A first-year student Swapnadip Kundu of Jadavpur University in Kolkata allegedly fell from the second-floor balcony of the main hostel and tragically died.
What's the whole matter?
Swapnadip Kundu, an 18-year-old from Bagula in Nadia district, has been identified as the student. Kundu enrolled as an undergraduate student of Bengali (honours) at Jadavpur University.
According to the police, he allegedly fell from a hostel building around 11.45 pm on Wednesday and sustained multiple injuries. The KPC Medical College reported that he died at 4.30 am while receiving treatment.
Hostel residents are alleged to have committed murder, as Swapnadeep's father Ramprasad has lodged a complaint. Police arrested Sourav Chowdhury, a leader of the campus's Democratic Students' Federation, late on Friday, August 11. Chowdhury, who had already obtained his master's degree and had been staying at the hostel, had studied Mathematics at JU. This death has caused anger to pour out, and herein lies one of the chief reasons.
Afreen Begum, a leader of the Students Federation of India (which is in power in the Arts students' union of JU, under which the Bengali department falls), states that students like Chowdhury wield enormous power in the Science and Engineering departments.
The network of former students at the hostel is so powerful that some reports suggest that hostel residents initially tried to stop the police from entering when they first attempted to visit the hostel after the discovery of Swapnadeep's body. Due to their larger numbers at the hostel, new students have little ability to escape their elaborate ragging rituals.
Ragging was the cause
According to police, some senior boarders of the hostel allegedly bullied the student, as revealed by preliminary investigation. It has also been reported that Kundu, feeling apprehensive, called up his mother at around 9 PM on Wednesday and expressed his fear "about something".
"The officer said, 'Later, his phone switched off. We are looking into his call list to find out whether he spoke to anyone else after that or not.' The officer added that they have examined the mobile phones of his roommates."
"The boy was in mental distress after seniors started terming him gay," the officer told PTI. "Witnesses saw him showing discomfort regarding this. He called up his mother at least four times on Wednesday and also deactivated his Facebook account in the evening."
Another student alleges ragging connection
Meanwhile, adding strength to the claim of ragging, another first-year student of Jadavpur University alleged in a Facebook post that ragging by “a few seniors” was behind the death of his friend Swapnodeep.
"My name is Arpan Majhi. I am a first-year student at Jadavpur University. My family is economically backward and I grew up in Asansol. Naturally, I applied for a hostel during admission. Spending two to three nights at the hostel was quite tormenting to me and because of that, I have started looking for a mess despite facing great difficulty, even if I have to take a loan," he said in that post.
He alleged, "I have heard many stories about the main hostel. They helped flood victims, stood by the side of helpless people during the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe most of the seniors in the main hostel carry this fighting tradition. But a few of them, I lost my classmate."
How Did the University Respond?
In the wake of the incident, swift actions have been taken to address the situation. The Governor, who holds the position of Chancellor at Jadavpur University, personally visited the hostel to offer condolences to Kundu's father and assure him of stringent action against those found responsible for the tragedy. Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) has stepped forward, calling for immediate measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students on campus.
Partha Pratim Roy, Secretary of JUTA, emphasized the importance of adhering to University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines by housing new students in separate hostels and removing former students residing in hostels unlawfully. As the university community grapples with the loss, there is a growing demand for a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances leading to Kundu's death and to ensure justice for the grieving family.
The Arts Faculty Students Union has also joined the call for a comprehensive inquiry into the incident and the assurance of a safe campus environment. The tragedy has ignited discussions about the need for stricter measures against bullying and the creation of a nurturing atmosphere where students can thrive without fear.
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