Chennai

Ragging on the rise in Tamil Nadu

A reply to LS states that 43 incidents were recorded last year, up from 25 in 2015

The State has seen a steady increase in enrolment in colleges but are students enjoying the experience? In the last three years, according to a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh, there has been a steady increase in the number of incidents of ragging across the country.

In Tamil Nadu, from just 25 incidents of ragging in 2015, 43 were recorded last year.

In 2015, a B.Tech student of Sathyabhama University committed suicide, leaving behind an eight-page note that complained of ragging. But the police maintained that the parents had not complained to the anti-ragging cell. In 2016, a student of Vyasa College in Masanaickenpatti, Salem, attempted suicide but the college management maintained that the student’s family did not lodge a complaint. Periyar University authorities said they had urged the college to follow University Grants Commission’s anti-ragging guidelines.

A student of Coimbatore Medical College petitioned the anti-ragging cell in New Delhi to protect his juniors from ragging. His petition led to the then dean of the college allocating a separate block for first-year students.

N. Pasupathy, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, said anti-ragging measures are strictly enforced in colleges and inspections are carried out. But student activists say ragging shows up when social and economic differences are stark among students.

“You will come across ragging by seniors of juniors in sports hostels. It occurs where there is obvious difference in social and economic backgrounds of students,” says G. Niruban, Students Federation of India’s State Joint Secretary.

According to him, ragging rears its ugly head more frequently in self-financing colleges and deemed universities. Insufficient hostel wardens and the clustering of students of the same community brings about clashes.

“Students of a certain community or caste tend to huddle together and bond. Students from the same district prefer to remain within their group,” he adds.

“Social identification is very clear in hostels. In Presidency College, we came across an issue of a Dalit student not being allowed to eat as the cook was from an upper caste. A student is easily identifiable when he is fresh in college,” Mr. Niruban says.

The lack of an active student movement also pushes up ragging incidents, says G. Renuga, a student activist and a former student of Madras University.

The State’s health helpline 104 provides counselling for those in distress, as does Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 4424640050.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 1:46:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/ragging-on-the-rise-in-state/article24498907.ece

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