A group of students of the Jadavpur University in Kolkata laid siege to offices and locked in the varsity's vice chancellor, assistant vice chancellor and the registrar hostage for the last 24 hours and other officials to protest the suspension of two students for ragging, an official said on Thursday.
Students are demanding that the punishment meted out to two 4th year engineering students on the charges of ragging be withdrawn immediately. University authorities say that these students have been punished in accordance with the university laws and UGC norms; hence the charges cannot be withdrawn.
The students from the engineering and humanities departments started the agitation on Wednesday afternoon, Registrar Pradip Kumar Ghosh, who himself was locked in, said. "We have not been allowed to step out since Wednesday afternoon," he said.
The vice chancellor, pro-vice chancellor and a few other officials were barred from leaving the administrative block building, housing their offices, by a group of students demanding that their colleagues who faced action for ragging juniors be let off. Ghosh said:
"The students have been shouting slogans and boycotting classes. They are basically demanding that the two accused be let off. But the anti-ragging committee probing the matter has found them guilty...so we can't do anything now."
The two students were suspended on September 11 for ragging a junior. The victim, hailing from Darjeeling district, was allegedly beaten up by the two seniors. A final year student of construction engineering was suspended for two semesters, while a fourth year student of the printing technology department was handed a one-semester suspension.
The university cracked the whip following a complaint from a second year engineering student of information technology department to the University Grants Commission (UGC) in August. During the suspension period, the two students would not be allowed to stay in the hostel where the incident occurred, said Ghosh. "We had issued a show cause notice...the suspension will come into effect very soon. We will negotiate and discuss with the angry students," said Ghosh. The UGC forwarded the complaint to the university authorities, who constituted a probe panel which pronounced the duo students guilty. "It is for the betterment of others that we are suspending them...it will be a deterrent," added Ghosh.
(With additional information from IANS)