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Jadavpur University student death: NGO demands independent probe by UGC

August 21, 2023

Mita Mukherjee

The Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE), a non-profit organization working for eradication of ragging from educational institutions in the country has appealed to the University Grants Commission (UGC) not to rely on the internal inquiry of Jadavpur University and start its own investigation to probe the death of the 17-year old student of the institution.

The organization which has been working to stop the menace of ragging from campuses for the last 15 years has demanded that the the institution’s internal anti-ragging committee should be “deemed invalid” as the structure of the said panel of the university is not in full compliance with the order of the Supreme Court judgement and with the UGC regulations.

Since the university officials responsible to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court judgement and UGC regulations regarding prevention of ragging had failed in their responsibilities, the organization has urged the UGC to ensure that these officials are not allowed to influence the investigation.

“ It is our earnest appeal to UGC to immediately send its team to the campus and start its own inquiry,” Kushal Banerjee, president and co-founder of SAVE, told EducationWorld.  

He said: “ The anti-ragging committee of Jadavpur University does not appear to be in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement. It does not have members from freshers, guardians and from the media.”

The organization has written a letter to the UGC chairman to immediately send its team to the campus.

The 17-year old first-year student of Bengal honours fell from the second floor of the balcony of the university’s main hostel on the night of August 9 and died a few hours later at a nearby hospital.

The university set up an internal inquiry committee on August 10 which has sent its preliminary report to the UGC. The committee in its report has admitted that the student had been subjected to extensive ragging during his four day stay, from August 6 to 9, in the hostel. The internal inquiry is still under process.

The victim had started staying in the hostel as a “guest” of a senior student which is not permissible. But this system had been in practice on the campus for years after years, Jadavpur University authorities have confirmed.

Banerjee said SAVE has been working as the leading NGO defending the rights and dignity of students in campuses across India and several institutions had been able to curb the menace of ragging with the help of his organization.

According to him, the organization had approached Jadavpur University several times in the previous years and urged it to stop the practice of allowing outsiders and former students to stay in the hostel. But the authorities had never responded to its appeals.

“ To inquire about the allegations about violations of the mandatory UGC regulations, SAVE has filed several RTI applications with JU in the past. But, the required information has not yet reached us,” Banerjee said.

Also Read: Jadavpur University student death: UGC not satisfied with first report

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