Tuesday, November 28, 2006

[HT] SC sets up panel to check ragging

Satya Prakash
New Delhi, November 27, 2006

The Supreme Court on Monday set up a seven-member panel headed by former CBI Director RK Raghavan to suggest measures within four months to check the ragging menace which claimed several lives in the recent past on various college/university campuses across the country.

A Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, which had in September last accepted the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations on cleansing the students' union elections, also approved the names of other members on the panel proposed by the Centre.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian told the court that the Government wanted Director of IIT Kanpur, Principal of Maulana Azad Medical Medical College Delhi and Principal of Ramjas College of Delhi University to be on the panel.

Accepting the names, the Bench said these would select the rest two experts- one each from Mumbai and Chennai while Human Resource Ministry Joint Secretary Sunil Kumar would be the Member Convener of the committee. It asked the Centre to notify the committee forthwith.

The states have also been directed to appoint one person each to assist the committee and bring to its notice issues and material relevant to the exercise.

Directing the panel to go to the root of the problem and suggest measures and modalities to prevent/check it, the Bench gave four months to it to complete the task.

It also asked the committee to suggest what stern action could be taken against the students engaged in ragging and the authorities of educational institutions where such ragging takes place.

The court noted with concern that after it started hearing the matter, about 24 students, including the son of an IIT Principal had lost lives due to excessive ragging on college/university campuses in various parts of the country.

Email Satya Prakash: satya.prakash@hindustantimes.com

Monday, November 27, 2006

Kerala Govt issues tough guidelines against ragging

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24: Taking a tough stand, the Kerala government today announced guidelines against ragging in educational institutions and said those found guilty could face upto two years imprisonment.

As per the guidelines, those found guilty of indulging in or instigating ragging would have to face criminal charges with imprisonment upto two years and a fine of Rs 10,000, an official press release said here.

The students found guilty of ragging within or outside the institution would be expelled from the institution and debarred from admission to any other institution for three years, the guidelines said.

The heads of institutions should inquire into complaints within seven days of receiving them from parents or teachers and those found prima facie guilty should be immediately suspended. After the preliminary probe, the complaints should be referred to the nearest police station for further proceedings.

The guidelines were issued on the basis of reports of ragging in some of the educational institutions, which were brought to the government's notice, the release said.

--- PTI

Monday, November 13, 2006

[Hindu] Crime in the name of fun

Innocent fun or sadistic crime? `Ragging' describes a range of student activities and defies any one definition. Those who defend ragging as a natural part of college life and those who condemn it as a heinous crime are talking of very different things that go by the same name. The real problem is that what might begin as silly banter between two batches of students could easily degenerate into inhuman violence on college campuses that are not adequately supervised by educational authorities. By asking the Central Government to constitute a high-power committee to look into the problem of ragging in educational institutions, the Supreme Court has taken an important step in ensuring that unacceptable behaviour in the name of ragging rituals is kept out of campuses. The remit of the committee, to be headed by the former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, R.K. Raghavan, is to suggest measures to end ragging-related violence. While forming the committee, the Government should keep in mind the peculiarities of the problem, and nominate educationists, sociologists, psychologists, and parents and victims. A broad-based panel is essential to end the tendency among administrators to treat ragging as merely another instance of student indiscipline.

Several lives have been lost and many careers ruined on account of ragging — students unable to stand the humiliation of ragging have either taken their lives or quit their institutions within the first few months. The truth is that ragging is steeped in a pernicious student culture handed down from one batch to another. Perversely, this year's victims are next year's offenders. A self-perpetuating, vicious cycle of violence is formed, with senior students, especially those in the second year, targeting first-year juniors for ragging. Some colleges and hostels have `traditional' initiation ceremonies, which are seen as a way of making friends and facilitating interaction between seniors and juniors. Ragging, in many institutions, requires juniors to do menial jobs and even `home work' for the seniors. Professional colleges and residential institutions are especially prone to ragging. One inescapable conclusion is that students facing academic pressures find a vent in it when they get long hours away from the eyes of parents and teachers. Many States have specific laws against ragging, and in Tamil Nadu college administrators too will be held responsible under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Ragging Act, 1997, if they fail to prevent ragging in their institutions. Tough laws and strict supervision can certainly help control ragging, but the committee empowered by the Supreme Court needs to find ways to attack the very basis of the culture of ragging.

