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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Neglected by college, Raped by media

25th April 2010  |  Post by Abid.   

Well friends, I'm a student of Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar. This blog is regarding the incidents that have troubled the students of our college over the past few days. Silicon Institute of  Tech., popularly known as Silicon, is one of the premier engineering institutes of Eastern India. In fact, Silicon was adjudged as the Best Private Engineering College* under Biju Pattnaik University Of  Technology and overall as the 2nd Best Engineering College*. This college has produced some of the best of technocrats and brilliant minds. As a matter of fact, this year's All India Gate Topper, Arindam Bhattacharya, is from our college. Siliconites have been known for their discipline, dedication, intelligence and hard work. But today, Silicon, for the first time, is reeling under a huge crisis.

All of this began with the death of Shamsuddin Shah (popularly known as Shyam), a 3rd year student of Electronics and Telecommunications, on 22nd April, 2010. Although I did not know him personally, but we had some common friends and it is from them that I came to know about him. He was a lateral entry student. He joined our college in 2008. He did his diploma from IGIT, Sarang. He was a very good student. In fact, he was the batch topper at IGIT. He was very humble, disciplined, polite and soft-spoken. When it comes to discipline, teachers used to set him as an example. He was very helpful and whenever his friends needed him he was with them. He had an expertise over his branch subjects. On 23rd April,  a condolence meeting was organised at our  college and I was really moved to see how much the students of ET liked Shyam  .....I regret not having contact with him and now it's too late to have. May his soul rest in peace. God bless him.

The controversy was regarding the manner of his death. The internal exams for the 3rd year students had started from 19th April and it was supposed to end on 23rd April. On 19th April, it is believed that the curd given during lunch in the canteen was stale. Many students fell sick the same day allegedly because of the food given during lunch. (Even I had lunch on that day but nothing happened to me). According to the hostel students, about 72 students in the hostel fell sick. Many of them complained of constipation and loose motions. Shamsuddin, also, had his lunch in the canteen that day and even he fell sick. But I suppose that wasn't too serious 'cause he continued to appear for the internal exams. On 22nd April too, Shamsuddin appeared for the exams and after the exams he had his lunch in the canteen. After sometime he felt uneasy and he returned home. He was NOT a hostelite. He went home, took his medicines and then he went to sleep. After that he did not wake up again.

The news of his death soon reached the students. Since our college hostels are within the campus, by evening, everyone in the college was aware of Shyam's death.  There was a sense of tension and grief in the campus. Then like wildfires, rumors started spreading that Shamsuddin died of food poisoning. Students were really agitated to hear this. The deteriorating quality of food in the canteen was already a issue and coupled with it the rumors about Shyam's death and the growing number of sick students in the hostel acted as fuel for fire. Grief gave its way to anger.At dinner time, the students did not enter the canteen. Instead, they gathered and decided to protest in front of the canteen at T-square. The canteen staff and the faculty-in-charge of the canteen arrived and had a talk with the angry students but that did not satisfy the students. Later on Sanjeev Nayak, Director (Administartion) and Ramananda Mishra, Director (Finance) arrived and had a discussion with the student representatives. This continued for sometime. Meanwhile, the media came to know about the incidents within the college campus and late in the night media-persons from various local TV channels arrived. However, they could not enter into the college. The college security guards prevented them from entering inside the campus. During this time, a girl from the Silicon Girl's Hostel fell seriously ill. She was taken in the college ambulance but the college main gate was closed and seeing the media persons outside the main gate, it was decided to take the ambulance from gate no. 3 but suddenly the ambulance stopped near the gate no. 3. Seeing this, the other students rushed to the ambulance. They realised that the media persons had reached gate no. 3 as well and hence the gate was locked. After several requests to open the gate was denied   by the security guards, the students decided to break the lock and finally they succeeded in doing so. But with this, the media persons also entered inside the campus. The guards asked them to not enter the college but they did not respond and entered inside the campus. Then began the unfortunate and ugly battle. Some of the Silicon staff while trying to prevent the media persons from entering the campus resorted to violence. What followed next was a bitter clash between the Silicon staff and media persons. Several media persons were hurt, cameras and microphones were damaged as well. The media called in the police and three Silicon staff were arrested. ....What a horrible night it was!! I tried to sleep but constant phone calls and messages did not let me.

