Shocking news has come from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Silchar, located in Assam’s Cachar District. According to reports, there have been ongoing and continuing incidents of ragging and physical and mental abuse of foreign students at the premier engineering institute of the region. According to investigations done on the matter, over 45 students from various countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, and Bhutan, have allegedly suffered severe trauma from Mohammad Mirajul Islam Sayem, Eftakhar Ahmed Emon, and Md. Jubair Mahmud Protim, all Bangladeshi students studying at the college.
Students from various countries are welcomed into NITs to study engineering under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scheme, allowing them to seek college admission without appearing for the Common Entrance Examination (CEE). They can get admissions through a simple letter of intent submitted to the High Commission. Currently, 109 foreign students are undertaking their engineering education at NIT, Silchar.
47 of them have now spoken up against the abuses they have been allegedly facing over the past few years from the accused Sayem and his accomplices.
According to reports in the media, Sayem had emerged as a popular figure among foreign students, mostly because of the support he received from 30 other students, most of whom were from Bangladesh. He was further helped by the fact that while previous batches had at most 10 or 12 Bangladeshi students, his batch had enough Bangladeshi to outnumber the other international students significantly. He used this numerical advantage to secure the post of Foreign Student Representative to the Gymkhana Body. He also reportedly donated hefty sums of money to the local mosque in a bid to secure safety and power in the area.
Apparently, having familial ties to members of the Border Guard Bangladesh, Sayem used his position to indulge in vehement ragging. According to findings by a disciplinary committee, on the 25th of August 2023, he forced a student to have sex with the door of a hostel room. Reports of ragging were also brought out, dating back to July 2022. Even female students were subjected to verbal abuse and threats from Sayem. He was also involved in a recent incident where some mess workers were beaten up by students. However, while several students were suspended for their part, he was only given a reprimand.
One of the reasons that has come up for the continued engagement in such activities is the lack of action taken by the administration, to the point that Sayem claimed that he had permission from the Deans and professors to continue with the ragging.