Improper implementation of anti-ragging regulations and lack of government vigilance on the institutes have led to the recent rise in the number of ragging incidents in the country, according to experts.
Cases of ragging on campus were a matter of concern in higher education institutes for years and while a ruling of the Supreme Court brought such cases in control in institutes to some extent, incidents of brutal ragging cases were found increasing across the country since the past two months.
On October 14, a student’s partially decomposed body was found in a hostel room at the IIT Kharagpur. Twenty-three year old Faizan Ahmed, a mechanical engineering student from Assam had committed suicide, the police had later said. His family had alleged that he was pushed over the edge by ragging, his complaints were not heard and it was case of murder.
An MCom first semester student sustained severe injuries after jumping off a two-storey building of a hostel to save himself from brutal assault from his seniors and had to undergo surgery in November this year. A young girl was forced to kiss a minor girl in Odisha in yet another incident of ragging recently. A first-year student of a law college in Kolkata has alleged that he was subjected to ragging for not joining the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad and later his father and he were beaten up when the matter was brought under the notice of the institute authorities. At Jadavpur University in Kolkata, a visually challenged student of the International Relations department had complained that two senior students in an inebriated state, hurled abuses at him and attempted to assault him.
Similar incidents of bullying came to light at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, Indore Medical College, a polytechnic institute in Amethi in and on many more campuses in the past two months.
“Incidents of ragging have increased phenomenally over the past few months. The situation now is worse than 2009, the turning point when guidelines were set out on the basis of a Supreme Court directive to curb the menace. Ragging cases are rising again because there is no monitoring. The Supreme court in its judgement gave a clear message that those involved in ragging would not be able get away with it easily. The regulatory bodies and the government need to be more vigilant to ensure that the anti-ragging regulations get implemented properly,” Rajendra Kachroo of Aman Satya Kachroo an NGO engaged to promote ragging free campuses, told EducationWorld.
The Supreme Court in May 2009, issued a slew of directions to educational institutions to prevent ragging on campus. On the basis of the apex court order, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and several state governments banned ragging in all forms and set certain rules and regulations for institutions to follow. These rules include the constitution of anti-ragging committees with representatives from teachers, students, parents, regular interactions and counseling with students and surprise inspections of the hostels.
Following the issuing of guidelines most institutes particularly the reputable ones did set up anti-ragging committees but in a maximum number of colleges and universities, such committees are not functional and they are made active only when any brutal case of ragging comes to the fore. For example, at Kharagpur IIT, the presence of an anti-ragging committee was brought to the notice after the campus was shaken by the news of the death of Faizan Ahmed. The authorities had asked students who have faced any problem to consult the committee or the faculty after the incident was highlighted.
At Kolkata’s South Calcutta Law College, students said they have no idea whatsoever about the existence of such a committee.
A second year engineering student of Jadavpur University said the authorities do display posters saying no to ragging but meetings are never held to create an awareness among the students. Most students have no idea about the functioning of the UGC helpline numbers.
Kushal Banerjee, co-founder of Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE, an NGO that works towards eradicating ragging from campuses, told EducationWorld non-functional anti-ragging committees are one of the primary reasons for the increase in the number of ragging cases across the country.
“The anti-ragging measures directed by the Supreme Court and the guidelines drafted by the UGC are very strong. Sadly, ragging continues to exist on campuses because of improper implementation of the guidelines,” said Banerjee.
Moreover, even though most institutes do not comply with the regulations, no actions are taken by the regulatory agencies against them.
“Complaints of ragging were reported even after the Supreme Court ruling and issuing of UGC guidelines. How many institutes where such incidents have taken place have been punished so far,” Banerjee asked.
“We have filed around 2000 RTIs to find out whether the institutes across the country are complying with the guidelines,” said Banerjee.
An FIR is supposed to be filed by the head of the institute on its own after receiving a ragging complaint. But the perpetrators in most cases escape because the authorities do not approach the police in a bid to protect their reputation and avoid student unrest.Posted in National, News