If you thought the night was bad, then hold on .....the worse was yet to come. This news was everywhere ....from the front pages of almost every neswaper to the top story of every local TV channel. Wondering why  I said worse?? Cause there was total misrepresentation of facts . None of the TV channels, nor the newspapers  published the correct news. As the say in Hindi - jitne muh utni baatein. Each of the channels and newspapers had a different version of their own. And what was like adding insult to injury is, none of them said anything properly about Shamsuddin. None of the channels made an effort to at least get Shamsuddin's photograph. What was even more sad is that most of them did not even mention his name ....just said that 'a boy' from Silicon had died. They had completely deviated from the real issue and made the attack on them as an issue of EGO. In the 30 minutes news bulletin, 25 minutes was spent only on showing how the journalists were attacked .... at least they could have reported 2 minutes on Shamsuddin ...but it wasn't. Had the journalists not been attacked, I bet this news item would not have lasted even 30 seconds. They'd made a mockery of our plight. One of the local newspapers reported that Silicon staff agreed to give them information and asked them to come inside the campus and then they took them to a dark remote corner of the campus and then attacked them from behind. Another reported that goons were hired for attacking the journalists. Come on man if they publish such crap on the front pages of newspapers, then I must say they deserve to get beaten up. And about the attacks .....the media persons were no angels. Yes, I agree they were attacked but they counter attacked as well. Agreed that Silicon staff abused them but even they abused the staff in return. Well, I hope they know that two wrongs do not make a right. And on what moral grounds are they reporting such bullshit if they themselves resort to such things. Well I must admit when I first saw the news on TV in the morning, only 3 words came out of my mouth - WHAT THE F**K!!! ( Forgive me for the language being used, but any other word could not have justified my reaction). We're the students. We were there the whole night. We know the real story. How can the media say such nonsense stuff. Here's another instance. A journalist named Balram (I don't remember his surname) in an interview said that last night the ambulance carried the dead body but as I have said earlier it was a girl who was severely ill was being taken to the hospital. Even worse were several other newspapers who claimed Shamsuddin was a hostelite and he died in the hostel. Another paper claimed he was taken to KIMS hospital where he had blood vomiting before his death. I just can't believe how can journalists be so irresponsible. ( I dont know the procedure to sue. If I did know it, I bet I would have earned so much money as compensation from so many of these news channels and newspapers that  next year I could have bought Mumbai Indians from Mukesh Ambani. Any lawyer reading this blog, please mail me the procedures to sue). Almost all the media houses have reported he has died of food poisoning. How can they be so sure when we the students ...even the closest of his friends or even his roommate isn't so sure of. Do they have the post-mortem report?? Atleast they could have used the word "allegedly" or "supposedly" but no  ....no one in the college is sure about his death but the media is!! Long live media!! Maybe they can smell things and know about it. Certain sections of the media have also reported that Siliconites have ransacked the college building and other public properties. The fact is we have never resolved to violence even at times of despair and the case of ransacking our institute is absolutely false this time too. The media has literally assassinated the character of our college ....raped our souls ....made a mockery of our plight as if the death of one of our friends wasn't enough.

The news that I'm getting at the moment is that the media is planning to continue their agitation. They're reportedly trying to cancel the affiliation of our college. How can the media put the future of  2500 students at stake just for the acts of 4-5 people ....and I thought media was sensible, responsible ....all bullshit!!

The future of Siliconites is uncertain ....our college and hostels have been shut down sine die. I just don't know what's in store for us next. But I know one thing that Siliconites are the best in Orissa ....Siliconites  are strong ....Siliconites will bounce back once again and we'll reach the sky for sure!!!
As far as the media is concerned, I would request them to let us live alone. Do not interfere in the college's internal matters. And please stop the malicious and ill-motivated hate propaganda carried on against Silicon.
There is some good news as of now. The Orissa Private Engineering Colleges Association (OPECA) has come out in support of Silicon. So there is still hope. There's definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, at least, Shamsuddin would have never liked to have such a thing going on after his demise. Let's pray that Shamsuddin's soul rest in peace. May God give strength to his family at this moment of crisis. Shamsuddin has united all of the Siliconites. Let's carry this unity forward and fight against all odds existing within the college as well as the odds posed the media.

I would request all Siliconites, all the engineering students and the general public to pass on this message to everyone and fight for the cause of the students of Silicon.

Lastly I would like to say, on behalf of all Siliconites,

Give us some sunshine,
Give us some rain,
Give us another chance,
We wanna grow up once again.

* Ranking by the website : www.bputstudents.com
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