Monday, January 04, 2010

18 KEM students arrested for ragging juniors inside hostel

Ahmed Ali & Malathy Iyer, TNN 4 January 2010, 03:11am IST

MUMBAI: The Bhoiwada police on Sunday evening arrested 18 students from KEM Hospital’s physiotherapy and occupational therapy streams for ragging 10 younger students within their hostel premises in Naigaum on Saturday evening.

Ten freshers had filed a complaint against their seniors with the police as well as the medical college authorities, saying they were allegedly asked to strip, use lewd language and perform mock sexual acts.

On Sunday morning, acting on the complaint, KEM Hospital authorities called an urgent meeting of the anti-ragging committee to discuss the incident. “Our inquiry confirmed that ragging had indeed taken place and we thereafter lodged a police complaint,’’ said deputy dean Dr N D Bhonsale. The hospital is also likely to announce disciplinary action against the offenders within the next seven days, as stipulated in the anti-ragging legislation.

Vikram Patil, senior inspector of the Bhoiwada police station said, “We have registered an offence against the students under various sections of the IPC and under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act of 1999.’’

Dr Sanjay Oak, dean and director of KEM Hospital, Parel, told TOI that “the younger students were asked to use lewd langauge and enact some sexual acts. There is no doubt that this definitely amounts to ragging. We cannot take such acts lightly and have to send a stern message’’.

A relative of one of the 18 students arrested told TOI that “the student called up his parents and told them that he and his friends had watched 3 Idiots and were inspired to indulge in ragging’’.

He also said that the hospital’s 20-member committee was studying the action to be taken against the offenders. “The law allows the institute to expel the students, remove them from the hostel and lodge a police complaint, among other options,’’ he added.
While Mumbai has only seen sporadic complaints of ragging, the entire nation was shocked when a medical student in Himachal Pradesh died after being ragged last year. The incident brought about a stringent anti-ragging legislation.

According to sources, the ragging incident took place in a room in the Naigaum hostel. “One of the juniors walked into the room when the so-called intro session was on and alerted the police and authorities about it,’’ said a KEM staffer. Another staffer said that one of the students who was ragged was the son of a police inspector from Vashi.

At KEM Hospital on Sunday, the 28 students were asked to stay in the dean’s chamber throughout the inquiry. The parents of a 17-year-old first-year student from Malad said, “He was called to the hostel on Saturday to play a game even though he is not a hostelite. He came home at 1.15 am and didn’t tell us about the seriousness of the problem. But he was summoned by the college at 8 am and has been in the room since without us being able to communicate with him.’’

According to M Jivnani, father of a first-year student, his son had complained about seniors ragging him about his dressing style. “We even bought new clothes after he was teased,’’ he told reporters.

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