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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

[ToI] Engg student kills self, family blames ragging


17 Oct 2007, 0106 hrs IST,Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui,TNN

LUCKNOW: A first-year student of a polytechnic in Pratapgarh died of alleged poisoning early Tuesday, a few days after he told his parents about a ragging ordeal he faced at the hands of senior students. The family of Amit Tiwari, 22, who was studying mechanical engineering at the Government Polytechnic, filed a complaint with the police saying he had been killed by his seniors for going to the authorities against ragging.

Police said Amit was admitted to the civil hospital in Pratapgarh on Monday evening after he complained of vomiting and stomach pain. He was then taken to the Swaroop Rani hospital in Allahabad when his condition deteriorated, but died before being admitted there at around 2 am.

Amit's brother Arun told TOI that during his visit to his family in Unnao on October 10, Amit told him that he was being ragged by his seniors. "He said the juniors were made to strip in front of others and were beaten up when they resisted," Arun said. Polytechnic officials, however, denied that the death was linked to ragging.

Monday, October 15, 2007

[ToI] 'Ragging' for a cause


15 Oct 2007, 0000 hrs IST,Pragya Kaushika,TNN

While St Stephen's College, Delhi University (DU), struggles with its on-campus ragging fracas, a group of students from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), DU, have come up with a way to interact with freshers in a healthy manner. Their version of ragging is a `silent’ (mock) auction that they organise every year, wherein freshers are invited to bid.

On offer at the auction is a range of social meetings with seniors, including coffee dates, counselling sessions and even bike lessons for the fresh batch. The money collected at the auction is used for social causes.

"The bike lessons on offer had many takers, especially from girls," says Raman Dhaliwal, second year student at FMS. Adds Ashish Agarwal, president, Vihaan, FMS' social cell, "Customised homemade food for a week at only Rs 500 was a steal, as was the unlimited chocolate cake and ice-cream treat for Rs 270. It was exciting to have 200 freshers trying to outbid each other."

The event is also a novel way of contributing to society. Informs Neha Bhujang, second year student at FMS, "The fact that we collected around Rs 21,000 during the three-hour event shows how successful the idea is. This year, the highest bid was made for 'Financial Accounting Sessions' conducted by a senior."

The event also helps students to get interested in corporate social responsibility that is gaining popularity among employers. Adds Abhishek, a third year student at FMS, "This year too, Vihaan, our social cell, has decided that the money will be utilised for girl child education, as illiteracy especially of women is a roadblock to our growth."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

[ET] With apologies to Bob Dylan ...


14 Oct, 2007, 0205 hrs IST,Mythili Bhusnurmath, TNN

Last Thursday, 11 October, was ‘No raging day’. Two years ago this day Amit Sahai, a bright student with a promising future who’d joined the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, committed suicide by jumping in front of a running train. He could no longer handle the severe physical and sexual abuse he’d been receiving at the hands of his seniors. Amit could not be saved. But there are countless other Amits whose lives need not be cut short! Or like ....of Apeejay Institute of Architecture and Planning, Noida go through life traumatized by the experience of their first few days in college! But as far as the general public in India is concerned the Amits and .. are just statistics, unfortunate freshers who fell victim to high jinks gone wrong.

Consequently ‘No Ragging Day’ came and went. Unheralded! There were no powerful advertisements of the kind commonly seen on World Literacy Day, World Heart Day, World Standards Day and so on. How many people knew about ‘No Ragging Day’? Or cared? Apart, of course, from the few hundred families who over the years have lost their sons/daughters or seen the future of their children blighted by the actions of some anti-social, nay criminal, youngsters?
And that is the tragedy. Despite the efforts of non-government agencies like the Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE), the Supreme Court’s strictures to colleges following the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee, ragging continues to claim young lives/destroy bright futures.

Sadly such incidents are not limited to institutions of dubious repute but afflict prestigious institutes like IITs, NITs and most recently to the capital’s elitist, St Stephen’s College as well. The problem is the authorities, far from acknowledging the existence of the malaise, and taking stern action, are reluctant to admit the incidents as ‘ragging’ for fear it will sully their reputation (as indeed it should).

In the St Stephen’s case, for instance, the authorities insisted on calling it a ‘prank’. A prank? When a first year student receives burn injuries on his knees and hands? This despite the fact that under the Apex Court’s ruling earlier this year ‘ragging’ is now a cognisable office, requiring the college authorities to lodge an FIR. Instead the perpetrators of the crime got away with suspensions and that too for fairly minor periods. Why? Is it because they have powerful parents?

The Human Resources Minister, Arjun Singh, described higher education in this country as ‘sick’; nowhere is this sickness more manifest than in the abuse, both physical and verbal, meted out to freshers in the name of ragging. Yes, ragging is the symptom of a deeper malaise in society. Students under pressure seek an outlet for their anger and frustration, which is why such incidents are more in professional colleges where the pressure to perform is greater. And as pressures of everyday life increase, anger and frustration levels are bound to increase as seen from the increasingly common incidents of road rage and other violence. People seem ready to resort to violence at the drop of a hat.

Is it any wonder then that from May 21 to September 21, more than 50 cases of ragging, including physical, sexual and verbal abuse were reported in the national English media? In contrast to only 15 incidents were reported in the same period last year, according to CURE. And mind you, ragging is like rape. What gets reported is only the tip of the iceberg.

But it is not as though it cannot be tackled. Simple things like putting all freshers in one hostel, routinely done in RV College of Engineering, Bangalore and IIT Mumbai can do much to reduce such incidents. Staggered entry of fresher and seniors is another simple measure that could help since it gives freshers time to find their feet and make friends among their peer group, thus ensuring some collective strength. Migration/degree certificates could have a provision for incorporating remarks wherein mention can be made regarding the student’s involvement in ragging.

Alternatively, punitive action of the kind suggested by the Raghavan committee of holding back UGC assistance, withdrawing AICTE, MCI, DCI recognition could help. While creating awareness is important, it must be backed by strong deterrent action. The argument of the St Stephens’' authorities that the victim was satisfied with the punishment is no defence. Law must be allowed to take its course.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

[DeccanHerald] TN medical college suspends three for ragging junior


Tiruchirapalli, UNI :

Dr K A P Viswanathan Government Medical College has suspended three third year MBBS students for allegedly ragging a junior student of the college a couple of days back.

