Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Engg student ends life

First Published : 31 Mar 2010 07:43:49 AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A first-year Civil Engineering student of the Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology, Vellanad, committed suicide on Monday night allegedly due to ragging. Ajub Ajith, 19, was found hanging at his house at Kowdiar here around 8.30 p.m.
A complaint against ragging, written by some of his girl classmates to the vice-principal of the college, was found from the body.

His parents filed a complaint with the Museum police alleging ragging by some of his seniors. According to the police, Ajub told his mother that one of his friends had been ragged and he was their next target.''His mother said she would complain to the principal. But Ajub opposed it saying that it would do more harm to him. He went to sleep after 8 p.m. He was later found hanging,’’ the police said.

However, the college authorities denied the ragging charge. ''No complaint against ragging came up before me. The complaint letter found from Ajub’s body didn’t mention any such incident,’’ said college principal M.K.Jana. Vice-principal M.K.Narendranathan said that the college had taken strict measures against ragging in the past.

``We register case with the police if we get any complaint. Even, last week, we suspended five 4th semester students, including son of a police officer, on ragging charges. As per our knowledge, there was no incident of ragging against Ajub,’’ he said.

One of the seniors in the college said that there were complaints against some 4th semester students on ragging. However, he was clueless about any incident of ragging against Ajub. ``The complaint which was found on his body is actually an old one. The complaint does not have any mention of ragging against him,’’ he said.

Incidents of ragging were reported from the Sarabhai Institute in the past.

Two ragging cases were registered with the Venjarammoodu police station against some of the senior students of the institute.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Senior student held for ragging

TAMBARAM, March 29, 2010

Police on Monday arrested a third year engineering student of a private university in Selaiyur, Tambaram, and are searching for 10 others for allegedly ragging a second year student on Saturday.

Police said Deepak Kumar (20), of Patna, Bihar, was a second year B.Tech student at Bharat Institute of Higher Education and Research and was living in a rented room at Ranganatha Nagar, near the institution.

On Saturday, Bhavani, Ajit Kumar and Shravan Kumar, all 21 years old, barged into his house and chided him for not giving the seniors due respect. The students, according to police, had stripped Deepak Kumar of his clothes and demanded Rs. 5,000 from him. When Deepak Kumar requested his senior students to spare him, the seniors are reported to have assaulted him and left the house after taking Rs. 2,000 from the house.

On Sunday, Deepak Kumar narrated the incident to his close friends and with the help of some local residents, lodged a complaint at Selaiyur police station. After thorough investigations established that Deepak’s charges were true, Selaiyur police registered a First Information Report and on Monday morning, picked up Bhavani. Cases were registered under Sections 147 and 148 (rioting) and 448 (house trespass), read with Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Ragging Act, 1997. While Bhavani was arrested, a search is on for 10 others, police added. In a similar incident in February, a group of junior students from the same college were assaulted by their seniors.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Boy given shocks during ragging

CHANDRAPUR (Maharashtra): A 16-year-old college student, Abhijit Narange, was tortured in the name of ragging by his seniors in Hyderabad, with electric shocks given to him after a severe round of thrashing. He was brought to Chandrapur, his native place, and admitted to Civil Hospital ICU on Wednesday.

A police complaint has been lodged against 11 students by Abhijit’s parents. Abhijit joined the reputed Narayana Junior College in Hyderabad last year. On the night of March 20, more than 10 of his college mates locked Abhijit in his room and ragged him for around three hours.

‘‘They were angry with me because I avoided them for their bad habits,’’ said Abhijit said. They even recorded his torture on a mobile camera and threatened Abhijit that they would upload it on a social networking site and humiliate him.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Psychology behind Ragging

Psychology behind Ragging

(Speech by Harsh Agarwal at a seminar organised by DLSA on 20.03.2010)

Ragging has been debated and discussed for ages now but we always ignored to understand the hidden psychological mysteries associated with this menace. It has been almost two decades since we started to recognize ragging as a problem and hunt for a solution. But we have not moved much from the point, where we were 10 or 20 years back.

