Kerala Legal Services Authority (KELSA) Executive Chairman Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair inaugurated the State-level anti-ragging campaign in professional colleges at the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (CET) here on Saturday.
College managements should deal firmly and promptly with ragging incidents.
The approach had been light so far, he said. There should be initiatives to generate awareness about the consequences of ragging, a criminal offence under the Prevention of Ragging Act, Mr. Nair said.
The presence of the police on campuses was undesirable and the government should extend all assistance to college managements to prevent incidents of ragging.
Students could approach KELSA for free legal aid in ragging cases, he said.
Education Minister M.A. Baby, who presided over the function, listed out the new initiatives that the State government had taken to prevent ragging.
This included setting up of departmental committees. The focus was on making the campaign student-centric to ensure their welfare, mental development and academic progress, he said.
Focus on change
Administrative intervention alone will not help tackle the menace.
Campus culture and attitudes should be redefined, Mr. Baby said.
The campaign is being supported by the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), KELSA, the Technical and Collegiate Education Departments, and the National Service Scheme. Curb Ragging in Educational Institutions, a booklet by NUALS, and anti-ragging posters were released by Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) vice-chairman K.N. Panikkar. The booklet highlights the salient features of various court decisions, administrative measures, consequences of ragging and guidelines to institutions, and details of the national call centre against ragging. “Each institution should have a culture and tradition of its own. There should be space for interaction between teachers and students,” Dr. Panikkar said.
Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose said the police alone could not tackle the menace. The college authorities had no control over students living in hostels outside the campuses. The authorities should make sure that students stayed in hostels approved by the institutions, he said.