A week after their classmate died of injuries he suffered at the hands of a group of senior students, fear of ragging is keeping a majority of first year students away from Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda in Kangra district, 250 km west of state capital Shimla.
The college authorities say they have taken steps to check ragging, but some 24 students who left their hostels after Amann Kachroo died on March 8, a day after he was beaten up by his seniors, have not returned.
The college authorities have sent letters to the parents of the students, requesting them to send their children back.
On the directions of the ministry of human resource development, the Medical Council of India — the national body regulating medical colleges and registration of doctors — is sending a team to investigate the ragging incident.
The two-member team is expected in the college on Thursday. It will look into lapses that let the ragging go unchecked and the absence of first year students is unlikely to help matters.
Amann and 12 other students had filed a compliant with the authorities that they were being ragged frequently.
Before leaving for home, the students submitted leave applications but didn’t mention the date of their return.
Dr Anil Chauhan, who replaced Suresh Sakhyan as the principal following Amann’s death, said efforts were on to convince the students to return. “They are apprehensive of returning to their hostels. Hopefully, they should be back in a day or two,” he said.
“The faculty and student college association members were told to contact the students, but to no avail. They are scared. It is difficult for us to convince them,” an association office-bearer, who didn’t wish to be named, told HT.
The students’ absence is also coming in the way of investigation. “We have recorded statements of 15 first year students. Eight students are yet to makes themselves available for investigation,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Umapati Jamwal said.
There are 41 students — 24 boys and 17 girls — in first year and more than half of them are boarders. A three-day campaign is on in the college to spread awareness against ragging. On Saturday, the faculty and students held a candlelight vigil. On Monday, students and faculty will take a pledge: zero-tolerance for ragging.