Friday, May 18, 2007

[IE] A father remembers: Ragging destroyed my life

Indu Anto’s father is now in Kerala, nursing his ailing wife. She never recovered, and the case continues 8 years later

Priyanka Bhosale & Irada P P

Mumbai, May 17: Eight years after his daughter jumped from the terrace of her two-storey college hostel building, C L Anto (54) is a tired man. But never too tired to talk about his daughter, or about ragging, anti-ragging measures and police action against college seniors who may enjoy a little fun at the expense of a fresher’s humiliation.

For, Anto believes strongly that his daughter Indu, then 16, was led to suicide on August 4, 1998, following some vicious ragging sessions. Welcoming Wednesday’s Supreme Court order making First Information reports mandatory in all ragging complaints, Anto says: “The Bombay Ragging Act of 1999, which came into effect after my daughter died, should be implemented with retrospective effect. And institutions should be held solely responsible for all ragging incidents.”

Talking to Newsline from Chalakkudy, a town in Thrissur, Kerala, Anto says he is in Mumbai whenever the case warrants. A little over five years ago, the Bombay High Court directed the Mumbai Police to reinvestigate after Anto sought a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry. “The magistrate hearing the case in the Girgaum court has been transferred to the Bandra court,” he explains. “Since he has extensively heard the matter, we are waiting for the case to be transferred.”

Currently nursing his sick wife, who he says never really recovered from the shock of Indu’s death, Anto says he gets emotional only whenever he talks about Indu in court. Accused in the case are two girls who were senior to Indu in college, whose names she had penned in her diary as “raggers”. “Apart from them, I had filed cases against the warden, the then college principal, vice-principal and present principal.” He even filed cases against a slew of police officers, accusing them of destroying evidence.

Stressing the need for better monitoring mechanisms on campuses, Anto says that the order against ragging is at least partly a result of his sustained efforts, but the battle is far from over. “I am not a beneficiary of this case,” he stresses. “I am just doing this for other parents and students.”

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