Jadavpur University: Probe panel finds inaction in most ragging cases
The panel was constituted after a student allegedly jumped from the second floor of his hostel after some seniors and former students allegedly ragged and sexually harassed him
Jadavpur University (JU) received at least 31 complaints of ragging over the last 13 years but the action was taken only against seven students, an internal probe committee constituted after the death of a 17-year-old student has said in its report.
The 17-year-old died on August 10, a day after he allegedly jumped from the second floor of his hostel after some seniors and former students allegedly ragged and sexually harassed him. Police have registered a murder case on the basis of his father’s complaint and arrested 13 current and former students including under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The report confirmed ragging and sexual harassment but could not conclude whether the 17-year-old died by suicide, fell accidentally, or was pushed from the balcony.
The University Grants Commission has pulled up JU, which was ranked the best in West Bengal and fourth in the country in the 2023 National Institute Ranking Framework 2023, for flouting anti-ragging guidelines.
People aware of the matter said in most other cases of alleged ragging, the conclusions were “nobody was found guilty”, the complaint “was not established” as ragging, or “not received relevant documents”.
A JU professor said the authorities did not find evidence against the accused in most of the cases.“Only against seven students, some action was taken.”
JU’s interim vice chancellor Buddhadeb Sau said the report has been sent to the anti-ragging squad and was being worked upon. “The details of the report cannot be disclosed now.”
The report said action was taken in three cases while at least 13 complaints were received between 2010 and 2018.
A second professor said the anti-ragging squad recommended the suspension of two students in a ragging case in 2013 but a teacher recommended leniency to the then vice-chancellor. A section of students subsequently staged a sit-in outside the vice-chancellor before the university head resigned citing personal reasons.
“When I was in the squad, strict action was recommended following ragging complaints. But thereafter when it went to the anti-ragging committee, they either diluted the recommendations, sometimes documents got lost, and sometimes they led their own investigation only to say that they found nothing,” said the second professor.
The report said action was taken only against four students over 18 complaints received from 2018 to 2023. Three students were suspended from the hostel. A former student illegally staying in the hostel was asked to vacate.
A student said in his case, a one-person committee was formed but the accused was only asked to apologise. “He apologised and then I was told to mutually settle it. I had to do it unwillingly.”