Official sources said, based on a complaint from the affected student's father, who is working as a Professor in a private college here, the college administration conducted an enquiry over the incident and cornered three third year MBBS students residing in the college hostel for their involvment in the crime. The students admitted the crime.

Following this, the administration sent a detailed report to the Director of Medical Education (DME) Chennai and based on the direction from the DME, the students were suspended, the sources added. They, however, refused to divulge the names of the suspended students.

[IE] College suspends students in Greater Noida ragging case


Greater Noida, October 12 The six students alleged to have stripped and burnt a first year student at the Apeejay Institute of Architecture and Planning were today suspended from the college. The students — Aditya, Aakash, Farhan, Naman, Prashant and Subur — had allegedly sprayed deodorant and burnt the private parts of Prashant Kumar Agrahi on October 4 in the college hostel.

B R Zaidi, Station House Officer of the Kasna Police Station said, “The boys are absconding and have left the college hostel. We have formed teams to trace them and they will be arrested soon.” The victim said he was earlier also beaten up, stripped, made to dance and later hung from the balcony of one of the higher floors. The decision to suspend was taken after the boy’s father Dhruv Prasad Agrahi approached the police on Thursday, police said.

Agrahi had approached a local television channel and got a complaint registered with the Kasna Police Station, where a case of rioting, criminal intimidation, willfully causing injury and illegal confinement was registered against the accused.

D Rajvanshi, chief of the anti-ragging cell, said, “Keeping in mind the serious nature of the crime, we decided to take such an action. It will also act as a deterrent for other students of the college.” Dhruv Prasad said, “It is important that no student is subjected to serious physical and mental torture in the name of ragging.”

The victim, who is in a state of shock, said, “I was too scared to approach the college authorities. They had threatened me with dire consequences.” He told the authorities and his father about the incident on Monday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

[Yahoo] Keep Chhattisgarh ragging free: Raman Singh


By IANS
Thursday October 11, 02:21 PM


Raipur, Oct 11 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Thursday told the higher education and technical education departments to ensure that no new student is mentally or physically harassed by seniors.

'The chief minister is highly concerned about ragging and wants to make sure that Chhattisgarh does not have any ragging cases,' an official said.

Officials have been told to be in constant touch with college managements and technical institutions to find out if any fresher is being harassed.

The officials have been directed not to hush up any ragging case, even a minor one. The guilty students would be sacked from the institution.

[Yahoo] Apeejay architecture student complains of ragging, torture


By HT
Friday October 12, 01:37 AM


A first year student of Apeejay School of Architecture has lodged a complaint against six seniors, alleging ragging and physical torture.

Prashant Kumar Agrahari's father Dhruv Prasad told the Hindustan Times, "My son was so terrified after the incident that he told us that he would commit suicide and will not go to college. He was getting threats from senior students who had physically tortured him. I had complained to college management on October 8. But no action was taken. On Thursday afternoon, when I called them, they said the Director was out of station and that he would take action on his return."

"Someone has to come forward against the menace of ragging. I decided to fight the menace and took my son to the police station and lodged a complaint," he said. "Though four students were physically tortured by the seniors, no one had the courage to speak up against seniors. Maybe now they too would come forward and raise their voice," said Prasad.

[GreakerKashmir] A torture called Ragging


MANTASHA BIN RASHID

I asked, “is it your uniform ? “, when I saw some dumb looking guys coming out of The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hazratbal, while I was waiting for a bus. I spotted a bunch of students who were juniors to me in the school. Today they appeared very awkward by their very behaviour. I went forth and picked up a friendly chat. They said , “It is no less than a hell inside. From day-one only we are given the set of instructions....Plaited trousers, black school shoes, plain shirt, army cut (one inch hair ), no bags.....either carry your books in a poly bag or in your hand “. We are told to suffocate ourselves by fastening even the collar button of our shirts, one among them said. The other added , “We are made to walk with our heads bowed down as if sinners or some outcasts and to top it all we have to greet every damn senior every damn time we see him “. They said that they walk in to the college surreptitiously like thieves and select the most isolated path to their classroom, so that they are not spotted by the seniors and put to an unjust treatment.

But that is oppression, I thought .” How can you bear that? Why don’t you complain against it ? “To that, one of them smirked saying that the college people have their wonderful bundle of rules. He said , “on the day of my counseling I discovered on the notice board , in there , a notice which read....’ The guy namely this, class this, roll number this was found being harsh and unkind to this and this fresher, therefore his ten E.C marks are deducted”. He said that he was elated, heaved a sigh of relief but today only he came to know that E.C means “extra co-curricular activities” and of course, those marks count nowhere !!!

Finally I spotted a bus coming and stepped in. Their disturbed moods irked me. I said to myself, if in an institute for higher education such mindless acts take place, what is expected of uneducated people? Their saying that they are greeted with third class abuses and teases, because of which a weak hearted friend of theirs decided to quit the course, even after depositing the fee for it, sprang anger in me. I could not believe myself. If educated youth behave so vulgarly, then what purpose does education serve, except for being a license to a job.
I was lost in these thoughts and one more memory stuck in. There is this friend of mine who qualified JKCET and got an admission in the very famous medical college , Srinagar. The other day, she broke down on a senior guy’s remarks who had told her that there is no need to wear a head-gear (scarf) when tomorrow she would elope with someone. How indecent a remark and much poorer the mindset that made him talk such for a person whom he never saw before ! Invasion of liberty, curbing of independence, subjugation, mental torture....we just have a word to define this torture.

My disturbed mind recalled a number of disgusting remarks and provocative words, related to me by my friends in various colleges and the university also. I very well remember that my next door neighbour, who studies in an engineering college, here in the valley, was admitted in hospital after he tried to protest against stripping off his friend on their college campus. Pity. Sheer pity!! We are the people who talk of wrong politics, corruption, our rights as humans; as students, but when we are given a flash of power we become wild beasts! How could the same students turn so hostile to the newcomers, when once...say a year or two back they were standing in their shoes or may be it is just exacting revenge on the poor juniors of what was done to them, some time back.

