Saturday, July 29, 2006

[HT] BHU students fined for ragging

TAKING SERIOUS note of alleged ragging with freshers of the Computer Science Department, the administration has imposed a fine of Rs 500 each on all the 23 students of Master of Computer Application (MCA) second year.

All the freshers of MCA course were seen wearing black pants and white shirts without any occasion in the department on Thursday. Sensing some foul play, the BHU administration conducted an investigation into the entire matter and imposed a fine on 23 senior inmates of Ramkrishna Hostel.

Hostel coordinator Dr Sri Singh said that the incident was taken as ragging and therefore, the senior students were punished. Since no particular student was identified responsible for the case, the fine was imposed on all the 23 second year students, he added. He said those who failed to submit the fine could face expulsion from hostel.

The BHU administration has constituted anti-ragging action committees at institutes, colleges, faculties, departments and hostels to check ragging in the new academic session. Besides, an eleven-member Ragging Prevention Committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of Prof AK Agrawal.

[NDTV] Gujarat students stripped during ragging

The Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth is currently in the eye of an unsavoury storm.

A group of first year microbiology students at the Sadra Centre were allegedly stripped, oil was put on their backs and they were branded like cattle with a few senior students putting their signatures on them.

The incident is a first in the 85-year history of the Vidyapeeth, and although the authorities admit that such an incident did take place, they prefer not to call it ragging but insisted that it was a shameful act of mischief.

Moreover, they suggest that it's time for some introspection for the institute.

"It's a serious issue and a call for self introspection that even after two years, we weren't able to inculcate Gandhian values in these errant students," said Sudarshan Ayengar, Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth.

The Vidyapeeth has initiated action against the students involved in the incident. As punishment, they are now required to do community work for an hour each day for a year, including working at a gobar gas project.

Gandhians shocked

The incident has strained relations between freshers and seniors, but the Gandhians are shocked.

"The incident clearly shows that the Vidyapeeth has digressed from Gandhian values and that there is an urgent need to restore those values," said Chinubhai Vaidya, a Gandhian.

Meanwhile, the Vidyapeeth officials have provided an interesting explanation regarding the incident.

"A senior student having some ailment had been advised a massage by the doctor, and his room partner used to help him in that. This year some freshers were roped in by the senior for this, and this later triggered the mischief," said Rajendra Khimani, Registrar, Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth.

Irrespective of the reasons behind the incident, one thing is sure that ragging at the Mahatma's own Vidyapeeth has badly dented the institution's image.

[DNA] 22 fashion institute students are suspended for ‘ragging’

‘Victim’ in hospital, but accused students have denied allegation.

Twenty-two students of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, have been suspended for a week for allegedly ragging first year students. The second and third year students were given suspension letters by NIFT Director IB Peerzada on Friday morning.

The students, however, have denied the charge.

Institute authorities were tight-lipped about the incident. The name of the alleged victim was not disclosed.

NIFT authorities were told that the “victim” had been admitted to hospital after the alleged ragging. The victim suffered an asthmatic seizure after the incident, which led to the hospitalisation, sources said.

However, the 22 students maintained that there was no ragging . They claimed that the admitted student suffered from the asthmatic seizure on his own.

After the letters of suspension were given to the students, they were asked to meet the director one by one in the evening and present their version.

Only two students got the chance to place before the director their version.

The others have been called on Monday.

Meanwhile, the juniors have written a letter to the director saying they did not have any issues with the seniors.

They have also denied that they were being ragged.

Attempts to contact Peerzada proved futile, as he was busy in the meeting with the senior students till evening.

Friday, July 28, 2006

[Yahoo] 'KGMU seniors caught ragging to be suspended for six months'

The new session at the KGMU is all set to begin from August 1. Ragging, fake certificates, security and accommodation of the freshers would be few issues that would top the priority of the administration for next few months. Our correspondent spoke to VK Singh, Proctor of the King George’s Medical University, regarding the preparations that the University has doneto protect them from ragging and welcome the freshers to oneof the well known medical institutions of India

Ragging in medical institutions have been well known and KGMU has a record of having students leave the institution following ragging. How does the university plan to tackle this problem?
We have made it clear that any senior student caught ragging the juniors would be suspended for at least six months. Moreover, we have also arranged extra security for the freshers. I have already selected four guards who will be on round-the-clock duty with the freshers and they will escort these feshers to classes as well as to the hostels, so that they cannot be caught by any senior for ragging. We expect that with these security guards around none of the senior students will muster courage to rag the juniors.

