City students talk about the rampant ragging in colleges and hostels. The humiliation has cost many youngsters their lives
Stories of sexual and physical harassment on Bangalore college campuses are tumbling out, following the death of Aman Kachroo (19), ragging's latest victim.
Students from a cross-section of colleges say that harassment in the name of ragging is rampant, not just in non-professional colleges but in professional ones too.
While some professional colleges have abided by guidelines which hold college principals and hostel wardens responsible if cases of ragging are reported, anti-ragging committees are virtually non-existent in degree colleges.
"Things begin in a lighter vein but eventually turn into something serious when done to extract vengeance," said Ambit, a third-year engineering student.
Students are not averse to good-humoured ragging. "What is objectionable is when it leads to harassment and humiliation," said Arati of Christ College.
At hostels too
The ragging that begins on a campus extends to hostels too.
"A lot of the ragging used to take place in the hostels and that used to be nasty," said Rohan Verma, a software professional, who admits to ragging freshers during his college days.
"But it was stuff like asking them to do silly things, nothing dangerous."
In girls' hostels, ragging is confined to freshers being asked to do all sorts of things a strip dance sometimes or acting out a raunchy scene. "I hated my hostel days, I was ragged throughout my first year and it was cheap and vulgar. I was asked to remove my clothes and throw them out of the hostel.
Seriously, it's physical torture and something has to be done about it," said Bindiya Nath, an MBA student of Mount Carmel College.
Aman Kachroo, a student at a medical college in Himachal Pradesh, died at the hands of doctors-to-be. Kachroo had repeatedly complained to his parents about the brutal ragging that took place on campus, often by totally drunk third-year students.
The All India Council for Technical Education has warned that action will be initiated against college managements if ragging cases are reported.
Education minister Aravind Limbavali said, "At no cost will our government tolerate such inhuman activities. Irrespective of who is involved, stern action will be taken against the culprits and we are already on the job."