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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Two days have passed since the death of a Plus 2 girl student from Bisoi area in Mayurbhanj district, but the police are yet to make any headway, raising suspicion over the actual cause of death.

When Savitri Behera, a Plus 2 second-year student of Prince Residential College in Balasore reportedly fell off from her hostel building on the night of May 18 (Wednesday), the incident sparked another speculation with some terming it a case of ragging and murder.

As per reports, Savitri had spoken to his father over mobile phone at 9 pm on Wednesday. After just two hours, Savitri again called his father to complain that some of her roommates and the hostel warden are heckling her accusing her of stealing Rs 200 from another girl from the hostel.

At around 1 am on Thursday, the college authorities called Savitri’s father to inform him that their daughter has fallen off the hostel room and is injured. By the time her parents reached Balasore, Savitri was already dead.

While her mother alleged that the hostel warden and some roommates have killed Savitri over the money issue, the college authorities seem to be hell-bent to show it as a case of suicide.

Speaking to reporters, Savitri’s mother, Padmabati Behera said, “She was crying over phone that night saying her roommates have falsely branded her as a thief. She asked her father to send Rs 200, so that she can give it to the girl whose money was stolen, to shut them up.”

“My husband tried to contact the hostel warden over the issue, but the warden did not pick up the phone. I am sure the hostel warden and some roommates have killed her after torturing her over the stolen money,” Padmavati alleged.

However, the College Principal, Prabhat Kumar Mishra denied the allegation and said, “The warden had tried to pacify her over the theft issue and told her to resolve it in the morning in the college. But the girl became hyper sentimental over the accusation and took the extreme step.”

A murder case in this connection has been registered at the Sadar Police station in Balasore following the complaint of the parents of the deceased.

Padarabinda Tripathy the SDPO of Balasore Sadar said, “We have registered a case under Section- 302. We are in the preliminary stage of the investigation. We will be able to confirm the cause of death only after the probe is over.”

With a spurt of ragging cases in Odisha colleges and universities, if the allegations of Savitri’s parents prove to be right then the issue of ragging cannot be ruled out in this case too.

Recently, on April 22, a first-year MBBS student of Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital in Bolangir died after reportedly falling off the hostel roof.

A close relative of the deceased MBBS student levelled ragging allegations. The uncle of the deceased said that their ward was calling home for the past four days to narrate the ordeal.

As per a statement by UGC, a total of 207 ragging cases were registered in Odisha in four years, between 2013 and 2017.

Educationist Kamala Prasad Mohapatra said, “There is a need to strictly implement the anti- ragging law.”

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