Anna Univ launches anti-ragging patrol vehicle; colleges may lose affiliation if ragging is reported

With classes set to begin in nearly 450 engineering colleges on August 1, many of the institutions are gearing up to combat that bane of the first semester – ragging.

As per the All India Council of Technical Education’s (AICTE) anti-ragging guidelines issued last month, students residing in hostels will have to submit two affidavits stating that they will not indulge in any form of ragging be it on the college premises or at the hostel.

“The forms were given to parents when they came here for admissions and will be collected from the students as soon as they join,” said the head of a group of engineering institutions.

The council has also asked colleges to put up boards and banners with anti-ragging messages and install complaint boxes on their premises.

“We have also asked colleges to send us data on the names and number of members comprising the anti-ragging committee, but we have received replies only from 32 colleges in the State,” an AICTE official said. “This time, we are ready to cancel the affiliation of the college if cases of ragging are reported,” he added.

Last week, Anna University launched an anti-ragging patrol vehicle with numbers of officials, wardens and student secretaries displayed on it. “We have ID card bands with different colours for students in various years, so it will be easy for even security guards to know if seniors are cornering junior students,” said a professor.

Senior students of the University are not even allowed to speak to first-year students.

However, students claim that many of these measures are generally ineffective. “On weekends, none of these helplines work. Also, verbal abuse which is very much a part of ragging is never taken seriously,” said R. Keerthi, a student at a private engineering college.

Data from the National Anti-Ragging Helpline (1800-180-5522) shows that between June 2009 and June 2013, 97 cases of ragging were reported from Tamil Nadu. The highest number of cases came from UP (398), followed by West Bengal with 233 complaints.

Tamil Nadu still falls in the category of States with high number of ragging cases, which includes Orissa (193), Madhya Pradesh (162), Maharashtra (98), Rajasthan (93) and Bihar (84), the official said.

City police officers said there have been eight cases of ragging filed in the last seven months.

Last year, five students of Government Law College were arrested for assaulting a junior with stones when he did not salute them. In four other cases, junior students were beaten up and robbed by their seniors.

“When we suspended three senior students for harassing and picking fights with their juniors, they took the fight outside and ended up assaulting them during a holiday. There is not much we can do once students leave the campus,” said a senior college professor.

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