Monday, December 31, 2007

[ToI] Student complaints of ragging


31 Dec 2007, 0350 hrs IST,TNN

NAGPUR: Yet another incident of alleged ragging surfaced at the boy’s hostel of RTM University on Friday after a first year student of Masters of Physical Education lodged a complaint at Ambazari police station of alleged harassment against two senior students of the same stream.

Victim Sachin Walke (26), reportedly approached Ambazari police station after he claimed to have been harassed by his seniors, Samad Baig and Prashant Bhandari. Police said that Walke was intimidated by the two senior students who compelled him to do some physical exercises as punishment in the night. The complainant, according to police, was being harassed for ignoring the dominance of the senior students.

"The police cannot directly register or comment on any case related to ragging incidents. We have handed over the complaint to University authorities. The decision on the report will be taken by a committee constituted to analyze it," said sub-inspector Vilas Kulkarni of Ambazari police station. "Once the report is sent back to us, we will take further steps," he added.

Meanwhile, sources also said that one of the seniors also approached the police station with a complaint about a commotion but was not encouraged. "A senior named in the complaint of the junior was trying to cover up the incident with a fabricated complaint," said PSI Kulkarni.

In an earlier incident, Ambazari police had registered a similar complaint filed by a student of political science, Gulab Bawanthade, against contributory lecturer Usman khan Habib Khan Pathan in August this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

[NewIndPress] Ragging: Test identification parade sought



Friday December 28 2007 11:03 IST

ENS

THRISSUR: The five senior students of the Kerala Agricultural University’s Veterinary College, who were accused of ragging a first-year student of the college, have filed a petition in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here on Wednesday pleading the court to direct the inquiry officer to conduct a test identification parade.

The accused students, who were present in the court, expressed their readiness to present themselves before the authorities concerned for the test identification parade.

The students alleged that merely on the suspicion of their involvement in the case, the police are harassing them. The case will come up for hearing on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[NewKerala] Kerala HC asks govt to take effective action to end ragging


Kochi, Dec 18: Dismissing the bail plea of five students in a ragging case, the Kerala High Court today said the state government should take effective steps to eliminate the ''pernicious practice from our campuses.''

Dismissing the bail application of Berin T Varghese and four other students of the Government Veterinary College, Mannuthi, accused in the attempted abetment of suicide by a junior student, Justice R Basant observed, ''the bane of ragging has been polluting the atmosphere in the professional college campuses of this country for a long period of time. The young students cannot be permitted to indulge in such vice.'' ''I have no doubt that prevention of ragging must now be held too serious a business to be left to the managements and principals of the colleges alone. Civil society has to intervene effectively to prevent such incidents in our campuses.'' The court also opined that strong legislative action supported by effective executive enforcement and judicial interpretation could certainly help the polity to prevent this vice.

The state had to undertake a minimum five-year ''war'' on ragging, not isolated skirmishes or battles to exterminate and eliminate this vice from the college campuses, the judge added.

Principals and managements must be compelled by law to cooperate with the law enthusiastically under threat of effective sanction, he said.

The history of war against ragging in the campus revealed that there had been no determined and positive action. The offence under the Kerala Prevention of Ragging Act was non-cognisable and bailable. The system could not expect the impossible from the police force. ''If you expect them to fight against ragging on behalf of the sublime polity of this country, they have to be equipped with necessary legal weapons,'' he added.

--- UNI

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[Time] Is Hazing Worse in India?



Anxiety is a typical emotion for teenagers around the world upon leaving home to take up residence in a college dormitory. They face the daunting challenges of fitting in and making new friends amid unruly roommates and without the comfort of home cooking. But for thousands of Indian students, the anxiety is driven by an even greater menace: the prospect of constant verbal and physical abuse by senior students as part of a hazing tradition called "ragging," which critics say is systemic and far worse than in the United States.

Although the government does not keep exact figures, the Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education, a non-profit lobby group, found 52 hazing incidents reported in India's English-language media between June and September of 2007. The group claims that six suicides and three attempted suicides in the same period can be blamed on harassment, which they say is widespread at engineering and medical colleges — mostly, although not exclusively, among male students. Anti-ragging activist Shivam Vij, who launched the website stopragging.org in 2005, claims that nine out of ten students in India are subject to ragging, but that most cases go unreported.

An engineering student in the northern city of Agra broke his legs in October after seniors allegedly pushed him off a college building during a ragging session. In a suicide note, another student at an engineering college in the northern city of Jalandhar described the constant harassment as humiliating and blamed it for his decision to throw himself in front of a speeding train two years ago. "If education... is to serve as the lever to the great surge forward of the Indian nation, the scourge of ragging which corrodes the vitals of our campuses needs to be curbed," an Indian Supreme Court committee concluded in a recent report. Ragging, it said, is "a form of psychopathic behavior and a reflection of deviant personalities."

The ragging problem is a legacy of the British, who imported the practice to India from elite public schools back home. But while experts say extreme forms of hazing have all but disappeared in Britain, they continue in India and other Asian countries. Like mild hazing in the United States, ragging in its more innocent forms — students forced to address seniors as "sir," answering their questions and doing their menial chores — is defended as a way to create camaraderie and build character. In an essay about his experience at the prestigious St. Stephen's College in Delhi, writer Amitav Ghosh describes two ragging experiences that led to lifelong friendships, saying the relationships later helped launch his writing career.

But critics say Ghosh's sympathetic portrayal of ragging reflects a misguided sentimental view too common in India. "Ragging is sold as part of the tradition of the college," says Vij, who refuses to distinguish mild ragging from harsher abuse. "The idea of ragging — that freshmen have to be made to feel lower — is wrong. And once seniors know they can control students, once they taste that power, mild ragging often turns into something harsher."

That was the experience of Rohit Kaliyar, 24, who was at an engineering college in the northern state of Uttaranchal five years ago. Like other freshmen, Kaliyar was told he could not look seniors directly in the eye but had to stare down at the third button on his shirt. Seniors cursed him, slapped him and struck him with a metal ruler. They also entered the hostel around midnight one day and forced his friends to strip and rub Vaseline on each others' bodies, he said. "It was all for their sadistic fun." But freshmen were reluctant to retaliate, he said, reasoning they needed to befriend seniors for books and jobs. A faculty member was also unsympathetic, telling Kaliyar his ragging experience was not that bad.

Kaliyar, who is broadly built and over six feet tall, fought back, but soon left college fearing retribution. Although his father supported his decision to leave, Kaliyar says others were less supportive. "They said, 'You took it to heart. This is something that always happens. You should not have reacted that much,'" Kaliyar explains. "I was filled with rage and anger toward everyone because it was the rare person who said, 'You did the right thing.'"

The government has tried to clamp down on ragging, but so far its efforts have proven ineffective. Many states have enacted anti-ragging laws, and in 2001 the Indian Supreme Court advised colleges to implement measures such as advising students about the punishment for ragging, and informing freshmen of their rights. But the most recent report commissioned by the Supreme Court notes that ragging has not declined, and found that school officials do not report even extreme ragging cases to police. The report also faults state and central government authorities for failing to implement and monitor anti-ragging provisions. The committee recommends that schools be forced to file police reports if the alleged ragging victims or their families are not happy with the institution's response, and says ragging should be added to the list of punishable offenses in the Indian penal code.

But threats of punishment may not be enough. Harsh Agarwal, co-founder of the Coalition to Uproot Ragging, says the practice will stop only if there's a cultural shift in colleges. The Indian Supreme Court committee agrees, calling for human rights instruction for younger students in addition to a widespread public awareness campaign. "The biggest hurdle is no one believes ragging is a social evil," Agarwal says. "When an entire society believes in this, how is enforcement of the law possible?"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

[NewKerala] Agricultural college students face ragging


Sehore, MP, Dec 14 : More than 20 students of the Rafi Ahmed Agricultural College here have complained about being ragged by their seniors.

A complaint in this regard was made to college administration and the Superintendent of Police by students concerned, who are studying in BSc (Agriculture) first year.

The students, on the condition of anonymity, said senior students, including girls, were ragging them from the past one month.

Junior boy students had been stripped, while vulgar remarks were passed to girl students, who were also slapped some times.

College Dean S K Srivastava refused that he had receiving any complaint in this regard. He, however, said, the complaint might had been sent to the anti-ragging committee.

SP Rajendra Prasad said the matter was being investigated.

--- UNI

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

[MeriNews] Jammu University students stage protest against ragging

Link to report

A group of students were ragged by senior students in one of the hostels in Jammu University campus. Junior students were thrashed, paraded naked and later humiliated by some of the senior students. They protested against university administration.

A GROUP of students, who were agitated over the repeated incidents of ragging, ransacked office complex of vice chancellor of Jammu University Prof Amitabh Mattoo last Thursday. They staged protest later outside his chamber demanding strict actions against those students involved in ragging incidents. According to the report, a group of students were ragged by senior students in one of the hostels in Jammu University campus. Junior students were reportedly thrashed, paraded naked and later humiliated by some of the senior students. While staging protest, the students were unhappy with the university authorities for not taking prompt action against students involved in incidents of ragging happened on Wednesday night.