In our attempt to look for a quick solution we perhaps focused only on the law and order aspect of ragging but ignored to probe its psychological side. I find it extremely difficult to comprehend, that though ragging has taken so many innocent lives, ruined so many bright careers; it is perhaps the only social and human rights problem in the world in which the victim himself/herself becomes the perpetrator of the crime and yet nobody got interested to study and understand this mysterious phenomenon. We never bother to unravel the mystery that how a victim who is tormented badly makes his abuser his best pal in a short span of time and starts to believe and practice the same custom on his juniors.

We never bothered to question the ‘Whys’ of ragging. Why ragging is being practiced? Why does it get mass support? Why do people believe in such a custom? May be exploring answer to these questions and awareness of these answers could help us eradicate forever.

In the absence of any scientific study on ragging, I would therefore start with the myths, mindset, brainwashing involved with ragging and try to explain how all this translate into a strong belief system which you can call as a psychology behind this evil and I would also try to draw similarities with other proven scientific concepts.

My understanding of this psychology behind ragging is not based on any scientific study but largely on my personal experiences of last 10 years. First as a fresher who was ragged badly in a medical college and had to leave it, then as a victim who ran from pillar to post and struggled for two years to get justice and now finally as an anti-ragging activist closely observing, researching and thinking on this issue for the past eight years.

Starting with the myths and misunderstanding, which I call as the pillars that support the concept of ragging, are (a) Many believe that ragging helps in breaking the ice between the seniors and freshers; it helps in making friendship; some say it helps in emotional bonding between the students (b) many believe that ragging helps in personality development of the students; helps them getting rid of their shyness; prepares them for the real world.

And it is not only students studying in college believing in such concept but many teachers teaching in universities and colleges, people who went to college several years ago or even people who never went to college but just heard about the virtues of ragging blindly believe in such myths.

We can easily find people around us from all walks of life who strongly believe in such myths. Though because of the Supreme Court guidelines and tragic cases of ragging reported in recent times they will hesitate to openly show their support. However on talking to them, they would first segregate ragging into mild and severe and then gradually start justifying its need for the initiation of a long lasting camaraderie among students and its need to prepare the youngsters for the 'real world'.

And I see a major mindset problem whenever we try to define and draw the limits of ragging. We argue a lot over mild versus severe ragging. Any discussion on ragging eventually turns into a debate on mild versus severe ragging. And I see even today majority of people are in favour of mild ragging. But we need to think, can there be anything like mild ragging? What may be mild for someone may be severe for others. We must forget that all tragic cases of ragging started only in their milder forms or it was fun for someone. We need to understand that it is impossible to draw a line once ragging starts.

Then there is another problem, many of us who went to college several years ago though condemn ragging but we have a tendency to cherish our ragging days. Recently I met a very successful and a ‘learned’ gentleman. We met for some work purpose and after our brief introduction he came to know that I run an organization which opposes ragging. This was quite interesting for him because during his engineering and management studies he was ragged and he ragged as well, which he enjoyed a lot. He soon started justifying that why ragging is good for youngsters and how it helped him in making friends and how much fun he had those days and that Aman Kachroo’s case is an exception and it shouldn’t have happened. Soon our business meeting turned into an hour long debate on ragging versus noragging. And this is not the only example, I have seen whenever there is discussion on ragging we become nostalgic about our own ragging time. How good it was; how much fun we had with our seniors and juniors and it is only now that ragging has deteriorated.

When we make such comparisons and suggest others that my ragging was healthy and now it has turned ugly then aren’t we somewhere in a subtle way justifying the concept and need of this evil practice? Aren’t in some way we are asking only for reform in the menace but not the complete eradication of it? Next time before we do this again, we need to think about it.

Recently I visited a prestigious medical college in Bangalore and I was told that after strictness against ragging on campus, senior students have boycotted their juniors and there is confusion. There is confusion as to what amounts to ragging and what doesn’t; what will happen to the senior–junior interaction in the absence of ragging. Can seniors now talk freely to their juniors? And, this confusion exists not only in this medical college in Bangalore but in of colleges and universities across the country. Strictness alone cannot solve this problem but will lead to confusion.

