Thursday, July 27, 2006

What’s the buzz at Vidyapith now? Ragging

Link to report

First years allege they were forced to give massages; Vidyapith’s punishment: social work for a day

Ahmedabad, July 26:
RAGGING may be a big no-no at all colleges, but it doesn’t seem to be so at Gujarat Vidyapith, the institute set up by Mahatma Gandhi.

First year students of the Vidyapith’s Sadra campus, near Gandhinagar, have alleged that they were ragged: they say they were forced to give massages to a senior student for weeks. However, despite written complaints to the Vice-Chancellor, they say, no serious action was taken against the students involved. The matter was referred to Registrar Dr Rajendra Khemani, who let off the culprits with a warning and announced their punishment: social work for an hour a day.

The incident took place on July 18 in the BSc campus.

The trouble started when a junior, who was forced to give a massage to Anilsinh, a third year student of microbiology, spilled oil on his body. Enraged, Anilsinh apparently forced 17 first years to strip, after which he and some of his classmates allegedly pour oil on their posteriors.

The traumatised students reported the case to their parents, who in turn complained to Vice-Chancellor Sudarshan Iyengar.

Vidyapith officials initially tried to cover up the incident, stating that it was a case of verbal abuse. Later, they admitted that the incident had taken place. One of the 17 students, in his complaint to the V-C, states: ‘‘On July 18, I was called inside the room by a senior at around 8.30 pm... .’’ On what happened after the massage, he says: ‘‘The senior then asked me to strip... he then threw oil on my posterior... he then quickly left the room.’’

Registrar Dr Khemani says: ‘‘Anilsinh, a student, used to get massages for the last four months as he was injured during a sports event. While getting a massage from one of the juniors, some oil fell on his posterior. He then asked students to take off their clothes and threw oil on their posteriors.’’

A relative of one of the students, on conditions of anonymity, said the student was so traumatised and ashamed after the incident that he could not speak to his parents about it. The students submitted a written complaint to the VC, but no strict action was taken. The parents of the students who were victimised met the Vidyapith Registrar on Wednesday. Khemani said, ‘‘We talked at length about the incident and we have reached an understanding. We have asked senior students to do social work one hour every day as a punishment.’’ ‘‘It has happened for the first time so we have decided to forgive them with minor punishment,’’ said Head of Department Pradeep Acharya.

‘‘As for the punishment we have asked some of the senior students to visit the nearby villages and help them to repair the bio-gas plants, help the workers who prepare hand-made papers to market their product and repair the Charkhas.

A source at the GV said ‘‘The institute was set-up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 with the objective to prepare through education, workers with character, ability, culture and conscientiousness necessary for the conduct of the movements connected with the regeneration of the country in accordance with the ideals given by him. The incident is quite contradictory. Had he been alive at the moment he would have been ashamed of the incident,’’ he said.

No comments: