Rampant alcoholism blamed for ragging in campuses

April 20th, 2009 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) A panel formed by the Supreme Court to probe the ragging and subsequent death of a Himachal Pradesh medical college student Monday blamed “rampant alcoholism” for the spurt of ragging in educational institutions.
“One of main reasons for violence (ragging) on the campus is rampant alcoholism, and it is recommended that that de-addiction measures be introduced in educational institutions,” Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat.

Subramaniam made the submission quoting from the recommendations of the Raghvan Committee, which was formed earlier by the court to probe the malady.

The panel, which also included Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, recommended a host of measures, including setting up of a hotline telephone service for the ragging victims to lodge the complaints or passing on information about ragging activities in educational campuses.

“The union government in consultation with the University Grants Commission, Medical Council of India and All India Council for Technical Education and other similar regulatory bodies should set up a central crisis-hotline and anti-ragging database” to be monitored by civil societies, said Subramanium, quoting the panel’s report.

The panel also stressed upon the “dire need” to probe psychological aspect of the phenomena of ragging in educational institutions and sought appointment of a committee of psychologists and mental health experts for the job and to suggest remedial measures to tackle the malady.

“There is a dire need to examine the psychological aspects of ragging, including its impact on young students and rationale behind seniors’ urge to rag and torment their juniors,” said Subramaniam.

“Ragging is similar to child abuse at home or at orphanages. Young men and women who are abused by their seniors under the pretext of ragging believe that the abusers are part of their extended family and automatically, in their minds, it becomes an internal family affair, and hence very rarely do students ever speak out against it,” said the Raghvan panel report.

Pointing out that “substantial research has been carried out in Australia, Canada, the US and Ireland on the impact of abuse in schools, colleges and orphanages and other institutions”, the panel told the court that “the psychological scarring of ragging does not go away with time, but continues for many years, possibly through a person’s entire lifespan”.

The panel also doubted the sincerity of Medical Council of India’s efforts in curbing ragging in medical colleges and sought a probe into it.

It favoured entrusting a police station in-charge or the district’s superintendent of police directly liable to punitive measures for his failure to stop ragging in educational institutions within his territorial jurisdiction.

The panel made some Himachal Pradesh-specific suggestions, including appointment of a full-time hostel warden in various colleges educational institutions of the state.

It also favoured a probe into Kangra-based Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital’s former principal Suresh Sankhyan’s “role in exacerbating ragging on campus, as well as his suitability as a faculty member and administrator”.

It was in this college that medical student Amann Kachroo had died March 8 following ragging by his four seniors. The apex court had taken note of the incident on its own.

After noting down various recommendations made by the Raghvan panel, the apex court sought the state government’s views to the suggestions and adjourned the mater for hearing on Thursday.

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