The Fateful Night
Rohit Dash | Oct 16, 2017
With recent reports of multiple incidents of security lapses in the institute, the safety of NITR junta has never been at a higher state of risk. The physical assault of a third-year undergraduate student inside the hall premises bears a testimony to the dilapidated security infrastructure of the institute. Team MM brings you a detailed report of the incident along with reasons and reactions for the same.
THE HORRENDOUS NIGHT OF MONDAY
What was supposed to be a routine Monday night (9th October), turned out to be one delirious night for Parv Jaiswal, a third-year chemical engineering undergraduate.
Around 11:30 pm in the night, 2 intruders entered NIT and stormed into A-107, MSS Hall of Residence, the room of Parv Jaiswal. Having locked the door from the inside, they proceeded to have a discussion (as they phrase it) with the student. The “discussion” that stretched on for 2 hours included every form of verbal abuse and physical assault, wherein the attacker slapped the student fiercely, kicked him in the abdomen and almost charred his face with a lit cigarette. The two intruders, “Ambuj Shukla” & “Nitin Sharma”, former students of NIT Rourkela threatened Parv with life-threatening burns.
It was only when the student resorted to pleading and begging, that the decision to spare his life was taken. His valuables were tossed, threats to damage his electronics were issued and his life was spared with a warning as to how his bones could be broken just before the exams, thus crippling him for life. Just before leaving they tried to extinguish the cigarette on his shoulders but ended up throwing the cigarette onto his bed, gaping a hole in the mattress which remains as a mute testimony to the brutality of the night.
This incident sparked a gush of gossip among the boarders of the hall and the NITR junta in general as to what was the backstory that led to this event. Many kept guessing and some rumors were afloat giving different explanations to the event.
Team MM had a chat with Parv Jaiswal to know what was the motive and reason behind this attack. Quoting Parv about his experience,
Ambuj Shukla and Nitin Sharma are the major stakeholders of AXIS coaching institute, which has a branch in Koelnagar and in some neighboring cities of Odisha. Many students of NITR join this coaching institute as tutors, which markets itself to provide coaching for JEE and NEET aspirants. I was one of those students who joined the organization, thinking to capitalize on my interests of teaching, but in the hindsight, I can say it was one of the worst decisions I had made on my part. I joined AXIS in March and what followed was me dedicating my entire summer vacation behind this institute. I would be taking classes at Rourkela, Brajrajnagar, Sambalpur, and Jharsuguda, all of them in a single day or at times spend a couple days outside Rourkela. At the beginning, I was paid in full and in time but as months passed by, after around 3 months, there would be delays in payments and by the end of August, they hadn’t paid me my salary for 2 months which amounted to approximately INR 30,000/-. I would go to him (Ambuj Shukla) and question him about the delays but he would ask me to get back to work, we were still shouted at if the students complained but our payment was never so timely. He did pay me my due but the check bounced and they I never got another response from him about this. Having had wasted my entire vacation and even more of my social life, I decided to call it quits. That was when our tussle began. I had started teaching the students privately in Jharsuguda and this worsened our equation even more. I was very prompt about my case and thus wanted to leave the organization, but he didn’t want this to happen so easily for me. Even after I left the organization, I tried to contact him and apologize for my mistakes, if any but he never picked my calls, nor would reply to my messages. All of this piled him and came out in the worst way I could have ever imagined, on that night. I still get calls from home asking if I am ok, but this incident has shaken me to the core.
After this incident happened, the warden of MSS, Prof. Surajit Das, Chief Warden, Prof. Manoranjan Barik and the chief security officer were informed at once. The Chief Security Officer escorted the affected and a handful of his friends to CWS while the others stayed back to gather information as to what had happened that night. Meanwhile, in the hospital, a medical document was prepared which had a detailed report of the assault that took place. Then on the basis of that report, a FIR was lodged at the Sector-3 police station and the accused Ambuj Shukla and Nitin Sharma were arrested the following day.
While this incident itself is unnerving, there are certain facts about the night that still remain shady and make us question as to what an enormous slack in administration led to this violent act, which should have been easily avoided if not completely curtailed.
THE QUESTIONS THAT HAUNT US
1.As the assault happened inside, how could the security guards posted in place, not able to gauge the infernal motifs behind 2 strangers who happened to enter a boy’s hostel, at a time way past the visiting hours? Considering the fact that the room in question was a few feet away from the post of the security guard, why wasn’t any action initiated against the perpetrators?
2.When the action inside was over and the two adversaries were fleeing the scene like nothing had happened, none of the guards took any action, even their bike wasn’t seized and they went away like any other normal person (Even the crowd that gathered around the room of them, but the guards couldn’t suspect any diabolical activity).
