Ragging in India
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Ragging in India is a damaging form of interaction of the seniors in college or school with the juniors, new entrants or first years. It is similar to, but not the same as, hazing in the United States; it is not an initiation. It often 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 history of ragging especially Medical colleges. It has become increasingly unpopular due to several complaints of serious injury to the victims and stringent laws pertaining to ragging. Ragging is now defined as an act that violates or is perceived to violate an individual student's dignity.
- 1 Present State
- 2 Anti-Ragging Helpline, and anonymous complaints
- 3 Legislation
- 4 Anti-ragging movement
- 5 Recent Ragging Incidents
- 6 Ragging Deaths
- 7 See also
- 8 References
A high-level committee in 2009, which probed the death of Aman Kachroo, revealed that alcohol was the main reason leading to serious form of ragging and violence in the campus.
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 traumatised 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.
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.
Following a Supreme Court Order, a National Anti-Ragging Helpline was created which helps the victims and take action in cases of ragging, by informing the Head of the Institution and the local police authorities of the ragging complaint from the college. The main feature of the helpline is that the complaints can be registered even without disclosing the name by the victim, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through phone at 1800-180-5522.
Anti-Ragging Helpline, and anonymous complaints
India's National Anti-Ragging Helpline started working in June 2009 to help students in distress due to ragging. It consists of an email id and a 24-hour toll-free number. Provision for anonymous complaints was considered of utmost important at the time of establishment of the helpline, since the victim after making the complaint remains with or close to the culprits, away from a fully secure environment. Since many ragging deaths, like Aman Kachroo's, occurred due to seniors taking a revenge of the complaint made, anonymous complaints were equally allowed at the helpline.
As per UGC regulations, it is mandatory for a college to register an F.I.R. with police against the culprits if any violence, physical abuse, sexual harassment, confinement etc. takes place with any fresher. After receiving any such complaint from the helpline, it becomes the duty of the head of the institution to register the F.I.R. with police within 24 hours. In 2013, a police case was registered against the director, dean and registrar of a reputed college in Delhi for, among other charges, not informing the police and registering F.I.R. within 24 hours of receiving the ragging complaint.(failing to inform a public authority, IPC 176).
The database of the Anti-Ragging Helpline indicates that it has been to an extent successful in ensuring a safer environment in colleges from where it registered the complaints. In many a cases though, it forwarded the complaint to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for an action against those colleges which refused to take any action against the culprits.
A major concern that was highlighted against the helpline was that it registered a minuscule percentage (0.1%) of the total phone calls it received, and that meant it registered complaint in one out of one thousand calls it received. Specifically, the toll-free helpline (1800-180-5522) received 165,297 calls in the three months of November 2012 to January 2012, hence 77 calls an hour and at least a call a minute. But, only 190 complaints were registered in this period. In its defence, the helpline said that most of the calls it received were of inquiry in nature, of the eager students to know whether the helpline number worked or not. Many a times students changed their minds also midway not to register the complaint. It also said that many of the calls were hoaxes as it was a toll-free number.
In 1997, the state of Tamil Nadu first passed laws related to ragging. Subsequently, a major boost to anti-ragging efforts was given by a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of India in May 2001, in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by the Vishwa Jagriti Mission.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), following a directive by the Supreme court, appointed a seven-member panel headed by ex-CBI director Dr. R. K. Raghavan to recommend anti-ragging measures. The Raghavan Committee report, submitted to the court in May 2007, includes a proposal to include ragging as a special section under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court of India interim order (based on the recommendations) dated 16 May 2007 makes it obligatory for academic institutions to file official First Information Reports with the police in any instance of a complaint of ragging. This would ensure that all cases would be formally investigated under criminal justice system, and not by the academic institutions own ad-hoc bodies.
The Indian Supreme Court has taken a strong stand to prevent ragging. In 2006, the court directed the H.R.D. Ministry of the Govt. of India to form a panel which will suggest guidelines to control ragging.
The panel, headed by the former director of C.B.I. Dr. R.K.Raghavan, met victims, guardians and others across the country. The Raghavan committee has placed its recommendation to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, which has given its order on the issue.
