Ragging in India is a damaging form of interaction of the seniors in college or school with the juniors or the newcomers or the first years. It is similar to but not same as hazing in the United States, it is not an initiation. It involves insults (simple or suggestive sexual, sarcastic and even physical), running errands for seniors, and many other complex activities. Highly reputed Indian colleges have a wistful history of ragging especially Medical colleges. It has become increasingly unpopular due to several complaints of serious injury to the victims and strict laws regarding ragging.Ragging is now defined as an act that violates or is perceived to violate an individual student's dignity.It is more of a psychopathic behavior and reflection of deviant personalities.
The custom of canning (Ragging) was indeed poorly-thought out. A report from 2007 highlights 42 instances of physical injury, and reports on ten deaths purportedly the result of ragging:Ragging has reportedly caused at least 30-31 deaths in the last 7 years. In the 2007 session, approximately 7 ragging deaths have been reported. In addition, a number of freshmen were severely traumatized to the extent that they were admitted to mental institutions. Ragging in India commonly involves serious abuses and clear violations of human rights. Often media reports and others unearth that it goes on, in many institutions, in the infamous Abu Ghraib style:and on innocent victims.
In many colleges, like SRM University, Birla Institute of Technology and Science and IITs, ragging has been strictly banned and is proving effective . However, this ban has not been the case elsewhere, as seen by the number of ragging cases still reported by the media. Ragging involves gross violations of basic human rights. The seniors are known to torture juniors and by this those seniors get some kind of sadistic pleasures.
Though ragging has ruined the lives of many, resistance against it has grown up only recently. Several Indian states have made legislatures banning ragging, and the Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stand to curb ragging. Ragging has been declared a criminal offence.
The Indian civil society has also started to mount resistance, only recently.
But in India, ragging is more infamous for its ubiquitous presence in the educational institutions. According to the observations by the Dr. Raghavan Committee, which has been constructed by the Union Human Resource Development ministry on the orders of the Supreme Court of India, the medical colleges are the worst affected in India.
However, the Anti-Ragging NGO, Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE) has supported that ragging is also widely and dangerously prevalent in Engineering and other institutions, mainly in the hostels.
UGC Regulation On Curbing The Menace Of Ragging In Higher Educational Institutions, 2009
In 2009, in the wake of Aman Kachroo's death, University Grants Commission (UGC) passed UGC REGULATION ON CURBING THE MENACE OF RAGGING IN HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, 2009.These regulation mandate every college responsibilities to curb the menace of ragging, including strict pre-emptive measures, like lodging freshers in a separate hostel, surprise raids especially at nights by the anti-ragging squad and submission of affidavits by all senior students and their parents taking oath not to indulge in ragging. The main features of the regulations are:
Responsibilities of Educational Institutions
1. Applicable to ALL higher educational institutions, imparting education beyond 12 years of schooling.
BEFORE AND DURING ADMISSION AND REGISTRATION :
2. Every public declaration, brochure of admission/instruction booklet or the prospectus to print these regulations in full.
3.Telephone numbers of the Anti-Ragging Helpline and all the important functionaries in the institution, members of the Anti-Ragging Committees and Anti-Ragging Squads etc. to be published in brochure of admission/instruction booklet or the prospectus.
4 Every student and his/her parents to file an affidavit avowing not to indulge in ragging.
5. The institution to prominently display posters detailing laws and punishment against ragging.
6. Anti-ragging squad to ensure vigil at odd hours during first few months at hostels, inside institution premises as well as privately commercially managed hostels.
7. Printed leaflet to be given to every fresher detailing addresses and telephone numbers of the Anti-Ragging Helpline, Wardens, Head of the institution, all members of the anti-ragging squads and committees, and relevant district and police authorities.
8. Identity of informants of ragging incidents to be fully protected.
9. Faculty members assigned to students to make surprise visits and to maintain a diary of his/her interaction with the freshers.
10. Freshers to be lodged, as far as may be, in a separate hostel block.
11. Head of the institution, at the end of each academic year, to send a letter to the parents/guardians of the students who are completing their first year in the institution informing them about these Regulations.
ANTI-RAGGING COMMITTEE and ANTI-RAGGING SQUAD
12. Anti-Ragging Committee to be nominated and headed by the Head of the institution, and consisting of representatives of civil and police administration, local media, Non Government Organizations involved in youth activities, representatives of faculty members, representatives of parents, representatives of students belonging to the freshers' category etc.
13. Duty of the Anti-Ragging Committee to ensure compliance with the provisions of these Regulations
14 Anti-Ragging Squad to be nominated by the Head of the Institution for maintaining vigil, oversight and patrolling functions and shall remain mobile, alert and active at all times.
15. Anti-Ragging Squad to make surprise raids on hostels.
16. Discreet random surveys to be conducted amongst the freshers every fortnight during the first three months.
17. The Heads of institutions affiliated to a University or a constituent of the University to submit a weekly report on the status of compliance with Anti-Ragging measures and a monthly report on such status thereafter, to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
18. The Vice Chancellor of each University to submit fortnightly reports, including those of the Monitoring Cell on Ragging in case of an affiliating university, to the State Level Monitoring Cell.
COMPLAINT OF RAGGING
19. First Information Report (FIR) to be filed within twenty four hours of receipt of such information or complaint of ragging, with the police and local authorities.
20. Head of the institution to forthwith report the incident of ragging to the District Level Anti-Ragging Committee and the Nodal officer.
