More than 600 complaints filed last year, as per records of anti-ragging helpline

The menace of ragging appears to be making a comeback on campuses with the recent death of a 21-year-old engineering student at a Bangalore college allegedly after a ragging incident. While many such instances go unreported, records from the National Anti-Ragging Committee (sourced from amanmovement.org) show a rising number of cases of ragging.

The yearly, State-wise list of complaint distribution shows that a total of 2,400 complaints were filed with the committee from 2009 up to March 14, 2014. Of these, 345 were filed in 2009, 435 in 2010, 577 in 2011, 375 in 2012 and 646 in 2013. As many as 23 complaints have been filed in 2014 so far.

Uttar Pradesh tops the list while Karnataka is 10 on the list. The Karnataka figures are worrisome as there has been a gradual rise corresponding to the national figures. While 18 complaints were registered in 2009, 15 were filed in 2010, 17 in 2011, 10 in 2012 and 23 in 2013. None have been filed this year so far.

Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Mizoram and Nagaland have zero complaints registered with the helpline so far. New Delhi, easily among the top education hubs in the country, has 52 complaints registered in all the five years.

According to the gender-wise statistics, boys appeared to be more vulnerable to ragging with 2,096 cases of ragging involving boys as victims compared to 222 girls (up to December 2013).

Professional vs. general

Archana Surana, Managing Trustee, Surana College, said, “The ragging phenomenon is by and large urban. It appears more in professional courses since students come with higher monetary power or with business or political background and hence have undue confidence levels bordering on arrogance and bullying. However, ragging cannot be ruled out in the general education scene too. Due to increased awareness in society, legal bindings and organisational climate and culture, over the years the severity in ragging cases seems to have seen a sharp dip. Students themselves have come out in public and protested for their rights by taking initiatives such as conducting road shows and flash mobs and counselling seniors. This apart, by promoting the cause on social networking platforms, students have taken the lead in preventing ragging on campuses across the nation.”

UGC guidelines

The University Grants Commission (UGC), in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgment of 2009, has framed “UGC regulations on curbing the menace of ragging in higher educational institutions, 2009.” UGC has made it mandatory for all institutions to incorporate in their prospectus the directives of the government regarding prohibition and consequences of ragging.

“All students/parents are required to submit anti-ragging related affidavits to the institutions at the time of admission. The commission has included a specific condition in the sanction letter in respect of any financial assistance or grants-in-aid to any institution under any of the general or special schemes of the commission that the institution has complied with the anti-ragging measures,” a UGC report says.

A nationwide toll-free anti-ragging helpline 1800-180-5522 has been established with call centre facilities in 12 languages — English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi, Oriya, Assamese, Gujarati and Bengali.

The helpline directly receives complaints from the complainant/victim. The complaint is forwarded to the respective institutions and the local administration for taking action. On receipt of complaints, the UGC seeks the action taken report from the institutions concerned.

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