During my initial days at college, which obviously was the time when ragging was legally banned, I saw six students of Architecture Engineering getting expelled from the Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) on charges of ragging. We were all stepping into colleges with different aspirations, but we all had one thing in common — the fear of getting ragged. Those first days – the days when a fresher does not even know who his /her classmates are — were days when we had to endure certain off the record assessments in order to be inducted as a proper junior or fellow of the institution.
Even after putting forth the fact that ragging is a punishable offence, it continues to show its ugly head of existence in educational institutions across this country. Students of the senior classes often forget the suffering that they might have gone through in their past years and continue the ‘legacy’ of ragging. And these tales of torture and disgrace leave behind a group of mentally and physically paralyzed juniors and sometimes expelled seniors.
Here is a list of exceptional episodes of ragging, which itself is not exceptional.
1. Aman Kachroo, 19, died after being ragged by seniors in the hostel of Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital due to a brain haemorrhage. After a 15 month trial, four students who were accused for ragging and death of their junior were sentenced to four years of jail after being held guilty by a fast track court in 2010.
2. Two Malayali engineering students of Gnanamani Engineering College, Salem, were brutally tortured and thrown off a running train near Erode in January 2012. The police filed a case under the IPC 307 for an attempt to murder against the electronics and communication engineering students of the same college. The duo surrendered after the High Court summoned the first accused, Akhil.
3. Kumudini Wathsala De Silva, a first year student at the Ruhuna University, suffering from a spinal injury, was among the 400 students who were crammed into a canteen on December 21, 2012. She told a senior that she was suffering from a spinal injury caused during a leadership training. But a senior pushed her forward despite that. As she did, so she knocked her leg against a cement stool and the pain was so unbearable that the girl fainted. She had to go for a series of treatments at the National Hospital, for severe pain and difficulty in walking.
4. A first-year engineering student in Gurgaon, allegedly ragged by his seniors, was found in an unconscious state with multiple injury marks on his body outside his college in March this year. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a critical state. The victim later claimed that even though he complained about the repeated ragging to the college authorities, they did not take any action.
5. A 19-year-old Business Management student sustained burns during an alleged episode of ragging by senior students at Tumkur in Karnataka — as his relatives said — for not attending a function at the college organized by his seniors, following which he was admitted to a hospital in January this year.
6. A first year student of the premiere School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi was ragged and left with injuries for which he needed surgery in January this year.
7. Siddhanta Mundra, a second year student of mechanical engineering of Jadavpur University Kolkata, lodged an FIR at the Kandi police station in Murshidabad, a district of West Bengal where he lives, alleging that he had to leave the university because of severe ragging at the hands of the senior students in the hostel, where he was staying.
8. In 2011, Somya Singh who hailed from Patna and was a first year B-Tech engineering student at a private college in Bhankrota area in Jaipur died after succumbing to injuries inflicted due to ragging that occurred the previous evening. Her father filed a complaint in the Police Station after this dismal incident.
9. In 2009, Akhil Dev, a first year student of BBM at PSG college of Arts and Science was allegedly thrashed and punched in his eyes by five senior students for his refusal to part with Rupees 3000, following which the boy’s vision was affected.
10. A shocking incident of a student losing her voice took place at the hostel of Gayatri Junior College at Gotlam in Vijayanagaram district on July 19, 2012. In her written complaint to the police, the girl alleged that her roommates had gone for dinner and some girls entered her room and tried to throttle her with a rope when there was a power-cut in the hostel.
Reports of ragging have now been an integral part of any newspaper/news channel. And these grim incidents show how deeply it is embedded in the whole education system. Students who have enough guts to speak about the atrocities that they had to put up with, come in the limelight. Other stories remain in the dark because victims simply have to swallow the abuses.