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Death of Jadavpur University Student: Demand to Probe Gender Angle and Ragging Allegations

According to reports, four students of JU are being interrogated by the police over the mysterious death of the first-year student.
Jadavpur University

Image credit: PTI

Kolkata: The death of Swapnadeeep Kundu, a first-year student at Jadavpur University (JU), is being linked to gender issues and the possibility of ragging. He was found dead on Wednesday after reportedly falling from the terrace of the JU hostel.

Swapnadeep, a resident of Nadia district, had only joined the university two days earlier. SFI has demanded a thorough probe into the incident and has sought strict punishment for anyone involved in the "ragging" of the meritorious student in the Bengali honours department.

"Every year, hundreds of students from the state districts come to Kolkata and join Jadavpur University – a centre of excellence in academics – with the intention of making it big. The death of Swapnadeep is the death of a dream," said Srijan Bhattacharya, SFI state secretary, talking to reporters.

Bhattacharya also demanded that Jadavpur University should file a suo motu complaint about the “unnatural death” with the city police. He added that the SFI-led Arts Faculty Students’ Union has already convened a general body meeting regarding the matter.

According to reports, four students of JU are being interrogated by the police over the mysterious death of the first-year student. He reportedly admitted to a “fear of the unknown” during his last call to his family. He had reportedly been behaving unnaturally, “urinating in the veranda” at night when three seniors reportedly accosted him. Some of Swapnadeep's Jadavpur University batchmates were unsure about his gender orientation. A batchmate of Swapnadeep, Arpan Majhi, has alleged in a Facebook post that regular ragging was taking place at the University hostel.

"My name is Arpan Majhi. I am a first-year student at Jadavpur University. My family is economically backward, and I grew up in Asansol. Naturally, I applied for a hostel during admission. Spending two to three nights at the hostel was quite tormenting to me, and because of that, I have started looking for a mess despite facing great difficulty, even if I have to take a loan," he wrote.

Referring to the ragging by a section of the senior boarders at the hostel, Majhi said, "I have heard many stories about the main hostel. Stories of them helping flood victims, standing by the side of helpless people during the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe most of the seniors in the main hostel carry this fighting tradition. But for a few of them, I lost my classmate," he alleged.

Kundu was also reportedly naked when he fell from the terrace. Police said a few students, who also reside in the hostel, heard a loud sound around 11 pm on Wednesday and ran out to see Kundu lying in a pool of blood below the building. He was taken to KPC Medical College, where he died early on Thursday. "We are waiting for the post-mortem report. The investigation is ongoing," said a police officer.

No suicide note was found in the room, the police said. The hostel premises are located adjacent to the Jadavpur police station, close to the university.

A resident of Nadia district, which is about 100 km from the state capital Kolkata, the student had informed his parents about facing problems in the hostel. His parents were scheduled to come to Kolkata on Friday to meet and talk to him.

JU Registrar Snehamanju Basu said in a communique to the Jadavpur police station that the student was found on the road in front of the main hostel within the campus in an unconscious and wounded condition and "despite every step taken for immediate and best possible treatment for him, he died at 6 am today." Regarding the allegation by Swapnadeep's father that his son was a victim of ragging, the police officer said they were talking to the in-charge of the hostel and also the students who have recently started staying there.

Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) Secretary Partha Pratim Roy suggested that new students be accommodated in a separate hostel as per UGC rules and former students who had been living in the hostel illegally be immediately expelled.

Tags: West Bengal, Jadavpur University, Jadavpur University Student’s Death, Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association, Swapnadeep Kundu, SFI, SFI Arts Faculty Students’ Union, West Bengal Police

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