Another strong reason behind ragging is our failure to inculcate in our youngsters a feeling of respect for people from different backgrounds. As a result when youngsters go to college, ragging becomes a soft tool to manifest that hatred ness they nurtured against people from other communities. It is a bitter fact to accept but across the country ragging is mainly done on the lines of caste, region, language, religion, economic background and all other different diversities that we have in society. I remember just this week only a ragging case was reported from Andhra Pradesh in which seniors ragged their juniors because the juniors belonged to the Telangana part and seniors were from different region of the state.

Here I would briefly touch upon the subject of bullying, especially bullying in schools. I believe to some extent bullying in school is the seed that germinates into ragging in college. Across the world, people bully others to establish their supremacy by making fun of someone’s background or certain traits which might be in minority. It could be on someone’s accent; it could be on someone’s physique; it could be on someone’s native place or it could be on someone’s economic background. Schools in the western countries have started to take bullying as a serious offence and sensitizing their students against it. However given the enormous diversity that we have in our country, bullying in school is on a much larger scale in India but the problem is yet to be recognized.

It is all this that has gradually transformed into a psychology; it is this which influences not only young minds but society as well.

Talking about the society, I see a strange paradox. Whenever there is a death due to ragging we come on the streets to show our anger against this menace. But when movies like 3 Idiots and Munnabhai show ragging scenes, then inside the theatre we find those scenes humorous and forget the protests that we participated in the past.

I sometimes ask myself, when the society hasn't accepted ragging as a social evil but still seeking humor in it then how will we implement the anti ragging laws? After all implementation has to be done by the society, on the society and this is possible only when there is conviction and consensus on that issue, which seems to be currently lacking with regard to ragging.

When ten years ago I was affected with ragging and later when I started working as an anti ragging activist, I always believed that law needs to be strengthened to curb this menace. However in the last 4-5 years I have come to the conclusion that ragging is more of a mindset problem than anything else. Though it looks simple to solve it by making strict laws but we can never solve it unless we change the mindset as well. This can be done best by going into the roots of this problem. Though no specific study has been done on ragging, however I find certain western psychological concepts like Stanford Prison Experiment, Miligram Experiment, Stockholm syndrome, having close similarities with ragging and can help us broaden our understanding.

Amongst these three concepts, I find Stockholm syndrome to be most closely related to the phenomenon of ragging. Some of you might already know what Stockholm syndrome is. For others I will give a brief introduction.

In August 1973, two bank robbers, in Stockholm held 3 women and a man hostage for a period of 6 days. In those six days the hostages developed emotional bonds with their captors and exhibited shocking attitude. They not only resisted the attempt made by the police to rescue them but one of the woman hostages later got engaged to one of the kidnappers and another arranged fund for the legal defense of the kidnappers. This incident baffled many across the world.

Psychologists later tried to study the behavior shown by the Stockholm hostages and termed this phenomenon as 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Psychologists believe that hazing, child abuse, pimp-prostitute relationship, battered spouses’ relationship, etc work on same psychology and call them 'Societal Stockholm Syndrome'.

According to evolutionary psychology, capture-bonding, or social reorientation after capture, was an essential survival feature for millions of years. The captives who reoriented survived, and those who did not form social bonds with captors were killed. Psychologists say that anyone can become a victim of Stockholm Syndrome if the certain conditions are met: (i) Perceived threat to survival (ii) The captive's perception of small kindnesses from the captor (iii) Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor (iv) Perceived inability to escape. And it is said that it takes as little as 3-4 days for this psychology to take hold of the victim.

When I recall my ragging days in Medical College at Allahabad, I find close similarities with Stockholm syndrome. Each time during ragging, my seniors used to first beat me recklessly for hours without any provocation then show act of kindness by offering me tea, samosa, cold drink and promise me of helping me later with notes. Perhaps unknowingly they were applying this same psychological technique; trying to break me psychologically. Same pattern can be seen in ragging across the country. Most of the victims just give in to this strong psychological technique. Fortunately this phenomenon did not work on me; however, now I feel that if little less torture had been applied or my parents had not allowed me to leave the college, I would have easily become a victim of it and would have happily bonded with my tormentors.

