Saturday, February 03, 2007
Web posted at: 2/3/2007 3:9:29
Source ::: The Peninsula
Thiruvananthapuram • A female nursing student, who had changed her college after being ragged, was found with a slashed vein at the SN Trust Nursing College hostel at Kollam, yesterday. The 19-year-old victim was out of danger, according to hospital authorities.
The second year nursing student told the police that unidentified assailants had attacked her in the hostel toilet around Thursday midnight. But the victim’s version was rebutted by her roommates who alleged it was a self-inflicted wound, possibly a suicide bid. The police said the hostel premises were secure enough that outsiders would find it difficult to sneak in without alerting the inmates.
The ragging incident at the School of Medical Education last year had kicked off a major controversy, first with the Opposition student unions unleashing a campaign against the “indifference” of the school authorities and later on account of the Court direction, asking the victim also to take a lie-detector test.
The Kottayam police had charge-sheeted nine persons, including six students, on the basis of their investigations and the complaint filed by the victim. The prosecution had charged Renjit Varghese, a senior student, with raping the student at the college, run by Mahatma Gandhi University.
The then Congress-led Government placed two officials under suspension, after which the college expelled the accused students.
On June 2 last year, Justice J M James of the High Court directed both assailants and the victim to subject themselves to scientific investigation, after noting discrepancies in statements made by the victim and parents. The new Left Government filed an appeal against the High Court’s verdict.
The judgment was significant since the higher judiciary in the country had laid down landmark judgments that allow the police to proceed in rape cases, taking the victim’s statement at face value.
Women’s organisations have held that the victim of rape should not be subjected further stress on the account of evidence-taking since she was already traumatised by the first tragic experience.
The victim hails from a poor family and had joined the graduate nursing course programme in the hope of landing an overseas job.