It is known that the maximum number of ragging cases are reported from outside the campus rather than within the campus. Does the university have any plan to to restrict such incidents?
Since one of our hostels is located in the trans-Gomti area, the freshers, on their way to the hostel, are caught by the seniors. However, this year, we have made an arrangement to accommodate these students in one of the newly-constructed block of Chakrovarty Hostel within the campus. Thus, that problem has also been solved. Moreover, we have also made arrangements for day scholars to come in casual wear and change into their required dress-code in these hostels meant for hostelers and again before they go home. In that case, they cannot be identified outside the campus.

The security given by the institution remains only till the hostel gate, but there have been reports of ragging inside the hostels as well, after evening.
It is true that many a times, students report of ragging inside the hostels. Keeping this in mind, we have decided to deploy two security guards round the clock outside TG Hostel for Boys as well as VL hostel for Girls. One of these guards would also carry a weapon. Moreover, since a male security guard cannot enter the girls hostel at night, we have selected a lady security guard for duty outside the girls hostel, so that in case there is a need to check the hostel at night, it can be done so without any hesitation.

Each year there are complaints of poor facilities at the hostels, be it the kitchen or the toilets. What should the new batch of 2006 expect to see in their first year of accommodation at the campus?
KGMU is expanding day-by-day and even extensions of the old hostels have been constructed. We have also got all the hostels cleaned up before the arrival of the new batch. The new CV Hostel with extended capacity of 100 students is one of them. Thus, this year they should not be any complaints of poor infrastructure at the university.

Even while documents are being verified, there have been cases of students being allotted colleges at lower percentages. There have also been cases where students had taken admission in the University on the basis of fake documents. How will university tackle them this year?
As far as the case of students with low percentage is concerned, we are diverting these cases to the Director General of Medical Education because this is the mistake of a particular counselling centre and thus has to be handled by the DGME. As far as taking admission on fake documents is concerned, this year we have taken only provisional admission of the new students and have sent the caste and other related certificates for verification to various districts. The admission of each student will be confermed only after all their records are verified. Thus in case of fake documents being found, we have reserved the right to cancel the admission of any student.

How have you planned the first day of the freshers at the KGMU? When would they be given a freshers' party?
We have sorted out the plan for the first day of these students and they will all be required to gather at 11am at the Brown Hall, where they will be welcomed by me and then a member of the proctorial board will acquaint them with the history of the KGMU as per tradition. Then, these students will be given an introduction of each department. The fresher party will be organised six weeks after the start of the session, as the tradition goes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What’s the buzz at Vidyapith now? Ragging

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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.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

[IE] Student alleges ragging in school hostel, packs his bags

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Vadodara, July 21: A CLASS VIII student of the Bhavan VM Public School, Vadodara, on Thursday packed his bags and left for his Ahmedabad home, complaining of ragging and verbal abuse by seniors in the school. However, school authorities denied the charge saying no ragging had taken place and instead suggested the boy, Zil Dalal, was homesick.

Zil, who is a resident of Ambawadi in Ahmedabad, said ‘‘The seniors would verbally abuse me daily and also ill-treat me all the time,’’ he said. He also added that his classmates did not let him study in peace and constantly riled him. Unable to take it anymore, Zil said he decided to leave the school. His sister Payal and her husband supported his decision. ‘‘It was not a nice school, Zil did not like it there so he left. So we withdrew him from the school,’’ said Payal.

The school has a different take on the entire episode though and insisted no ragging incident had taken in the past. Bhavan school principal, Vidya Shridesh, said, ‘‘We are a strict school and have never tolerated ragging. I think Zil was homesick, parents should understand their children and not just pack them off to hostels,’’ she said.

A Class XII hostel student, Jimmy, said seniors barely had the time to fraternise with the others as their schedule was tightly packed. ‘‘In fact, when the principal asked me if I was involved in ragging Zil, I asked her who Zil was?’’ he said.

His local guardian, Jennifer Bangora, said Zil had been studying in Mount Abu as a hosteler for six years without a problem. ‘‘I had heard that he was not happy at all in the hostel here,’’ she said.

School authorities said they had learnt that Zil who had done his Class VII at Anand Niketan School in Ahmedabad had encountered problems there as well. After leaving Anand Niketan, he had got admission into Bhavan. Prior to Anand Niketan he had studied in Mt Abu up to Class VI where he had secured 90 per cent marks which dropped to 50 per cent at Anand Niketan.

[HT] AU gears up to prevent ragging

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WITH UNDER graduate admissions in full swing, the Allahabad University (AU) proctorial team has gone on full alert to ensure that the new-comers get a warm but ragging-free welcome on the campus.

Under the new initiative, members of the proctorial team will remain vigilant on all the campuses of the varsity ready to nab any student trying to rag or harass a fresher in the name of "getting an introduction".

AU Proctor Prof Jata Shankar recently held a meeting with all the assistant proctors and chalked out a detailed plan to keep AU free of the ragging menace this year.

"We are determined to keep AU free of ragging this year. For this, assistant proctors will take multiple rounds of the various campuses every day in teams.

They will be backed by varsity's security personnel as well as cops, if needed.

With the current speed of the admissions, we are expecting the new-comers to start coming to the varsity within the next week and it is during this time that we will carry out stricter identity card checking drives to catch outsiders and crack down on anyone who tries to rag a student," informed Prof Jata Shankar.

He said that most of the complaints during the past years have come from the Commerce and the Science faculties.

"It is due to this that we will be keeping a hawk's eye on these two campuses.

The time when certain class rooms and labs are isolated and spots that are usually deserted during teaching hours are being identified so that we can check these out from time to time," he added.

The proctor said that the varsity has decided to initiate exemplary punishments against students who attempt to rag the freshers this time around.

"No offender will be spared and no excuse or plea will be accepted.

We believe that a few rotten apples bring bad name to the entire varsity by their such acts and should be dealt with strictly. This will take care of the trouble-makers and enable all other students to get on with the job of learning and getting educated," he said.

[ToI] Rag-a-fuchcha? Think twice

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Ragging seems to have evolved over the years, taking many shapes and forms. We explore..

1980s: Tolerable

Ragging got a bit more intense as compared to what it was in earlier times. In DU colleges it was picking up. Amit Sachthey, a B Com(Hons) student of the 1984 batch at DU, shares, "During our time, ragging was bad in the hostel but friendly in college. We were asked to recite the alphabet backwards in the middle of the college courtyard with our shirts off or measure the corridor with five-paisa coins. In the hostel, the scene was much worse. Here, often the students were made to undergo physical torture in the name of ragging and forced to do stuff like the seniors' homework."

On her part, Jayshree Chowdhury, a teacher of English at the College of Vocational Studies, puts, "In the eighties, there was plenty of ragging but things never reached the level of becoming dirty. Today, the tradition of ragging has almost come to an end mainly because of the authorities who were forced to levy strict rules to reduce it."

About the much dreaded scene of ragging at professional colleges, Vishnu Dusad, MD of a software company, who graduated in 1980 from IIT Delhi, has just one line to say, "The IIT experience is not worth it if you don't attend the ragging sessions there."

1990s: Horrible

Ragging took a turn for the worse. Result? A number of suicides in medical and engineering colleges. A doctor, who is an AIIMS pass-out of the 1996 batch, on condition of anonymity, informs, "The ragging was horrible. It was a month-long torture which we could not refuse. And those who did had to bear the consequences, physically. Being a hosteler, I got to witness it from much close, and all I can say is that the best form of ragging was being asked to clean floors. The rest was terrible."

Dr Vinay Kamal, a professor at MAMC admits, "There were cases where ragging exceeded limits and I had to take action." But in DU, mild ragging was 'in'.

"I was ragged from the moment I boarded the U-special where I was asked to enact a scene from the Mahabharat. It was fun and I ended up becoming friends with my seniors," quips Suhasini Gupta who studied in Hindu College in the early '90s.

Now: Enjoyable?

The new millennium brought with it a strict check. Anti-ragging squads were formed. Tushar Sharma, who joined IIT-D in 2001, avers, "I had great fun on my first day despite the horror tales I had heard. We just had to introduce ourselves, sing and dance." Ragging at medical colleges too seemed to have become softer. Isha Wadhawan, a first year student at AIIMS, says "I had to keep my hair oiled and in plaits and wear plain salwar kameez for a month. But, it was alright. Even staying in the hostel has not been much hassle."