Agitated students alleged that the incidents of ragging were going on inside the hostel for past several days and the issue was brought into the notice of the university authorities. “On Wednesday evening also when the incident took place we immediately contacted our hostel warden but he refused to come and informed us to meet him in the morning”, students peeved over the delayed response told media persons outside the VC chamber amid chanting slogans loudly.

The victimized students alleged that they brought the matter into the notice of the university authorities early in the morning, yet they failed to take any action against the culprits. Angry over the poor response of the authorities, the students assembled outside the main gate of the administrative block and smashed windowpanes, flowerpots and wall paintings. Later, they staged protest outside the VC chamber and chanted slogans demanding action against the students responsible for the act.

University authorities reportedly made several attempts to pacify the agitating students but went in vain. Groups of students also clashed with each other exchanging hot words outside VC’s office trading charges against each other. Dean student welfare PS Pathania told media that university administration has already identified those students who were behind ragging incidents. “We have informed local police authorities and appropriate action will be taken against them soon, he added. Superintendent of Police, who arrived on the spot, said that University administration have been asked to submit a written complain against the students so that they can register an FIR for further action in this case.

[Telegraph] Ragging cry puts off Besu exam


A STAFF REPORTER

Postgraduate students of Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) boycotted semester exams that were to start on Tuesday to protest the alleged ragging of an undergraduate student.

Besu postponed the exams for an indefinite period. On Monday, the undergraduate exams were indefinitely postponed following a boycott by students.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) alleged that Afroz Ahmed, a second-year student of information technology, had been ragged in his hostel by Independent Consolidation (IC) supporters late on Monday. The IC, however, denied the charge, saying Afroz was involved in assaulting its supporters.

Vice-chancellor Nikhil Ranjan Banerjea said: “The allegation has been sent to the disciplinary committee.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

[PunjabNewsline] No case of ragging reported from Punjab colleges

Link to report

CURE strongly refutes this claim by the government of Punjab. Infact, several media reports point out that this is incorrect. This blog contains the list of cases in Punjab reported in the online English media here.

CHANDIGARH: Not a single case of ragging was reported in any Government and Private Medical/ Nursing/Ayurvedic/Homeopathic and any Para-medical teaching institute in the Punjab State during a current academic year, due to strict vigilance measures initiated by the Punjab Government.

Stating this here Tuesday Tikshan Sud, Medical Education & Research Minister said that the Punjab Medical Education Department had conducted a detailed exercise to control ragging in the State by involving faculty, parents as well as students in this campaign. He said that the department today circulated the latest judgment of Supreme Court on ragging to all Medial Institutes in the State and they have been directed to include the clause of 'expulsion of students involved in ragging from the institute', in the prospectus of next academic year.

Sud said that Medical Superintendent in each institute has been designated as Nodal Officer to check ragging and he would be held accountable in any case of ragging reported in their respective institute.

The Medical Education Minister said that the Punjab Government was committed to check the practice of ragging in the State and the Minister solicited the co-operation all strata of society in this campaign of Punjab Government.

[ToI] Six students held for misbehaviour


LUCKNOW: As many as six student leaders of the Lucknow University were arrested on Friday on charges of vandalism. The development comes a day after LU authorities lodged a complaint against some of the student leaders for allegedly misbehaving with chief provost and director of Academic Staff College Nishi Pandey. The students were, however, released after being detained in the police lockup for nearly six hours.

The six students included Ranvijay Singh and Maan Singh. The duo was reportedly behind the entire drama which unfolded in front of Academic Staff College on Thursday when Ranvijay alleged Prof Pandey of misbehaving with him.

Significantly, Prof Pandey and proctor AN Singh have acted tough against the student leaders who were engaged in the ragging of their juniors in the university hostels. The two senior faculty members had surveyed some of the hostels and found some rooms where the junior students were reportedly roughed up by the seniors.

[Hindu] College prospectus must have expulsion warning on ragging: SC


New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday directed that universities and colleges shall, henceforth, mention in their admission prospectus that students who indulge in ragging would be expelled from the institution.

A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Aftab Alam, also said that its guidelines for ensuring ban of ragging in universities/colleges, shall apply to colleges under the Medical Council of India (MCI), Dental Council of India; polytechnics and those institutes under the Ministry of Agriculture.

The apex court passed the directions after the amicus curiae (friend of court) and Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam sought such directions, as many incidents of ragging continued to be reported in the country despite its earlier directions for implementation of the Raghavan committee recommendations.

Moreover, he said, that there were misconceptions among authorities of medical colleges, polytechnics and institutions imparting education on agriculture that the anti-ragging rules were not applicable to them as they were under separate regulatory bodies.

The amicus curiae also mentioned two separate incidents of ragging in which a student was reportedly forced to consume narcotic substances and another physically-challenged student was subjected to ragging by his seniors.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

[TheCheers] College students in J-K protest ragging


Jammu, Dec 7 (ANI): Students belonging to the Jammu University took out a protest rally here on Thursday against ragging.

They shouted slogans against the hostel authorities for not ensuring their safety and security.

The students were protesting against the ragging of some Muslim students by their seniors belonging to Hindu community. They alleged of being beaten up by their seniors.

"There was a group of boys who were drunk and were creating the chaos. Some of them were also outsiders. We were sitting inside our room, when suddenly some boys came and forced us to open the door of our room. Once inside, they started beating us. When we tried to defend ourselves, they took out sharp weapons with which they threatened us. One of them also threatened to shave of my beard," said Mohammed Aslam, a student.

Ragging has long been an issue of debate in educational institutions, forcing the Central Government to enforce strict anti-ragging laws in universities and colleges. (ANI)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

[ToI] 4 Angrau students held for 'ragging'


HYDERABAD: Four students of Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University were arrested for stripping a student and beating up another during a party.

Three students—Padma Rao (B Sc I year), J Rajesh (B Sc III year) and B Ajay Prasad (B Sc III year) were arrested on Monday and G Karunakar (B Sc I year) was arrested on Tuesday by the Rajendranagar police following a complaint by the victims and a case registered under the Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Ragging Act, section 4(3). If convicted, the culprits can get two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2000.

According to Rajendranagar police, the incident occurred as part of a birthday party which was organised by Padma Rao on late Sunday evening at Hostel B, Krishi Nilayam. The party which began in the midnight was attended by more than 10 students. Early in the morning liquor was allegedly served in plenty. At 2 am Padma Rao, along with three other friends —G Karuna, J Rajesh, B Ajay Prasad—, went out to have ‘more fun’.

They allegedly summoned two students of third year horticulture to a hall in the middle of the hostel and stripped one of them and beat the other student and also showered abuses on them. Even as the students allegedly protested, they were made to wait in the hall for 15 minutes and then allowed to go. The incident came to light when the victims gave a written complaint to the Rajendranagar police station. Police arrested all the four students.

The university authorities, however, have not taken any action against the accused student saying that it is not clear whether it was an act of ragging. The university authorities said that since all the accused students were either from the I or III year, and the victims were from III year, the incident cannot be categorised as an act of ragging.

"It cannot be categorised as ragging also because the academic year had begun much earlier and the freshers’ day got over in November first week. But action will be taken once we find out what really happened," registrar, D Jagannadha Raju told TOI. The university has formed a committee to look into the incident. Any action on the accused will depend upon the findings of the committee.

But the police maintained that the act was punishable under the Ragging Act as the accused were ‘seniors’ as they have been the residents of the university for four years. All the four accused had stayed in the university for a longer period of time as they had failed more than a couple of times and were known as seniors in the university.

[ToI] Students booked for ragging


LUCKNOW: The Lucknow University authorities on Tuesday lodged FIR against four students and put them under suspension for their alleged involvement in a ragging incident. An inquiry has also been constituted on the written complaint of junior students.

According to proctor AN Singh, the four BA II students suspended are Mani Singh, Mritunjay Singh, Prem Singh and Bhanu Pratap. The complaint was lodged by four BA I students Jai Prakash, Sunit, Shrawan and Avinash Verma in which they have accused seniors of harassing juniors in the name of ragging.

Juniors have alleged that seniors used to assign them work with the threat that those who failing to do their assignments will be made to urinate on heaters or singed with a cigarette buts. Juniors also complained that seniors use abusive language against them.

Both the accused and the complainants are residents of Acharya Narendra Dev (AND) hostel. The alleged ragging sessions used to take place in room number 110 and 125 of the hostel. LU authorities are verifying the claims of the complainants as the latter have not been able to produce any evidence to support their allegations.

The Proctor told the TOI that as per the directions of the Supreme Court we have lodged an FIR and suspended the students against whom charges of ragging have been levelled. But we are also verifying the veracity of the charges to ensure that innocents do not get punished, he said. If found guilty, these seniors will be expelled from the university, he added.

