SAMBALPUR: Tension ran high on Sambalpur University (SU) campus on Wednesday after the contractual employee, who had attempted self-immolation near the Vice-Chancellor’s Commissioner, succumbed to injuries while being shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack.
Members of Sambalpur University Employees’ Union staged dharna in front of the administrative building by placing the body of the victim, Dinabandhu Mishra, on road. The agitators demanded compensation of Rs 15 lakh for Mishra’s kin and a job for his son. This apart, they also sought action against officials responsible for his death.
Mishra was working as a contractual employee in the university for the last over 22 years. Despite repeated appeals, his job was not regularised by the university authorities. The protestors alleged that Mishra was tortured mentally by some officials. “VC Sanjiv Mittal had misbehaved with him in his chamber following which Mishra was forced to take the extreme step.
Before his suicide, Mishra had handed over a letter to the university’s registrar in which he had narrated the treatment meted out to him by Mittal on Tuesday morning. He also held a few staff of the university responsible for his death,” the agitators claimed. The victim’s advocate Manoj Mohanty said the Orissa High Court had directed the university to regularise Mishra’s job in 2017.
However, no steps were taken by the authorities in this regard. Mishra had filed a contempt petition on November 18 last year following which the court had directed university authorities to settle the issue within two months. Though four meetings of the university’s syndicate were held after the HC order, Mishra’s case was not discussed, Mohanty alleged.
On being informed, Sambalpur SP B Gangadhar and Sub-Collector Mayur Suryawanshi rushed to the spot to pacify the agitating employees. Subsequently, a meeting was held between the protestors and registrar Sitaram Patel in presence of police following which the dharna was called off. Patel said compensation of `5 lakh was given to Mishra’s family. This apart, it was decided to engage Mishra’s son as a contractual employee in the university. An urgent syndicate meeting will be convened on Thursday to discuss other demands put forth by the agitating employees.
Meanwhile, police registered a case under Section 306 of IPC against Mittal basing on the complaint lodged by the Mishra’s son. BJP MP from Bargarh Suresh Pujari urged Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal to order a probe into the suicide of Dinabandhu Mishra, an employee of Sambalpur University.
In a letter to the Governor, Pujari said the incident preceding the suicide, the circumstances and reasons leading to Mishra taking the extreme step to end his life needs to be investigated properly by a competent authority and those responsible are to be taken to task. The statement of Mishra to the police before his death, which comes within the ambit of ‘dying declaration’ has more relevance under the circumstances and is a strong piece of evidence, admissible under the Indian Evidence Act, he said.