GUWAHATI: In the wake of mounting protests and claims of harassment levelled against the Dean (Academics) of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Silchar, BK Roy has been relieved of his duties. Dr Lalit Kumar Saikia has been designated as his temporary replacement.
Informing this on Wednesday, NIT Registrar KL Baishnab appealed to the students to return to their classrooms and stressed on the institution’s commitment to dialogue. “If the image of NIT-Silchar is tarnished, then the future of students will also be affected. Therefore, we appeal to students to return to their classes,” Baishnab told the press.
Highlighting the administration’s ongoing engagement with students and counselling efforts, Baishnab said that discussions on academic changes, if any, will be addressed in the Senate meeting on October 6.
A day before Roy’s removal, students of the institution had written a letter to President Droupadi Murmu highlighting the alleged administrative shortcomings that have “plunged the campus into a state of chaos”, urging immediate presidential intervention.
The students’ demands include lodging an FIR for a thorough probe into the alleged suicide of a third-year student, assurance against disciplinary action for protesters, and a comprehensive support system for the deceased’s family. They have also called for the establishment of a high-level committee for academic reforms, aiming to prioritise the mental and physical well-being of the students.
The chain of events began on September 15 when the lifeless body of Koj Buker, a third-year electrical engineering student hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, was discovered in his Hostel-7 room.
The student reportedly took his own life due to alleged academic setbacks, including failed exams and a mounting backlog of coursework. However, allegations emerged that Buker’s tragic decision was spurred by the institute’s Dean Roy, who purportedly denied him the opportunity to sit for exams and subjected him to humiliation before his peers.
The discovery of Buker’s body on Friday ignited a wave of protests and outrage among the students. This escalated to the extent that police had to resort to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control.
Following the violence, the students of the institute under the banner of the Gymkhana Students’ Union Body (GSUB), the students’ union of the institute, began an indefinite hunger strike demanding the removal of Dean Roy, at the Gymkhana Park on September 17.