Though ragging still continues in its harsh form at some levels, college authorities like Prof SM Isheiaque, dean of students at IIT-D deny that.

"Our anti-ragging squads consisting of 60 to 70 faculty members ensure that no ragging takes place," he asserts. Nandani Guha, an English (Hons) teacher at DU, says "There has been a remarkable change in DU over the 15 years that I have taught here. Now, nobody wants to take the chance of being caught ragging and getting punished. In the last 5-6 years there has been no severe complaint."

But that doesn't mean ragging is over. Witness the 2006 batch sweeping the floors, singing, dancing and enacting filmi scenes. The difference is now they have the choice to say a clear 'no'.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

[CNN-IBN] Ragging: The scandal in schools

Link to Report

New Delhi:
The ragging Deepak Sharma suffered when he was at school in DPS R K Puram wasn’t funny. “I remember how horrible it was. My friend and I were taken to a room which was locked from inside. There we were told to pick up an egg with our buttocks. When my friend refused to obey, red chilli flakes were shoved into his bottom. I was horrified and did what they said,” says Deepak.

Ragging in schools, like in colleges, is supposed to be fun. You are supposed to take it in your stride and emerge a winner. But unlike college students, school children are more vulnerable and may suffer emotional damage due to ragging.

In colleges, new students come at the start of a session and enjoy the safety of being a group. That’s not the case in schools. New students, particularly those in hostels, are alone and as a result may have to face the wrath of seniors alone.

A game called ‘magical undies’ at Deepak’s hostel involved forcing five boys to strip and making them compete for four coins lying on the ground. “Only boys who get hold of a coin, got their clothes back,” says Deepak.

Another game involved asking freshers in the hostel to dance in their underwear. “All freshers had to dress up like tribals with leaves attached to their underwear and give a two-hour dance performance,” says Deepak.

Even matrons and wardens are harassed. “They are not spared either,” Deepak. “We used to mix salt in their food, spit in their drinking water and do other pranks. A new warden used to create fuss over small things. So, one day when he came to our room ordering us to go to bed, the lights suddenly went off. We knew we had fifteen minutes at least, so we grabbed a blanket, put it over him, beat him up and disappeared to our respective rooms. The warden couldn’t tell who all were involved and a few days later he resigned.”

Freshers are supposed to wash seniors’ clothes, do their homework and clean up their rooms. They are supposed to do these ‘mild’ activities for four to five months and maybe even till the end of the term.

These incidents may sound funny, but not for students who have to suffer them every day. According to psychologist Samir Parikh, anything against somebody’s consent is unacceptable. “Something as trivial as standing on a table and dancing can be traumatic for some, because each person is different. The whole idea of fun is that the participants enjoy it. But if they don’t, they shouldn’t be forced for it,” he says.

Seniors have their own side of the story. “Ragging is a friendly affair. When I was ragged, I was told to get my seniors eatables from the market, to clean up their rooms, to fetch water and stuff like that,” says Class XII hosteller Akhil Kumar.

And as a senior now, how would he greet freshers? “We only want to take their introduction,” says Akhil.

Neeraj Arora, a former student of Modern School, Barakhamba, says the ragging at his hostel was fun. “On Holi, we used to splash water and colour on the ground and drag the boys over it. We made them do ball room dances together.”

Teachers admit the problem is severe. “Many times, ragging extends to sexual abuse,” says Pragya Seth, a teacher in a south-Delhi residential school, who has often heard complaints from students.

“I have been told of incidents where seniors ask for body massages. Freshers are asked to hold their private parts. Girls were asked to flirt and attract boys’ attention,” she sys.

Principals say strict rules and vigil prevents ragging. Suraj Prakash, Principal, CRPF school says, “We’ve got a system where older students take care of the juniors. Of course, a little bit of bullying is inevitable; after all it’s human nature. But we try to restrict it as much as possible.”

DPS Mathura Road has separated the hostels for Classes XI and XII to prevent ragging. “The wardens are responsible for strict 24-hour monitoring and there is no scope of ragging. There have been no complaints at all,” says principal M I Husain.

