By Harsh Choudhary:
Tejasvi Pal Arora, 20, student of third year Civil Engineering in National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra went to Jyotisar canal with some of his friends on Monday. They had consumed liquor prior to the incident. They jumped into the canal and ended up losing control in their inebriated state. While three managed to come out, Tejasvi could not and the flow was also heavy that day due to rains. The incident occurred around 4:30 PM, Monday, 27th August. The college authority was informed about the incidence around 5:30 PM, after the measures taken to rescue him by local villagers and the students failed. The divers (said to be a novice) were called but they refused to jump in, citing night darkness and heavy flow as the reasons.
The students went to Director Anand Mohan’s house as soon as they got to know about it. They asked him to send military divers there and start the rescue operation. One of the authority said, “The body of the dead student would be found in the morning’. When students asked, ‘How can you declare him dead without finding the body?” he said,Â “You are Engineers, you must know that no one can survive such an accident. The body will come up itself in 2-3 days”
The students, who had accompanied Tejasvi to the canal were arrested by the police under the charge of “Attempt to Murder” but were soon released at night. The rest of the student community had been warned to call off the strike in order to get them free of Police Custody.
The army could have been called timely because Ambala cantt. is just 46 km away. Students were told to return to their hostels and to go to sleep. But many students went to canal in search of Tejasvi as they knew he was a good swimmer and believed that he could survive.
On Tuesday morning, the body was found in just 15 minutes after starting the rescue operation and that too 100 meters upstream. After the Post-mortem report came, it was revealed that he was alive till 3 in the morning.
The students, upon learning this, boycotted classes and started a protest against Director in front of the Academics Block. Some students did get violent and vandalised property, although not all were involved in the violence. These were effectively curbed by the authorities present. The Director was said to be in Chandigarh and other authorities were talking to the students but were unable to give an explanation. The students sat there together, holding banners and also conducted a candle march in the city.
Parents of Tejasvi said that they would see the Director in the court.
At 7:45 PM, Director appeared in front of the students but was unable to give any logical answer to the questions put up by the student community. The Director then went into hiding and held a meeting inside his office with the other professors. Students rallied against the gate of the admin block and even locked the other doors to contain him inside till they are given some answers. After nearly two hours, he managed to escape with the help of security personnel.
The students did not go to hostels in the night. Even girls were out of the hostel till 1:30 AM.
The next day, students again sat in front of the Admin block, awaiting the Director with the same questions. They had mutually decided to protest in non-violent manner. The news then hit them that some third-years have been suspended and had been told to leave the hostel. Their doors had been locked from outside by the authorities to prevent them from joining the gathering. All the mess food went uneaten that day.
In the evening, the news came that the Director’s mother had just expired. The students observed a 2 minute silence for the departed soul. Acting Director, V.K. Arora, then came out to talk. The students made a committee to talk to the Acting Director and followed him to the guest house for the same.
After a hectic and exhausting meeting which stretched to more than two hours, it was announced that the Director will return after 13 days and even that was not certain. It has been also implied that a lathi charge may also be employed if the students continued in their ‘dogged’ pursuit and carried on protesting.
The student population is still sitting there, waiting for the Director to hear and then fulfil their main demand- his resignation and public apology. After the news of Director’s Mother’s demise, the students had decided not to shout out slogans and just to observe a silent protest. They are still waiting for justice but the authorities are not reciprocating in any helpful fashion. There is official condolence in OAT today and students are to march silently in the city in the evening.
27 August, Monday:
Tejasvi Arora went to the canal with some friends between 3 PM and 4 PM. The news reached the college at about 5:30 PM. Tejasvi’s uncle reached the spot at 8 and saw no rescue arrangements being made.
The students protested in front of Director’s house, beginning at 9:30 PM, lasting for three hours.
28 August, Tuesday:
Divers reach at 7 in the morning and demand a motor boat. The engine was defective and students tried to run it but the operation could only be resumed after getting another motor boat.
The body was found at 9:30 AM.
In absence of any ambulance or vehicle, the body was taken to LNJP hospital by an Auto-rickshaw.
Students boycotted the class and started gathering from 11 AM. At 12:45 PM some students became violent and were held by the authorities.
DSP reached NIT at 1 PM and talked the students. After that, the Acting Director V.K. Arora talked with the students.
At 3:30 pm, the body was handed to the parents of Tejasvi after completion of post-mortem.
At 6:30 pm, students started the candle march.
At 7:45 pm, students returned and the Director came to talk.
He left the conversation in between and went into hiding in his office in admin block; then escaped within 2 hours.
28 August, Wednesday:
Notice of suspension of third-year students was posted in the hostels early morning.
Around 11 AM, students were forced out of hostels and hostels were locked.
In evening, it was announced that Director’s mother had expired.
Director was expected to address the students at 6:30 PM but he did not appear.
Acting Director V.K. Arora talked with the students for some two hours in the Guest House.
29 August, Thursday
Official Condolence held in the evening.
Candle March by students in the city.
The gross tragedy is yet to see any justice. In the end, I would just wish for Tejasvi’s soul to rest in peace and for more power to the ones fighting to attain that peace.
Student’s of NIT Kurukshetra made the following video coverage: