Thursday, October 04, 2007
New Delhi, PTI:
From May 21 to September 21, more than 50 cases of ragging, including physical, sexual and verbal abuse have been reported in the national English media, in contrast to only 15 incidents in the same period last year.
Despite the Supreme Court coming down heavily on the practice of ragging, the last four months have seen a spate of reported incidents of senior students mentally or physically abusing freshers, while six cases of alleged ragging-driven suicides came to the fore, a group working for elimination of the menace has said.
In the latest such incident, family members of a student of an Agra engineering college alleged that he was thrown off the third floor of a building by some of his seniors on Monday night, leading to multiple fractures and head injury.
From May 21 to September 21, more than 50 cases of ragging, including physical, sexual and verbal abuse have been reported in the national English media, in contrast to only 15 incidents in the same period last year, the Coalition to Uproot Ragging (CURE) said.
Preliminary analysis of the cases reveals six suicides and three more attempted suicides, Harsh Agarwal of CURE said.
The apex court had on May 16 cracked whip on students indulging in ragging, ordering educational institutions to file FIRs against them and saying that the punishment had to be "exemplary and justifiably" harsh to act as a deterrence against the recurrence of the abhorrent practice.
The court, while accepting most of the recommendations of the Raghavan committee that looked into ways to end the practice of ragging, also put the onus on educational institutions to file a criminal case against the perpetrators of ragging if the victim or the parents failed to do so.
"It is clear that the Supreme Court judgement has not been implemented in letter and spirit by the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders. CURE also observes that despite the Supreme Court emphasising the need for educating the society and spreading awareness on this issue, not much seems to have been done at the national level," the organisation, which also runs a website noragging.com, said.
CURE, founded as an online forum in 2001, believes that along with strict implementation of deterring laws, promotion of more positive ways to increase interaction among seniors and freshers can help combat the menace, Agarwal said.
He said it is equally important to eradicate "misconceptions" about ragging. "Normal educated people also put up arguments that ragging helps in personality development and the practice is harmless if it remains within limits."
"After remaining within strict discipline in school, students in colleges get a sudden freedom, which some of them tend to misuse. When students operate in a group, the mob mentality works and they can easily cross the lines of decency. Moreover, what is harmless ragging depends on the perspective of the person who is at the receiving end."
Agarwal, who says he was forced to abandon his medical studies after being severely ragged, claimed a section of the media "glorifies" ragging. "May be they don't have idea about what type of ragging takes place in medical and engineering colleges, specially in smaller towns."
To spread the word among the student community, CURE plans to observe October 11 as "Anti-Ragging Day" in memory of a Jalandhar student who took his life by jumping before a running train on that day in 2005 after allegedly being severely ragged by his seniors.