Kozhikode

Dalit student in hospital, family alleges ragging

K.P. Ashwathy, the ragging victim, at Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode.Photo: Special Arrangement  

In a suspected case of ragging, a 19-year-old nursing student of Al Qamar College of Nursing in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, who belongs to Edappal, Malappuram district, has been admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode with serious internal injury.

K.P. Ashwathy was allegedly forced to drink toilet cleaner by a group of eight senior students, mostly from Kerala, at the college hostel on May 9. She soon developed stomach ailment and was admitted to a hospital in Kalaburagi. Since her condition did not improve after five days, she was sent home by the college authorities accompanied by another student. She was first admitted to a hospital in Edappal, from where she was shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Thrissur. After two days, she was again shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode where she is undergoing treatment.

The incident came to light on Tuesday when K.P. Mohammed Shafi, an advocate, visited Ashwathy in the hospital and alerted the media. The girl is from a poor family and her father had abandoned her and her mother at a very young age. Mr. Shafi said the family had no idea about the seriousness of the issue and hence had not approached the police. Ashwathy’s uncle Bhaskaran said the student, a Dalit, was being harassed by the seniors since the day of her admission five months ago. A complaint, in the victim’s own handwriting, had been forwarded to the Director General of Police, Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Kerala, Ministers K.T. Jaleel and A.K. Balan, besides the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Shafi said.

Condition stable

A source in the hospital said the girl’s condition was stable. “She is unable to swallow liquid and solid food due to oesophageal stricture caused by corrosive ingestion. We are planning an endoscopic surgery later,” the source said.

The Superintendent of Police, Kozhikode, has spoken to his counterpart in Kalaburagi, N. Shashikumar, and is sending the first information report registered in Kozhikode through a special messenger. A team of senior police officers led by Mr. Shashikumar and Additional Superintendent of Police Jayaprakash have began investigations by recording the statements of the college principal, the hostel warden and the administrative officer.

Investigation

Mr. Shashikumar said a senior officer would be appointed as the investigating officer after the case is transferred to Kalaburagi and a thorough investigation conducted. Along with other senior officials, he visited the Basaveshwar Teaching and General Hospital to check the hospital records of the treatment provided to the victim and the statement she made to the police.

The college principal, Esther, in her statement denied that Ashwathy was ragged. She claimed that the student had come to her with a complaint of severe stomach pain and said she had consumed toilet cleaner “due to some family problem.” The college authorities shifted her to the Basaveshwar Teaching and General Hospital on May 9 itself and, after four days of treatment, she was discharged from the hospital. They claimed that the girl’s family was informed but no one turned up.

Ms. Esther said the victim was kept under observation in the hostel for three days and sent back to her native place along with another student. She also told the police that the incident took place when the college was on vacation. Ashwathy had returned to the hostel before the vacation ended.

A medico-legal case has been registered in Kalaburagi. The details of the statement made by the victim to the police are not known. The hospital claims that she was discharged against medical advice on May 11.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 7:22:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/Dalit-student-in-hospital-family-alleges-ragging/article14396975.ece

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