate the hostel too, a media release issued by registrar C.P. Raghave said.

Navin Kujur, a 22-year-old tribal student, had taken admission to the institute’s BArch course last year. On September 2, his seven seniors allegedly forced him to do push-ups with bricks on his back, causing him severe knee injury. Navin has returned home and is yet to recover.

Father David Kujur said Navin had informed the institute authorities about the incident on September 12, but had not named the accused “out of fear”. The cradle used this omission to sit on the complaint.

David then filed a petition in Jharkhand High Court, which asked the institute to file an FIR with the police. The institute did so in the last week of December and started an internal probe under pressure from the Union HRD ministry.

The suspensions came 13 days after Navin identified the accused in an email sent to the institute on January 15.

“Action should have been taken in September, when my son filed a complaint,” David said over the phone from Ranchi on Tuesday. “He did not name the accused out of fear. But the institute should have investigated and found out who the culprits were,” he added.

David said action should also be taken against all the officials who neglected the case. He plans to file a case in a Delhi court against the institute for its delayed action.

Navin’s lawyer Meera Kaura Patel said that under the anti-ragging regulations of the University Grants Commission, an institution must file an FIR within 24 hours of receiving a complaint of ragging. The institution must also begin its own probe within seven days of the incident coming to light.

When David met institute director Chetan Vaidya earlier this month, he was told Navin might have to repeat the year if he did not attend classes. “This is unfair. When he is ill, how can he attend classes?” lawyer Patel said.

Contacted by The Telegraph, Vaidya stressed that the institute had taken action after Navin provided the names. He said the required attendance for promotion to the next year was 75 per cent and pleaded that he was powerless to relax the rules for Navin.

Asked why a student should lose a year for illness caused by ragging, Vaidya said the charge of ragging had not yet been established. “Unless the probe establishes the incident of ragging, how can I comment on any possible relaxation for Navin? The probe is on,” he said.

Can the suspension stick alone curb ragging?