Sunday, September 18, 2011

Despite crackdown, ragging continues in Chennai colleges

Arun Janardhanan, TNN Aug 31, 2011, 07.19am IST

MUMBAI: From forbidding juniors from wearing branded clothes to forcing them to travel unreserved when they go home, senior students have devised many ways of bullying first year students.

Despite the stringent measures adopted by the government and colleges, ragging continues in many private institutions. Often, the practice crosses the line of mere ragging and takes the form of bullying and even violence.

A second year engineering student in a leading professional college said juniors were not allowed to interact with classmates, especially of the opposite sex, on campus or outside. "We cannot go to shopping malls or cinemas during the first year. The seniors enforce these rules strictly and ensure that we are put to maximum pain during the first year," said a first year mechanical engineering student.

Even in cases where bullying crosses the limits of endurance, most students remain silent because they have paid huge amounts as capitation and course fees. "I have paid more than 1.5 lakh as the annual fees. So I can't go back to my parents complaining of ragging," said a student from an engineering college near Old Mahabalipuram Road.

Students say the money their parents send them has to be handed over to seniors. "None of us is allowed to keep any money after paying hostel fees," said a student.

SS Rao, registrar of Sathyabhama College, said they were following the government norms to curb ragging. "We have an active antiragging squad. We maintain a system of secret squads and informers among students to identify the culprits," he said.

A senior higher education official said they are closely monitoring all the colleges. State higher education minister P Palaniappan recently said that the government is considering the feasibility of setting up a state-level helpline to take complaints directly from ragging victims, in line with the national help desk of the University Grants Commission.

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