VICE-CHANCELLORS, REGISTRARS, hostel wardens and students highlighted the menace of off-campus ragging in the State before the Central Anti-ragging Committee at a meeting in Bhopal on Monday.
Participants suggested legislation to make ragging a punishable offence, a separate cadre for hostel wardens and highlighted the political and other pressure on educational institutions, which negated all measures against errant students.
Student representatives and some university officials rued the fact that nearly 90 per cent of ragging cases went unreported due to un-conducive atmosphere.
The meeting of the seven-member committee, constituted by the Union HRD Ministry on the Supreme Court directives and organised by the State Higher Education department, heard the sections concerned.
Former director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) R K Raghavan presided while its Member secretary and joint secretary of Union HRD Ministry Sunil Kumar conducted the proceedings.
Academicians, officials of university and colleges and students pointed out the difficulties in controlling off-campus ragging for lack of their direct control outside the campus. Ragging occurred in buses, trains, restaurants, gardens and other public places and especially in the private hostels in the State, they stressed.
Most participants suggested notifying private hostels with the district administration, universities and institutes to curb such activities besides greater support from the police to curb the menace.
The need for a separate cadre for wardens was also stressed as teachers are being given this additional duty. The other suggestions included making ragging a cognizable offence under the IPC, problem of intense political and other pressure to let the errant students off, teachers and students groups/ recognized unions supporting the erring students in some cases, victims withdrawing complaints following agreement or threats.
Committee Chairman Raghavan, Higher Education Department Principal Secretary Dr Bhagirath Prasad and Technical Education Department Principal Secretary Dilip Mehra made initial remarks urging the participants to come out with their suggestions without any hesitation.
During the pre-lunch session, Barkatullah University Vice-Chancellor Prof RS Sirohi, Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya Vice-Chancellor Prof P B Sharma Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in charge director and dean academics H K Khera, Secretary (Home) Sanjay Rana, Medical Education Additional Secretary Y Satyam, Gandhi Medical College in charge dean Dr Nirbhay Shrivastava, representatives of the Sagar, Ujjain, Indore, Jabalpur, Chitrakoot and the National Law Institute University, hostel wardens from the State spoke about the steps taken in their institutes and gave their suggestions.
During the post-lunch session students’, representatives from the GMC, Oriental Institute of Science and Technology and the office-bearers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad put forth their points.
The other committee members present included dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi Dr A K Agrawal, principal of Ramjas College, New Delhi Dr Rajendra Prasad, vice-chancellor of the SNDT Women’s University Dr Chandra Krishnamurthy and former vice-chancellor of Madras University, Chennai Prof S Sathikh.