An internal committee of Jadavpur University has recommended that all senior residents staying in the A-2 block of the main hostel be expelled because they have been guilty of “taking part in the conspiracy to suppress the facts related to ragging”.
A first-year student whose death the committee probed used to live in that block and was allegedly thrown off its second-floor balcony by senior students on the night of August 9. The 17-year-old passed away in hospital early on August 10.
The committee has said in its report: “All the senior boarders of A/2 block, JUMH (Jadavpur University Main Hostel) have been considered under ‘UGC Regulation on Curbing the menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009’ (section ‘Punishments’, 8.1.11 – ‘Collective punishment: When the persons committing or abetting the crime of ragging are not identified, the institution shall resort to collective punishment’).”
The report has named all 95 senior students of the A-2 block and said: “They may be expelled from the JU hostels permanently, and appropriate warning is to be given.”
The committee has explained in its report why they found the residents of the A-2 block guilty of suppression of facts.
“Apart from the unfortunate incident which happened on the night of 9th August 2023, it is evident from many depositions that ragging is a common and regular practice in block A/2. A large number of these accused falsely claimed (before the committee) that no ragging happened in their block,” says the report.
“Reportedly, most of them were present in the GB (general body) meetings held after the sad incident on the night of 9th August which may be considered as taking part in the conspiracy to suppress the facts related to ragging. No one reported to the higher authority prior to 9th August that... ragging was going on in their hostel.”
What did the committee mean by suppression of facts?
A committee member said a scrutiny of the report would make this clear.
“After the victim (the deceased first-year student) was taken to the hospital in a yellow taxi at around midnight of 9th August, there was a series of General Body (GB) meetings of the JUMH (main hostel) seniors/ex-students etc between 12.45am – 9am, 10th August, being summoned by Saurav Chowdhury; Dipak Mondal… and a few other seniors/ ex-boarders, where a general narrative regarding the incident was presented before the hostellers to be followed in toto while being interrogated/questioned by police, media or University authority,” says the report.
Most depositions by hostel students and representatives of FETSU (Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students’ Union) allegedly had “the same narrative, with some minor deviations”.
In these general body meetings, the first-year students were not called.
The committee’s report has a subhead called “Conspiracy to suppress the facts related to the incidents that happened on 9th and 10th August at JUMH and JU”.
Like inside the hostel, the committee has said there was a parallel effort on the university campus to pass on a common narrative among all students. “A FETSU GB meeting was convened by the General Secretary, FETSU, at around 10am on 10th August 2023 in the Campus,” the report says.
At the meeting, students were allegedly instructed to follow a common narrative.
According to the committee, two office-bearers of FETSU had confessed that they were aware of the fact that ragging took place in the main hostel on a regular basis.
“Being the present office-bearers of FETSU they were unable to produce any documents that may prove that during their tenure, FETSU took any effective initiatives to stop... ‘ragging’ practices in the hostel,” the report says.