The whole concept of ragging is inhuman and the worst example of madness in the young community. The same idea of interacting with freshers can be made friendly, hospitable and kind and I believe, that is what humans stand for and should always stand for. When we can’t put off this portrayal of violence and hostility in our lives, how can we dare dream of a better society or a beautiful world?

The bus rattled to last stop for a halt and I realised that I had gone very far in my thoughts and got down from the bus, made a U-turn on my shank’s pony, thanking God that I study in a less famous academic college not in the one famous for this infamous act of ragging.

[ToI] Freshers get extra shield


12 Oct 2007, 0347 hrs IST,Nikhila Henry,TNN

HYDERABAD: Separate buses, separate messes, and staff doing the rounds to keep a protective eye on them. Yes, engineering colleges are going that extra mile to keep the freshers away from the seniors to prevent any incidents of ragging on campuses.

With the new academic year having begun, the administrative wing of many colleges are geared up to prevent ragging. Several colleges have segregated the juniors, including introduction of separate lunch timings so that students do not meet in the canteen or anywhere on the campus. In Vasavi College of Engineering and Nizam’s Institute of Engineering, separate buses are being used to ferry the freshers.

"We are plying separate buses for freshers so that even when they are not on the college premises there will not be any kind of ragging. The extra care is being taken as we do not want any student to be a victim of any kind of pranks," Vasavi College, principal, D Changal Raju said.

Vasavi College has even put the faculty on weekly duties to roam around in the college premises. They have been asked to keep an eye on the students, especially near the parking place, gate, college canteen and also the less frequented places by the students.

Though the college means well, such practices are not very popular among the students. Many students feel that regulations in meeting only increases the differences between various batches. "There will be no sense of unity among the consecutive batches. We will not be able to come together for any kind of competition or other events where the college has to be represented," said, a third year student of Vasavi College, Raghav Jhawar.

Raghav is confident that there will be no case of ragging in his college even if there aren’t any restrictions. However, the college administration feels that it is better not to take a chance and be on the safe side.

Apart from the general preventive measures, CBIT has even introduced separate mess for junior students where the seniors are not allowed. At least two faculty members are posted at the entrance of the mess. "We have staff who are on duty in the buses as well. Staff members stay put after college hours so that students do not stay back to rag," CBIT principal, B Chenna Kesava Rao said.

The freshers feel that though the institutions were going overboard with their protection they are happy with some of the arrangements. "It is nice to know that the college cares for us. We get a protected feeling," a fresher from CBIT, Sri Ramkishore said.

While the colleges are employing their own strategies to prevent ragging they are also trying to involve the police. The colleges have distributed pamphlets with phone numbers of the police.

They have also asked the police to stay put at public places near the colleges, including bus stops where there is a possibility of students to meet.

The restrictions in the colleges will continue till the freshers’ day where the first year students will be formally welcomed and introduced.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

[CURE] Concerned students observe ‘No Ragging Day’

On the call of Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE, www.noragging.com), “No Ragging Day” was observed Nationwide by concerned students today, 11th October. On this very day, in 2005, Amit Sahai of NIT Jalandhar committed suicide due to extreme ragging by jumping in front of a moving train. In the memory of Amit and the memory of all ragging victims, the “No Ragging Day” serves as a constant reminder that the society needs to wipe of ragging from the education system.

Given the recent spat of ragging incidents (52 in number), various deeply concerned college students across the Nation observed the No Ragging Day. Notable were the efforts of the students of Institute of Marketing & Management (IMM) at Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi. The campus was filled with posters on the ills of ragging and how many students have suffered due to this. The college authorities fully supported the campaign and proudly presented itself as a ragging-free campus.

Students at IMM, Qutub Enclave observing the No Ragging Day.

Mehul Tyagi and Lilly Jha (Members, CURE), students of first year spearheaded the campaign and spoke at length about the need of eliminating ragging. All first year students came in white t-shirts and observed 2 minutes silence at 11a.m. to remember all the ragging victims, who lost their life, had to leave college and suffered physical and mental torture. The atmosphere was solemn and many students remembered their days as freshmen and how they faced ragging.

After various rounds of discussion, all students agreed that ragging is a students’ problem and they have to work to uproot it from education. The day ended with a pledge to join CURE and work actively towards a ragging free India.

The “No Ragging Day” has become a symbol of National solidarity on the cause of ragging, where each student of the country is today deeply concerned about the issue. The student community looks for active support from the Ministry and the Supreme court to help achieve a ragging free India.

The No Ragging Day mantra: “No more ragging, no more torture, no more deaths... In friendship,respect and fun, May the New Indian Youth Arise

[Hindu] “No ragging day”


NEW DELHI: “Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education” (CURE), a non-profit organisation dedicated to elimination of ragging in educational institutions, has called for a nationwide observance of “No Ragging Day” on Thursday.

“The day is relevant to not only students but all of us who are concerned about dignity of life. This day coincides with the tragic death of Amit Sahai, an engineering student from Jalandhar, who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on this day in 2005 as he was distressed and depressed due to severe physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his seniors,” it said.

[Hindu] Ragging and its remedies


Valson Thampu

Ragging is an anti-academic pestilence. A recent incident at St. Stephen’s College was something else, an offence of a different kind that led to swift disciplinary action. Correction and reformation, rather than an indiscriminate, iron-fisted approach that advocates handing over college discipline to the police, will be the right answer to ragging — except where serious criminality is involved.

It is necessary to sketch the factual matrix of an event reported by the news media that is sought to be branded as a case of ‘ragging’ at St. Stephen’s College. Late in the night of September 27, 2007, a first year student went to a senior student seeking help in filling up a university form. Three others happened to be in his room and, regrettably, all but one had consumed alcohol. In this less than sober state, it occurred to them to ‘show a magi c’ to their junior. It involved spraying a deodorant on the palm and igniting it. The young man was told this would not hurt. It turned out to be otherwise and, most regrettably, he suffered minor burns on his palm and leg. By 4 a. m. on September 28, the Deputy Dean of Residence visited the affected student and duly informed me at 5.45 a.m. about what had happened. By 8.30 a.m., an inquiry was initiated. Disciplinary action commensurate with the seriousness of the offence was taken soon after.

