Kolkata: The University Grants Commission has slapped a fresh notice to Jadavpur University authorities seeking several clarifications as it was dissatisfied with the first report on the death of a fresher student on August 10, 2023 allegedly because of ragging. Swapnodip Kundu, a first year Bengali Honours student from Bagula in Nadia district fell to his death from his hostel’s second floor balcony in the campus. Early this week the JU had sent the first report to the commission.
Following the death of Kundu, the city police took cognizance of the JU students’ social media posts, including photographs which suggested that there was an element of sexual harassment in the ragging of the deceased.
Former students arrested
Among the total of nine students arrested in connection with the case were three former students who had been staying at the hostel even after they had passed out from the university including the main accused Sourav Chowdhury.
Sourav, who was arrested on Friday and sent to 10 days’ judicial custody, was reported not just the mastermind of psychological ragging but was also said to be having the final say in allocation of rooms for freshers in the hostel, raising questions over the functioning of the administration.
The police have sent the cellphones of some of the accused arrested in this connection to the forensic laboratory for deciphering the detailed data stored in them.
No VC, registrar absent
Interestingly, for some time now, the university has been running without a vice-chancellor. The chair of one of the two pro vice-chancellors is also vacant. The registrar of the university, Snehomonju Basu who was on medical leave when the mishap took place on August 10, returned to the campus only on Monday, four days after the incident.
Protests, clashes and politics
Meanwhile, even as students from Nadia, the hometown of the deceased student, gathered outside JU campus demanding strict action against those involved, the matter took a political hue with some students getting injured in clashes that erupted in the University campus after students unions - Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) and The Left students union – each questioned the authority of the other. The matter even turned into a political blame game between TMC and BJP.
Anti-ragging cell to visit JU
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Friday also decided to form a high-level committee headed by a former chief justice.
A team of the anti-ragging cell of the University Grants Commission (UGC) is expected to conduct a field visit after the JU authorities submitted a report of the incident.
It has also been decided to constitute a high-level committee headed by the former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and current interim vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University Subhro Kamal Mukherjee "for a thorough study of the issue" and frame suggestions to put an end to such practices on the campus, the statement said.