Meanwhile, proctorial board members took rounds of various hostels and asked the junior students to report any incident of ragging without fail. Juniors were also told not be afraid of seniors. Prof Nishi Pandey, dean student welfare, assured students that university will provide them full protection.

The incident of ragging had come to light on Monday when some junior students created ruckus at the AND hostel claiming that some day scholars along with senior hostlers were subjecting juniors to ragging. University authorities raided several hostels following complaint but could find nothing. However, an identification was done on Tuesday on the basis of the complaint lodged by the juniors.

[CNN-IBN] Maya out to tackle ragging, brings tough law


New Delhi: The Mayawati Government in Uttar Pradesh approved a bill on Monday paving the way for a total ban on ragging in all educational institutions in the state.

The bill envisages expulsion, two years' prison terms and fines up to Rs 10,000 for offenders, UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said.

The draft Ragging in Educational Institutions Bill 2007 was approved in a Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Mayawati.

According to the Cabinet Secretary, the proposed law permits students expelled from institutions on ragging charges to appeal within 30 days before a commissioner, whose decision in the matter would be final.

The bill also provides that in case of written complaints by students, their parents or guardians and teachers, the head of the educational institution should probe the charges within a week.

The provision holds that the institution head should expel the offenders, if found guilty, within a week and file a complaint with the area police station.

The government initiated the mover following concerns over numerous incidents of ragging across the state in the past few months in places like Gorakhpur, Greater Noida and Gorakhpur.

Six students were expelled from Apeejay Institute of Technology in Greater Noida in October on ragging charges while an 18-year-old student of Madan Mohan Malviya Engineering College in Gorakhpur committed suicide in September this year after allegedly being tortured by his seniors.

(With agency reports)

Monday, December 03, 2007

[ToI] Ragging menace still raging

This report appeared on Page 3 of the ToI, Delhi edition on Dec 03, 2007

Raghavan Wants ‘Proactive’ Action Against Offending Colleges

Sonia Sarkar | TNN


New Delhi: Six months after the Supreme Court passed an interim order asking for implementation of R K Raghavan committee’s recommendations to stop ragging on campuses, nothing much has been done to curb the menace. Showing their displeasure at the snail-paced progress done on this front, panel members and chairman Raghavan, in a recent meeting, asked various affiliating bodies — University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Medical Council of India (MCI) — to take ‘‘proactive’’ action against institutes which don’t comply with the panel’srecommendations.

The committee, which met for the first time after the interim order was passed in May, was not satisfied with the attitude of the affiliating bodies. ‘‘Not enough action was taken by the affiliating bodies against the educational institutes which didn’t implement the recommendations. They were asked to be a little proactive on this,’’ said a committee member. The court had stated that these affiliating agencies have the right to stop funding to institutes, who don’t implement the Raghavan committee recommendations. A document prepared by CURE, an NGO, stating media reports on 70 such cases, was also presented in the meeting.

Though Raghavan was reticent when asked if the committee acted tough on the affiliating bodies, he told Times City: ‘‘We had recommended in the report what we had to. There is nothing further we can do on this. We have asked UGC, MCI and AICTE to monitor the situation in their respective institutes, for which, we will do a follow-up later.’’

These bodies had submitted action taken reports to the committee, which forwarded the same to the MHRD. But the report may not be depicting the true picture as for say, UGC in its report hasn’t even stated the recent incident at St Stephen’s, where one first-year student got burn injuries on his knees and hands after four of his seniors allegedly sprayed deodorant on him and lit a match stick. Though the authorities suspended the culprits for one year from the college and for a month from the hostel, they tried to hush up the matter calling it just a ‘‘prank’’ and ‘‘irresponsible’’ behaviour on part of a few students.

After the media reported the incident in the first week of October, UGC asked for an explanation from the college on the matter to which the latter hasn’t replied yet. ‘‘We haven’t got any reply from the college as yet,’’ said R K Chauhan, additional secretary, UGC, who attended the meeting.

Asked why they have ignored this incident in the action taken report, Chauhan said: ‘‘We cannot state the incidents institution wise. In our report, we have stated that almost 95% of the institutes have followed the recommendations. We have initiated action wherever it was required.’’

As per the Raghavan committee, an FIR has to be lodged in case of ragging, but interestingly, no FIR was lodged in the St Stephen’s case. Nandita Narain, the college dean (residence) said: ‘‘It was a prank and college has taken appropriate action against the students.’’ Asked about the delay in the reply, she said: ‘‘We have already given an explanation to the university, since it had asked for it. The university proctor should be forwarding it to the UGC.’’ Proctor Gurmeet Singh, however, was not available for comment.

The action taken reports submitted by the affiliating bodies will be produced before the court in its next hearing likely to be scheduled for December 4.

[ToI] The 'R' Word


Let's start with a confession. “When I joined a boarding school, I was thrown into a completely different world, one that existed far beyond the realms of my confined existence. I was exposed to the perils and wonders of being in an all boy boarding school. In the first week, the seniors confronted the first-year students in the common rooms and as was the custom, one by one we were supposed to come to the center of the gathering, stand upon the trusted wood table that had withstood the weight of generations of schoolboys and speak to the rest. This was 'Intro', a ritual that inducted all first-years into the school, albeit of course from the prying eyes of the authorities.

I nervously awaited my turn as I saw my classmates go up one by one, where they were asked questions ranging from 'What is your name and where do you come from to how old is your sister? All were asked to sing. On my turn, I was able to answer all questions well, and was even spared the usual slaughter owing to that fact that I had a brother instead of a sister. When it came to singing, I was a nervous wreck because I had never sung before, not even in the bathroom. But when I began, I even surprised myself. I realised I could sing just as well as any other. I held the audience captive, discovered a new talent and made myself known amongst the seniors. I even finished off a fine performance with a joke that had my audience in splits. Not only did it help me become a recognised face and won me many friends amongst the seniors, but six years later I went on to become the school music captain,” confesses Agrim Joshi, whose first brush with the term ragging turned out to be a pleasant one.

World over, freshers or first-years at colleges and boarding schools are subjected to some form of ragging, ranging from asking simple questions, to dancing and singing for an audience, professing love to an unsuspecting victim to downright 'servantry' of their seniors. While there are many colleges that deny the existence of this dreaded practice on their campuses, fact remains that most of us do face it in some form or the other during our formative years. Why do students indulge in this practice and what good could possibly come of it?

“It is a good way to get to know your juniors better. Since you will be spending the better part of your school life with them, and sometime, it may involve working together as a group, it is for the best if the ice is broken between both parties. Besides, in a close knit environment such as a boarding school or a hostel, you can't expect people to be mere acquaintances at a superficial level,” says boarding school student, Pranav Kapur. Raghav Puri mirrors this view when talking about a college environment, “Seniors are your best guide to survival in college. They know all about the course, teachers, things that could get you into trouble etc. It helps to have cordial relations with them, and if that involves a little bit of singing and dancing for harmless fun, then so be it.”
While those of us who study in high-end colleges may agree with this view, by no means do we have the right to judge the dilemma of an engineering or medical student. Here, the term ragging is practiced in its worst form.
Often there are reports of students beaten up by seniors, abused over long periods of time, made to carry out menial errands, all under the pretext of ragging.

One could argue that this stems from the high amount of stress that these students go through in the daily course of their academia, and ragging juniors is a way to vent some of that frustration.

“Being a first-year student in a medical college is hell. We are made to do all sorts of things. You are treated like sub-humans, and it's almost as if the only purpose of your existence is to serve your seniors,” says Arpit Verma, a first-year student at a reputed medical college.

Colleges have begun to take the issue of ragging seriously and have implemented certain counter measures such as severe punishments for those found indulging in the practice, counseling sessions and anti-ragging squads. But in many cases this is not enough.

The solution lies in going into the roots of the problem. It is human tendency to want to dominate over those we consider inferior, and in a college mindset, the senior-junior difference is more distinct, leading the seniors into believing that juniors are there to be ordered around.

The ridiculous practice of calling your seniors 'Sir' is a good example of the dominating mindset of these students. Efforts should be made to eradicate this mentality and re-enforce the point that age difference is no reason to subvert those younger than you. If this is not done, ragging, ideally a harmless way to get to know each other better, may spiral into something much worse than what it already is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

[Hindu] Ragging victim complains of denial of justice

One of our readers, Shri N R Ravisankar, sends us this report from The Hindu

Link to report

K. Santhosh

Thrissur: Manu, victim in a ragging case at Kerala Agricultural University’s (KAU) College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, on Wednesday said he had been denied justice as the arrest of the accused had been delayed.

On October 23, the police had registered a case against five students for allegedly ragging Manu, a first year student. He had attempted suicide by slashing his wrist after the incident, the police said. He later identified the accused,- Berin P. Varghese, M.R. Arun Raj, Abin B. Mathews, R. Asim and Ajaz Mohammed, from photos in college records.