The following aspects of the event need to be noted. The affected student did not complain to the administration; instead suo motu cognisance was taken of the event. Secondly, the alleged ‘victim’ did not feel ‘ragged.’ There are at least three reasons for it. (a) He went, on his own, to the room of the senior student and participated in the so-called ‘magic’ voluntarily; at no stage and in no manner was he forced or coerced. (b) The event was not pre-meditated whereas ‘ragging’ is always pre-meditated. (b) In ragging the initiative is with the ‘raggers’; in this event the initiative, up to the ‘magic’ stage, was wholly with the affected student. Thirdly, it was evident to the student that three of the four seniors in the room were not in a sober state. It would have been wiser for him to leave the room and report the matter to the block tutor or the Dean, as drinking is strictly prohibited in residence. Instead, he stayed on. Fourthly, it was past midnight and residence rules required him to be in his room by 10 p.m. Fifthly, a science student at the college level should have known that fire hurts, and not lapped up the canard that it doesn’t. The event would certainly have amounted to ragging if he was forced against his will to participate in the ‘magic.’ Insisting that an event that issues from voluntary choice and participation is ‘ragging’ amounts to semantic inexactitude. The foregoing assessment is in sync with the Supreme Court’s definition of ‘ragging’ cited in the Raghavan Committee Report.

Ragging, undeniably, is an anti-academic pestilence. St. Stephen’s stands in full solidarity with the University and the University Grants Commission on this issue. But we are concerned about, indeed deeply disturbed by, the overall approach and the prescription in the Raghavan Committee Report. The recent case of alleged ragging makes it necessary, and opportune, to place on the table some of these concerns. It is done to ensure that the remedy we embrace does not become, in course of time, worse than the malady we seek to eradicate.
Indiscriminate overkill

The real problem with the Raghavan Committee Report is that it prescribes a heavy-handed, bureaucratic approach to the menace of ragging. Admittedly, ragging in its extreme and barbaric form moves into the zone of criminality and needs to be dealt with as such. But ragging varies in form and degree of severity quite dramatically. Also, not every case of indiscipline amounts to ragging. The indiscriminate overkill implied in the Raghavan Committee’s approach is a cause for alarm. According to its Report, the “time has come to treat every single incident of ragging, however isolated or ‘mild’ or ‘positive’ it may appear, with the heaviest hand possible” (emphasis added).The consequences of such an indiscriminate, iron-fisted approach are bound to be highly damaging in practice.

It will alienate students from teachers; erode institutional authority; infect the life of institutions with hostility and distrust; and ruin the very spirit of living and learning together. The harm this can do may vary from institution to institution. Colleges like Stephen’s that are strongly residential stand to suffer the worst. We believe that a caring culture, marked by mutual trust, concern for each other’s well-being, a profound sense of belonging together, and an abiding sense of institutional solidarity, collegiality, and shared responsibility, comprises the essence of life in Stephen’s. Our college is not a carry-home knowledge outlet. It is an academic family. Seen from its ethos, the obligation to file First Information Reports (FIRs) against students each time a prank is played or an act of indiscipline is committed is like forcing a father to call in the police each time his children quarrel with, or hurt, one another. The very idea is hopelessly out of place. In fact, it is out of place in every educational institution that values the student-teacher relationship as the hub of education.

In point of fact, this is not what the Raghavan Committee Report envisages, although this is the notion that most people, including some who ought to know better, seem to entertain. What the Report says is: “Where the victim or his/her parent/guardian is not satisfied with the action taken by the Head of the institution or by other institutional authorities, or where the Head of the institution is of the opinion that the incident ought to be so reported, it must be mandatory for the institution to file a First Information Report with the local police authorities.” The Committee was also concerned, quite rightly, that dealing with ‘raggers’ should not result in ‘criminalising’ them. So it recommended that “rather than subjecting each incident of ragging to a different penal treatment under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, a new section should be added to the IPC, making ragging a punishable offence on the analogy of section 498A dealing with cruelty towards women [against dowry related incidents].” Until this is done, filing an FIR against ‘raggers’ will amount to an abdication of responsibility on the part of the heads of institutions. It is unthinkable that educators can be indifferent to the stigma and trauma inherent in criminalising students in this way, which will be all the more lamentable when the ragging in question is ‘mild’ or ‘positive.’ Filing an FIR is welcome, of course, in instances of brutal or excessive ragging.

Uncertainty prevails about where indiscipline ends and ragging begins. The Raghavan Committee presumes that the moral formation of teenagers should be complete and perfect by the time they enter the portals of higher education — so that there need be no margin for error or mischief for them. One wonders when and where such an ideal world existed. Surely, all of us have learned also through our mistakes. If at the first mischief perpetrated we were branded or blasted out of sight, not many of us would have survived to tell our hallmark stories. Of course, memory keeps poorly. If only we would recall our own teetering teenage steps, we would be less sanctimonious and more compassionate and argue for a humane and corrective approach.

The ‘deterrence’ approach rules out scope for correction and reformation. This, not less than ragging, is a serious hindrance to education. Perhaps there is a way (even though it may lack the attraction of being a short-cut) of dealing with the menace of ragging other than that of destroying the raggers. Shouldn’t we try, first, to reform the young men and women who indulge in ragging, except when serious criminality is involved? Are we sure that enough is being done in this regard?
Simplistic approach

Discipline, not destruction, building up, not bludgeoning, is germane to education. A college does not exist for eradicating ragging. It exists primarily to impart education. It is to preserve the academic culture of our educational institutions that ragging needs to be eradicated. The Raghavan Committee Report, arguably out of a laudable intention, appears at times to assume the contrary. Its approach to the problem of ragging is simplistic; structured operatively on the dogma of deterrence; insensitive to the nuances of the learning milieu; and blind to the enormous variations among educational institutions around the country. The cavalier abandon with which it advocates the handing over of college discipline to agencies extraneous to it, especially the police, is alarming.

