A FIRST-YEAR student of Ranchi-based Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) was allegedly stripped, beaten and tonsured during an hours-long ragging session that began late Saturday evening.
The student also alleged that he was forced to sign three letters before he was let go. In one of them, “I was asked to write that I was ending my life on my own, and that no one should be blamed for it,” the victim claimed Monday.
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“Three (postgraduate) students have been duly rusticated following preliminary inquiry. We are in the process of identifying the other two (allegedly involved). Strict action will be taken against them too,” Jharkhand’s Agriculture Secretary and BAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Nitin Madan Kulkarni said on Monday.
Deputy SP Amit Kumar Kachhap said that an FIR had been registered at Kanke police station in Ranchi under various sections, including attempt to murder and causing injury. “Two of the accused named in the FIR are absconding. The involvement of the third is being ascertained, as the victim is not able to identify him clearly,” Kachhap said.
The students rusticated were identified as Firoz Ahmed, Prashant Kumar and Prabhat.
Director (Students’ Welfare), Dr N K Roy, who was a member of the committee that probed the accusation, said, “We have concluded prima facie that ragging took place, based on the inspection of the place where it is alleged to have occurred.”
The victim, who is from Ranchi, said he, along with seven others, had recently joined the university in BSc (Forestry) first-year, and that “non-physical harassment” began a day after he moved in to the College of Forestry’s hostel on November 29.
Around 9.30 pm on Saturday, the victim alleged, all eight of them were called to another hostel — to the room of Firoz Ahmed, one of the three rusticated. He said the seniors allegedly offered them liquor, and as he and two others refused, they were taken out and repeatedly asked why they had “abused” the senior students.
The seniors then allegedly forced all eight to take off their clothes and took them to the hostel terrace. “I was slapped repeatedly. After a while, the others were allowed to go downstairs but I was tied up and pushed on the ground. They wanted me to admit that I had abused them,” the victim alleged, adding that the seniors threw cold water on his face repeatedly.
The victim claimed that he caved in after a while and accepted that he had abused them and sought mercy. “But they said it wasn’t enough,” he said. Firoz then allegedly asked all the juniors to take turns and tonsure his head with a trimmer. “Firoz and the others grabbed me by the neck and hit my head against the wall,” he alleged.
Before letting him leave around 4 am, the victim said he was made to write and sign three letters. “They appeared to be BAU letterheads. I was asked to write that I was ending my life on my own, and that no one should be blamed for it. In another, they made me write that I had abused seniors and deserved serious action. And the third was to state that my elder cousin had told me to abuse them,” the victim claimed.
The police are also probing claims made by the juniors that the victim was beaten up for stealing money.