Suryakant Jena

Sambalpur: Despite disciplinary action and stringent norms laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC), an incident of alleged mass ragging in Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) has shocked the State.

Months after as many as 20 students were penalized for being involved in ragging at the varsity, shocking videos purportedly showing scores of junior students of the university being harassed by their senior classmates have now surfaced.

The videos (Dates Not Confirmed) show that over a hundred students of third and fourth year of the varsity ragging as many as 50 students of the second year on a stage built inside the varsity premises during a welcome ceremony. This apart, several seniors were also seen disrespecting second year students by tearing off their shirts and trousers while some juniors were also thrashed in the dining hall after the welcome ceremony.

Shockingly, neither the vice chancellor nor the Dean of the varsity is aware about the incident. Besides, the harassed students have also not opened up about the incident and neither any police complaint has been lodged in this connection.

When informed about the matter, even the Vice Chancellor of the varsity Atal Chaudhury refused to say anything before the camera, but assured to take stringent action against the guilty after probe.

"Action will definitely be taken against accused students and a report will be submitted to the government," he said.

Meanwhile, Odisha Skill Development & Technical Education minister Premanand Nayak has ordered a probe into the incident. "The Registrar of the university has been asked to conduct a probe and action will be taken after receiving the report,” he said.

Parents, educationists and intellectuals have questioned the role varsity authorities alleging them of failing to prevent such dastardly acts.

Educationist Kamala Prasad Mohapatra condemned the incident and urged the government to initiate a high level probe into the incident.

“VSSUT which was formerly known as Burla engineering college is a premier educational institution not only in the State but in eastern India. Innumerable students from the institute have made everyone proud by going on to take up top roles in the field of engineering, research and other sectors. The students who are seen involved in ragging activities actually don’t deserve to be a part of the famous institution. They should be immediately rusticated and shown the door," said Mohapatra.

“I want to ask the government to see whether the human rights, anti-ragging, anti-sexual harassment cells are operational in the varsity or not and if not, then the authorities are to be blamed,” Mohapatra added.

Earlier last year, it may be noted that one student was penalised with a ‘year back’ while disciplinary action was initiated against 19 other students for allegedly ragging 2nd year students in the varsity.