Jadavpur University’s dean of students had failed to understand the “gravity of the situation in the hostel” even after a resident alerted him over the phone about trouble in the main hostel on the night of August 9, hours before a first-year student fell to his death, says an internal probe.
The report says Satyabrata Roy, a fourth-year BTech student who was later arrested in connection with the death, had called the dean, Rajat Ray, around 10pm.
Ray initially complained about the late-night call and suggested that the student approach the hostel superintendent.
Metro reported on August 11 about grave allegations about how a section of JU officials had reacted to the initial reports of trouble in the main hostel.
The report says: “The Dean of Students failed to understand the gravity of the situation in the hostel which was communicated by Satyabrata Roy over phone on the night of 9th August 2023, hours before the incident of falling.”
It says: “The dean has been found less prepared to handle the situation at the main hostel with regard to unauthorized lodging of the ex-students, outsiders as well as new aspiring freshers, despite having full-time resident superintendents, and, round-the-clock” security personnel.
The internal probe has found a hostel superintendent, who informed the dean that there was no problem in the main hostel on the night of August 9, guilty of “dereliction of duty”.
“The Dean of Students, JU, received a phone call at 10:05pm on 9th August 2023 from a hostel boarder named Satyabrata Roy who raised issues regarding certain behaviour of a Fresher student and requested the Dean of Students to visit the Main Hostel. Then he (Dean) called Mr. Tapan Jana, Hostel Super of the concerned block to look after the matter,” the report says.
“Around 12:30am he (the dean) rushed to the KPC Medical College and Hospital after being intimated about the fall of a student.”
Ray had told this newspaper on August 10 that he received a call from a student at 10.05 the previous night.
Ray had quoted the caller as saying: “Sir, a student is being politicised. Some groups are trying to convince him not to stay in the hostel. That if he wants to stay in the hostel he will have to jump from the second and third floor.”
Ray then said: “I clearly told him, first, ‘Why are you telling this at night?’ Second, ‘there is a hostel super (superintendent) on your campus, have you informed him’? He said ‘no’. I told him to inform the super. After that, I called the super myself.... The super made his own enquiry and found there was no such thing. He did not report it to me immediately. Later, he told me that there was no such thing.”
Dean Ray refused to comment on Tuesday.
Many on the campus believe the tragedy could have been averted had the dean reacted immediately.
“From what the dean said about the call from the student, it’s clear that he received an alert that something grave was building up,” said a JU official.
The report says: “According to his (Dean’s) deposition, he has been abused badly on different occasions by the students of the Hostel in different places for being strict and trying to implement the existing rules.”
It says Jana, superintendent of the A-2 block of the main hostel, went to look “up to the front yard of the said hostel block” after receiving the dean’s call on the night of August 9.
“He felt that no nuisance is going on though he did not visit the upper floors and returned back to his quarters,” says the report.
“They (hostel superintendents) were not allowed to go upstairs after 6.00pm on any day (by students),” the report says.
Calls and text messages from this newspaper to Jana failed to yield any response.