Friday, July 11, 2008

[ToI] Ragtime blues: DU does a clampdown

NEW DELHI: If it's friendly ragging that you've been looking forward to with the start of the academic session from July 16, here's a dampener. Delhi University has sent out the message loud and clear to colleges — ragging is not to be allowed. As part of a series of measures based on recommendations of the R K Raghavan committee, colleges will this year not only appoint disciplinary squads, but also step up mobile patrolling in the campus by the Delhi police.

The steps, which have been made mandatory for all colleges, include restricted entry in both hostels and colleges, as well as setting up of a formal redressal system, where students complaints are to be dealt with immediately. Hostels in particular are to be kept under strict vigil, with the university asking college authorities to ensure that regular and unannounced inspections are made. The university in fact has asked colleges not to allow guests to stay in the hostel in the initial few weeks of reopening of the college in the academic session.

Added M M Rehman, deputy proctor, DU, "Delhi police will also be helping us implement these measures. Pickets, especially in front of women's colleges, will be put up and any act of indiscipline and ragging will be dealt with strictly under the university's statutes and ordinances." Sealed complaint boxes are also to be put up in colleges, so that students can file complaints without revealing their identity if they so wish, he added. Extra vigil is also to be kept at all eating joints in the campus area, so that ragging outside college premises does not occur.

The university has also set up two joint control rooms, one each in the north and south campus (north campus: 011-27667221 and south campus: 011-24119832) to take care of complaints that come in.

Colleges meanwhile are also gearing up. Said Ramjas principal, Rajendra Prasad, "We had implemented many of the anti-ragging steps last year itself. A private security agency had been appointed to ensure that security is maintained and to strictly check all identity cards." This year too, the college plans to hand out booklets to new students which will spell out the provisions and rules on ragging in the university. The college will also set up two mobile numbers — of the principal and the administrative in-charge — which will be prominently displayed so students can file any complaints.

Others are following suit. Said a senior teacher in SRCC, "Over the past few years, ragging has been replaced by friendly interactions with senior students. In the hostel though, some incidents of ragging do happen, which is what the college will be keeping a strict eye on this year."

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