Some of these groups operate under euphemistic titles

With the new academic year for engineering, management and medical courses commencing, the city police have decided to keep a close watch on the activities of some of the potentially troublesome student groups even while taking up an intensive anti-ragging campaign in all educational institutions over the next two weeks.

The police have identified a large number of student groups with catchy names that owe allegiance mostly to the United Student Organisation of Congress youth leader Devineni Avinash, and a few to TDP leader Vallabhaneni Vamsi Mohan.

According to the Patamata police, who are keeping a special watch on these groups because they are active in the colleges located in their limits, there are about 10 groups that have been formed largely on the basis of caste and political loyalty. Members of these groups are said to be working actively from some of the prominent areas or landmarks in the city and the outskirts, including Nidamanuru, Eluru Road, Nirmala Convent Road, RTC Colony, Vijayanagar Colony, Museum Road, Saibaba Temple (near Maris Stella , Danaiah Bazar (Patamata) and High School Road (Patamata).

Some of these groups operate under euphemistic titles like ‘C group', ‘Rebels group', ‘Devils group', ‘Hunters group', ‘Nines group' and ‘Lions group', though there are groups that operate with the names of their leaders.

“The intention of these groups is to create their own identity among student community by taking up different activities. But some students who want to devote their time to education do complain that the activities of these groups can spoil the learning environment,” says lecturer of a private junior college, seeking anonymity.

However, most of the groups assert that they are not involved in any “unlawful” or “improper” activities, and they are, instead, doing social service in their own way.

“Our group has been involved in various student-friendly activities, including conducting blood donation camps, forming anti-ragging squads and helping the students who need financial assistance,” says M. Narendra of the Sevens group in Patamata. “We collected Rs. 1 lakh for treatment of an MCA student who was suffering from GB syndrome, a rare genetic disorder,” he points out.

But the police are not willing to take any chances. “After the Dasara celebrations, we will be concentrating on the activities of these groups and also launch an anti-ragging campaign to curb this menace in various educational institutions under the limits of the commissionerate,” Deputy Commissioner of Police M. Ravindranath Babu says.

The police will also verify the method of induction of students into these groups and restrain them from involving in clashes or ragging on the basis of caste, political group and other factors. Students can inform the police about ragging or any other activity that causes discomfort to them because of such groups by dialling 100 (Police Control Room) or 1090 (crime stopper). Students can also use the exclusive anti-ragging hotline (1800-180-5522).

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