Here is another example of this psychology. Recently I saw a similar situation in an award winning Polish film ‘Your name is Justyna’. This film almost brought tears to my eyes and on several occasions even forced me to change the channel. This film shows a pimp who uses similar strategy to convince Justyna, the lead character in that film, into prostitution. His strategy was to psychologically break her down by using torture and kindness alternately. The director of this Film, Franco De Penn, while doing research on this subject found that using this psychological tactics, more than one hundred and fifty thousand girls in Europe were taken into prostitution. He says that this experience is so shocking that it takes away individual's whole personality.

People who have worked on Stockholm syndrome agree that it does help in establishing emotional bonds but they call it 'traumatic bonding' and a manipulative behavior. If this is the same psychology that helps in establishing bonds between the students during ragging then we need to ask ourselves. For the sake of bonding, is it justified to go this far and try destructive methods at the cost of one’s liberty, dignity and personality or even life? I am sure none of us would agree.

So now we come to the question how do we solve the problem of ragging? Where does the solution lie? Today Laws have been made, ragging has been banned by the Supreme Court, 24 hour helpline number has been started but it seems that the problem just refuses to die down. Did we ever question why this is so? It is so because the pillars that support the concept of ragging are still intact. We have not yet tried to address the fundamental reasons which are given to justify ragging. Real problem is that we have done everything we could do but we are yet to make our students think on this issue. Solution lies in thinking. We have to give students a chance to think and question the reasons that support this menace.

And not only students but we all need to introspect and realise, isn’t ragging like a mass friendship crash course? Does friendship require any artificial mechanism? All friends that we have are because of ragging? Can we make friendship only by dancing and singing? What if I don’t know to dance or sing but I am good at painting? Then I can’t make friends?

To my knowledge ragging is not prevalent in western countries, does that mean people there don’t make friends, don’t have good personality; they can’t face the real world?

Today we have created lot of awareness about the ill effects of ragging, about the ban on ragging, about the toll free number, which I think is good but we also need to create awareness about various other important aspects of ragging. There is still a very little knowledge about the origin of this sort of tradition, why is it irrelevant in today’s time, Where did it come from? How and when it came to India? Which other countries in the world follow this practice? Spreading awareness of these aspects can play an important role in weakening the mass support, which ragging currently enjoys.

In the end, just summing up my points and re-highlighting them again I would say that along with strict laws we need to create comprehensive awareness, we need to dispel all the misconceptions about ragging, we need to intelligently break the belief system that supports ragging, we need to instill in our youngsters a sense of respect and sensitivity towards the differences and diversity that we see in our society.

I am sure after introspection on ragging, we would just hate to be identified with it, we would be forced to rethink about the virtues of ragging we believe in, we would be forced to rethink the justifications we give to support ragging and this would eventually lead to its natural death simply by the way of thinking and application of logic.

Three engg students suspended for ragging

JAIPUR: Three engineering students of a private university were suspended on charges of ragging their juniors on Friday.They have been suspended for 10 days and debarred from appearing in the semester exam following an FIR filed by two juniors.

Two diploma students Shiv Dayal Chaudhary and Yogesh Sharma filed a police complaint against one Rather Singh Rathore and three others for physically assaulting them on the university campus on Friday.

They asked us to get a packet of cigarettes and snacks on Thursday.However,they didnt give us any money.On Friday,they again called us and asked us to get the same.When we refused,they said that they will strip us and make us dance in the academy hall, said Chaudhary.

They then started slapping us in the campus and threatened of dire consequences if we refuse to follow their instructions, the victims said.

The two soon rushed to the college proctors room but the proctor wasnt there.When seniors came to know that we went to the proctors room for making a complaint,they again beat us on the campus, said Sharma.They then went to the pro-vice-chancellors office who assured them of stringent action against the culprits.Furious by their move,the seniors again abused them.Finally,they filed a police complaint against the seniors.

Prima facie,it doesnt look to be a case of ragging,but still we are consulting the university officials to find out the exact issue, said the investigating officer. Meanwhile,the university had formed a committee to look into the matter.