Lata Vaidyanathan, principal of Modern School, Barakhamba, admits ragging is becoming a concern for schools. “It would be incorrect to say that nothing happens. Ragging can be fun but we need to prevent emotional and physical hurt,” she says.

Vaidyanathan suggests some structural changes in boarding schools, like placing hidden cameras in rooms and corridors and asking the matrons to go for surprise check ups at nights. “But most importantly, we need to do continuous persuasive counselling with students. Busy schedules so as to tire them in a healthy way will also help.”

Vaidyanathan maintains that though students do come up with complaints, there hasn’t been anything too serious yet. “Sometimes, for a child coming from a very protected environment, even small things are hurtful,” she explains.

[ToI] KGMU's tactic to save freshers from ragging

LUCKNOW: The King George's Medical University (KGMU) authorities on Tuesday evolved a new method to protect juniors from being abducted by seniors for ragging.

The authorities have decided that first year students, who are day scholars, will be asked to come to the campus dressed as commoners and bring along their uniforms.

The freshers will be asked to assemble at the Chakravarty hostel, where they will change their dresses. Thereafter, they will be brought to the campus for classes along with the first year students residing in the hostel under security cover.

KGMU has deployed private security guards to escort first year students to the campus to protect them from raggers. However, seniors went a step ahead.

Experiences of last year showed that seniors used to abduct juniors on their way to the university or after classes when the latter were leaving for home and take them to some park or a residential place outside the campus for ragging.

KGMU authorities said that it will be difficult to identify juniors dressed as commoners. The decision has been taken on the instructions of the state government to take strict anti-ragging measures. KGMU has also taken other steps to check ragging, which includes strict punishment for students found guilty.

HoD Meeting: The new KGMU vice-chancellor, Prof Hari Gautam, on Tuesday held a meeting with all the heads of the department (HoDs).

The HoDs briefed him about the activities and facilities in their respective departments. While majority of HoDs focussed on highlighting the achievements, two teachers raised the issue on lack of infrastructure and frustration among young faculty because of lack of opportunities.

Later, the V-C also gave a piece of his mind about maintenance of discipline and proper hospital services to the hospital superintendent

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

[Yahoo] In PU, 'siring' seniors is serious offence now

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It's tough to be a senior from this session at Panjab University. Try asking juniors to call you 'Sir', and chances are you would land in a soup, thanks to the new anti-ragging rules - and that soup could well be suspension and rustication, in extreme cases.

In an attempt to adopt a no-nonsense attitude to ragging, PU authorities have clamped down on even "lighter" forms of ragging like asking freshers to copy class notes, running errands and performing such chores. The anti-ragging notice from the office of Dean Students Welfare (DSW) Prof Nirmal Singh and DSW (Women) Dr Meenakshi Malhotra also includes more serious forms of ragging like showing pornographic pictures to freshers, asking vulgar questions, forcing them to drink alcohol, causing physical injury et al. Stripping, kissing and other obscenities can, of course, also invite punishment.

''Day scholars are not main target of ragging; the hostellers are made to go through the real ragging. So more than the departments, it is the hostels that need to be watched,'' said Sukhdeep Singh, a MA-II student at PU.

But students said despite the clampdown, lighter form of "introductory" ragging still continues on the campus; and not many, in fact, have much objection to that. But what begins as light-hearted baiting and teasing takes vulgar or obscene overtones in the hostels, and that's where the authorities need to step in, students said. For, oftener than not juniors do not want to invite further trouble by making formal complaints. ''Innocuous forms of ragging definitely continue, but even when 'serious' forms of ragging occur, not many want to go to the DSW's office and complain about till a point," campus student Swati Khanna said.

New Academic Year at Delhi University

A collection of news reports:

[New Kerala] HC sets aside suspension of two nursing students

Kochi: The Kerala High Court today set aside the suspension of two students of SME Nursing College, Kottayam, in connection with the alleged ragging of a first year student last year.

Allowing the petitions by third year students -- Alpha Jose and Binsiya Mohammed, Justice C B Ramachandran Nair said that under the Prohibition of Ragging Act 1988, victims or their parents or any teachers of the institutions could file a complaint in case of any ragging.

However, no such complaint had been filed before the university or college authorities so far in the present case.