“I want justice. Even a month after registration of the case, the accused have not been arrested,” Mr. Manu told The Hindu over phone from his home in Neyyattinkara.

The accused were booked under Section 4 of the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998 (punishable by imprisonment up to two years), and sections 306 (abetment to commit suicide), 294 (obscene acts) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The Sessions court had dismissed anticipatory bail petitions filed by them.

Manu was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

“I was not well. I could not handle the stress. I had stomach ailments and nausea. I am better now. I plan to attend classes from Monday. I hope everything will be smooth. My class-mates are caring,” he said.

He said he did not hate anyone, but was pained over his experiences as a fresher . "This should not happen to anyone else in the State. More students should not suffer. This case should highlight the evils of ragging and effect a change on campuses,” Mr. Manu said.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

[Telegraph] UGC spares rag-rod


CHARU SUDAN KASTURI

New Delhi, Nov. 27: The University Grants Commission has asked affiliates across India to follow all recommendations of a Supreme Court-appointed committee to curb ragging, but is unwilling to do so itself.

The Supreme Court committee headed by former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan had recommended that funds received by universities be linked to the implementation of anti-ragging measures.

Amid reports of rising instances of ragging, the UGC has decided against implementing the recommendation, seen by committee members and activists as a key weapon in the Centre’s armoury.

UGC officials said the commission does not intend to pressure universities into implementing the Raghavan committee’s recommendations by threatening to snap their purse strings.

“There is no plan to link the performance of universities in curbing ragging to the funding they receive,” a key policymaker at the UGC said.

UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat confirmed this. “The measures we are taking are enough,” he said.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha yesterday, junior education minister D. Purandeshwari said the government was aware of 70 reports of ragging this year.

According to anti-ragging activists, the figure last year was in the mid-forties — indicating a rise in cases this year.

But the UGC believes it would be next to impossible to implement the recommendation right now. It is learnt that the UGC has not yet informed the Raghavan committee of its decision.

One member of the committee, informed by The Telegraph, said the UGC’s decision was “very disappointing”.

“It is surprising because our aim was to give the Centre a strong weapon to whip those universities which do not take strong anti-ragging measures advocated by the committee,” another member of the committee said.

The Raghavan committee, however, is planning to approach the Supreme Court for ordering the UGC to implement the recommendation, the member said. “Once the court orders the UGC, they will have to follow the recommendation,” he added. The court is hearing the case early December.

[Hindu] Two hauled up for ragging


NEW DELHI: Two separate cases have been registered against two students of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped for allegedly ragging a freshman. The incident of ragging, which was captured by a first year student of the Institute on his mobile phone camera, was reported last week .

According to the police, a freshman was ragged by an intern, Santosh, on the night of November 17 and the incident was caught on camera by Anshul, a first year student. A complaint was subsequently lodged by the victim the next day.

On November 19, the victim informed the college authorities who in turn suspended the internship of Santosh and asked both the accused to vacate the hostel.

Sources said that on hearing a complaint has been lodged against him, Santosh allegedly threatened the freshman and warned him against reporting the incident.

A second FIR was lodged on November 21 against Santosh for intimidating the victim and forcing him to withdraw his complaint.

When the victim and his batchmates refused to withdraw the complaint, Santosh made a second attempt to threaten them.

[DNA] 70 cases of ragging in 2007-08


NEW DELHI: Ragging continues to take a toll on students in colleges in the country, with as many as 70 cases of the illegal act, nine of them ending in suicides, being reported in 2007-08.

The court-appointed committee set up for monitoring implementation of the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee on measures for prevention of ragging has come across 70 cases reported in the print media during the current academic year, Minister of HRD D Purandeswari told Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Monday.

"Ragging is reported to be the cause of nine cases of suicide and three cases of serious injuries among these cases," she said.

The Minister said the Central Government has drawn the attention of states and regulatory institutions to the various recommendations of the Raghavan committee.

The HRD Ministry has also launched a media campaign through newspapers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

[NewIndPress] SFI to set up anti-ragging squads in colleges


THRISSUR: The Students Federation of India will set up anti-ragging squads in all the colleges in order to root out the evil of ragging, SFI state secretary M. Swaraj has said.

Talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, Swaraj said that the SFI would also set up anti-ragging cells in each district.

The SFI will stage a march to the Mannuthy police station on December 4 demanding the arrest of the five senior students of the KAU’s veterinary college at Mannuthy who were accused of ragging a junior student.

He said that the students accused in the ragging cases are not the SFI workers.

Answering a query, he said that the establishment of self-financing professional colleges by the government or under the co-operative sector will help bring down the exploitation of the students by the private self-financing professional college authorities in the state.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

[Telegraph] Delhi duo booked for ragging


OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

New Delhi, Nov. 24: Delhi police have registered FIRs against two students of a Delhi University physiotherapy college for allegedly ragging a first-year student.

Santosh, an intern at Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, and Anshul, a first-year student, allegedly ragged another first-year student on the night of November 17.

“The boy complained that Santosh and Anshul asked him to drink alcohol and strip. They then took an MMS clip of the naked boy,” Dharmendar Kumar, the director of the institute, said.

Santosh has been suspended from the hostel, and his internship cancelled immediately after the victim complained to college authorities on November 19, Kumar said.

Anshul has also been asked to vacate the hostel.

The victim filed an FIR against Santosh and Anshul the day after the incident. Kumar said the institute also registered a complaint with the police the day the victim informed them about the incident.

On November 21, however, Santosh entered the campus and threatened the victim.

“The victim was told to withdraw his complaint, or he would be beaten up,” Kumar said. The victim complained about the threat to the authorities, who then registered another FIR against Santosh for threatening the victim.

The institute has set up its own disciplinary committee to enquire into the allegations.

Friday, November 23, 2007

[GreaterKashmir] Stop ragging or we’ll commit suicide: IAMS students


MIR FAHEEM ASLAM


Srinagar, Nov 22: Scores of students of the Institute of Asian Medical Sciences (IAMS) at Zakura on Thursday threatened to commit suicide if the college authorities don’t rein in the senior students who are ragging the freshers in the college.

The new comers in the college, who have joined the college nearly a month back to pursue a Bachelors degree in Unani Medicine (BUMS) said the final year students of the college have been “ruthlessly ragging” them for the past one month.

The college authorities, they added, have miserably failed to curb the ragging menace in the college. “We are not against interacting with our seniors. We respect them, but they are resorting to hooliganism and the college administration is watching all this haplessly,” the students, wishing anonymity, told Greater Kashmir.

The seniors, they said, are asking boys to “remove and tighten their pants” in front of girls.
“They (seniors) are asking us to perform immoral acts that we can’t explain,” the students said. “We’re humiliated and nobody is coming to our rescue.”

The college authorities, they said, are not paying heed to their grievances, forcing them to seek help of the media persons in curbing the problem. “We’ll commit suicide if this ragging continues,” said a visibly perturbed student, who approached GK with her mother.

“We’ll quit the college if the college authorities do not initiate disciplinary action against the seniors who have unleashed a reign of terror in the college and are harassing the girls unnecessarily.”

The seniors, they added, have asked them to follow “their guidelines” that they have pasted on certain walls of the college building. The guidelines go like this: “Juniors must know that BUMS seniors are never wrong; if any junior creates indiscipline, he or she will move 3-4 steps backwards and then wish the seniors; if any student complains before the college authorities of ragging, they will be rudely ragged; all juniors will call senior boys as sir and senior girls as madam; and finally no students will use his or her cell before any senior.”

“If any student commits suicide, the college authorities will be responsible for it,” they said, adding, they will request the university authorities to derecognize the college if the ragging continues.

“The university authorities must take a strong note of what’s happening in the college,” they said.

When Greater Kashmir apprised the Station House Officer (SHO) Zakura about the problem, he promised action. “I haven’t received any written complaint in this regard. The moment I get receive a complaint in this regard, I assure you that we’ll take action against the culprits,” the SHO, Raja Tasleem said.

When contacted, the college principal Dr Khurseed Ahmad Bakshi said that he has constituted special teams to monitor ragging. “If the students will identify the persons resorting to ragging we will certainly take action against them,” Bakshi told Greater Kashmir. “We can’t tolerate ragging in the college.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

[Hindu] Ragging: panel report to be implemented soon


Staff Reporter

Universities, colleges told to submit ATR

All colleges should set up anti-ragging committees


KOCHI: The Education Department will soon recommend the implementation of the R.K. Raghavan Committee report against ragging in all higher education institutions in the State.

The move comes in the wake of a finding that majority of the universities and colleges in the State had failed to implement the recommendations aimed at checking the growing menace on campuses.

Universities and colleges will be asked to submit an action taken report (ATR) on the steps being initiated on the campus to avoid incidents of ragging. Each college will be directed to set up an anti-ragging committee and an anti-ragging squad.