Let it not be overlooked that in the first nine weeks of the first term, hardly any instance of ragging occurred at St. Stephen’s College. The facts of the case show that what happened at the end of the first term was not ragging by any stretch of the imagination. There has been a tremendous improvement in this respect in college life owing to the many imaginative measures and exercises undertaken. It is a pity that all the constructive measures undertaken through the term are brushed aside and the spotlight is put solely on a stray incident that is stretched and distorted to fit the bill of ragging. By doing so, a gross injustice is being done not only to the four young men involved, but also to an institution that has served this country with devotion and distinction for over a century and a quarter.

(The author is Principal [OSD], St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.)

[IE] Now, CURE for ragging with a red-letter day


PALLAVI SINGH
New Delhi, October 10


“You call it ragging, but it is humiliation and should be banned. It is, but every day students are ragged in the college. They are made naked and ordered to do bad things. This all has brought me to this point. I can’t tell it even to my parents. It is not justified but I can’t bear it any more.”

This is the suicide note that Amit Sahai, an engineering student at NIT Jalandhar, wrote just before jumping in front of a speeding train. Amit didn’t survive but his suicide has become a symbolic act for suffering.

Two years after he died, the Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE), a non-profit organisation dedicated towards elimination of ragging in universities and colleges, has decided to celebrate his death anniversary on October 11 as No Ragging Day.

The immediate impetus comes after the rise in the number of such cases in the country. According to data compiled by CURE, more than 55 cases of ragging, including six suicides and three attempted suicides, were reported in the last four months.

“The figures reflect a three times increase in ragging cases during the same period last year are grim,” says Harsh Agarwal, one of the founding-members of CURE and a consultant to the Supreme Court-appointed R K Raghavan Committee on ragging. Harsh dropped out of a medical college in Allahabad in 2001 after putting up with month-long ragging by his seniors at the college. A few months later, he joined Delhi University's Hans Raj College and founded the group along with two of his friends.

In its sixth year now, CURE has compiled a comprehensive list of ragging cases that was used as a reference point by the Raghavan panel during the compilation of its report on ragging. “We made three presentations before the panel and our group finds 12 references in the report,” says Varun Aggarwal, another member who founded the group while he was still studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in United States.

“When we began, we would receive several hate mails and threat calls. But we kept compiling the data on ragging, as there was none available at that time. Soon, we started getting mails and requests for membership,” Aggarwal says. With 450 members spread nationwide and a website that receives 5,000 visitors per month, CURE has even launched a newsletter on ragging. And, with the latest initiative on marking a No Ragging Day, the organisation hopes to spread the word further.

On Thursday, it exhorts college students to wear white T-shirts, observe two-minute silence and educate their friends about ragging. And, to make sure that the effort is well-recorded, CURE has also invited pictures or write-ups from students on how they observed the day. The entries can be mailed at cure@noragging.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

[Chowk] Ragging: A Sickness in our Educational System and Society

Rohit Chopra
October 9, 2007


Over the last few months, the Indian media has carried stories about incidents of ragging at Indian colleges, including at some of India's most prestigious and well-known institutions (1). The incidents, several of which involve acts of brutal violence perpetrated on helpless first year students by groups of senior students, raise many disturbing questions: why does this culture of violence exist among Indian students and Indian society? It is an article of faith among the Indian middle classes that only the Indian masses are capable of irrational violence. Yet the children of the middle classes, fed on a steady diet of ambition, trained in the best schools and coaching classes, deprived of very little compared to millions in India, are the ones, who, like characters in The Lord of the Flies, commit these acts of savagery. Why do these students think that they have the license to humiliate their fellow students? For that matter, why does an individual think that he or she has the birthright to denigrate or assault another individual?

Clearly a deep-rooted malaise in Indian educational system, ragging is simultaneously a symptom of a deeper sickness in Indian society. The website and blog No Ragging(2), bears testimony to the urgent response necessitated by the situation.

I had the unpleasant experience of being ragged on two occasions, when I joined Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, as a high school student in 1989: the first time when I started attending the school, and the second time, when I joined the boarding attached to the school a couple of months later. It was supposed to be something that all 'freshers' went through. In retrospect, it seems that my experience of ragging was not very severe, at least not compared to the incidents that I read about in the Indian press. That experience, which somewhat soured my years in the otherwise highly rated school and hostel, has given me some clear insights into the nature of ragging and the mechanisms by which it perpetuates itself.

First, the objective of ragging is humiliation. It allows an individual or group to express and savor a sense of power and control over another individual or group. It was not surprising that the most active participants in the ragging exercises in the DPS hostel were the two biggest thugs and bullies in the boarding school: one, from Bihar, was pathologically violent and the other, an international student from Bhutan, was a self-appointed dada type who saw it as his moral duty to regulate all behavior in the hostel. I do not mean to single out any community as especially guilty in this regard. Everyone in the hostel, including Jats, Biharis, Manipuris, Bengalis, and Punjabis, participated equally in the activity. If these two individuals had not been there, two or four others would have taken their place. In general, the most obnoxious individuals at the forefront of the ragging exercises were chronic bullies, who would boast about their wealth and their family and political connections, which, they believed and claimed made them immune from any punishment by the school authorities.

Second, in the absence of clear institutional rules about ragging, which are regularly and consistently enforced against offenders, individuals will violate the rights of other individuals. It is a myth that individuals will regulate themselves in accordance with the principles of non-violence, amity, and harmony. Human beings may not be innately violent. They are not necessarily intrinsically peace-loving either. A clear and consistent policy about punishing anyone who oppresses another person and well-defined mechanisms for accountability are an absolute must in Indian schools and colleges if ragging has to stop. I believe that Indian educational institutions have a lot to learn from the American educational system in this regard. It is not the case that there are no incidents of ragging--termed 'hazing' here-- in American educational institutions, but policies, response measures, campus safety provisions, and the threat of lawsuits ensure that such incidents are kept to a minimum and offenders are adequately prosecuted.

Third, and related, educational spaces in India have to be immunized from outside interference by powerful people, whether politicians, businesspersons, or criminals. In several of the conflicts that I witnessed as a resident of the DPS hostel, the parties involved—often students from different Indian states or regions— would threaten to bring in 'manpower' from Delhi University, or get the help of some politicians and their goons, to sort out the other side. A lot of this was bluster, but it was not clear how the school authorities negotiated the impact of such external influences on the everyday functioning of the school. Even if the school did possess autonomy from such external influence, it was not clearly communicated to all the students.

