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Counselling can check ragging cases, says Raghavan panel

Special Correspondent

`Consensus on banning the detestable practice'

JAIPUR: The R. K. Raghavan Committee looking into the issue of ragging in educational institutions is of the view that counselling of students and ensuring transparency in administration can prevent the detestable practice affecting thousands of young students admitted to professional and other academic courses across the country.

The six-member committee, headed by former CBI Director R. K. Raghavan, interacted with students, teachers, Vice-Chancellor, principals of colleges and Deans of Faculties in Rajasthan University during a one-day visit to Jaipur on Thursday. The committee has been appointed by the Union Human Resource Ministry in compliance with a Supreme Court directive.

Mr. Raghavan told reporters here that there was a divergence of opinion on introducing punitive action against those found guilty of ragging. "But there is a consensus on bringing in an umbrella legislation banning ragging across the country," he said. Rajasthan already has such a law in force since 2005.

Mr. Raghavan said the intensity of ragging varied in the six States -- matching with their cultural differences -- visited by the committee so far. "However, the committee has been informed of ragging leading to physical abuse and mental torture everywhere."

One of the committee members, A. K. Agarwal, Dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, said ragging in the educational institutions of Rajasthan seemed to have a "less virulent form". Mr. Raghavan said the visit to various States was aimed at collecting data, which would be analysed for framing of conclusions. The committee will submit its report to the Supreme Court by the first week of April this year.

The committeefound that the problem, though severe in professional courses, affected academic atmosphere in all institutions. Mr. Raghavan said the suggestion for enacting a single statute banning ragging would be examined keeping in view its different facets and the scope for uniformity. Other members of the committee were Delhi's Ramjas College principal Rajendra Prasad, IIT Kanpur Director Sanjay Govind, former Vice-Chancellor of Madras University S. Sathik, and Central Department of Education Joint Secretary Sunil Kumar.

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