The two were suspended on Nov 29 last year.

The petitioners cannot be suo motu suspended and their continious suspension was unjust, the court held.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

[CNN-IBN] Brutal ragging shames Santiniketan

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Mrinal Sarkar
Posted Saturday , July 08, 2006 at 18:40
Updated Saturday , July 08, 2006 at 21:33

Santiniketan: The sanctity of Rabindranath's Visva Bharati has been violated yet again, this time by a group of the university's girl students.

Their victim is a first-year undergraduate arts student of Sangeet Bhavan. She was allegedly forced into group sex by some of her roommates and an outsider in the hostel last Sunday.

By the time she was released, the girl was in a state of physical and mental trauma.

"I was out of station when this happened. When I reached the hospital I found her unconscious. During her brief spells of consciousness, she was speaking in deliriums. She kept saying, "I'm not a thief, I'm not a fallen girl," said the victim's local guardian, Amita Hazra.

Though the victim's parents have lodged a formal complaint with the university authorities and the local police station, those accused are still at large. Authorities have, however, promised to take necessary steps within the next 48 hours.

"I've just received the complaint. Now we will find out who all are responsible. We have a mechanism to follow and we will take adequate steps," said the registrar of Visva Bharati, Sunil Sarkar.

But that sense of urgency was found lacking with the local police.

"We are investigating the matter. We will discuss and take necessary steps," said the Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Bolpur, Debashis Dhar.

Following the incident, the student is still in acute mental trauma. Doctors have told the victim's parents that she might not recover at all.

This isn't the first incident of its kind at Visva Bharati. Several such incidents have come into limelight in the recent past including one where the sanctity of the university's prayer house was defiled with impunity.

Unless the authorities take stern measures, such incidents are bound to recur at Tagore's abode of peace.

(With inputs from Sougata Mukhopadhyay)

Friday, July 07, 2006

[Hindu] Gearing up for `freshers'

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The last lap in the race for admission to Delhi University has begun with the third list being declared on Tuesday. With only a few seats left, the fourth list -- which will be declared on July 10 -- might be the last hope for students still wanting to get into college, but for the most part the admission process is largely over.

While students are busy getting used to the idea of embracing a whole new way of learning, colleges are also gearing up to deal with "freshers". And to ensure that the first day of college for students is smooth and hassle free, a meeting with college Principals and police officials has been called next week.

"We will discuss safety measures that need to be taken for students. It is preparatory session. Apart from ragging, there will be other things discussed," said Proctor Gurmeet Singh.

Wanting to ensure that students start their college lives on the right note, some colleges have installed closed-circuit cameras to keep a watch. But the high cost factor for the cameras has kept some colleges out of this technological aspect surveillance and they prefer the good old-fashioned ways to deal with ragging.

The University is also looking at making the campus safer for girl students by working out a system to keep an eye on the paying guest (PG) accommodations that have mushroomed in the area. While it is still an idea and concrete plans need to be drawn up, there is at least a move to look in this direction.

"We still have to work it out. Data is being collected and we hope to be able to have an empanelment exercise," said Prof. Singh.

Some colleges, however, have taken a lead in this area on their own. Indraprastha College, for example, takes down the details of students staying in PG accommodation so that they can keep an eye on the situation.

"These details will be taken down in our orientation session on July 15. We have a list of PG accommodations operating in the area, so that we know that our students are safe," said Indraprastha College Media Coordinator Manasvini Yogi.

Mandira Nayar

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

[HT] KGMU gets ready to fight ragging demons

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HT Live Correspondent
July 3

KGMU ADMINISTRATION has started early in the day to deal with the prospect of ragging on campus. Separate teams of senior faculty members have been formed to keep hostellers and day scholars from being subjected to ragging.

The teams comprise dean student welfare, proctor and dean faculty of medicine, hostel wardens and heads of departments.

One of the teams under the dean of student welfare would check ragging inside hostels while the team under the proctor would check ragging on campus and investigate into complaints filed by students against their seniors.

“Ragging has always been tough to handle so this year we decided to initiate steps even before the admission process for the academic session 2006-07,” said King Georges’ Medical University (KGMU) vice chancellor Prof SK Agrawal.