Fourth, the violence of ragging is structured to perpetuate itself. It is not uncommon to hear some college students say that they enjoyed being ragged and that it was a part of the college experience. Accordingly, these students say that they want to have the chance to rag others, to make them feel at home, if you please. This is sophistry. The desire to rag someone else is a desire to shake off the humiliation of having been ragged. That anger comes out on the next
innocent victim. The claim that one's experience of being ragged was fun, likewise, is a shallow pretence that the experience did not involve any sense of an abject inequality of power.

I am proud to say that when the 11th standard (1989) batch of the DPS Mathura Road hostel moved to the 12th standard, we decided by consensus that there would be no ragging from then on. At the same time, the school authorities were also whittling down the number of students admitted each year to the hostel, partly to renovate the hostel, but partly, I believe, to get an opportunity to change the culture of hostel life. Almost two decades have passed since then, and
I do not know what the situation is like now. And, while my experience of ragging was relatively mild, it has lingered in my memory at least to the extent that reading an article about ragging compelled me to write this piece. I should also add, I have only been back to DPS Mathura Road once since graduating in 1991.


Links:

1.www.ibnlive.com/news/st-stephens-students-suspended-for-ragging--be-a-cj/49931-3.html
2.http://noragging.blogspot.com/2007/08/ie-ragging-cept-takes-action-against.html

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

[HT] ‘Legal teeth for ragging panel’


With about 53 cases of ragging reported from different parts of the country this year, the government is considering giving legal backing to recommendations of the Raghavan Committee report to check the menace.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has mooted a proposal to make changes in the UGC Act to provide for action against institutions not following the Raghavan Committee’s recommendations.

The committee had recommended to the Supreme Court earlier this year that an FIR should be registered against students accused of ragging and the institutions should set up a mechanism to prevent ragging in campuses and hostels.

In absence of any legal backing, the UGC found that it cannot force institutions to implement its recommendations.

As in the case of the recent ragging in St. Stephens College, the UGC can only seek a report and advise the institution to follow the recommendations. “We cannot even withhold the financial grant,” a UGC official commented, when asked about the commission’s powers to check ragging.

Now, the UGC is looking at providing legal backing to the Raghavan Committee recommendations in the UGC Act to make them effective. “We are considering a proposal in this regard,” said UGC member-secretary Tilak Raj Khem. Once finalised, it would be forwarded to the HRD ministry for final approval, he added.

Before a legislation on ragging, penal provisions against those running fake universities could come into force. The UGC has already submitted a proposal to the HRD ministry to enhance the fine for setting up a fake university and incorporate a provision for a jail-term. Under the present UGC Act, only a fine of Rs 1,000 can be imposed.

“A jail-term would be a deterrence to set up a university not approved by the UGC,” Khem said.

[ToI] 8 girls arrested on ragging charges


BHOPAL: For the first time since universities and colleges were ordered by the Supreme Court to crack down on ragging, eight women students were arrested on Monday on charges of ragging juniors, two of whom had to be hospitalised.

Police arrested the eight students of the Institute of Hotel Management in Bhopal for ragging 17 first-years last Wednesday.

Two of the junior students had collapsed after being made to stand for hours while their seniors abused them and asked embarrassing questions.

Five of the eight accused are from Mumbai, one from New Delhi, one from Hyderabad and one from Bareilly. Police said the eight were arrested in the presence of their parents who were summoned by the institute authorities. They were, however, released on bail, police said.

The accused were identified as Kawaljeet Kaur Sethi, Upasana Goel, Neha Khanna, Dipti Mirke, Joseline Maria Pinto, Rohini Oberoi, Heena Ishaq Mohiddin and Shubhi Walia.

The students wouldn't get away without punishment because a day after the ragging took place police had registered a case under Sections 294 (obscenity), 323 (causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of IPC against them.

[CURE] Nationwide No Ragging Day on October 11th


NO RAGGING DAY: Your participation makes a difference

Once again, shocking cases of ragging have been reported from various parts of the country in the past few days, involving deaths of several innocent students, severe physical assaults & injuries, mental trauma, mob & campus violence etc. Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) calls for a nationwide observance of

"No Ragging Day" on Thursday, October 11th, 2007.

The day is relevant to not only students but all of us who are concerned about dignity of life.

This day coincides with the tragic death of Amit Sahai, an engineering student from NIT Jalandhar who committed suicide by jumping in front of a running train on the same day in the year 2005 distressed and depressed due to the severe physical and sexual abuse at hands of his seniors.
AMIT SAHAI'S SUICIDE NOTE:
"You call it ragging but it is humiliation and should be banned. It is, but everyday students are ragged in the college. They are made naked and ordered to do bad things. This all has brought me to this point. I can't tell it even to my parents. It is not justified but I can't bear it any more."

REMEMBER:
On this day, we remember all the students who have lost their lives due to ragging (31 till date), all students who were compelled to leave college and couldn't pursue higher studies, all students who suffered seriously from physical, sexual and mental torture and lost the basic human right of 'life with dignity' on name of ragging.

MANTRA:
'No more ragging, no more torture, no more deaths... In friendship, respect and fun, May the New Indian Youth Arise'

ACTIVITY:
--MUST DO--
* College students to wear white t-shirt
* Observe 2 minute silence at 11 a.m. to remember all students who lost their life due to ragging.
* Educate two of your friends about ragging and why it is wrong. Refer http://www.noragging.com/analysis/CR2007_05-16_RaggingInIndiaSummary.pdf
--ALSO DO--
* If you are a senior student, treat at least one fresher at the canteen and re-affirm your friendship.
* Put "No Ragging Day" poster (attached with this mail) on the notice board/college premises/hostel etc.

SOME FACTS:
* Ragging is not a traditional Indian custom, it was imported from the Brits pre-independence. The whole world is ragging free today, except the Indian sub-continent.
* Ragging is not harmless jokes or teasing, it has led to sexual abuse, physical injury and deaths.
* There have been more than 55 cases of ragging (including 6 suicides and 3 attempted suicides) reported in last 4 months, which is a more than three time increase over last year during the same period.
* Over the last 10 years, 31 lives were lost due to ragging.
* In all ragging cases reported, more than 30% are sexual abuse and a whooping 60% has led to serious physical injury and hospitalization.