The anti-ragging committee at the level of the institution should consist of the representatives of civil and police administration, local media, non-governmental organisations involved in youth activities, faculty members, parents, students belonging to the freshers’ category as well as seniors, non-teaching staff and will be headed by the head of the institution. At the district-level, the committee recommended an anti-ragging committee consisting of the heads of higher education institutions as members. It should be headed by the District Collector/ Deputy Commissioner/ District Magistrate and should also have the Superintendent of Police/SSP of the district as member.
Preparatory meetings

The district-level committee should hold preparatory meetings during summer vacation to take stock of the state of preparedness of each institution and its compliance with the policies and guidelines of the appropriate bodies, the university/State/Central authorities and the apex court’s guidelines related to curbing ragging.

It is reliably learnt that majority of the educational institutions have not formed such committees on their campuses. The squad was supposed to have conducted surprise raids on hostels and other ‘hot spots.’ Barring a few initiatives, no major attempt has been made to launch such lightning squads in government and self-financing colleges in the State.

Lack of coordinated efforts between university officials and the police authorities are delaying the process of bringing justice to the ragging victims.

The Raghavan Committee report clearly pointed out that complaints or information with regard to ragging could be oral or written and even from third parties and the confidentiality of the source of information must be protected at all costs.

Sources in the committee said that remedial action should be initiated and completed within the week of the incident itself so that complaints do not linger on and allow either interest in pursuing the matter to wane or enable the culprits to tamper evidence or influence witnesses.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

[Hindu] Ragging at Cusat: one more arrested


Police say total number of accused will come to 20

Eight persons identified in case

Six of the accused from Bihar

KOCHI: The Kalamassery police on Wednesday arrested one student from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) on the charges of ragging.

The police said Bijin V.J., 20, of Sreekaryam, Thiruvananthapuram, was the ninth accused in the case and was arrested from the Cusat campus.

He was produced before the Aluva Judicial First Class Magistrate – II and released on bail.

Bijin, a sixth semester student of Ship Technology, had made the arrangements for the hotel for the ‘Fresher’s Day’ celebrations, said the police. In all, 21 persons have been accused in the case.

“The students have, however, identified only eight persons, of which six are from Bihar. The other two are from Kozhikode and Palakkad,” said K. Sethuraman, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Thrikkakkara). Since the students were suspended from college, the police could not trace them. “Two teams have been sent to Palakkad and Kozhikode to arrest the accused,” he said.

However, officers at the Kalamassery police station say more students have been identified and the total number of accused in the case would come to nearly 20.
Police initiative

When the city police took up the initiative to curb ragging on campuses a couple of years ago, no major incidents were reported. Still, the police convened meetings of the heads of institutions to discuss about the campaign. This was followed up by a couple of awareness classes

During the meetings with heads of institutions, it was made clear that the police could, according to the Act, initiate proceedings against the head of the institution on the failure to take disciplinary action on receiving complaints of ragging.

The Act also gives the victim the option of approaching the City Police Commissioner directly and initiating action without the complainant’s identity being revealed. Despite this, the police find it hard to collect evidence. “Students are not coming forward against their seniors. We are now planning to run an awareness campaign,” said Mr. Sethuraman.

[Peninsula] VCs panel to check ragging


Thiruvananthapuram • Kerala Education Minister M A Baby has said a panel of Vice-Chancellors has been formed to check the menace of ragging in colleges.

Baby’s announcement has come in the wake of repeated incidents, including a student’s attempted suicide after being tortured in the name of ragging by senior students.

Manu, aged 18, was found with slashed veins on the Veterinary College campus at Mannuthy in Thrissur last month. “I could not tolerate the humiliation”, he said.

Hailing from a poor family, Manu had great hopes when he joined the college. He is struggling to come out of the trauma.

The police arrested a senior student of a gang of eight in connection with ragging of a first semester B Tech student at the Cochin University of Science and Technology.

Four students, accompanied by parents, had complained to the police against the torture on the campus.

Five senior students of a private engineering college in Thrissur are under suspension. A civil engineering student in his complaint alleged that he was taken to a toilet and humiliated by his seniors on October 18, authorities at Vidya Academy of Science and Technology said.

Two senior students have been suspended from Amala Medical College in Thrissur and five others at Pushpagiri Medical College in Tiruvalla for inflicting mental agony on juniors.

The Minister said illegal hostels would be shut down. The State-level committee would monitor the affairs on the campuses.

The All India Council for Technical Education too has issued a warning that action will be taken against the managements of colleges from where cases of ragging are reported.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

[IE] Panel to probe rising cases of ragging


Lucknow, November 6 Taking note of several incidents of ragging recently, Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad Chairman Sukhram Singh Yadav today constituted a seven-member committee to look into the rising cases of harassment of students in technical institutes.

In his ruling, Yadav announced the setting up of a committee led by the technical education minister or his representative along with party leaders. The committee will have to submit its report in the next Assembly session.

The issue, which was raised through an adjournment notice in Zero Hour by the Rashtriya Lok Dal, saw members, including leader of the House Swami Prasad Maurya terming it as a curse on the educational system.

Members sought strict action not only against the guilty but also the proctor and warden of private colleges and hostel, who indulge in such acts.

Teachers Group leader Om Prakash Sharma called for setting up of a House panel, which would look into the matter by taking inputs from students, teachers and others to check ragging.

[Telegraph] Raggers, beware


An official commission’s recommendations may help put an end to ragging. V. Kumara Swamy reports

Jagannath Misra (name changed), an engineering student in Bhubaneswar, was asked to pay a fine by his college when he led a “freshers’ protest” after he and some of his friends were ragged brutally. He was also slapped a notice that threatened rustication from college if he raised the issue any further.

“Although a few seniors were fined, the college’s action suggested that it was siding with the seniors,” he says. “First of all, freshers are a scared lot. If they don’t have any avenue to complain when they are ragged, it adds to their misery,” says Misra.

Misra’s college is not the only one to brush the matter under the carpet. Except for the ones that make the headlines, the majority of ragging cases goes unreported and the perpetrators get away scot-free. Even when the University Grants Commission (UGC) intervenes, college authorities either punish the guilty students lightly or sometimes simply refuse to acknowledge that ragging ever took place, as happened in a recent case in St Stephen’s College, Delhi, when a fresher was allegedly set on fire.

In fact, the UGC — in its submission to a Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by R.K. Raghavan, former director, Central Bureau of Investigation — said that the commission’s guidelines on punishments or preventive measures were not implemented and remained only on paper. It also admitted that college and university functionaries consider ragging a non-academic issue and therefore do not get involved either because of indifference or a lack of commitment. The UGC is responsible for co-ordinating, determining and maintaining education standards and releasing grants to universities.

There have been more than 50 cases of ragging, including six cases of suicide by students affected by ragging, ever since the Supreme Court order to implement the Raghavan Committee’s recommendations in May this year. Helpless, the UGC is asking the government to amend the UGC Act, 1956, so that it can teach a lesson to erring colleges and universities. The UGC now plays an advisory role and its guidelines on ragging are not mandatory.

“We shall be proposing some changes to the UGC Act so that the apex court’s directions on ragging can be incorporated and implemented more effectively,” says Tilak Raj Kem, secretary, UGC. The amendments are likely to take place when the HRD ministry makes changes to the act, including stringent measures against fake universities. “Though the UGC is very serious about ragging, we realise our limitations, which is why we see the need for changes,” says Kem.

Better late than never, say anti-ragging activists. “If the Raghavan committee recommendations are converted into law by amending the UGC Act, it will certainly serve the purpose. But it will have to be seen as to how many of its 50 recommendations are accepted and in what language,” says Shivam Vij, an anti-ragging activist and a consultant to the Raghavan Committee.

The committee’s recommendations include urging the courts to speedily try cases involving ragging, forming anti-ragging committees and squads at all the institutions, the introduction of a subject relating to ragging in school curricula and the involvement of the media and civil society in educating students on the harmful effects of ragging.

One of the closely watched amendments, as suggested by the Raghavan Committee, will be on the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) with the police by the principal of the institution if the victim or the parent is not satisfied with the institutional arrangement for action. But not many are in favour of this.

“Colleges are wary of going to the police even when students get violent, so it is a little far-fetched for either the UGC or the Raghavan Committee to believe that principals will go ahead and file an FIR. It is like inviting trouble along with some bad publicity for the college,” says a Calcutta-based professor on condition of anonymity.

“Principals are obviously wary as they value the ‘reputation’ of the college,” says Vij. “To get an FIR registered is the most difficult thing in India. The Supreme Court has taken note of this. As long as colleges and law enforcement agencies think that ragging is nothing but just a slightly exaggerated version of college fun, filing FIRs will never work. Ragging should be seen as a crime, which is yet to happen,” says Anant Kumar Asthana, a Delhi-based lawyer who runs an organisation that provides legal assistance to vulnerable victims.

