Sunday, August 08, 2010

SC tough stance fails to check ragging

New Delhi, July 28
A year after Aman Kachroo’s death due to ragging, the menace rages on, with the 2009-10 academic session witnessing the highest number of ragging cases and deaths in recent academic history.

In 2008-09, over 88 ragging incidents and 12 deaths were reported across India. The ragging incidents doubled at 164 in the last academic session, which saw 19 deaths, besides posting a marked rise in ragging involving girl victims -- four of them died while two committed suicide.

The ground situation, analysed in the latest report of CURE (Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education), paints a grim picture of preventive strategies, which the government was supposed to evolve to protect students from humiliation at institutions.

Despite the Supreme Court directions last year to come down heavily on raggers, the HRD Ministry sufficed to launch a national anti-ragging helpline after Aman Kachroo’s death. The helpline remains ineffective in tracking cases to the finish. Though the UGC and AICTE issued ambitious guidelines in May last saying erring institutions would be penalised to the extent of de-recognition in extreme cases of violence against students, not one college has even been put on notice for allowing ragging to flourish, let alone blacklisting the said college.

Among the states, UP tops the ragging charts, accounting for 26 of 164 cases; Andhra reported 18, Tamil Nadu 14, Kerela 13 and West Bengal 11 cases. The highest number of ragging deaths was registered in Maharashtra (4), West Bengal (4) and Punjab (3); together, these states make up 57 per cent of all ragging deaths in India.

Deaths apart, 56 cases of ragging led to major injuries, including hospitalization and permanent disability, to students. About 22 per cent cases involved the sexual abuse of entrants while 24 cases led to serious group clashes and violence. In 19 cases, drug abuse, alcoholism and extortion triggered the violence.

The report documents the poignant case of Nayan Adak, a 19-year-old first year student of Calcutta Institute of Pharmaceutical and Allied Health Sciences, whose seniors stripped him naked and slashed his veins when he went to college. Although Nayan survived the assault, he eventually hanged himself on October 8 last upon being forced by parents to rejoin college.

Most ragging incidents (42 per cent) happened in engineering and medical colleges. Hostels and paying guest accommodation remained the breeding ground for such violence, as 56 per cent of ragging incidents happened here.

Menace rages on

2009-10 session witnesses most deaths in recent history.

57 per cent deaths in Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal.

Not a single college de-recognised by the government.

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