Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ragging scandal hits govt dental college

NAGPUR: After the VNIT ragging case, the scourge seems to have hit Government Dental College and Hospital. College authorities are busy inquiring into a ragging scandal that has rocked the campus. They received a letter from a former student last month complaining about alleged ragging he had to endure while in college.

Viraat Jayswal (name changed), a Pune resident, had enrolled in the college in September 2010 as a fresher but went back to his home town within four months without citing any reason. In February, he applied for cancellation of his admission and requested that all his original documents in college possession be handed back to him. A month later, he sent a letter to the college detailing the actual reason for his leaving the college.

In the letter, Jayswal said he was the victim of prolonged ragging by seniors at Dental College students' hostel. He claimed he was beaten up so badly during one incident that he had to take medical treatment at Government Medical College and Hospital. Jayswal named five seniors who he alleged tortured him mentally and physically. Out of fear of further harassment, he never reported the matter to the authorities. All the five accused were staying at the same hostel and hence he could not find the courage to stand up to them. Finally, when he could not handle the trauma he decided to return to Pune, Jayswal claimed.

Jayswal said he was filing the complaint because he did not want other students to go through the same trauma. He also named more victims, currently studying at the hostel, who had similarly suffered but chose to remain silent. Jayswal is so scared of the alleged culprits students that has not returned to Nagpur since filing the complaint.

Speaking to TOI, college dean Dr Vinay Hazare confirmed that the inquiry committee was formed on April 1 and that the final report should be presented within 'a couple of days'. "I want to make sure that the spirit and purpose of the Anti-Ragging Act is not defeated. The college acted immediately on receiving the complaint and we are following every procedure. This is the first time such a complaint has come to my office. I cannot comment more until final report is ready," he said.

Sources in college confirmed that the inquiry has found all five students guilty. Of the five, three are undergraduate students and two are interns. All five denied the charges completely but they were nailed on the basis of circumstantial and other evidence. Questioning of Jayswal's classmates and hostel mates continued till late evening on Wednesday.

A non-teaching staff member said on condition of anonymity, "there is no eyewitness to the event. However, Jayswal had taken treatment at GMC for injuries as he mentioned in the letter. The committee also spoke to a large number of hostel residents, teachers and classmates of both Jayswal and the accused."

When TOI visited the hostel, junior students refused to speak as their seniors were around. One of the seniors, however, said that the inquiry seemed one-sided as Jayswal never appeared personally before it. He added that Jayswal has only made allegations and had not supplied any evidence. This was the point on which some committee members had raised objections. It was suggested that Jayswal be given a date by which to appear before the committee to substantiate his charges. However, another senior committee member said a written complaint was enough to hold the inquiry as per the law.

Officers from two neighbouring police stations were also consulted during the probe. However, the college has yet to file an FIR in the case but may do so on completing its inquiry.

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