Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ragging slur on senior boarders - Varsity asks hostel girls to keep mum

 Guwahati, Feb. 19: Gauhati University today shrugged off its responsibility of conducting a proper inquiry into a complaint of “mental torture” by some boarders of a girls’ hostel, dubbing the complaint as an “internal matter” of the university.

 Sources in the university said 15 boarders of AT 2 Law College Girls’ Hostel on Saturday filed a complaint to the association of the hotel wardens of the university alleging that their seniors had tortured them mentally the previous night. A source said the victims were reprimanded by their seniors for not giving enough time in organising Saraswati puja.

They were asked to keep standing for hours as punishment. The victims had refused to participate in organising the puja as they needed to prepare for their examinations. The university is yet to conduct an inquiry into the incident. When this correspondent contacted the university’s registrar Uttam Chandra Das, he said the issue was an “internal matter” of the university and they had “sorted it out”. “I cannot tell anything on it. It is our internal matter. We have sorted out the issue,” Das said.

 The warden of the hostel, Bina Lahkar, was not present at hostel when the incident took place. “It was a false allegation. The seniors and the junior students had a tussle on that night over maintaining some rules and regulations,” she said.

 The hostel has 60 boarders, including 35 juniors. According to some senior boarders, the hostel has “rules and traditions” like “praying, respecting seniors, organising puja” and “not to wear sleeveless dresses while they go to dining hall and outside the campus”. “It was not ragging. Hostels need to follow some rules. The girls who complained did not follow rules of the hostel.

We all worked for the puja, but they did not. So the puja was not properly arranged. Seniors had to decorate the gates,” said a senior boarder who was named as one of those who had tortured the complainants.

 Another source said the university, which desperately wants to hush up the incident fearing that its revelation would bring it a bad name, has asked the complainants to remain silent and not to speak anything especially to the media. “New boarders in the hostels of Gauhati University face ragging for up to one year. The university simply turns a blind eye and does not take steps to curb it,” the source said.

 Higher education commissioner H.K. Sarma said he was not aware of the incident. “If the incident has taken place then Gauhati University should take appropriate action,” he said. Advocate of Gauhati High Court Santanu Kumar Sarkar said many educational institutions do not take any action on ragging-related incidents considering them as internal matters. “It is not acceptable to take no action in such incidents terming them internal matters.

 It is seen that education institutions do not take action to prevent ragging. But when somebody dies they make a show of it,” he said.

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