It’s not a case of ragging.Its a simple dispute between two student groups, said Nirmal Panwar,vice-chancellor of the university.

Friday, March 19, 2010

6 seniors suspended for assaulting medical student

TNN, Mar 17, 2010, 03.02am IST

JAIPUR: Six students of a Sitapura-based private medical college were suspended on Tuesday for allegedly ragging and assaulting a junior on the campus. While five of the suspended are MBBS students, one is a BDS student. A case was also registered against them at the local police station.

According to Arun Sharma (20), a first year pharmacy student of Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, a group of MBBS students attacked him twice on Monday without any provocation. Arun had earlier complained to the college management about harassment by some seniors.

The suspended have been identified as Ashwini Choudhary, Chhote Lal Garhwal, Deepak Kundu, Rajesh Sharma, Ankur Kotewa (all MBBS students) and Sudhir Singh Jhakhar (BDS).

The victim was hospitalised for a short period on Monday evening and has since returned to his house. He is a resident of Sitapura area, whereas other students involved in the incident are mostly hostelers.

“The six suspended students have been asked to keep off the college campus till the inquiry is over,” said Dr Sudheer Sachdeva, CEO, MGM group. The college management had also written to police seeking action against them, he said. “We followed the case as per the anti-ragging guidelines of the Supreme Court,” he added.

Sachdeva said that as soon as Arun lodged a complaint with the college, the matter was handed over to the anti-ragging squad. “Arun identified six students during inquiry and realising the seriousness of the case, we took action against them,” he added.

Monday, March 15, 2010

NIT ragging row takes T colour

March 12th, 2010

March 11: Accusing the management of National Institute of Technology (NIT) of harassing Telangana-based NITians for participating in the Telangana movement, Kakatiya University Joint Action Committee (KUJAC) and TRS activists led by ex-MLA Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar, staged a demonstration at NIT campus gate here on Thursday morning.

The protestors, who tried to break open the locked campus gate with huge stones, staged a road blockade for about two hours at 12 noon near NIT after NIT registrar C.S.P Rao reportedly made demeaning comments against Mr Vinay Bhaskar, who insisted on the registrar to apologise for his action.

According to sources, the agitation erupted after the NIT management registered a complaint against two 2nd year NITians for ragging three of their juniors at Kazipet police station on Wednesday night.

A. Sampath Kumar and K.V.V. Ram Kumar were booked for allegedly ragging their juniors B. Arun Kumar, Md Imran and P. Vinay Kumar.

Both the seniors, in this case, hailed from Mahbubnagar and Guntur respectively, while the first two junior students hailed from Mahbubnagar and the third from Chittor district respectively.
However, the agitators denied any incident of ragging taking place in the NIT campus.

“At the prime of the Telangana agitation in January, the NIT management had reprimanded students for taking part in rallies,” alleged a student on condition of anonymity, adding that the NIT management had even pressurised the junior students to register complaint of ragging against their seniors.

The student also alleged that the case was registered with a view to suppress the Telangana agitation and create division among Telangana students, who number about 1,000 strength in NIT campus.

Speaking to this newspaper, Mr A. Subash Chandra Bose, CI Subedari, said, “We have preliminary information about junior students being ragged by seniors in NIT for the past 10 days. We are investigating and looking at the case from all sides,” he said. The police are yet to make any arrests in this case.

Friday, March 12, 2010

ILS Law College expels two ragging suspects

PUNE: Indian Law Society’s (ILS) Law College on Monday expelled two students, who were facing ragging allegation, for assaulting four fellow students. An inquiry committee, however, absolved them of ragging charges.

Four students of ILS Law College had filed a written complaint on January 8, alleging ragging by two fellow students. They had complained that they were brutally beaten by the two students at college canteen.

One Kenyan student was injured in this incident. After receiving ragging complaint, ILS Law College set up an inquiry committee headed by vice principal Jaya Sangade. The committee submitted its report on last Saturday.

ILS Law College principal Vaijayanti Joshi said, “The committee held many hearings and recorded statements of students from both sides. The committee has concluded that it was not a case of ragging. However, as four students were brutally attacked, and were beaten up in an inhuman manner, the college has decided to expel two students from the college.”

