Last Updated: December 31, 2022, 09:00 IST
Cases of ragging on campus have been 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 in the year 2022.
On October 14, a 20-year-old student’s partially decomposed body was found in a hostel room at IIT Kharagpur. Authorities had initially suspected death by suicide and later it was found that there were serious complaints from second-year undergraduate students of being physically and mentally harassed by a group of seniors.
In another case a 20-year-old fifth-year BTech student of IIT Guwahati died by suicide and his body was found hanging in his room on October 10. Another a student from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has died by suicide.
A student was brutally thrashed during ragging by seniors at Noida College. Incidents of bullying came to light at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, Indore Medical College, Nagpur Govt. Medical College, a polytechnic institute in Amethi, and on many more campuses in 2022.
As per institutes, students must be encouraged to speak out against ragging and report any incidents to the university or relevant authorities and seek support from the university or other organizations, such as counseling services or student groups.
Poor implementation of anti-ragging steps causing a rise in menace. Ragging cases are rising again because many times institutes lack monitoring. Students hail from different backgrounds- rural and urban, conservative and not-so-conservative, etc. As a result, they have differing sensitivities. One must make new friends as they start a new session but any ice-breaking session must not lead to lasting psychological impact, trauma, or in the extreme, suicide, says YSR Murthy, Vice Chancellor and Founding Dean, School of Law.
“Ragging can be curbed by explaining to the student community about the inherent dignity of every human being regardless of any distinctions. True education must enable us to conduct with each other in a truly dignified manner,” Murthy added.
He further added “In addition, we can tell students about the lasting impact of ragging on the psyche of a young impressionable mind. One can also highlight the Supreme Court directions and that ragging constitutes a criminal offense and can lead to the triggering of a criminal justice process.”
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 several 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.
Dr Venkata Ramani Challa, Director, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, CMR University says that universities must host informational sessions and workshops to educate students, faculty, and staff on the importance of creating a culture of respect. “Revising and enforcing policies on ragging, including strict penalties for those who engage in this behavior is another important aspect. All the institutes should also offer additional resources and support including counseling services,” Dr Challa added.
“Institutions can sensitize students through posters, orientation programmes, besides constituting flying squads to monitor the situation on the ground level. The institution of buddy system whereby a senior student acts as a buddy to a newcomer can also usher in a culture of camaraderie amongst students,” Murthy added.
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