We request all of you to sincerely observe this day and SPREAD the message.

Please send us the pictures or write-up of how you observed the day on cure@noragging.com
Do simply email your name, stream/occupation and email ID (optional) to us if you are with us in this campaign.


Thanks

Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE)

cure@noragging.com
www.noragging.com

Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) , estd in 2001, is a non-profit organisation dedicated solely towards the elimination of ragging and promotion of more positive ways of interaction among seniors and freshers in Indian Universities and Colleges. It is the only organization world-wide maintaining data and statistics on ragging and worked closely with the Raghavan Committee (MHRD) on the report submitted to the Supreme Court of India. CURE was referenced more than 12 times in the report and provided a list of 250 ragging cases as a crucial evidence about how widespread ragging is.


For further details please contact cure@noragging.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

[ToI] Student ragged, stripped in Bhopal hostel


8 Oct 2007, 0235 hrs IST,TNN

BHOPAL: A shocking incident of ragging, coupled with an attempt at sexual assault, has been reported to the Madhya Pradesh police just two days after two first-year girl students of the Institute of Hotel Management in Bhopal were hospitalised following an alleged ragging session.

Engineering student Vishal Sharma has charged that his seniors beat him up, tonsured his head and shaved off his moustache on Friday night. They also apparently forced him to consume liquor with them, and made him dance for hours after stripping him - shockingly, they also tried to sexually assault him, according to the case filed.

Police registered a case of physical assault and hurt against the two senior who were involved in the act after the boy's father filed a complaint. One of the accused, Neeraj Kumar, was arrested on Sunday evening. Director of the institute Naeem Khan said eight senior students have been suspended.

The victim, a 19-year-old freshman of BE (Information Technology) at the Sree Institute of Science and Technology, is from Shivpuri district. He is the son of Congress leader in Gwalior-Chambal division Mahendra Sharma. Vishal, whose first semester started just 25 days ago, was staying at the reputed Utkarsh Students' Hostel in Lal Ghati area.

The hostel accommodates around 100 boys - 60 freshmen of the same engineering college, 20 seniors and 20 from other engineering colleges in Bhopal.

"From the beginning, they used to abuse and beat me up for no reason. When I told my father, he said it wouldn't last long. They would drink and force freshers to join them. But on Friday night, their torture crossed all limits," Vishal said.

Vishal said it was not just him but many other freshers too who were subjected to similar treatment. However, some students don't protest because their parents had spent a lot of money for their admission and they could not back out because of the ragging, he said.

Vishal added that two of his seniors - Kunal Chaudhary and Neeraj Kumar - had called him to their room on Saturday morning around 1 am. Traumatised Vishal now doesn’t want to go back to the same college and says he will not stay in a hostel again.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

[Statesman] UGC seeks report on ‘ragging’


Statesman News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct. 5: The University Grants Commission (UGC) today sought a report from the capital’s prestigious St Stephen’s College following reports that a student suffered burn injuries in an alleged ragging incident. The UGC has also issued instructions to all colleges and universities to take preventive measures against ragging.

“The UGC will write to the college authorities seeking details of the incident. We will also ask them to take necessary action in this regard,” the UGC chairman, Mr Sukhdeo Thorat, said.
Deepayan Mukherjee, a chemistry (honours) student hailing from Kolkata, suffered burn injuries on 27 September after four “inebriated” seniors allegedly sprayed deodorant and threw a burning matchstick on him.

According to college officials it was “not a case of ragging” and they were treating the matter as a “closed chapter” as the victim has no complaints. The college has suspended four second-year students allegedly involved in the incident. “It is treated as a closed chapter. Neither the person affected by it nor his father or mother has any complaints,” said the principal, Mr Valson Thampu.

Mr Rajendra Prasad, a member of the Raghavan Committee that framed guidelines for dealing with ragging cases, however, said that it appeared to be a case of “severe ragging” as there are marks of injuries on the knees and hands of the student. The victim’s father, Mr Jiban Chakrabarty, said he was satisfied with the college authorities for punishing the culprits. “But at the same time, college officials have to explore more avenues so that such incident do not recur,” he said.

[IE] JU ragging: Student unions divided


Kolkata, October 05 Jadavpur University (JU) remained on tenterhooks today with students’ unions protesting against the ragging incident, in which five students were punished.

Though classes were not interrupted, tension prevailed on the campus throughout the day.

Representatives of Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students’ Union (FETSU) on Friday resigned from their respective posts. “As students’ representative, we cannot support ragging. We have, therefore, decided to step down,” said one of the representatives.

On the other hand, SFI representatives protested the FETSU’s stand on its decision to reprimand students for ragging.

Uttio Basu, SFI local committee secretary, said that since all the accused students are affiliated to the FETSU, it is putting pressure on JU authorities to let off their members.

Five students in the engineering department were punished for ragging a junior on Wednesday. Two of the accused — Chittaranjan Burma and Milton Baidya of the civil and mechanical engineering departments respectively — were suspended for the coming semester scheduled to begin from January 2008.

Kaji Imam Alam of the chemical engineering department and electronic engineering student Nilanjan Biswas were suspended from the hostel for a year.

The executive council, the university’s highest policy-making body, decided to punish the boys on the basis of a recommendation of the institution’s anti-ragging committee. A first-year student had lodged a complaint with the authorities in the third week of August, alleging that he had been subjected to ragging.

The complaint was forwarded to the anti-ragging committee, which held a month-long inquiry and found the five students guilty.

The FETSU members gheraoed the executive committee members when they were about to decide the penalty for the accused students. The students said that they were protesting against the exam regulations and the publication of the results of the supplementary examinations demanding them to be declared on time.

Rajat Bandopadhyay, Registrar of Jadavpur University, however, claimed that the punishment was nothing severe.

“We took the decision as it might act as a deterrent and the students will not repeat such actions in future,” added Bandopadhyay.

Following a Supreme Court order banning ragging in all educational institutions, the University Grants Commission had made it compulsory for all universities to set up panels to check ragging and bring offenders to book.

