Angami Students’ Union (ASU) has condemned the alleged ragging incident that took place at Arbella Boys’ Hostel, Chasingre, Tura, NEHU Campus, against a student from Nagaland on October 8. Expressing anguish at the incident, ASU president Khriesamthalie David Mere and grievances cell convener Thejalhoukho Thomas Khawakhrie said the incident had not only threatened the safety of the Naga students, but also violated human rights in an educational campus.
They implored upon the NEHU authority to immediately take befitting action against the perpetrators, while appealing to the law enforcing agencies to book the culprits under relevant laws.
They stated that they were aghast to learn that no action had been initiated so far by the authorities concerned despite the matter being brought to their notice. In this connection, they questioned the institute as to whether it encouraged ragging in its campus, which is one of the most reputed universities in the Northeast.
Extending their deepest sympathy with the victim, the ASU leaders declared that they would not put the matter to rest until justice was delivered and safety assured to the Naga students hereafter.
Further, they appealed to the Government of Nagaland to immediately intervene on the matter and ensure that justice was served at the earliest for, justice delayed was justice denied.
Fact finding committee formed: The North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Tura campus has constituted a fact-finding committee to probe into the alleged ragging of a Naga student inside the Arabella Boys’ Hostel of the university in Chasingre. The university in a press statement said the committee will be headed by Prof. Lucy Zehol, Dean of the School of Human & Environmental Sciences, who has an extensive experience in handling sensitive matters and ensuring fair and unbiased investigations.
NEHU said Zehol will begin the investigation immediately and leave for NEHU Tura Campus. “The committee will work diligently to uncover all the facts surrounding the incident, identify the culprits, and establish the truth of the matter,” NEHU said.
According to reports, the incident reportedly took place on October 8 at around 1:30 am past midnight. The victim, a Naga student of the department of Agri Business Management in NEHU, Tura had come to the campus for his first day. The student from Nagaland was allegedly subjected to abuse by seniors and that the ragging was also communal in nature.
While at the Arabella Boys’ Hostel, he was subjected to inhuman treatment and abuse at the hands of seniors who knocked on his dorm room and subsequently took him to an empty room in the hostel.
In shocking details that has emerged following the incident, it has been reported that the seniors flashed lights at his face so that they could not be identified. They ordered him to introduce himself in Hindi and when they were not satisfied with his fluency, told him to “entertain” everyone by performing a “naked dance” as he was a Naga. The victim could only identify that the harassers from their fluent Hindi.
The victim was then threatened into stripping in front of them, as his pleas fell on deaf ears. Recounting the horrors, he said that the perpetrators may have recorded a video of the incident on their phones as well. The seniors went on to warn him of serious consequences when he could not take the torture anymore and broke down before them.
The next morning, the victim of the tragic ragging incident left the hostel campus and returned back to Nagaland where he lodged a formal complaint in connection with the matter. In the aftermath of that, the Naga Students’ Union (NSU) in Shillong wrote to the vice chancellor of NEHU Prof Prabha Shankar Shukla and asked him to take immediate action and ensure justice for the victim within 24 hours.
The concerned authority should take legal actions and file an FIR, facilitate the victim student to transfer to another central university of the same course, implement stringent disciplinary actions against the perpetrators in accordance with the university’s anti ragging policies and pertinent laws, expel perpetrators from the university, transparent communication from the university and that NEHU should align with the UGC’s regulations on curbing ragging to bolster community building endeavours, with a special focus on every incoming freshers, the NSU said.
The president of the student body, Chiran Shimrah said, “Such an undisciplined and heinous incident has brought a great shame to the student’s community and should never be encouraged elsewhere.”
Furthermore, he said that if the university failed to take actions, then the union will call for strikes and boycotts against NEHU.