Welcoming the Supreme Court's recent judgment on ragging Dr. Raghavan, the former CBI director, who is the chairman, Monitoring Committee for the Prevention of Ragging, said, "there are finally signs that the recommendations to prevent ragging in colleges will be taken seriously."
Supreme Court in 2007 directed that all the higher educational institutions should include information about all the ragging incidents in their brochures/prospectus of admission.
2009 UGC Regulation
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.
Subsequently, UGC has made few amendments to the Regulation. As per these,
- It is no longer required to get the verification of the affidavit done by an Oath commissioner.
- The definition of Ragging is updated as:
- - "Any act of physical or mental abuse (including bullying and exclusion) targeted at another student (fresher or otherwise) on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste, ethnicity, gender (including transgender), sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguistic identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background."
With the situation of ragging worsening yearly, there is emerging a spontaneous anti-ragging movement in India. Several voluntary organisations 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 organisation (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.
Recent Ragging Incidents
A first-year student of electronics and instrumentation at Kolaghat engineering college was allegedly assaulted by his seniors outside the college campus while the West Midnapore boy was on his way back home. On 29 August, seniors with their faces covered slashed the boy's arm, neck and back and threatened him with dire consequences if he ever returned to the college. His parents lodged a complaint with the college director Naredra Nath Jana and Kolaghat police on Monday.
This isn't the first time that Subhro Samanta, a bright student from Daspur resident, has met with such fate.
"My son often used to complain of being assaulted and tortured by seniors. We told him that it was a passing phase and urged him to concentrate on his studies," Subhro's father Tapas Samanta said. Jana has ordered a probe into the attack.
A second-year student of Management, Shobhonesh Naskar died due to ragging done by his own roommates. The college is denying the case since it may deteriorate the reputation. C.I D investigation is in progress. According to the father of Mr. Shobhonesh, on 13 February 2012, his roommates threw him down from roof while he was talking to his mother.
- Ritikeswari, 19, was found dead in ANU. In her suicide note she named several seniors who had ragged her and distributed her semi-nude videos on WhatsApp.
- Krishna, 19 hanged himself in November. In his diary, he accused Shekhar, a third year student at his college in Chennai of repeatedly beating and robbing him of pocket money. Police 
- Nagendra 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 5 November
- 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 ( 6–7 March 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 27 September. The Ghaziabad police initially refused to register his complaint, but finally lodged a case on Thursday (4 December) after intervention from the Ghaziabad SSP.
- On 22 October Amit Tiwari 22, who was studying Mechanical Engineering at Government Polytechnic in Pratapgarh near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh died of poisoning, the seniors used to make him strip in front of others and were beaten up when they resisted.
- On 18 September Durgesh Shukla hanged himself from a ceiling fan in his hostel room in Pioneer College, Bhopal. He blamed seniors in his suicide note.
- On 8 August Manjot Singh, an MBBS student, committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance. He did so at his residence in Chandigarh, due to ragging in his hostel at the Government Medical College, Chandigarh.
- On 20 September Chetan Raj, 18, committed suicide in Mysore. His body was found hanging from the roof of his lodge room. He had already complained to his parents that he was being ragged in his college.
- In November S. P. Manoj committed suicide in his hostel room at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad.
- On 5 November Azad Nair, 22, a cadet at the Officer's Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai. He had hanged himself from the fan of his room. Prior to his suicide he had told his brother Soumendu over telephone that he was being ragged and humiliated at the OTA and he had pleaded to his father Padmanabhan Nair to rescue him from the OTA.
- Ashoke Chaudhury
- On 14 December C Abraham, a first year engineering student, hanged himself to death at his residence in Hyderabad. In his suicide note, he mentioned that he was not interested in studies. His parents suspected his suicide to be a result of ragging.
- On 5 December Sridhar, 18, hanged himself to the ceiling fan in his hostel room in Chennai. In the English press, only one newspaper in Mumbai reported the incident.
