“I am really pained to learn about the ragging at KEM Hospital. The authorities have taken it very lightly. This has sent across a wrong message. The students should be suspended at least for a year.”
This is what anti-ragging activist, CL Anto, wrote in a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Monday. The CM, however, endorsed KEM hospital’s decision to only expel students from the hostel, not the college.
The KEM ragging incident brought back memories of August 4, 1998, for Anto. On that day, his daughter Indu (16) had committed suicide at Sophia College in south Mumbai after allegedly being ragged by two seniors. Eleven years on, the trial is still pending.
“I never see movies, but I saw 3 Idiots because of the ragging link. We can’t blame the movie. It has the right message,” said Anto, who has spent the last 11 years campaigning for the anti-ragging law.
Anto also called the Zone IV DCP Sanjay Baviskar to urge him to take stringent action against the 18 students who made 10 juniors strip and perform mock sexual acts during a ragging session.
“Expelling students from the hostel is not enough. They will get better accommodation elsewhere. The government is forfeiting a golden opportunity to show that it will not tolerate ragging,” he said.
IIT- Bombay’s student welfare dean, Prakash Gopalan, said that punishment for ragging should be “very deterrent” in nature. “In the past, we have suspended students involved in ragging for six months to a year. If such an incident happens in IIT, we will take more stringent action,” he said.
Interestingly, the victims of the KEM ragging had requested the college authorities to not take legal action. “They said they had forgiven their seniors and did not want us to file a police complaint. They were worried that a case would ruin their seniors’ careers,” said KEM Hospital’s deputy dean, Dr ND Bhosle, who is part of the anti-ragging committee.
“But we had to file a police complaint. The anti-ragging law provides that in case of inaction, the head of the college can face trouble,” he added.