Bandopadhyay added that the university is deciding on having a separate hostel for each year.

“The students of all years will be separated and kept in different hostels. Their is a certain possibility of such decision in near future and we will take up the matter in executive committee meeting,” he said.

[CNN-IBN] Bhopal girls ragged, lodge complaint against seniors


Bhopal: The ragging menace has resurfaced yet again. After Delhi’s St Stephens' College, which has been in the news for an incident of ragging, it’s now the turn of Bhopal.

Two girls, who are students at the Indian Institute of Hotel Management in Bhopal, reportedly fainted during ragging on Friday.

The girls, who have been admitted to the hospital following the incident, have lodged a complaint against their seniors alleging that they had been ragged.

A case has now been registered by the Bhopal police against eight students of the institute.

Four St Stephens' students were suspended after they allegedly sprayed a first year student with cologne and threw a matchstick on him.

Friday, October 05, 2007

[Newstrack] Retribution gets harsh….A student ragged and thrown down from fourth floor of a hostel in Agra


By Binita Tiwari
New Delhi


Oct 04: The reports of several abuses in the shadow of ragging are clogging our ear…

Abdul Wahab becomes another victim of ragging as he refused to pay Rs 2000 to his seniors for drinking. The seniors threw him from the fourth floor of college hostel in Agra. Wahab ended up injuring his legs and spinal cords and was rushed to hospital by his friends.

The incident occurred on the unfortunate night of Monday October 01, 2007 when Abdul was studying in his room at the third floor of his hostel and suddenly some seniors entered in his room and started harassing him and asked Rs 2000, if Abdul wanted to remain in the college.

Abdul refused to pay as a result he was thrashed and then dragged to fourth floor from where he was pushed down.

The victim is a second year BTech student of Anand Engineering College; he was taken to Kamyani hospital in Agra.

The victims’ father has alleged that his son has complaint several time of being harassed by the senior students for past few days.

The victim’s father at Sikandra police station has lodged an FIR on Wednesday after the police intervention.

The college authority had told Wahab’s parents not to report the matter to police, as it would ruin the victims’ career if an FIR had been filed.

The college administration has refused to take the incident as a matter of ragging but have constituted to probe the incident.

Dean of the College J S Yadav tried to hide the matter and cited that personal enmity could have led this incident. But he promised to punish the culprits.

Meanwhile the police investigation team is waiting for Abdul’s recovery to record his statement.

Doctors in the hospital are yet to know the extent of his injury.

Ragging a growing menace…

Victimisations had not stopped by the perpetrators of these crimes who feel that they have got all the legal documents and abused juniors in the name of raging.

Recently a student of engineering college in Lucknow was taken to psychiatric centre after ragging left him traumatised. The symptoms were found to be the case of psychosis.

In another incident a student committed suicide after getting harassed by seniors.

There are many such cases, which go unreported.

A committee headed by former CBI director R.K Raghvan reached out to a conclusion and recommended that the primary responsibility for curbing ragging lies with the academic institution.

The committee mentioned the adverse impacts of ragging on higher education, and perceived ragging as failure to inculcate human values from the schooling stage, and suggested punishment to deter its recurrence.

R K Raghavan had also drawn a social profile of the victims and found that most of the ragging victims were either from rural areas or socially backward communities.

A social group, Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) had reported 52 cases and 6 suicidal cases since the May 2007 Supreme Court’s directive to take appropriate measures to curb ragging.

The present laws should be modified to tackle and discouraged ragging in any form but the ragging still seems to go unchecked ….

Presently, anti-ragging measures are limited to provisions in the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and Government orders.

Ragging that means to break the ice between freshers and seniors in academic institution has taken an ugly turn in due course of time…

It is becoming too late…for if this format of ragging continues; there will be phobia among students and parents to send their children for higher studies.

[Telegraph] Burning ‘game’ at Stephen’s


Calcutta boy set on fire during suspected ragging session

CHARU SUDAN KASTURI
St Stephen’s College


New Delhi, Oct. 3: A Calcutta boy studying at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College has complained to college authorities that he was set on fire during a ragging session.

College authorities have confirmed the episode, which occurred on the night of September 27, but said it was an “accident” and not a case of ragging.

The former student of St Xavier’s School, Calcutta, suffered burns on his hands and knees after seniors sprayed him with deodorant and threw a burning match at him.

A first-year Chemistry Honours student, the boy is now back with his family in Calcutta, the college authorities have told The Telegraph.

The victim reluctantly confirmed the incident, and the burns to his knees and hand, but said he did not wish to pursue the matter further. “Whatever punishment has been handed out to them is more than enough,” he said, speaking from Calcutta. The boy also felt that the match was not thrown with intent to harm him.

Four second-year students who attacked the boy have been penalised, the college authorities said.

“Three of them, who were drunk, have been punished more severely than the fourth,” a senior college official said. The three have been suspended for one year from the hostel, and for a month from classes.

The fourth, who the college authorities say was sober, has been suspended for one month from classes and the hostel — called the “Residence” in St Stephen’s lingo.

St Stephen’s authorities, however, did not agree that the incident is a case of ragging and said it was a “game”.

“Students often play a game... spraying deodorant on their hands, and setting a match to it. It burns at a low temperature, and so does not hurt the skin. They were indulging in the same game,” an administrator said.

The college admits, however, that the victim and his friends did not see the incident as a “game”.

According to the college authorities, a group of the victim’s friends, led by a second-year student, “attacked” the four boys who set him on fire, “dragged them” and “beat them up”.

The second-year student who led the retaliation has also been suspended for one month from classes and hostel.

Under Supreme Court guidelines, put in place by a committee headed by former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan, college authorities who receive a complaint of ragging from a student should “immediately” register a case with police.

“It is recommended that the college authorities should first file a case, and then continue their internal investigation,” Rajendra Prasad, one of the members of the Raghavan committee, said.

If the victim or his parents are not satisfied with the action — or the lack of it — that the college authorities have taken, they can file a second complaint with the college, following which the institute authorities have to go to the police, Prasad explained.

“The victim or his parents can also approach the police directly if the college ignores the second plea. Then the college is also accountable,” Prasad added.