ANDHRA PRADESH

Ragging shatters calm on campus

SHADNAGAR (MAHBUBNAGAR DT.) DEC. 24. The otherwise peaceful atmosphere on the campus of Noor College of Engineering and Technology in Kammadanam, a few km away from here, was shattered following trouble caused by some errant students and locals.

On December 17, five youngsters, including three second year students and two outsiders, allegedly ragged three girls some distance away from the campus. Students passing by interfered and with the help of some locals, beat up the youngsters and handed them over to the probationary SI, Rama Devi, at the Shadnagar police station.

But, with the college not lodging any complaint, no case was registered. The next day, the girls complained to the Principal, K.S.N. Murthy, after which the issue was taken to the correspondent, M.A. Baig. It then appeared as if the issue had been forgotten.

On Monday, a meeting of parents and students, police, represented by SI, K. Narasimhulu, and locals, was called to discuss the subject of ragging. Those present were a former sarpanch and Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency member, Viswam and Babar, of the Congress. Following complaints from locals that a faculty member, Ahmed Bin Saleh, was supporting students indulging in ragging, the management then announced that action would be taken. At the meeting, the 16 students, who had been identified as those indulging in ragging, were then bound over before the Mandal Revenue Officer and the Executive Magistrate, Venkataiah, under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code. They were asked to furnish bonds for Rs. 500, on the promise of good conduct for the next one year. Interestingly, the three boys, who were found `ragging' the girls were not among those who attended the meeting, students allege.

When asked, many students said ragging was not an issue at all as the college had been quite strict. Whatever ragging there was, they said it was harmless and only improved camaraderie. Mr. Murthy said since he had become Principal in May, 2003, there had been two instances where victims had complained of harassment. In both the cases, the parents had been called and informed, after which the students were suspended from classes for one week. He told The Hindu.

Mr. Baig said, thanks to constant monitoring, ragging had never assumed serious proportions. However, he said Wednesday's incident had attracted the attention of locals, all supporters of the sitting MLA, P. Sankar Rao, including those from the National Students Union of India.

The Deputy Superindent of Police, Shadnagar, B. Subhash, said if the college had lodged a complaint against the trio for Wednesday's incident, the police would have been able to tackle the situation better. Now, the original episode had been sidetracked and with ragging taking predominance, students and parents were a worried lot, he said.

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