3.Even the locals aren’t allowed to enter the campus for a stroll in the lush area, but still, 2 such rogues could enter and leave the institute close to the wee hours without even a hint of botheration. Doesn’t this make one suspect of the gaping holes in the security of the institute?
GUARDING THE CASTLE
To get a better and precise view of what circumstances led to this horrendous event and what changes were implemented to ensure that such incident doesn’t happen again, Team MM met with the Chief Security Officer (C.S.O) Suman Dutta for further knowledge of events.
MM: The visiting hours for guardians and outsiders is limited to 8:00 pm for the hostel area, after which no visitors allowed with no exceptions whatsoever. Then how come on that fateful night 2 such outsiders could get into the campus and into the room of a student and do what they did, without a hitch?
SD: We had and still have imposed these restrictions. Previously these protocols were followed strictly and the guards at all the gates were summoned to not let any outsiders inside the campus after the definite time, but some faculty members and staff members complained and asked for letting their peers and acquaintances inside the campus after the hours or else it was causing them great discomfort. On behalf of this excuse, rogues like those 2 would enter the campus and create a nuisance.After this incident, we have resorted back to the previous protocols with some changes to eliminate any discomfort to the staff and faculty members.
MM: The room in which the entirety of events occurred was on the ground floor and only approximately 7 rooms farther from the place where the security guard usually sits. Even after being in a range of 15-20 meters from the guard, the guard couldn’t gauge anything that was happening in the room, even after the 2 unknowns had left, he didn’t make an effort to get hold of him, nor get hold of the bike with which they came.What is your explanation on this and what actions were taken after this?
SD: First of all, the guard who was appointed that night at M.S.S has been suspended for 5 days, owing to his negligence in taking proper actions in the stipulated time. But then again, being the only guard appointed in the hostel, it is difficult to keep note of the activities of what happens in the rooms and in this case, the action happened inside the room and it was closed from inside.
He was informed with the entirety of the story after almost 15 minutes had passed when the 2 guys left, thus when he called the main gate to stop them from leaving the campus, it was already late.
Citing this incident as an example, all the security guards and the security agency has been provided with instructions to scrutinize the entrants who seem as outsiders and if anyone arrives in late hours, they will be asked for proper ID verification documents and will be issued with a visitor’s pass.
MM: The 2 people in question were the owners of AXIS coaching institute, namely Ambuj Shukla & Nitin Sharma, both of them former members of the NIT student community, but just before the vacation, pamphlets of the coaching institutes were distributed in the hostels to lure in students to join the institute as their teaching staff.Many first years seek this as a chance to earn some extra money. Considering the recent exploits of the owners, what action will be taken against the institute in question regarding its publicity ventures?
SD: For the distribution of pamphlets and posters in the academic area, a prior permission from the chief warden is mandatory. As of now, I am unaware as to whether they had seeked the proper permission for circulation of their advertisement material from the chief warden or not.
Team MM approached the chief warden for the above matter, but he remained unavailable to comment.
MM: What all restrictions have been imposed for any outsider visiting the campus?
SD: Here I would like to clarify one thing, that all the new rules have been placed, not to cause discomfort to the residents of NITR but to check the entry of these antisocial elements who enter the campus and create all these problems.
Many people who visit the campus during evening hours, enter the campus citing some staff member or faculty member as a kin or friend, but from now on anyone making some claims will be allowed to enter only after the verification of his/her credentials from the concerned faculty/staff member. Then they will be handed over a gate pass which they will have to get attested from the concerned member whom they claim to visit. This gate pass will then be checked when they leave the campus, by the guards at the college gates.
Furthermore, there have been 3 cases in the last 15 days wherein various cases of attacks and attempts to loot were made on various residents in their residential area. In lieu of these events, patrolling has been provided in the colony area. All of the changes and restrictions imposed won't be used to harass the genuine entrants like guardians, moreover its an exercise to reduce these incidents involving these unauthorized entrants from entering the campus.
MM: Will there will a campus in-time imposed on the students of NITR?
SD: All of these impositions were finalised in the previous HOD meetings. As per the new guidelines.
- The students will be allowed to roam in the campus are for a maximum upto 11 pm in the night after which they have to return back to their respective hostels. Moreover, the students are hereby restrited from roaming in the residential area.
- Students failing to to do so will mark with a late entry. After 3 late entries, disciplinary actions will be initiated against the student in question.
We expect full cooperation from the students, staff and the faculty members in this aspect.The security of the campus can be devoid of any glitches only when the entire NITR junta complements the efforts made to ensure their safety.
Whatever happened that night should have never happened in the first place.Team MM hopes that the changes in the protocols and the various impositions prove to be fruitful and the accused get what he deserves.