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Coordinated efforts to tackle ragging on campuses suggested

Special Correspondent

Raghavan Committee hears testimonies from students, parents



LENDING AN EAR: Former CBI director R.K. Raghavan with students during a public hearing on ragging on college campuses, held in Chennai on Thursday. — PHOTO: K.V. SRINIVASAN

CHENNAI: They had kept the anguish and humiliation to themselves fearing retribution. But, on Thursday, with the Raghavan Committee lending an ear, students and parents gave vent to horror stories of ragging on college campuses throughout the State.

Chennai was the seventh stop for the Supreme Court-constituted seven member committee, headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan, to look into ragging complaints throughout the country. The committee will submit its report to the Supreme Court in the first week of April. In Chennai, the committee listened to testimonies from students, parents, college administrators, student unions and media representatives.

Medical colleges

Medical college campuses turned out to be the worst affected with students from all three government colleges in the city — Stanley Medical College, Madras Medical College and Kilpauk Medical College — presenting clear testimonies of bullying by seniors, even to the point of causing serious injuries. However, the college managements, in their testimonies, claimed their campuses had been made ragging-free.

A former Additional Inspector General of Registration recounted how his son was injured when seniors in an engineering college hit him with a heavy book. "Ragging denies students the right to live. A special enactment should be made to hold the institution and the principal responsible for such instances and punish them," he pleaded.

A pattern that emerged showed how the mantle of ragging was passed on from senior to junior. "I was ragged in my first year and so, in turn, I was inclined to rag my juniors the next year. I am not an evil person but my mindset had been so altered," said a final year student of the Stanely Medical College.

"Juniors are treated like menials and made to run errands like buying cigarettes and alcohol for seniors," a Kilpauk Medical College student said. "I was beaten up thrice in my first year," said a final-year student of Madras Medical College.

Another Madras Medical College student narrated how he was asked sexually loaded questions by a bunch of inebriated seniors and, when he refused to answer, punched on the face.

There were also a few students who felt that strict action by college managements had yielded positive results. "For the past three years, there has been no ragging on our campus as student council members carry out rapport building exercises," a Stanley Medical College administrator said.

"Ragging has now emerged as a national and social problem, though the intensity varies. Only coordinated efforts by various agencies can tackle this," Mr. Raghavan later told reporters.

Some suggestions included forming anti-ragging committees in all colleges and putting in place a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of laws against ragging. The committee earlier held public hearings in Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Bhopal. It will now move on to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Lucknow. The hearings will be over by March but representations can be made till April by logging on to www.antiragging.nic.in.

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