Faculty and parents of students have a role to play in eradicating the menace.

The Visvesvaraya Technological University is looking forward to making the campuses of all its affiliated engineering colleges in Karnataka “ragging free.” The recent meeting of principals, hostel wardens, student representatives from affiliated colleges under Belgaum region and police officials convened at VTU’s Jnana Sangama campus in Belgaum is said to be a concrete measure in that direction.

The meeting was convened to take fresh stock of the menace of ragging and its disastrous effect on children and their parents in various engineering colleges, particularly those under private managements, and find out ways and means for its complete eradication.

“We want to make VTU a ragging-free university,” VTU Registrar K.V.A. Balaji said in his presidential remarks while appealing to the gathering to join hands with the university in achieving the common objective.

What was initially considered as having some fun with freshers later took an ugly turn with physical injuries, humiliation and mental torture resulting in deaths and ruining lives. The Supreme Court and the Government of India took serious note of these incidents and even legislated laws to ensure that all such cases of ragging, which are in violation of human rights, shall be tried under the criminal justice system instead of allowing the administrations concerned to deal with the situation.

Though incidences of ragging have scaled down to a considerable extent during the last couple of years, it continues to be in vogue in different forms and varying degrees. Fear of law and stray cases of retaliation by juniors helped in bringing some relief, says a student of KLE Engineering College, Belgaum.

Easy prey

Another student from city-based Gogte Institute of Technology (GIT) pointed out that the easy prey for ragging are the freshers coming from outside the town as hardly anybody dared to rag locals.

Some students tend not to join campus hostels and choose to rent rooms outside and remain in groups for the first few days. However, once the pressure from semester exams begins to build up, everyone settles with his studies, which in turn eases the fear of ragging among juniors.

But what has contributed to increase in ragging is the proliferation of private institutions offering higher education, as observed by Mr. Balaji and his views conform with reports indicating that incidents of ragging had gone up with the increase in number of private professional colleges in Karnataka and across the country.

While there are laws to take action after the incidents are reported, teachers can play an important role in moulding views against ragging and explaining how disastrous it could be on its victims. At the same time, the parents of senior students must advise their children to not to harass any junior student. Both college administrations and parents must lend due personal care to ensure that students remain away from drugs, alcohol and other intoxicants too.

The college administrations also need to spread greater awareness about anti-ragging measures by displaying notifications all over the campus, particularly during admission time, said a student representative who participated in the meeting at VTU.

The meeting was formally inaugurated by GIT Principal M.D. Kulkarni, who highlighted the role of principals, faculty and parents in eradicating ragging from campuses.

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