Prof Rajendra Kachroo lost his son to ragging. Akshit Srivastava, another ragging victim, was let down by his college after he lodged a complaint against his senior for ragging. In Haldwani in Uttarakhand, many students were forced to shave their heads and were paraded with their hands tied on their backs. A homoeopathic medical college developed a ragging manual, and in another case, a student’s body was chopped into pieces because he resisted ragging.
In the name of breaking the ice, the lives of numerous students and their families continue to be broken in India because of ragging. In this Podumentary, we speak to ragging victims and experts on why the instances of ragging in colleges are not receding despite steps initiated by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Dr Akshit Srivastava
Dr Kushal Banerjee
(Society Against Violence in Education)
Meera Kaura Patel
Advocate, Supreme Court
Legal head, SAVE
(Society Against Violence in Education)
Prof Rajendra Kachroo
Ragging victim Aman Kachroo’s father
Founder, Aman Movement
Rakesh Kumar Mishra, IPS (retired)
Chairman, Anti Ragging Committee
Convener, Ragging Free Campus Abhiyan (RFCA)
Produced below are the abridged version of the transcripts of our Podumentary (audio documentary) titled: Ragging Menace: Few Solutions In Sight
Welcome to The Probe’s Podumentary. Our Podumentary is a series of audio documentaries on topics and stories that matter to people and are part of our public interest journalism in India. Here is a new episode of our Podumentary titled: Ragging Menace: Few Solutions In Sight.
Professor Rajendra Kachroo’s son Aman Kachroo, a 19-year-old medical student, died in 2009 because of ragging. Aman died of injuries suffered after four drunk seniors ragged him in Himachal Pradesh. Over a decade has passed since the Aman Kachroo ragging incident, but ragging-related cases have not receded in India. Aman’s father, Prof Rajendra Kachroo, started the Aman Movement to eradicate ragging in our educational institutions.
The Probe spoke to Akshit Srivastava, another victim of ragging. His seniors ragged Akshit within the college premises, but despite complaining to the management, the college refused to act and brushed the matter under the rug.
In the name of breaking the ice, the lives of numerous students and their families continue to be broken in India because of ragging. A video of alleged ragging at a government medical college in Haldwani in Uttarakhand went viral this year in which numerous students with their heads shaved and hands tied at their backs were seen walking in queues around the college campus. Dr Kushal Banerjee, the Co-founder of Society Against Violence in Education, says he recently discovered another incident wherein the students of a homoeopathic medical college had developed a ragging manual.
Meera Kaura Patel, an advocate and the legal head of Society Against Violence in Education, says much of the problem in India stems from the fact that we still don’t have a stringent national anti-ragging law. Some states in India have devised their own legislation on ragging, and under the existing framework, punishment for ragging is not severe.
“We still lack a national anti-ragging law. Some states have come up with their own legislation. Only a few of them really make ragging a cognisable offence. We need legislation that imposes some penalty on the students.”
Meera Kaura Patel says, “In some states, ragging is not even a cognisable offence. So what happens is, if the ragging incident involves a series of other offences along with ragging, for example, while ragging a student, if the student faces violence or molestation, then the police take it seriously. Police registers FIR only when there are serious sections. Ragging per se is not taken seriously”.
A few days back, the University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to all colleges and universities advising them to strengthen their anti-ragging mechanisms before the new semester begins. According to Tejeswar Parida, Convener of the Ragging Free Campus Abhiyan, colleges usually don’t disclose ragging-related incidents as it takes a hit on their image.
The University Grants Commission has also requested educational institutions to take preventive steps, install CCTV cameras on college campuses and create anti-ragging cells. The Commission has asked colleges to hold anti-ragging training programs, workshops and seminars and update the institutions’ websites with the nodal officers’ contact details. Retired IPS officer Rakesh Kumar Mishra says ragging can only be contained when institutions that allow students to get away with ragging are derecognised.
“All these colleges are under university or some national level commissions or committees. So, those committees will have to frame stringent regulations, take preventive action, and sometimes even derecognise those colleges where ragging is reported.”
Bullying and ragging are not considered serious offences in India. Instead of providing relief to the aggrieved students, most institutions indulge in covering up the tracks of the aggressors. Prof Rajendra Kachroo says colleges must be downgraded and acted against if they are caught shielding the culprits.
In India, like the Aman Movement, many movements have cropped up against ragging, but year on year, numerous cases of ragging get reported from institutions across the country. Meera Kaura Patel says India at 75 deserves better. Ragging is a crime, and the only reward for it must be jail.
“I feel that a lot of awareness, counselling and psychological programs have to be organised in the institutions to make them understand the repercussions of their actions. Now, UGC regulations have said that it is mandatory to file an affidavit where the student must declare that they will not indulge in ragging. The worst case I had heard was one from the south where a student’s body was cut into pieces because he resisted ragging. What are we nurturing in our educational institutions? What do we really want these people to become? These are going to be the responsible citizens of India. Is this the India that we really want to create?” asks Patel.
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