A recent internal investigation by Jadavpur University (JU) has revealed that the university has received a total of 31 complaints of ragging over the past 13 years. However, action was only taken in seven of these cases. This information came to light following the death of a 17-year-old student, who allegedly leapt from the second floor of his hostel on August 10, after being subjected to severe ragging and sexual harassment by seniors and former students.
The deceased student’s father lodged a complaint, leading to the police registering a murder case and arresting 13 current and former students, some of whom were charged under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The internal probe confirmed the allegations of ragging and sexual harassment but could not definitively establish whether the student’s death was a result of suicide, an accidental fall, or if he was pushed from the balcony.
The University Grants Commission has reprimanded JU, ranked as the best university in West Bengal and the fourth-best in the country according to the National Institute Ranking Framework 2023, for its failure to adhere to anti-ragging guidelines.
Sources close to the matter revealed that 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 professor from JU disclosed that in the majority of the cases, the authorities could not find evidence against the accused. “Only in seven cases, some action was taken.”
JU’s interim vice chancellor, Buddhadeb Sau, stated that the report has been forwarded to the anti-ragging squad and is currently under review. However, he declined to disclose the details of the report at this time.
The report also revealed that action was taken in three cases out of at least 13 complaints received between 2010 and 2018. Another professor disclosed that in 2013, the anti-ragging squad recommended the suspension of two students in a ragging case. However, a teacher suggested leniency to the then vice-chancellor, leading to a student protest outside the vice-chancellor’s office and the university head’s subsequent resignation for personal reasons.
The professor further stated, “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.”
The report also disclosed that action was taken against merely four students out of 18 complaints received from 2018 to 2023. Three students were suspended from the hostel, and a former student, who was illegally residing in the hostel, was asked to vacate.
One student shared his experience, stating that a one-person committee was formed to handle his case, 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.”