Although the UGC is tight-lipped about its recommendations to the government, it is likely to tread a middle path on the issue. “Once the UGC acquires the power to withdraw grants or even withdraw affiliations, colleges will fall in line. The onus of filing an FIR shouldn’t be on college principals,” says an UGC official.

But some universities, which took strict action against ragging, say that there is no problem even if the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee are accepted and implemented by the UGC. “Unless a few examples are set, institutions will never take the issue of ragging seriously,” says Bhagirath Prasad, vice-chancellor, Devi Ahilyabai University, Indore. The university recently expelled 20 students, including two for life, for indulging in ragging.

But Prasad also calls for a ‘softer’ approach. “If the UGC can set aside a fund to run programmes against ragging in universities across the country, and if this provision is included even in the Act, I think that would go a long way,” says Prasad.

Anti-ragging activists are also calling on the UGC to take steps that take a holistic view of ragging as a menace. “Ragging is seen as a social norm and not an evil. This fact has to be accepted and steps taken to act against it accordingly,” says Harsh Agarwal of the Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE).

Since the UGC currently doesn’t have a dedicated cell to deal with the problem of ragging, activists are asking the commission to create one. “A central monitoring mechanism can improve the implementation of anti-ragging measures,” says Asthana. Victims of ragging could directly report to the central cell.

“Victims are usually so scared that they create a new e-mail ID even to mail an NGO like ours. Unless the students are sure that they can get justice, they will not approach the authorities,” says Agarwal.

“We had sent a questionnaire to universities across the country asking them about the safeguards against ragging, the steps proposed to stop ragging and other details. This would also help us in formulating a policy so that there are better safeguards,” says Kem.

Whatever the steps, action is what the students and activists demand to put an end to ragging forever.

Monday, November 05, 2007

[ZeeNews] UGC for regulation to make anti-ragging measures binding


New Delhi, Nov 04: Concerned over continuing incidents of ragging despite a Supreme Court ruling which requires educational institutions to file an FIR against those indulging in the offence, the UGC now wants to make anti-ragging measures binding on the learning centres.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) will suggest that the government give it more teeth to implement the anti-ragging measures in "letter and spirit" by bringing in a regulation.

"The Supreme Court has already directed that institutes must take necessary measures to curb the cases of ragging. We have also recommended adequate measures to be taken by the institutions. But many institutes do not seem to be following the recommendations because of lack of any regulation," UGC Secretary T R Kem said.

"That is the reason we will propose to the government to have a regulation in place which will make the anti-ragging measures binding on the colleges and universities," he said.

The HRD Ministry, following the Supreme Court directive, had set up a seven-member committee headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan to recommend anti-ragging measures.

The committee proposed to include ragging as a special section under the Indian Penal Code.

"The committee's recommendations have legal validity. But then there are colleges which tend to ignore them," Kem said.

Bureau Report

Sunday, November 04, 2007

[NewIndPress] Five students arrested in connection with ragging


THRISSUR: In connection with the alleged ragging of a junior engineering student, Christo, by the senior students of Vidya Academy of Science and Technology at Kurumal in the district, the police arrested 5 senior students of the college on Wednesday.

Vadakkancherry Circle Inspector said that the students, accompanied by their parents surrendered before him at the police station. He said that they were released on bail later.

[ToI] Student lodges ragging complaint


BEHRAMPORE: A student of Murshidabad College of Engineering and Technology (MCET) has lodged a complaint of ragging at Behrampore police station against eight third-year students on Saturday.

Arif Iqbal, the second-year student, alleged that the seniors had demanded Rs 600 from him a few days ago. But he had refused. Things came to a head when they blocked his way while he was going for a class on Thursday and again demanded the amount. But Arif stood firm. This prompted the students to pounce on him and bash him up. Arif suffered facial injuries and his spectacles were broken.

MCET principal Dibyendu Ghosal, however, pleaded ignorance and wondered as to why Arif did not inform him of the matter before going to police.

"I do not know why Arif went to the police first before intimating me anything about the matter. We will set up a committee to probe into the matter. I will request the police not to start an inquiry before we start our investigation," he said. However, deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Santo Mitra ruled out the option. "We are not bound to keep the principal’s request. If Arif has lodged a complaint, police will start an investigation," he added. "I went to the police first as I was frightened," Arif said.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

[ToI] 21 students suspended for ragging juniors in Kochi


KOCHI: Cracking the whip against ragging, the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) has suspended 21 senior students of the department of Ship Technology following complaints of the offence against them.

The suspended students are from the third semester and were staying at a hostel in Kochi.

CUSAT Registrar Dr A Ramachandran told reporters here that the students have been suspended, pending an inquiry. If a detailed probe finds them guilty, they would be expelled from the college, he said.

Police are also conducting investigations into the incident relating to ragging of the first semester students in September. The victim students had alleged they had been physiclly tortured and that some were forcibly made to consume liqour in a hotel.

A preliminary inquiry conducted by CUSAT officials has found that the junior students were physcially tortured by their seniors from September 4 to September 14.

Following the ragging incident, at least five students have dropped out of the course.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

[DNA] Ragging to invite stern AICTE action


Technical council issues notices to all institutions warning of deregistration

MUMBAI: The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has issued a warning in the form of a circular to all technical institutions across the country that strict action will be initiated against them if any instances of ragging are found.

The circular warns the institutions that actions could be taken in the form of withdrawal of registration if such cases are brought to the notice of the AICTE.

“The circular was issued after Supreme Court’s order directing AICTE to take measures to prevent ragging incidents in technical institutions. We have also taken the initiative to display it on our website,” said NB Pasalkar, Director of Technical Education.

Issued by AICTE member secretary K. Narayana Rao, it says “All the AICTE approved institutions must ascertain that ragging, in any form does not take place on their campuses. In case such incidences are reported to AICTE, the council shall take necessary action including withdrawal of approval. Preventing ragging is not a responsibility of law and order machinery alone.’’

According to a report prepared by the committee appointed by Supreme Court in 2006 to suggest measures for preventing ragging, there have been 15 cases across the country from Jan-Aug 2007. Keeping in accordance with the SC verdict, AICTE has circulated the notice to all technical institutions and has also advertised it on national dailies across the country.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

[Yahoo] Ragging rampant in Kerala's professional colleges


By IANS
Monday October 29, 05:14 PM


Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 29 (IANS) An attempted suicide by a first-year veterinary student following harassment by seniors in Kerala led to media reporting about similar cases and highlighting the menace of ragging in the state.

Eighteen-year-old Manu, who worked in paddy fields during his school years to support his family, hoped that his woes would end after he joined the Mannuthy Veterinary College in Trissur earlier this month.

However, harassment by seniors drove him to slash his wrists in an attempt to end his life last week.

'I just could not take all the humiliation. It was too unbearable,' said a sobbing Manu.

Even as authorities were sorting out Manu's case, reports emerged about instances of ragging in two other professional colleges in the state.

On Sunday, two senior students were suspended from the Amala Medical College in Trissur, while five students were suspended from the Pushpagiri Medical College in Thiruvalla for causing mental agony to their juniors.

Reports indicate that the worst affected are students who arrive at these campuses after having done their schooling in the Middle East.

The All India Council for Technical Education has come out with a warning that action would be initiated against the managements of colleges from where cases of ragging are reported.

State Education Minister M.A. Baby told IANS: 'At no cost will our government tolerate such inhuman activities. Irrespective of who is involved, stern action will be taken against the culprits and we are already on the job.

'A mere administrative decision will not be enough to stop this inhuman activity and we will work amongst the society to spread awareness against ragging.'

[CentralChronicle] Personal Thought: Ragging & its remedies


As soon as admissions in technical and non-technical institutes start, news of suicides come from all over the country. In MP too such types of news is a common feature. Recently a ragging incident took place in the prestigious Hotel Management Institute of Bhopal wherein some senior girl students behaved unseemly with their juniors. Two of the students received serious injuries. The police registered a case but without result. Institute authorities have not taken any responsibility of this incident and told the media that this is just corollary of internal dispute between the senior and junior students.

Another incident occurred on Sept 27 at St Stephen's college, New Delhi when a first year student went to a senior student's room seeking help in filling up a university form. Some other students were also present. One of them had consumed alcohol. On the pretext of showing him some magic, a senior student sprayed a deodarant on his palm and ignited it as well. As a result the junior student suffered minor burns. It is high time for the concerned authorities to understand the matrix of ragging and take enough measures to stem the rot that has set in.

Ragging is certainly an anti-academic pandemic. We need to read and understand the Raghavan committee report that is based on problem of ragging. In this report bureaucratic approach has been adopted. We all know that ragging does not exist in simple form. Its shape is changing frequently and dramatically. Sometimes it has turned to criminality as well.

According to the report, time has come to treat every case of ragging separately and award proper punishment to the guilty students. Isolation and rustication of guilty students is the main tool of punishment. But it will push away students from the teachers; erode basic and tandem structure of college ambience. Hostility and distrust will spread in the education sector. It will ruin the very spirit of living and learning together.

