Silchar NIT student death case: Hunger strike called-off, dean academics removed
Rishi Kant, a fourth-year student who led the agitation, said that after several rounds of discussions and meetings with the director, they concluded that they were going to call off the strike, trusting the director
The students of Silchar National Institute of Technology (NIT) called off their indefinite hunger strike after five days since they had been protesting over the death of a student at the campus.
The strike was called off on Friday after the administration removed Dean Academics BK Roy, who has been accused of harassing students.
Director of the institute, Professor Dilip Kumar Baidya, fed the agitating students fruit juice to officially close the indefinite hunger strike at around 9:30pm on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, Baidya met with the agitating students and apologised for being unable to reach out to them on time while also assuring them that Roy would be removed from the post.
Calling the hunger strike off, the students said that they were convinced by the assurance given by the director and they wanted to leave all the past issues behind.
“Dean Academics, BK Roy was the reason behind Koj Buker’s death. We wanted him to be removed and an unconditional apology from the administration. But when the director said sorry and folded hands, we felt bad as he is our Guru. Respecting his words, we are calling the agitation off,” they said.
Rishi Kant, a fourth-year student who led the agitation, said that after several rounds of discussions and meetings with the director, they concluded that they were going to call off the strike, trusting the director.
The agitation started after a third-year Electrical Engineering student – Koj Buker, was found dead at hostel-7 of the institute on September 15. His body was found hanging in his room. The police said that Buker died by suicide. However, the students alleged that he was harassed by the Dean Academics, that led to Buker’s death.
Students claimed that Roy abetted the suicide following which they vandalised the residential quarter of the Dean Academics. On September 18, the students began an indefinite hunger strike demanding Roy’s resignation.
Students staged a protest over the weekend, which turned violent, in which as many as 40 students were injured in the subsequent lathi charge carried out by the police.
Apart from Roy’s resignation, students demanded that no disciplinary actions should be taken against the agitators and a committee should be formed to investigate the environment of the campus, and the students’ mental health should be given priority.
Director Baidya said they are ready to agree on each of the demands, adding that a new Dean Academics will replace Roy in the next two days.
“We have already signed the documents. A new Dean Academics will take charge in two days, replacing Professor Roy. We have agreed to fulfil their other demands as well,” Baidya said.
The students further requested the director to conduct a condolence meeting in remembrance of Buker. Professor Baidya said that they wanted to conduct this on Friday, but due to protest, it wasn’t possible. The condolence meet will be conducted on the campus on Monday, according to Baidya.
Around 2,000 students participated in the hunger strike, eight were hospitalised due to dehydration and other issues. Students said that more than 10 students fainted during the hunger strike.
Harsh Kumar Singh, a fourth-year Engineering student, fainted on Thursday evening and rushed to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).