Decomposed Body in IIT Kharagpur Could be Case of Ragging, High Court pulls up over student death.

The Calcutta High Court has asked the Director of IIT Kharagpur to submit a report before the court in a case of the unnatural death of a 23-year-old Assam student.

The partially decomposed body of a third-year student of Assam found at IIT Kharagpur hostel could be a case of ragging. The body of Faizan Ahmed was found in his hostel room at the institute on October 14.

The 20-year-old student was found dead and the authorities had initially suspected death by suicide, however, the matter was taken to the court after the father of the student, Salim Ahmed moved the high court, seeking the formation of an SIT to investigate the death.

While hearing the matter the Calcutta High Court studied the report submitted by IIT and 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”.

Hearing a petition over the unnatural death of the IIT Kharagpur student, the High Court called it a clear case of ‘ragging’ and sought the name of students involved in the ‘ragging’.

The court has also asked the IIT Kharagpur director to submit a report on steps taken by the institute’s management and wardens on receiving information about ragging in its hostel.

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.

The partly decomposed body of Faizan Ahmed, who hailed from Assam’s Tinsukia district, was found in his hostel room at the institute on October 14.

Faizan Ahmed, a mechanical engineering student, died by suicide, the police had claimed.

Faizan’s family alleged that he was pushed over the edge by ragging and that his complaints went unheard by IIT-Kharagpur’s management. “It was a clear case of murder,” they said.

Calcutta High Court also pulled the police besides the IIT Kharagpur authorities.

“There is substantial evidence before this court and the police seem to have been taken for a ride,” the court said.

“Mr Additional SP if there is suppression from IIT, please take action. We expect stern action, or we will have to take action against the management,” the court observed orally, in strong remarks against the country’s first IIT.

Faizan Ahmed’s family has pointed at a deleted Facebook post to establish ragging.

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.

Taking note of the evidence, the Calcutta High Court asked during the hearing if there has been suppression of information by IIT Kharagpur. “We expect something very concrete at the next hearing,” the court observed. 

“We are dealing with a malaise, a disease that can break students. They say some turn out to be men, but some are broken. Whether this will amount to abetment to suicide will have to see,” the court commented.

The Calcutta High Court posted the matter for further hearing on November 22.