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Facebook, a ragging tool on campus

kolkata Updated: Aug 02, 2011 20:25 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Ravik Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Social networking has come of age, an ugly age in this case. What is considered as a medium of connecting people online has become a tool of intimidation. Read on.

“We are your seniors in college. Either follow our rules or face the consequences. You will have to do whatever we ask you to do. Or we seniors, will all f*** you. Change your college or you will die,”— Gouranga Biswas (name changed), first year student of Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur (BESU), was shocked to find messages in his Facebook account.

Shyamal Das (name changed), too, received messages in his Orkut profile, where his senior gave him a strict guideline of wearing only full sleeve shirts, avoid wearing belts and answer “chicken” when a senior asked for his name.

Biswas and Das were not the only ones, almost all first-year students of the college, one of the most esteemed in the state, faced the trauma from social networking sites to college grounds.

The six dared approach Trinamool Chattra Parishad, which in turn, approached the education minister and the police. So much so that the higher education department has already issues a circular alerting the district magistrates and police superintendents in the state.

“We will not tolerate ragging in any form. I have already asked all district magistrates and police supers to take immediate legal action in any such case,” said Basu.

“This is a serious issue. I have seen proof of their Facebook conversation. Our campus is a ragging-free zone. We are taking stringent action against the culprits. We have identified the students responsible,” said Ajoy Kumar Roy, vice chancellor of BESU.

“Students and guardians were very scared and they first approached me last week. They gave us a written complaint. We did our own investigation and found out that even on social networking sites, first-year students are being threatened and ragged.

In one case, a student was threatened that he would be killed. These students were also ragged when they were inside the college. We got a number of reports of ragging, which even included bashing up,” said Shankudeb Panda, Trinamool Chhatra Parishad president.

Panda along with guardians and students then wrote to the Howrah police superintendent, apart from holding a meeting with the vice chancellor of the college. Trinamool Chattra Parishad also met the higher education minister.

First-year students were subject to ragging on campus and asked to perform tricks. Some were called up at 3 o’clock in the morning and had to perform tasks given by seniors.

“I was shocked to see the messages in my Facebook inbox. It went on for a few days. Even inside the college I was harassed. We were too scared but ultimately we went to Trinamool,” said a victim.

Trinamool Chattra Parishad has opened a special cell for ragging victims.

“We are calling all students to report any such case to us and we will take it up with the highest authority. Identities will not be disclosed.

We have already asked the higher education minister to take steps to ensure such incidents do not recur in colleges, both state-run and private. We have also demanded to see if anti-ragging mechanism is present in all colleges,” said Panda.

“In education institutions there are anti-ragging committees, where the DM and SP have a representative each. If there are complaints, its nature determines the case,” said Champak Bhattacharya, SP, North 24 Parganas.