Though most of the machinery has been put in place in colleges to curb ragging and provide a safe environment for students to study, Coimbatore Police are taking special efforts to take the message of ‘ragging-free campuses’ to the doorsteps of institutions.
Station House Officers and supervisory officers have been asked to hold periodical meetings with heads of institutions to ensure that not even a single incident of ragging goes unnoticed.
In Coimbatore city, Inspectors have started visiting colleges and sensitising students by talking to them about the ill-effects of ragging and the law that deals with those who indulge in ragging. They also distribute handbills.
“There is a stringent law to curb the menace of ragging. But lack of sensitisation among the students and inadequate efforts on the part of institutions in getting across the message has made us take a proactive decision. Instead of merely resorting to registering cases of ragging, we are getting police involved in increasing awareness,” says A.K. Viswanathan, City Police Commissioner.
What the law says
Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ragging Act clearly fixes the responsibility of reporting ragging on the parent, student and the institution. Any student booked and convicted under the provisions of the Section will have to undergo two years imprisonment with a fine of up to Rs 10,000.
The student is suspended on registration of FIR and if convicted is dismissed from the college. In the event of an acquittal, the student shall be reinstated and the suspension period will be marked as if the student was present in class. The law also comes down heavily on institutions that fail to take cognisance of incidents of ragging and it holds good for attempts to play down an incident or for dealing with offenders in a light manner.
The law calls for constituting of anti-ragging committees besides taking undertaking from the parent and the students. Bharathiar University has also asked for compliance to similar statutory requirements.
There should be a notice board near the entrance of the college cautioning the students against ragging besides mentioning the names of the committee members and their phone numbers.
There should be round-the-clock surveillance in places prone to ragging. Institutions should go in for closed circuit television cameras. Students staying outside the hostel should be asked to submit personal details. Starting the academic session with orientation has become the rule of the day in colleges. While some have it for a day or two, others extend it to even a week with experts from various fields addressing students on areas relevant to college life.
Anti-ragging awareness has also become part of this orientation. With the police stepping in to augment this activity, the colleges are only too happy. Sessions have been held in CSI Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science and Nirmala College for Women. Members of the anti-ragging committees in these colleges say that the sessions had a positive effect on students. In case of ragging, students can inform firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Commissioner at 94440-00029 or the control room at 100. According to Inspector-General of Police – West Zone S. Davidson, if such incidents occur in colleges outside Coimbatore city and in any of the eight western districts, public can send an e-mail to email@example.com or call 0422-2223584/5.