Dharmapuri medical college caught in a row over hushing up ragging incident

Four pre-final year medical college students of the Dharmapuri Government Medical College Hospital were suspended and two wardens, including the chief warden of the hostel, resigned after a second-year student attempted to end his life on Sunday, a week after he sustained injuries allegedly caused by ragging at the medical college hostel.

The student, Saravanan of second year MBBS was found unconscious in his room by fellow students, who were checking in on him after they were alerted by his WhatsApp status. While his condition was stable, medical college administration has been accused of hushing up the victim’s abuse last week, leading to the victim taking the extreme step.

On December 23, Saravanan, a native of Namakkal and hostel resident was admitted to the hospital with injuries. Saravanan was allegedly stripped and beaten up by four senior students Rajkumar, Charan, Gokul and Dhanajayan inside the hostel. Saravanan was discharged a day later on December 24. However, no police complaint was lodged by the hospital authorities. A week later, Saravanan had attempted to end his life in his room.

Speaking to The Hindu, Dean of Medical college hospital K. Amuthavalli said the hospital inquiry was under way after the incident and a committee was inquiring the students. “The committee submitted its report only on Saturday and over 100 students of Saravanan’s batch were questioned and they said the four students were known to commit such an offence. We had to verify before taking action,” said Ms. Amuthavalli, refuting allegations of delay. “We asked his mother to take him home till the inquiry was completed, but the family refused saying, why should he leave the hostel, while the offenders continued to stay there.” said the Dean. All the four accused students were natives of Dharmapuri.

But asked about the absence of police complaint given that ragging was a serious offence, the Dean said, an AR entry (accident register) was made at the time of admission, and it was for the police to check the entry. The hospital need not alert them, said the Dean. However, in medico-legal cases, the doctor is required to intimate the police.

Superintendent of Police Kalaichelvan denied ‘inaction’ by the police. “ I don’t want to indulge in a blame game. The first time (last week), no direct intimation was given by the hospital to the police. It’s standard procedure that upon admission of any person with injuries [in suspicious circumstances], the police should be intimated.”

After rumours of a possible ragging incident surfaced, but no formal complaint was lodged, the police inspector concerned sent out a communication to the hospital authorities underlining that the police should be informed of these incidents, said Mr. Kalaichelvan.

It was projected as a scuffle between students in a hostel and that medical careers were at stake and that the hospital wanted it to be handled as an internal matter to safeguard the reputation of the institution, says the Superintendent of Police.

Saravanan had in the interim sent out a mail to the Medical Commission, feeling let down by the perceived delay in the inquiry by the medical college. He felt isolated and targeted, according to his accounts to the inquiry officer, prior to registering the CSR on Sunday, said a police source. The deputy warden, and the chief warden of the hostel, both associate professors at the hospital resigned from their wardenship on Monday.

Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 12:30:11 PM |

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