It may be mentioned that last year several complaints of ragging were received by the university administration and when ragging was restricted on campus students began to call fresh admissions to parks near the campus and ragged them there.

By the time the varsity administration came to know about it and could take steps to check it, many incidents had already taken place where students who were ragged even sustained injuries. Some of them even left the campus and ran away to their relatives’ place instead of staying in hostels.

Waking up early this year the university has decided to keep vigil right from the day freshers are allotted seats and hostel rooms.

Academic background and past character of new students would also be taken into account by the teams to avoid any violent incident in case some fresh admission retaliated.

‘Some students are violent by nature and if we are able to identify them from among the fresh batch we could easily avert violence,” said Prof Agrawal.

The teams would get active right after the CPMT-2006 counselling was over and new students began to join.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

[Central Chronicle] Has ragging any significance in colleges?

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A host of responses to a debate in Central Chronicle.... Some are indeed interesting to read...

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[TOI] Fun...can be dangerous

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The SC of India has in no uncertain terms, banned ragging in institutions. Yet the youth in Gujarat believe it's great fun.

In 2002, Anup Kumar, a first-year engineering student, ran away from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow, and committed suicide. He was sexually abused by a group of seniors.

In 2000, Harsh Aggarwal of Motilal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad became a mental wreck after being abused for one month by a group of seniors. He was stripped, beaten and bruised badly. Aggarwal left and did not return.

Very recently, a 17-year-old nursing student of the SME under MG University, Kottayam was raped under the pretence of ragging.

There are many more such stories which dot the newspaper every day during admission season. Yet ragging is still quite popular in colleges and institutes across the state and indeed in large parts of the country.

In defence

"Juniors come with their own ideas so through ragging, seniors make them understand the existing rules and the system,"says Debopriyo Raha, a final year student at Jorhat Engineering College in Assam.

"It's a real fun to know each other through a bit of entertainment,"is how Ravi Vidhani, a student of Gujarat University explains things. Agrees Tarrannum Wisal, a medical student at Aligarh University. "It's a way of developing a rapport through fun."

Is ragging healthy?

"Ragging is healthy if it bridges the communication gap between seniors and juniors,"reasons Rahul Ravimdram, a student at Sapthagiri College of Engineering, Bangalore. Khushboo Modani, a student of Gujarat University says, "In Gujarat, students don't cross the limit so ragging here is fun and healthy."

However, not everyone agrees. Kinjal Bhattacharya, a tech student from Kolkata, says: "It's not at all healthy. Engineering colleges specially have a terrible reputation.

Seniors indulge in major ragging."Adds Vandana Molhotra, a junior at Amity University in Noida: "Any sort of unwanted ragging is in bad taste. No one has the right to harass juniors."


Some students argue that ragging is a healthy form of entertainment but examples of such ‘fun' gone awry are far too many.

"Physical ragging can lead to trauma and every year cases of ragging related suicide are reported,"says Jatin Shetty, a student of St. Joseph College in Bangalore.

"Ragging is a complex psychological phenomenon in which the victim himself becomes the perpetrator and later inflicts the same pain to others who come after him,"says Harsh Agarwal, a victim of severe physical ragging at Motilal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad.

Unaware of a ban

The Apex court has banned ragging but it seems many here are unaware of that. "It should not be banned as long as it's healthy fun,"says a blissfully unaware Navneet Kaur of Gujarat University. "There should be some regulations set by students themselves but not from the authorities,"says Prity Mallik, a law student.

But those who have seen ragging from close quarters feel this convention should be abolished for good. "It should be banned because one never knows how a victim is being psychologically affected. Ragging can leave a lifelong scar,"says Bhattacharya.

Faculty members too support the Apex court verdict. Director of IIT Guwahati, Prof. Gautam Barua says, "There is nothing wrong in light ragging but these little pranks can be dangerous sometimes. So it is always better to ban ragging completely."

Is this tradition?

Surprisingly many students in Gujarat support ragging in the name of tradition. "There is no harm in continuing this tradition if it is mild and doesn't bother anybody much,"says Prity Mali, a student of Gujarat University.

Others say this is rubbish. "It is unfortunate that ragging has got rooted in the Indian education system. Of late it has decreased in most Metros and in the top institutes, but in some states like Gujarat, things don't seem to have progressed,"says Harsh Agarwal.