ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ragging as a Crime

Ragging inflicts psychological torture and on occasion leads to the death of the victim; it is not just a prank.

It is only when a shocking incident occurs that ragging in educational institutions, like sexual harassment at the workplace, becomes a topic of furious debate. In both issues that involve a violation of basic human rights, the Supreme Court has given clear guidelines and directed that central legislation be enacted to curb the practices. Yet, no such laws have been passed. One act is sought to be passed off as lighthearted banter and the other as a “breaking-the-ice” traditional rite of passage. The failure to treat both practices as the hate crimes that they really are, has meant the continued mental torture of an innumerable number of youth every year, and on occasion suicide and murder.

A 19-year-old medical student, Aman Kachroo of the Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, died on 8 March after he was brutally ragged by drunk senior students. Barely a week later, a 20-year-old student of the Government Agriculture Engineering College in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, attempted suicide after her seniors forced her to dance naked. In Kachroo’s case neither his parents nor the institute authorities took his earlier complaints of ragging seriously, while the girl student’s parents persuaded her to stay back in the college hostel though she had repeatedly told them that she was being harassed. No matter which socio-economic background they belong to, parents obviously look upon a seat in a professional educational institution as central to their child’s future. Once the student gains admission, parents prefer to treat complaints of harassment by seniors as initial hiccups or as an overreaction linked to homesickness.

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