Stress should be on a caring culture and mutual trust among the newcomers, seniors and the college authorities must be nurtured on regular basis. Our college is not a carry home knowledge outlet. It is an academic family. College is not the place where police go on a regular basis and lodge FIR against the students.

As per the Raghavan report, the college authorities could lodge FIR at police stations against the guilty students. The panel is also concerned about erroneous punishment which may push the guilty students to even more crimes. Hence there is need to make ragging a punishable offence.

Somil Chhaya

[IndiaNews] SC seeks ATR from UGC, MCI and AICTE in ragging case


29 October 2007

The Supreme Court has directed University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and Medical Council of India (MCI) to file their action taken report within four weeks, detailing the steps taken by them to check the menace of ragging in educational institutions .

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, also refused to entertain an application seeking relaxtation in the condition of having 75 per cent attendance for contesting students union elections in a university or a college.

The court told the applicant, " you were given admission for studying and not for indulging in politics at behest of major political parties. You don't want to attend classes but want to indulge in politics and such a situation can not be accepted ." Earlier, while issuing guidelines for checking the menace of physical and emotional torture of freshers in the name of ragging , the apex court had made it clear that " we want students and not goondas in university campus."

(UNI)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

[Yahoo] Taking the bully by its horns


By HT
Saturday October 27, 01:52 AM


Those were the best days of my life." That's how many of us refer to our school days. But for some, memories of school include teasing, taunting and ragging. For some, it was being on the 'fun' side of the fence, while others have gone through the torture of being victims. Why do people bully others in the first place?

Arvind Mehta elaborates, "I guess, when I bullied people in school, it was all about showing how powerful I was. You can't deny that every foyer has a particular hierarchy. Along with my friends, I exploited that." Jai Mehrotra remembers his days of being bullied in school. "The guys in my class would watch wrestling shows, practice those moves on me in school the next day, and hit me with all types of classroom furniture. Finally came a point when I had had enough. I began fighting back. If they hit me, I hit back."

Stooping low
Jai compares his situation to a double-edged sword. He knew that he was stooping to the level of those who bullied him, but at the same time he knew that this was the only means of getting through to them. Bullying, however, isn't always equated with hitting and beating up people. For Adam Fernandez, it was more verbal. He says, "I was the butt of all the jokes. I was a very shy person, and found it difficult to speak to girls. So, I was picked on and referred to as 'gay'"

Adam chose to retreat, and didn't interact with the people who bullied him. "I didn't give them anything to feed off, so they soon got bored and stopped."

Wrong attitude
When girls are bullied, it assumes completely different proportions. Like in the case of Namita Joshi, who was bullied in college. "I came to Mumbai from Bangalore. I'd heard a lot of great things about colleges here, so I chose Mumbai to pursue my higher studies. When college started, I knew it would take me time to make friends, because I'm a shy person."

But soon Namita realised that she was being silently bullied in her class. "People would laugh at the way I dressed and the way I spoke. They would completely ignore me and I could see the way I was judged every single day." She chose to work through the problem, taking her own time, and even confronted some people about their attitude. "Now, things are much better, and I have made some really good friends in college. I guess this is something we all have to go through at some point. I take it as a compliment to having a nature different to the rest."

Only regrets
Gautam Hingorani deeply regrets bullying people in his school. "I now realise that I couldn't cope with the fact that I was an overweight, average student. I picked on the smarter kids, using my brutal force to compensate for my other weaknesses."

Bullying is an extremely complex phenomenon, and affects the bully as well as the bullied. There's a false sense of superiority for the bully, and a sense of inadequacy in the bullied. No matter what situation or form it comes in, bullying can make you feel depressed, hurt, and alone.

It can keep you from enjoying activities that are an integral part of your life. It serves no useful purpose for either of the parties. The only good it does is help strengthen some people, and force others to take a more critical look at themselves.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

[Telegraph] Ragging heat on principal


OUR LEGAL REPORTER

Calcutta, Oct. 24: The high court today dismissed an engineering college principal’s petition to reconsider its order to provide round-the-clock security to a ragging victim.

The principal of Mallabhum Institute of Technology in Bishnupur, Bankura, pleaded that it was near impossible for him to ensure first-year student Soumya Roy’s security through the day and sought respite from the responsibility.

But vacation judge Justice B. Somadder would not have any of that. The administration and the judiciary should be more active in eradicating the evil of ragging, he said.

Soumya, from New Barrackpore, who went to study electronics at the institute, about 230km from Calcutta, had been confined to a hostel room for three days and allegedly forced to take drugs.

Justice Somadder had passed the order on principal Sunil Kumar Roy when the boy’s father sought his transfer to any other engineering institute. But there is no rule allowing a student’s shift from one private college to another.

The judge asked Roy to take special care to ensure that Soumya was not ragged again and added that he would be held responsible in case of a rerun of the torture.

[SaharaSamay] Ragging at Surat Medical College


Posted at Tuesday, 23 October 2007 17:10 IST

Surat, Oct 23: In spite of Supreme Court guidelines, ragging is going on unabated in medical and engineering colleges across India. One such incident came to light at the Government Medical College of Surat.

The first year students were beaten black and blue in the name of ragging after midnight.

The victims are in a state of shock after the incident.

Talking to the channel, one of the students said that they were subject to brutal beating by their seniors at for an hour between 2:30 am and 3:30 am.

Taking the matter seriously, the college administration has suspended 10 senior students of the college for a month, they added.

Several students have ended their lives due to cruelty of their seniors in the name of ragging in medical and engineering colleges across the country in recent months.

[NewIndPress] Ragging: Human rights panel registers case


Wednesday October 24 2007 01:54 IST

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE


T’PURAM: State Human Rights Commission member Justice V P Mohan has taken a suo motu case against the ‘negligence’ of the authorities of the Mannuthy Veterinary College in a ragging case.

A first year student in the college hostel, unable to bear the ragging of his seniors, attempted suicide by cutting the veins in his wrist.

The Commission member has sought an explanation from the Veterinary College principal and the Mannuthy Sub-inspector. The case will be taken up at a sitting scheduled for November 15.

THRISSUR: The student who attempted to commit suicide has been hospitalised. Mannuthy police said that a case has been registered against five recognisable students of the hostel. The KAU Vice-Chancellor has ordered an inquiry into the matter.

According to the KAU sources, ragging the junior students by forcing them to unnatural sexual and physical harassment by senior students has been going on in the hostel with the knowledge of officials incharge of hostels.

The sources pointed out that out of fear of ragging, over 10 students had left the hostel.

Even in the hospital, some of the officials were found trying to persuade the victim to make a statement denying any harassment in the hostel.

Meanwhile, demanding the dismissal of senior students who were responsible for ragging and action against concerned officials, the KSU staged a march to KAU headquarters at Vellanikkara on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, KSU state general secretary, A Prasad, alleged that the officials concerned and employees of the hostels were trying to hush up the matter to save the culprits.

The hospital sources said that the student was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

[IndiaInfo] Eight medical students suspended for ragging


Monday, October 22, 2007 17:23 [IST]

Surat: Eight students of the Surat Medical College have been suspended for allegedly ragging their juniors, college authorities said today.

Around 16 first year MBBS students were allegedly ragged by their immediate seniors, college dean Shailendra Vajpayee said adding eight of them have suspended for a month in this regard.

They have also been asked to do "social work" for a week inside the college campus, he said. The parents of the suspended students will also be summoned and cautioned in this regard, Vajpayee said.

Source : PTI

Saturday, October 20, 2007

[Khabrein] Bhopal medical students boycott classes, fearing ragging


Bhopal, Oct 19 (IANS) Over 140 students of the Gandhi Medical College here have stopped attending classes for fear of being ragged by their senior students.

All students have stopped going to the college since reports of beating up of three first-year students last week. "They are afraid of being tortured by ragging," said a first-year student who preferred not to be named.

The college management refuted the charge and said all students have gone home for the festivals over the past fortnight.

"It is a general practice seen every year during this season. The question of ragging in this college doesn't arise," said Jeevan Singh Meena, President of the Central India Junior Doctors Association (Central JUDA).

Gandhi Medical College dean Nirbhay Srivastava, however, regarded student absenteeism as an of indiscipline and said: "It is gross indiscipline. The parents of these students are being informed, and we may seriously think whether to allow them to appear in the exams."

Madhya Pradesh has seen a string of cases of ragging in recent times.

Eight girls were arrested for ragging at a local hotel management institute here earlier this month while a student committed suicide in Indore, alleging harassment from his seniors.

[ToI] Three held for ragging


20 Oct 2007, 0137 hrs IST,TNN

BANGALORE: Two nursing students and a warden have been arrested for ragging 14 first-year nursing students. Police are on the look-out for four other accused, who have fled to Kerala.

