Jadavpur University student death: 13 held so far, science faculty dean resigns

Kolkata: Union Education Minister calls UGC to take strict actions as per law to address issue

BY | Monday, 21 August, 2023

The tragic death of a first-year undergraduate student at Jadavpur University has sparked outrage and led to the arrest of thirteen individuals thus far. The incident, which occurred on August 9, has raised serious questions about the safety and security measures in place at the campus.

The victim, a 17-year-old boy, reportedly fell from a second-floor balcony of the main hostel building after allegedly being subjected to ragging and sexual harassment. In response, the police have made arrests of both current and former students of Jadavpur University. Three current students were arrested on Friday, while nine former and current students had already been apprehended earlier. All of the arrested individuals are in police custody.

The case has taken a new turn with the arrest of a former student, marking the thirteenth arrest in connection with the incident. The accused has been charged under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to the use of criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of their duty. Allegedly, the accused and others prevented police personnel from aiding the victim and forcefully closed the hostel gates to hinder their entry during the emergency.

Amidst the turmoil, the newly appointed interim vice-chancellor, Buddhadeb Sau, emphasized that the responsibility for the student’s death rests on the university as a whole. He expressed deep sorrow at the tragic loss and stressed the need for enhanced security measures to ensure a safe and healthy atmosphere on campus. Sau acknowledged that there may have been lapses and vowed to prevent such incidents in the future.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan commented on the tragedy, describing it as not only unfortunate but a major cause for concern. He has called upon the University Grants Commission (UGC) to take strict actions as per the law to address the issue. Pradhan underscored the need for anti-ragging measures, the presence of CCTV cameras, and enhanced security arrangements on campuses to prevent such incidents. He assured that the UGC will take necessary steps to address the menace of ragging and ensure the safety of students.

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In response to Pradhan’s comments, senior West Bengal minister Arup Biswas emphasized that the state administration takes action based on the law, without considering political affiliations.

The situation continues to evolve, and in a surprising development, Professor Subenoy Chakraborty, the dean of the science faculty at Jadavpur University, resigned from his post citing personal reasons. The resignation comes at a time when the university is already facing intense scrutiny and criticism over the student’s tragic death.

As investigations continue and questions about campus safety and student welfare persist, the focus remains on seeking justice for the victim and implementing measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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