Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Supreme Court goes strict over ragging

Indian colleges have known the scourge of ragging for a long time. Justified on the basis of getting closer interaction between seniors and juniors, it actually gives a license to the seniors in the college to mistreat the juniors. To be clear, there is no earthly reason why a junior in a college has to obey the words of a person who is 1-3 years older than him/her and do things which the junior does not like or appreciate. It may seem harmless and fun to ask the juniors to sing songs or to propose to one another, but it is actually much more than that. It leads to people asking juniors to follow their every orders, to get them to strip and to make them uncomfortable in other ways; and most of all, it gives a license to the bad section among the seniors to misbehave as much as they want. There are numerous examples every year of people getting humiliated, of seeking to end their life, or otherwise getting distressed over the scourge of ragging.
In view of this overall scenario, the Supreme Court, some time back, had ordered the absolute abolishment of ragging, and asked the various educational institutions to do what they can to make sure that ragging does not happen. Noble ideas, but there was a backlash from educational institutions, many of them refused to admit that any 'bad' ragging happened in their campus, others sought to minimise the cases or pretend that the incidents was harmful fun. Well, the Supreme Court has again repeated the order and has now directed educational institutions to adopt a 'zero tolerance' policy.

Concerned over the tardy implementation of its previous orders, Supreme Court on Monday directed educational institutions to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy to ragging and expel students found guilty of maltreating freshers.
Laying down expulsion of offenders in ragging cases as the minimum punishment, the court said this was needed to end the menace that could lead to extreme torture and harassment and even loss of life.

Just in case people doubt whether ragging can be serious, here are a couple of news stories to highlight the seriousness of the problem:

1. Lucknow University students
2. Hyderabad College
I don't think that there is any doubt that ragging still happens in our colleges. To classify it as fun is maybe just about okay when you are asked to introduce yourself, but very rarely does it stop at that; in fact, in hostels, ragging can be very serious. A young person, just out of school, attends a hostel and is met by people determined to make the person do what they want, and are not above using threats of force or peer pressure.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:08 AM