Saturday, August 25, 2012

Five collegians suspended for ragging MUMBAI:

Five final-year students of L S Raheja College of Art in Bandra have been suspended by the college authorities for ragging a group of juniors outside the campus last week. The five—all doing diploma in applied arts—faced action after an inquiry by the college found them guilty of ragging and harassing 11 juniors on a local train. The college has submitted a report to the Bandra Government Railway Police and the students will remain suspended till the police complete their probe. The incident took place on July 26 when 11 third-year students , five of them girls, boarded the 7.22pm Churchgatebound train from Bandra. The five seniors got into the same bogie and accosted them. We were roughed up and humiliated, says victim.

Cracking the whip on ragging, L S Raheja College of Art has suspended five final-year students for harassing a group of juniors on a local train on July 26. The five seniors who were in the same compartment as the victims first accosted them. "They demanded money from the girls, and when they refused, they roughed up the boys. They also humiliated the girls in front of the other commuters . This group had an altercation with a few boys from our batch in the college canteen some days ago. This time we decided to take the matter to the police and put an end to the torture," one of victims of the ragging said.

On July 27, the group of 11 complained to the college authorities and later, along with their batchmates, lodged a complaint with the Bandra GRP. On July 30, GRP officials got in touch with the college management and also spoke to the students involved in the incident. The police had asked the college management to conduct an inquiry and submit a report along with a complaint , if they found anyone guilty. "We immediately set up a committee and started an inquiry . All the students involved were questioned and we found five guilty of ragging and harassing juniors. We suspended the students and also submitted a report to the Bandra GRP on Monday," college principal Sridhar Badhekar said. "The principal of Raheja College submitted a report to us and also mentioned the names of the five students suspended . We will be seeking permission from a magistrate court to investigate the case. Under section 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a case which is non-cognizable in nature cannot be probed by the police without the orders of the magistrate," senior inspector V Dhopavkar of Bandra GRP said.

Around three years ago, the University Grants Commission had sent out circulars to all schools and colleges across the country about the 'no-tolerance' stand on ragging . Guidelines on what amounts to ragging and helpline numbers were also shared with colleges. The stringent measures initiated by the educational institutions had brought down ragging on campuses.

The state, too, has laid down guidelines against ragging . As per section 6 (1) of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, "Whenever any student, parent or teacher of an educational institution complains of ragging to the head of the institution in writing , the head shall enquire into it within a week. If found true, the student accused of the offence should be suspended and the complaint should immediately be forwarded to the concerned police station." If the head of the educational institution fails or neglects to take action, he will be deemed to have abetted the offence of ragging and shall, on conviction , be punished under provisions of the Act, according to section 7.

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