Two students have been expelled from the ILS Law College, but can seek admission in other colleges, Joshi added.

2 engg students held for ragging

VIJAYAWADA: Two students of Siddartha Engineering College at Kanur near here were arrested on Wednesday on charges of harassing and ragging a girl student.

The harassed girl, who filed a complaint with the police, reportedly attempted suicide four days ago. The cops are searching for two other students who were named by the victim. The first-year B Tech student in her complaint said four of her classmates have been harassing her for the last few months.

The accused students — Yarlagadda Pavan and Manne Satish — were arrested on Wednesday night and cases were registered against them under the AP Prevention of Ragging Act of 1997.

"They made my life a living hell by constantly teasing me and trying to physically abuse me," the girl said in her complaint. Police said the girl took sleeping pills on March 7 night in her hostel room and fell unconscious. The parents reportedly took her to a private hospital for treatment and wanted to hush up the matter.

However, the girl mustered courage to lodge the complaint against the accused students after her recovery. In fact, the state government had brought out a new GO two days ago making the anti-ragging rules stringent.

As per the GO, the management of the college would also be held responsible in case a ragging complaint was filed from any junior student.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ragging: Law student in Tamil Nadu beaten up with iron rods

Friday, March 5, 2010 22:35 IST

Coimbatore: A first-year student of the government Law college here has alleged that he was beaten up with iron rods and hockey sticks by some seniors while being ragged. According to the complaint by Naveen Kumar, eight second and third-year students, waylaid him last night near the college on the city outskirts and beat him up, police said.

Based on the complaint, police registered a case against the eight under the section of 147 (unlawful assembly), 294 B (beating with weapons) and 324 (using abusing language) and also under Tamil Nadu Prevention of Ragging Act.

To prevent any untoward incident, adequate number of police have been deployed near the college, they said.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Ragged to death: student jumps in front of moving train

Published on Wed, Mar 03, 2010 at 15:09

Mumbai: A 20-year-old student from Mumbai's Advanced Training Institute killed himself after he got frustrated with being ragged for months in the institute. He jumped in front of a running train in Gangdhar area of Rajasthan's Jhalwar district on Monday.

Satwinder Kumar left behind a suicide note in which he blamed seven seniors for harassing him. He was being tortured at the college and his hostel for the past three months, the letter mentioned. Even, he could not appear in a recent mid-term examination due to the harassment.

Satwinder family members told the Jhalwar police that the matter had been reported to the college administration but, when the ragging did not stop, they had advised Satyendra to return home. He was supposed to come home by Monday but he got off the train near Chowmahala railway station and jumped in front of a train on Monday afternoon.

Maharashtra labour secretary Kavita Gupta said the institute, which was under the jurisdiction of the Union Labour and Employment Ministry, had not reported such an incident to the government. "But the government will go into the case and take appropriate action if any such incident has happened and is reported to us," she said.

The institute is located on V N Purav Marg in the Sion-Chunabhatti and comes under the jurisdiction of Nehru Nagar police station. Senior police inspector Prakash Kale, too, said the police station had not been informed about the incident.

Rajasthan cops said two railway guards saw him walking towards the tracks around 4.30pm on Monday. They even asked him what he was doing there but he replied that his family lived nearby. "He jumped in front of a goods train and died on the spot. We recovered a suicide note from his trouser pocket," a police officer said.

Jhalwar cops said they would send the report to the Mumbai police where a case under Section 306 of IPC could be registered against the students mentioned in the suicide note.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Cong leader's son ragged at college in Guntur

Guntur (AP), Feb 28 (PTI) A local Congress leader's son was allegedly ragged at a corproate college in Vadlamudi village in the district, police said today.

Guntur Zilla Parishad chairman K Vijaya's son Krishna Kant (22) has lodged a police complaint alleging that around 30 students, belonging to upper caste, ragged him at the college eatery and abused him as he belonged to scheduled caste category.

The victim has identified three culprits in the First Information Report (FIR), police said.

Chebrolu police station registered a case last night under the AP Ragging Act of 1997 and the SC and ST (prevention of Atrocities ) Act in this connection.