- On October 11 Amit Gangwar, hailing from Bareli, UP, and a first year student of industrial engineering of NIT Jalandhar, committed suicide by jumping before a train.
- In July Kamlesh Sarkar, 19, committed suicide in a private hotel management institute in Kalyani, Nadia district, West Bengal. The police filed an unnatural death case and not one of ragging.
- In June, Sushil Kumar Pandey, 18, hanged himself to death after the humiliation of being paraded naked by his seniors at the Madan Mohan Malviya Engineering College, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
- Aakriti Dhar
- Ehsan Saba
- In September Anup Kumar, 19, committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan at his residence in Kanpur. In his suicide note, Anup said that he was going through mental agony due to the sexual harassment by second-year students of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow, in the name of ragging.
- Pon Navarasu was murdered by senior student John David. David, a second year medical student, brutally murdered Navarasu, a first year MBBS student of Muthaiah Medical College, Annamalai University, Chidambaram and son of former Madras University vice-chancellor P K Ponnusamy, during a ragging session in his (John David's) hostel room on the night of 6 November 1996. Naavarasu had refused to submit to… a humiliating demand, in the name of ragging, to lick the soles of his chappals. The 19-year-old senior used his karate skills to fatally attack Naavarasu. He then dismembered the body, cut it into pieces with surgical instruments and dispensed with them in different parts of the state…"
- Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE)
- Society Against Violence in Education
- Table No. 21
- Sharma, Naresh; Bodh, Anand (10 March 2009). "Medical student killed in ragging". Times of India. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- Harsh Agarwal; et al. (16 May 2007). "Ragging in India: Incidents, Social Perceptions and Psychological Perspectives" (PDF). Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education.
- "The Terror Called Ragging". Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE).
- "All four accused held guilty of ragging Aman Kachroo to death - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- "UGC Anti-Ragging Regulation | | | See Point 7" (PDF). UGC. 12 October 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "UGC cell ignores complaints on ragging, registers just 1% - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- Supreme Court of India Judgement 2001
- "Raghavan Committee Recommendation Report" (PDF). Human Resource Development Ministry, Government of India.
- "Honbl. Supreme Court interim order on Ragging". Supreme Court of India.
- Legal Correspondent (7 November 2006). "Court: form panel to look into ragging". Chennai, India: The Hindu.
- CNN-IBN (16 May 2007). "Register FIR for ragging, SC rules". CNN-IBN.
- "R.K. Raghavan hails verdict |". Chennai, India: Hindu.com. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "SAVE Homepage". www.no2ragging.org. 1 January 1980. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Independent Media Center". Indymedia.org. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- A staff reporter (2 July 2007). "Taut rein on ragging- CAMPAIGN AT COUNSELLING SESSION". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph.
- CNN-IBN (12 April 2009). "Business student alleges ragging, 'blinded'". New Delhi, India: CNN-IBN.
- "Seniors slash first-year student with razor - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- Student commits suicide after being ragged by senior
- "Ragging Case? PGIMER Doctor Found Dead". news.outlookindia.com. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
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- "Student kills herself after being 'ragged', News – Nation". Mumbai Mirror. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
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- 10 February 2010 PTI (10 February 2010). "4 students detained in suicide case, ragging suspected | Deccan Chronicle | 10 February 2010". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- Anonymous said... (6 November 2009). "Ragging News From Indian Colleges: College girl leaps to death due to ragging". amarujala.com. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Ragging claims life of student in West Bengal". Sify.com. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- Sharma, Naresh K; Bodh, Anand (10 March 2009). "Medical student killed in ragging March 8th 2009". The Times of India.
- "3 management students from IMT booked in ragging case 68 days after complaint". Indian Express.
- "Ragging drives MP boy to suicide". The Times of India. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Ragging drives medical student to suicide".
- "Medical student commits suicide in Mysore due to ragging".
- "SHRC takes up student's suicide". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 11 November 2006.
- "OTA cadet commits suicide, family alleges ragging".
- "Engineering student commits suicide. Was it ragging?".
- "Student commits suicide after ragging".
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