The students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Assam’s Silchar region have been in the news for some time now, protesting against the suicide of a student on campus.
Now, they have reached out with an open letter, writing to the President of the country and even to the media, urging that proper action be taken. The students reportedly want the dean of academics to resign from his position after alleging his involvement in the suicide of a third-year student.
What Is The Incident?
On September 14, 2023, Koj Buker an Electric Engineering student from Arunachal Pradesh was found dead inside his hostel room.
Students from the institute then held a protest on September 19th demanding the resignation of the Dean of Academics, BK Roy. According to the students, Buker was restricted from attending classes for his fifth semester along with being harassed and insulted by Roy constantly even in front of other students.
The students claim that Buker was not the only person the Dean Academic was harassing and that he’s been doing it since the beginning of his tenure.
A student at the protest was quoted saying “We want justice for Koj Buker and compensation for his family members. Koj was mentally and physically strong. He was not a drug addict. The NIT Silchar administration has given false allegation against him which was not justified. They said he was mentally unstable and a drug addict which was totally false.”
The student fraternity has also written an open letter, sending it to the media and even President Droupadi Murmu talked about what the situation is like and what their demands are.
Read More: “I Am Sorry…,” 3rd Suicide At IIT Madras, Students Speculate Other Reasons Than Stated In Such Cases
An open letter was sent by the NIT Silchar Students Fraternity to the President on Tuesday where they stated they were doing so with ”an increasing sense of urgency and desperation as the situation in our institution has escalated to an alarming level, necessitating your immediate intervention to avert further harm”.
We, the Student Fraternity of NIT Silchar, want to kindly put some issues for your consideration so that there are no further incidents like the one that happened on 15th September 2023. We are saddened and shocked regarding the sad demise of our student Koj Buker, a 5th semester student of Electrical Engineering Department, NIT SILCHAR
The college administration must apologize for their delayed response to the suicide incident at Hostel 7, despite being informed by students. They should also release an official Clarification to counter false claims in local newspapers, which wrongly depict the deceased as a drug addict and allege an LPG cylinder explosion attempt by a mob. Hence, we request college administration to refrain from endorsing such misinformation about the deceased and fellow students and issue a clear and unequivocal clarification refuting all baseless allegations. Director and the Registar should also step ahead and listen to the demands of the student’s fraternity to normalize the situation.
The Dean (Academic) Professor B. K. Roy, considering his past records and allegations of harassing several other students, has been held responsible by the Student Fraternity for the suicide of the student. The Whole Student Fraternity demands the unconditional resignation from his position as Dean Academic. This step is essential to ensure that justice is served in the case of the late KOJ BUKER.
The college administration should lodge an FIR to ensure a proper investigation on the Culprit behind the alleged suicide of KOJ BUKER along with extending comprehensive support to the family of the late KOJ BUKER, including financial, legal, and security assistance, as well as offering them essential emotional support.
All those students who are involved in the protest in any form till date should be assured in writing that there wouldn’t be any disciplinary and academic action against them by NIT Silchar Administration and legal action by Cachar Administration.
To ease student’s mental health and wellbeing, all the ongoing and pending disciplinary actions on the victim students under the college administration must be reviewed and must be taken into relaxation to avoid such fateful incidents from happening in the future.
A high-level committee should be established to bring academic reforms in NIT Silchar to reduce the burden on student’s minds and ensure their wellbeing. This committee must include members from the NIT SILCHAR ADMINISTRATION, STUDENT Representatives OF NIT SILCHAR, along with other Government Officials and experts to minimize the burden on students so that nobody takes such sudden steps in future.
Registrar of Silchar NIT, KL Baishnab as per Hindustan Times denied any wrongdoing and said that “In the first two years, he failed in 14 papers, and we suggested him to clear these backlogs before going to fifth semester. There was no harassment as claimed by the students.”
Soon after protests started NIT director Dilip Kumar Baidya was quoted saying, “We have sympathy for the student who died but he had a poor academic performance. Some students fail and come with illegitimate demands.”
He also reportedly said how as soon as they got to know of what happened “Immediately, all faculty members involved in student administration were present there. It was a very sad incident.”
Further, he spoke about how they had to call the police due to students allegedly getting rowdy “We informed the SP office and DC office, and they came immediately and took the next step. But in between, the students gheraoed our Dean (Academic) and vandalised his house…
In addition to that, some neighbours were also affected. They damaged a few four-wheelers… We had to take some steps to control the huge mob. For hours we tried our best. We consider our students to be our children and we have to take care from our end, but it went totally out of control.”
In the latest update, Director Baidya has assured students that the current dean of academics professor BK Roy will be removed in the next two days.
Addressing the almost 2,000 students on an indefinite strike for the past five days he said “We are sympathetic towards the student who died, and we respect your agitation. We apologise to you for not being able to reach out on time. We are ready to fulfil all the demands in the next two days.”
Professor KL Baishnab also wrote to the students asking them to call of the hunger strike “We fervently appeal to the students to call off all sort of agitation and resume the classes as well as other academic activities so that the academic environment of the institute is maintained, and the authority is not constrained to close the institute for an indefinite period or to take any stern action. Let us try our best to restore normalcy in the campus.”
I’ve also reached out to NIT director Dilip Kumar Baidya requesting his official statement. This post will be updated once a revert is received.
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