By Chaitanya Mallapur
Mumbai: The University Grants Commission (UGC) received 3,022 complaints of student ragging between 2013 and 2017, according to official data presented in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament).
Reported incidents of ragging increased 41 percent from 640 in 2013 to 901 in 2017, and 75 percent in one year (from 515 in 2016).
A ragging incident was reported from Kolkata where a first-year student of St. Paul’s College was allegedly stripped and tortured by ex-students on 17 May, 2018, The Times of India reported on 2 June, 2018. “Feeling humiliated, the victim also allegedly made a failed attempt to end his life,” the report said.
The maximum complaints (15 percent or 461) were reported in Uttar Pradesh—the country’s most populous state—between 2013 and 2017. As many as 143 complaints were reported in the state in 2017, the most registered by any state over the past five years.
Source: Lok Sabha
Uttar Pradesh was followed by Madhya Pradesh (357), West Bengal (337), Odisha (207) and Bihar (170).
Ragging persists despite efforts to curb menace
Of the 2,041 complaints received between 1 January, 2015, and 27 March, 2018, students have been punished in 871 cases including suspension in 338 cases, Satya Pal Singh, minister of state in the ministry of human resource development, told the Lok Sabha in a reply on 2 April, 2018.
The UGC brought regulations to curb the menace of ragging in 2009, the minister said. The regulations provide suspension, debarring, rustication and even expulsion of guilty students.
“Despite the government’s ban on ragging since the late 1970s and two subsequent interventions by the Supreme Court (1999 and 2006) issuing guidelines to eradicate ragging, it is still found that a significant section of stakeholders continue to support ragging and justify it by dividing the act into severe and mild, with the latter, in their argument, being benign in nature,” according to a study, mandated by the Supreme Court of India, published on 11 August, 2017.
As many as 22 students from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, were suspended last year for bullying and abusing freshers, The Times of India reported on 22 September, 2017.
In another incident last year, two engineering students were arrested by the police in Bhubaneswar for ragging a first-year student, Business Standard reported on 12 September, 2017.
36 percent students surveyed feel ragging prepares them for the real world
Nearly 40 percent students who participated in the Supreme Court-mandated psycho-social study admitted to being ragged while about 33 percent enjoyed being ragged. Around 45 percent students said they felt bad initially but later felt it was alright.
Nearly 36 percent students felt ragging prepared them to deal with harshness of the outside world.
Themes that emerged from interviews with 187 students on questions pertaining to ragging practices. Figures denote the number of interviews in which that theme occurred.
Source: University Grants Commission
While 40 percent students felt ragging helped making friends in colleges, 28 percent said it added fun to college life. Over 30 percent students said it impacted studies negatively.
As many as 84 percent students said they did not complain when ragged. While 41 percent said they were not sure whether authorities would take action against seniors, 38 percent said they did not want to harm their career.
Ragging can lead to long-term psychological and negative impact on students, the study found. Victims of ragging face mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and lower levels of self-worth when compared to students who are not ragged.
Chaitanya Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.
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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 16:18:13 IST