Jadavpur probe details horrific sexual humiliation of freshman
The 46-page report, compiled after questioning 85 people, throws light on rampant ragging and abuse in the university's hostels.
Kolkata: The first-year student of Jadavpur University, allegedly ragged and sexually abused before he jumped to his death in the hostel on August 9, ran frantically from one room to another in a completely naked state trying to hide from his tormentors, the internal probe carried out by the university has found.
In its report, the seven-member committee has also said that first-year students were often forced to shout sexist remarks and make lewd gestures towards the women that lived in the police quarters that are adjacent to the hostel, and after one such episode, the 17-year-old victim had broken down.
The report, a copy of which HT has seen, was submitted to JU’s interim vice-chancellor Buddhadeb Sau last week. The 46-page report, compiled after questioning 85 people, including hostel inmates, university officials, hostel superintendents and security guards, throws light on rampant ragging and abuse in the hostel. So far, 12 former and current students have been arrested in the case, and their accounts are not part of the report since they are in custody.
The report says that one of the boarders heard a loud cry at around 11.30pm on August 9 and rushed to the second floor corridor, and saw the victim completely naked, desperately trying to enter a toilet, and then rushing into room no. 65. “Even as the victim tried to close the door of the room, Md Arif and other seniors pushed open the door, and pulled him out. Thereafter, he was reportedly offered a bottle of water, which he gulped a bit, and then threw the bottle at Arif. All this while the victim was standing stark naked in front of many seniors on the 2nd floor’s well-lit lobby, facing utter humiliation,” the report said. Arif, a third-year student, is one of the 12 people arrested.
The committee’s report, however, is unclear about the final sequence of events that led to his fall. “Information regarding the victim’s movements, just prior to his fatal fall... Many have reported to have seen him run towards the end of the corridor with Md Arif following him, but thereafter, the depositors seem to have lost sight of the ‘final fall...,” the report said.
The report said that the victim’s “easy and smiling demeanour” was replaced by “rather tense and jittery body language” by August 8 when he came to attend the orientation programme. He left midway from the programme without collecting his food packet, accosted by two hostel seniors.
The committee found that every night, first-year students that came to live in the hostel were forced to shout sexist remarks and lewd abuse targeting women who lived in the police quarters adjacent to the hostel. The victim was initially reluctant to do this but was forced to multiple times. After one such time, one person that deposed said, the victim burst into tears, complained of stomach pain, and was given an antacid. “Around 8.20pm, he was seen in the dining room profusely sweating. He is learnt to have told an inmate that he was very scared as seniors were drinking alcohol in the room. The next session of ragging started around 9pm in room 104,” said a committee member.
The committee also found that a general body meeting of the hostel was held at 11pm where all freshers were asked to come except the victim. He was held back by some seniors in the hostel. “As it seems, the victim was singled out for ragging, which was carried out in a systematic, planned manner, deliberately isolating him for severe ragging, while the rest of his batchmates were far from him attending to the hostel GB,” said the report.
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The probe panel has recommended expelling four university students, who are among 12 arrested and has also confirmed that after he was taken to the hospital early on August 10, a series of general body meetings were held by the accused where a narrative of what to say to the police and the media was constructed.
On Saturday, JU authorities started installing 29 CCTV cameras in at least 10 strategic locations. Also, freshers have already been shifted to a separate hostel following UGC guidelines. A new set of rules have been prepared to restrict movement of visitors.