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Ragging in Andhra NIT: Seniors protest disciplinary action against five students

Some senior students belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana allegedly ragged first-year engineering students from Bihar and that led to clashes between senior and junior groups.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2018 22:17 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Ragging,National Institute of Technology,Andhra Pradesh
Ragging is outlawed in Indian campuses but despite interventions from the government and the Supreme Court, fresh college entrants are often subjected to days of physical and mental abuse by their seniors – a practice often dubbed as entertainment or fun.(HT File Photo)

Hundreds of students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district protested against the “unilateral decision” of the authorities to expel and suspend five students on charges of ragging their juniors, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 300 students from second, third and fourth year engineering courses at the institute in Tadepalligudem staged a demonstration on the campus on Tuesday against authorities for “punishing” the five for what they described as a petty clash between seniors and juniors.

Some of them threatened to commit suicide if the authorities did not revoke the disciplinary action.

“It is quite common in any institution to witness petty clashes between the students. But the authorities are treating this incident as a serious crime and ruining the precious careers of the students,” a student said while speaking to the local media.

Authorities at the institute said the incident of ragging on the campus was reported on February 2. Some senior students belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana allegedly ragged first-year engineering students from Bihar and that led to clashes between senior and junior groups.

The students from Bihar then staged a sit-in protest in the campus seeking action against their seniors. They also lodged a complaint with the local police, who registered a case of ragging against 15 senior students.

“We received a complaint from one of the students stating that some senior students resorted to ragging and beating. We referred the matter to the disciplinary committee to look into the matter,” NIT coordinator S Srinivas said.

A national-level anti-ragging committee from NIT Warangal also conducted an inquiry into the complaint and confirmed the incident.

“Based on the committee report, we expelled a senior student permanently and suspended four others for a period of two years. We also expelled nine students from the college hostel, but not from the academics on Monday,” Srinivas said.

Local journalist T Suresh said the junior students agreed for a compromise and withdrew the complaint, but the authorities did not relent, saying there was nothing in their hands as the anti-ragging committee had already recommended action against the senior students as per the guidelines of the Union human resource development ministry.

The students withdrew their agitation after the college authorities pacified them and promised that they would talk to higher authorities for reducing the quantum of punishment given to those accused.

“We cannot say now how the higher authorities in the HRD ministry would respond to our request (on the reduction of the quantum of punishment),” Srinivas said.

Ragging is outlawed in Indian campuses but despite interventions from the government and the Supreme Court, fresh college entrants are often subjected to days of physical and mental abuse by their seniors – a practice often dubbed as entertainment or fun.

In 2009, the University Grants Commission set up an anti-ragging helpline after the death of 19-year-old Aman Kachroo, a first-year medical student in Himachal Pradesh.

The death triggered national outrage and a panel appointed by the Supreme Court found the teenager had repeatedly complained to college authorities and asked for help. But he was ignored.

The UGC helpline receives millions of calls but many students say they are scared to complain. A study funded by the national education regulator last year found 40% students face some ragging but only 8.6% report them.

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 13:56 IST