The incident occurred at VVS College of Nursing at Kengeri Satellite Town on Tuesday. The arrested are V T Verghese (53), the warden, Shireen Raj (20) and Aadesh T Raj (20), both students. Jeopav, Litto Anthony, Thomas Mathew and Albin Jose are on the run. The accused students dragged the juniors out of their rooms and asked them to strip and dance.

The juniors were then slapped and hit with belts. The episode took place in front of the warden. After learning about the incident, the college principal lodged a complaint.

Friday, October 19, 2007

[Indiatimes] Ragging – far from fun


Ragging – an informal way for junior and senior students to get acquainted with each other or a means of deriving sadistic pleasure and a show of power? Severe ragging is very much a violation of human rights writes Aparajita Jamwal

How is severe ragging any different from other human rights violations like racism, caste discrimination, dowry, policebrutality, rape or slavery? All of the above are considered criminal offences, have judicial legislation and laws against them, and are considered morally wrong. However, there are many people who still think of ragging as harmless fun.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of ragging is -“to make fun of loudly and boisterously or rebuke severely,” while bullying is described as“deliberately intimidating or persecuting those who are weaker.” The lines between the two blur when you consider the kind of criminal offences committed under the pretext of ragging. Some of the harsher ragging offences include forcing fellow students to strip publicly, touch their genitals, sing abusive songs, masturbate publicly or eat faeces.

Psyche of Victim and Oppressor

“The proof of dominance for the senior is when the fresher breaks down. Therefore ragging has to hurt.‘The fresher has to be stretched like a rubber band until he snaps,’ and that is the point of the exercise according to one student,” writes Dr. Shobna Sonpar, student counsellor at Delhi University, in her essay on the incidence of ragging.

The Supreme Court recognizes that,“The cause of indulging in ragging is deriving a sadistic pleasure or showing off power, authority or superiority by the seniors over their juniors or freshers.”

Junior students who are sometimes helpless bystanders or participants often get caught in the ragging circus because they feel they have no options, that the senior students will make life even more difficult if they do not comply, or that ragging is a necessary if annoying part of college life.

It has been noted that professional colleges like engineering and medical institutions or schools and colleges with dormitories are more proneto ragging on campus.

Waving the Red Flag

The argument in favour has long been that ragging is a‘fun’ way for junior and senior students to become acquainted with each other. Perhaps this opinion is a result of lacking induction programs in colleges.

In 2001, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement against ragging, a result of a public interest litigation filed by the Vishwa Jagriti Mission.

Since then, many anti-ragging organizations have surfaced, such as The Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE), founded in 2001. CURE believes that education and awareness, alternate means of interaction and strict implementation of deterring laws can combat ragging.

Definition by law

The Supreme Court of India, in its landmark judgement to‘curb the menace of ragging’ in 2001, defined it as:“Any disorderly conduct whether by words spoken or written or by an act…..or asking the students to do any act or perform something which (the)..student will not do in the ordinary course and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche…..”

Does your college follow SC directives?

The Supreme Court also called for a number of measures. It remains to be seen the extent to which educational institutions follow these, and if they have had any effect in reducing the incidence of ragging.

  1. All educational institutions are supposed to have an anti-ragging cell, body or faculty assigned.
  2. Admission forms are supposed to have a section that mentions that ragging is a punishable offence, with signatures required from students as well as parents.
  3. Failure to curb ragging and spread awareness about its dehumanizing effect is considered an act of negligence on the part of the institution, the principal, hostel wardens and the faculty.
  4. Hostels and dorms are to be carefully guarded

Why are we still ragging?

In a country which professes to value respect for elders, teachers and the act of learning, it is surprising how ragging continues to be flaunted as part of the educational system.

The Supreme Court order also mentions that colleges guilty of allowing or ignoring ragging offences will be disaffiliated from universities and funding to such colleges may also be cut.

Scholarships of students guilty of ragging may be withheld, they may be debarred, suspended or expelled. For someone with a lot of money, power or political connections, is this enough of a deterrent?

In a press release in September 2007, CURE announced–
“CURE research has revealed52 cases of ragging incidentsreported in the online editions of national English media since May 21, 2007 till date…. Preliminary analysis of the cases reveal6 suicides, another 3 attempted suicides, 17cases of reported physical abuse, and several other cases involving sexual, verbal and drug
abuse.”

Ragging will persist as long as students, parents, educational institutions and the general public tolerate it. So the important question is this: What are you going to do about it?

[Bernama] Mindef Completes Probe On Alleged Pakit Camp Ragging Incident


KUCHING, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- The Defence Ministry (Mindef) has completed its probe into the alleged ragging incident involving trainees undergoing advanced recruit training at the Royal Malay Regiment's Pakit Camp, Sri Aman recently.

The Army's First Division (Sabah and Sarawak) Commander Lt-Jen Datuk Muhamad Effendi Mustafa said Thursday that although he could not release the details of the report, action would be taken against the trainees concerned if such allegations of bullying by several officers were found to be not true.

"If they (trainees) are found to be on the wrong side or lying because they were not prepared to undergo rigorous physical training despite wanting to join the army, action will definitely be taken against them," he told reporters during a courtesy call to Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at his office at Menara Pelita, Petra Jaya here.

Muhamad Effendi, 55, who has served in the Army over the past 37 years, will be retiring on January 8 next year after taking up his present appointment here since three years ago.

Last month, he had said that Mindef had set up a special team to investigate the case involving two trainees - Khairul Azzuwan Zainal Rashid and Zarul Fahmi - both 19, who alleged that they were verbally abused, punched, spat at, stamped on and injured by several other officers.

Between 10-20 senior army personnel were alleged to be involved in the incident.

As the trainees could no longer stand the abuse, including being forced to drink firearm cleaning fluid, they relayed the incidents to their families, who eventually lodged police reports at the Sri Aman and Sungai Maong police stations here.

However, Muhamad Effendi said parents should not get involved in their children's training programmes as they had given consent to allow them to join the army.

"Your children want to join the army because they feel that they are men and as such should settle their problems by themselves," he said, adding that some trainees, who were given combat training, had contacted their families to complain about the toughness of training they had to undergo.

He said the recent incident was an isolated case and the officers allegedly involved were now on leave.

-- BERNAMA

Thursday, October 18, 2007

[IE] A very modern rage



We need a reformative rather than a sledgehammer approach to ragging

Ragging needs to be seen, primarily, as an academic issue; although, prima facie, it may seem a ‘law and order’ problem. It involves, besides, the question of one’s upbringing and cultural ambience. The emotional deficit in which children grow up has a direct bearing on this social illness. It was as part of my effort to ensure that St Stephen’s remained free of ragging that I sought to implement the time-tested residence rule that every resident student should be in his room by 10 pm. The events of September 27, the focal point of the media storm, prove the relevance of this rule. To my utter surprise, however, this provoked a media outcry. I was accused of ‘dictatorial inclinations’ and condemned for bringing St Stephen’s under ‘curfew’!

The foremost question on my mind, on returning to St Stephen’s after a lapse of four years, was, ‘How can a sober academic culture be nurtured without dampening the exuberance of Stephanians?’ The main stumbling block in achieving this was, I believe, the re-invention of St Stephen’s as a ‘brand name’. The college was not a brand name when I was a student there in the early seventies or for the greater part of my 30-year-tenure as a member of the faculty. Its evolution as a coveted academic object of desire (not an object of ‘academic desire’) is somewhat a recent invention.

The more affluence spreads and the less students’ physical and intellectual energies are engaged in academic pursuits, the margin for mischief will increase. More stringent legislation and sledgehammer punishments may not be the most appropriate response. Even those who victimise others are victims: victims of a spurious culture.

Ragging is also a mirror to the level of violence in our society. The ‘most ragged person’ in India today is, possibly, the hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha! The culture of robust parliamentary debate is being displaced, increasingly, by violent forms of protest which help to reassure oneself (and one’s party). A similar psychology seems to be at work when ragging takes place. This is not to justify brutal violence. But to assume that educational institutions, and teenagers studying in them, will remain insulated from the cultural climate is na├»ve. Stringent punitive measures are required, but they are inadequate in themselves to eradicate the malady.

A strategy to contain ragging cannot sidestep the issue of parenting. Increasingly, parental affection gets expressed not through quality time spent with children. Money and what it buys are its preferred expressions. As parents we mistake indulgence for caring and bribing children into compliance for obedience. We care for them, but do not train them to feel and care for others — not even ourselves.

It is not my call to defend ‘raggers’. Nor is it an option for me to abandon my students to stigma and life-long trauma merely because it pleases some to insist that what is nothing more than a reprehensible act of indiscipline is an instance of ragging. I have studied the various aspects of the event that occurred in St Stephen’s College on the night of September 27. I have no doubt at all that it is not ragging.

I am as keen as anyone else to eradicate the menace of ragging. But I do not believe that stern policing and destructive, rather than reformative, punishment are the only solutions.

The writer is officiating as principal, St Stephen’s College, Delhi

editor@expressindia.com