21. institution shall also continue with its own enquiry and remedial action to be completed with-in seven days.
Responsibilities of University Grants Commission (UGC)
1) The Commission to verify that the institutions strictly comply with the requirement of getting the affidavits from the students and their parents/guardians as envisaged under these Regulations.
2) The Commission to make it mandatory for the institutions to incorporate in their prospectus, the anti-ragging directions of the Central Government or the State Level Monitoring Committee
3) The Commission to maintain an appropriate data base to be created out of affidavits, and such database to also function as a record of ragging complaints received, and the status of the action taken thereon.
4) The Commission shall make available the database to a non-governmental agency
5) The Commission to include a specific condition in the Utilization Certificate, in respect of any financial assistance or grants-in-aid to any institution, that the institution has complied with the anti-ragging measures.
6) The Commission to constitute an Inter-Council Committee to coordinate and monitor the anti-ragging measures in institutions across the country.
7) The Commission to institute an Anti-Ragging Cell within the Commission to provide secretarial support for collection of information and monitoring, and to coordinate with the State Level Monitoring Cell and University level Committees for effective implementation of anti-ragging measures
Use of Right To Information
Despite all these legislations, the implementation has been slow on the part of the educational institutions. Many anti-ragging activists have advocated use of right to information (RTI) by the freshers/ victims to ensure that the institutions follow the rules to curb ragging strictly. For example, one of the strongest reasons for ragging to happen is that the raggers are dead sure that parents would never ever get to know their heinous acts. The affidavit filed by parents to the institution has the name, address and telephone numbers of the parents of the senior students. A fresher can file RTI applications, even without disclosing identity by using a friend's help and name, to get a copy of this affidavit, and then call/ write himself or make his parents talk to ragger’s parents to rein in him. Also, the college and the UGC can be made to follow the anti-ragging measures strictly by the use of RTI. Once freshers take courage and start doing that, it is a general feeling that ragging may drastically reduce in India, as every student will become a soldier in the fight against ragging. Sample RTI applications have also been posted by some of the anti-raggingwebsites to help students in that.
With the situation of ragging worsening yearly, there is emerging a spontaneous anti-ragging movement in India. Several voluntary organizations have emerged, who conduct drives for public awareness and arrange for support to victims.
Online groups like Coalition to Uproot Ragging from India (CURE), Stopragging, No Ragging Foundation became the major Anti Ragging groups on the Internet. Among them, the No Ragging Foundation has transformed into a complete NGO and got registered as Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE) which is India's first registered Anti Ragging non profit organization (NGO). These groups are working on issues related to ragging. Each of them is running anti ragging websites and online groups.
The Indian media has been playing a crucial role by exposing ragging incidents and the indifference of many concerned institutions towards curbing the act. The Supreme Court of India has directed, in its interim judgement, that action may be taken even against negligent institutions.
Nagedra AV, 25, was found dead in Chandigarh's prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research on 19 April. The doctor had joined this post-graduate institution just two months ago. The police said he jumped to death from the hostel building, his father said he had been pushed. His father said a day ago he had said he was finding it difficult to continue there due to ragging.
Sinmoi Debroy, 21, was found hanging from the ceiling fan, dead, in his hostel room in Chennai on 4 April. It was a private hostel shared by students of various colleges. Most of the 42 SMSes in the Assamese engineering student's mobile phone were threats and abuses from seniors, who also demanded money.
Ajub Ajith, 19, hanged himself to death from the ceiling fan in his house in Thiruvananathapuram on 31 March. He was a student of at the Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology. He had told his mother that he was being ragged badly, but prevented her from complaining to the principal as, he said, that would make matters worse for him.
Satwinder Kumar, 28, ended his life on 3 March. He was a student of the Advanced Training Institute, Mumbai. In his suicide note he named seven seniors who had ragged him so much that he left for home for Kurukshetra rather than take mid-term exams. Before he could reach home, he committed suicide by throwing himself before a goods train in Rajasthan's Jhalawar district.
Premlatha, 22, committed suicide by consuming sulphuric acid in the chemistry lab of the B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent Engineering College on 5 February. Her brother singled out one senior, Yogesh, 22, a fourth year student, as the person ragging her the most.
Gaurav Sadanand Raut, 22, strangulated himself to death on 9 February in his hostel room in Nashik's Maratha Vidya Prasarak Samaj Medical College. His father named his roommates Mandhar Monde and Anil Kavade as the culprits. Although the police detained four students, the local NCP MLA, Vasant Pawar, also the general secretary of the college body, denied that the student had been ragged.
Anusha Hyderabad November 5
Ayan Adak Kolkata 9 October 2009
On 7 March, Aman Kachroo, 19, a first year student of Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, Kangra, HP, India, had repeatedly complained to his parents about the brutal ragging that took place on the Medical College campus — often by completely drunk third-year students. On Friday night and Saturday morning (March 6–7, 2009), the boy was beaten so badly that he died of brain haemorrhage.
In September–December, 2008, a student of Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad was ragged by 3 of his seniors, namely, Ravi Shankar, a resident of Vadodara; Naveen Tomar, from Hisar; and Ajmer resident P C Gupta.The victim (name withheld) complained that three fellow management students at IMT-Ghaziabad forced him to undress and threw lit matchsticks at his private parts in the campus on September 27. The Ghaziabad police initially refused to register his complaint, but finally lodged a case on Thursday (December 4) after intervention from the Ghaziabad SSP.
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