[Hindu] Engineering student hangs himself

Parents suspect ragging to be the reason for son's death

HYDERABAD: Engineering student S.P. Manoj, 17, hanged himself in his private hostel room here at Langer Houz on Thursday.

While the victim's family members suspect that ragging could have driven Manoj to suicide, the Langer Houz police said they were yet to begin investigation on this angle. Manoj's father, S.P. George Varaprasad, and brother-in-law Vijay Kumar started from Palvancha in Khammam district to the city on learning about his death.

Speaking to the The Hindu over phone, Mr Vijay Kumar said he and the victim's parents strongly believed that ragging led to Manoj's death. Mr Varaprasad rang up Manoj on Wednesday but got worried, as the latter sounded tense and wept.

"My son said he was worried about ragging but could not give much details," Kumar quoted the victim's father as saying. A first year B.Tech. student of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology at Narsingi on the city's fringes, the victim was living in Anupama hostel in Langer Houz.

Manoj did not attend college on Thursday, and in the evening his roommates found his body hanging from the ceiling.

Friday, November 10, 2006

[NDTV] Army cadet puts in papers after ragging

Nilesh Thakkar

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 (Vadodara):

In yet another case of ragging at the Officers' Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai, cadet Digvijay Singh Kharb has put in his papers alleging misconduct on the part of his senior colleagues.

The move comes days after another cadet committed suicide, allegedly due to stress and harassment.

For as long as he can remember, Digvijay Singh wanted to join the Army and serve the nation in the footsteps of his father Colonel Fateh Singh.

Now he's back home after being ragged by his course seniors.

The OTA at Chennai, where Digvijay was undergoing training, has the reputation of being one of the toughest courses in the Armed Forces.

"Senior cadets asked us to sit on the armrest of the chair. Two people were to share one armrest and not only that, you also had to move. The cadet sitting next to me lost his balance. I fainted and fell," said Digvijay Singh, Cadet, Officers Training Academy.

Handling stress

This is the second time the OTA has been in the news in the past week. A few days back Asad Nair, a gentleman cadet at the Academy, committed suicide.

He had only recently joined the course at the OTA and shortly after told his father that he wanted to leave the Academy. His coursemate Digvijay feels Asad couldn't handle the stress and pressure.

"He (Asad) was thrown in the pool even after he said he didn't know how to swim. He was taken out at the last moment. A week later he committed suicide," said Digvijay Singh.

Digvijay's father Colonel Fateh Singh now feels his son is better off pursuing another career.

"He called and said Papa I can't lead this life. I said come back, no problem. It's not his foolishness but because of other people's mismanagement, " said Colonel Fateh Singh, Digvijay’s father.

In Digvijay's case at least, the Army Headquarters says he couldn't handle the pressure and therefore put in his papers.

As far as they're concerned, he's a civilian now. It's still more than what the Army did in the Asad suicide case.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

[NDTV] SC asks Centre to tackle ragging

NDTV Correspondent

Monday, November 6, 2006 (New Delhi):

The Supreme Court constitutes a committee to prevent ragging in educational institutions.

The committee to be headed by former CBI Director RK Raghavan will suggest ways to curb ragging menace in educational institutions.

The Bench has asked the Centre to constitute a committee on the lines of one, which recently came out with a slew of steps to curb violence and use of money power in the elections to university student unions.

The court has granted the Centre a period of three weeks to take action in this regard.

Other members of the committee will be decided by the Centre.

Meanwhile, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh has welcomed the Supreme Court's direction to curb ragging.

"The observation of the court is welcome and we would render all help for it. These incidents (of ragging) influence all and have drawn attention of everyone including the court," Singh said.

He also added that his ministry was ready to render all necessary help in this regard. (With PTI inputs)