Published: 11th November 2022
Student death at IIT Kharagpur: Facebook post reveals ragging?
While the college authorities at the time said the student's death was a case of suicide, the student's family alleged that Ahmed died under 'suspicious circumstances'
The Calcutta High Court, hearing a petition over the unnatural death of a student at IIT Kharagpur, stated that it appears to be a "clear case of ragging". The court has asked the IIT Kharagpur Director to submit a report before it on steps taken by the institute's management and wardens on receiving information of ragging in its hostel.
The body of a third-year student at IIT Kharagpur, Faizan Ahmed, was found in his hostel room at the institute on October 14. While the college authorities at the time said it was a case of suicide, the student's family alleged that Ahmed died under "suspicious circumstances". According to a report by PTI, the Calcutta High Court, taking a stern view of the allegations, on Thursday, November 10, directed that the students involved in the act of "ragging" be named by the director in his report and asked the authorities of the country's first IIT to "extend all cooperation" to the police in the investigation into the death of the student.
"This court is interested to know as to what steps have been taken by the said wardens and the management of the IIT, Kharagpur after receipt of information of what appears to this court to be a clear case of 'ragging'," Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said, reported PTI. Justice Mantha also asked the Paschim Medinipur District Additional Superintendent of Police, who was present in the court along with the investigating officer in the case, to leave no stone unturned and explore all and every avenue to ascertain the truth behind the death of Ahmed, who hailed from Tinsukia district in Assam.
Salim Ahmed, the father of the deceased student, moved the high court, seeking the formation of an SIT to investigate the death to bring to the fore the reasons involved. Directing the authorities of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Kolkata to ensure that the viscera report of the deceased student is sent to the additional SP by November 14, the court asked the police to file a report on the progress of the investigation in the case on the next date of hearing on November 22, when the IIT director will also have to submit the report.
Taking note of an alleged deletion of a Facebook page claimed to have been titled 'IIT KGP Confessions', Justice Mantha said that the parties in the matter may take steps to ascertain the veracity of the original post in it that was annexed with the writ petition. The court said the post "appears to have been clearly deleted after the hearing of this matter was conducted on November 3, 2022." Counsel for the state submitted before the court that Facebook authorities have been contacted to retrieve the said page with regard to post number 1198 on the social media page. "It is expected that the Facebook authorities would extend full cooperation in the investigation," Justice Mantha said.
A supplementary affidavit filed by the petitioner before the court annexed an email dated February 4, which appears to have been addressed by a team of hostel wardens to the students of IIT Kharagpur. The court noted that there was mention in it of serious complaints from second-year undergraduate students of being physically and mentally harassed by a group of seniors. "This is corroborated by a communication addressed by one Professor Saswata Chakraborty, dated November 9, 2022, addressed to the Inspector-in-Charge, Kharagpur (Town) Police Station," the court said.
The state counsel submitted a detailed interim report before the court on the progress of the investigation on Thursday. Allowing the lawyers for the petitioner to go through the report and even take photos of it on their mobile phones, the court directed "specifically not to disclose the report to any other person including their clients." According to PTI, Justice Mantha added that this may have "serious repercussions on the investigation."