RAGGING- A BANE
What is Ragging?
Ragging is any conduct whether verbal or physical which has an effect of making fun of someone, humiliating them, giving them harsh tasks to complete and teasing them which affect their lives a lot. Generally ragging is done by seniors to their juniors in colleges and hostels.
Despite being disgraceful and highly denounced as an inglorious activity, ragging continues to be perpetuated without compunction or human feeling as an act at a large scale, inflicting physical, mental and emotional suffering upon young students. To say the least, the consequences of such acts are often understated but serious in nature causing several students to give up studies and intensely affecting their mental health and physical health.
Ragging in Past and in Present
The history of ragging dates back to the British era, when it was exercised in English colleges and universities with an aim to impart knowledge of power structure to the new students who were considered to be lacking in maturity and social sense. This evil practice has continued as a legacy till date in Indian colleges and universities. Insensitive, harsh and cruel treatment of juniors at the hand of seniors is a black spot even in some of the best colleges of engineering and medicine, often inciting lifelong depression and trauma.
Ragging in India
Ragging can undeniably be considered as the most difficult and annoying practice in India. On one hand a majority of ragging cases are not even reported or highlighted, yet those who suffer the consequences are generally harmless and guiltless young people. Although being a victim of ragging impacts them severely, yet they remain silent or are forced to remain silent. Those who have to bear the brunt of this insensitive, irresponsible and irrational act are so much traumatized that they suffer nervous breakdowns and mental ill-health pushing them to a level that they take extreme decisions such as attempting suicide. The events of ragging can often cause fatalities because of intensive physical exertion caused by unsympathetic raggers. Many students undergo permanent trauma, anxiety and have to lead life of a depressed individual. The humiliation and embarrassment brought about by ragging not only make students sufferers, often provoking them to suicide, but also, dash the dreams, hopes and aspirations of their parents, who also have to suffer the consequences to almost the same degree. Ragging is now considered a criminal offense by the government, strict laws have been introduced and many punishments have also been set up for the same.
Punishment of ragging or bullying under Indian penal code are as follows: –
- Under section 4, the Tripura Educational Institution Act, 1990 the punishment is up to 4 year or fine or both of them.
- Under section 4, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1997, Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999 and Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998 states punishment up to 2 years of imprisonment or fine up to Rs 10000 or both.
- Under section 4, the West Bengal Prohibition of Ragging in Education Institutions Act, 2000 the punishment is 2 years of imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5000 or both.
- The Karnataka Prohibition of Ragging Act 1983, section 116 states punishment up 1 year of imprisonment and fine which may extent to Rs 10000 or both.
Few from many of the total ragging cases that shocked the whole country are stated below:-
Aman Kachroo, aged 19 and a medical student at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Himachal Pradesh, was subjected to ragging at the hands of his four seniors in the year 2019. As a consequence he sustained severe head injuries. Unfortunately he died, but one day before passing away he registered a complaint against the accused, Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Mukul Sharma and Abhinav Verma. In the complaint, Aman stated that the four above named students had consumed alcohol and under its influence pressured the first-year students to physically strike each other by slapping. Aman claimed that one of four named Ajay hit him by slapping him seven times. This episode went on till 4 am that day. As a consequence, Aman had a splitting headache the day after and he had to visit the college hospital for treatment. Unfortunately his severe head injuries ultimately caused his death.
Despite the terrible outcome, the four seniors were simply let go due to their ‘good conduct’ in 2013. Not only that, they were allowed to enroll again in the government college. However they would not be able to join a government job.
In 2009, a committee of high-level members had been formed to carry out a detailed study of factors responsible for Aman’s death. It was discovered that the high level of intoxication by the accused was mainly responsible for shockingly brutal ragging conducted upon their juniors. This is also the reason for the violent behaviour of the accused.
In 1996, a horrifying incident was reported. Pon Navarasu, aged 19, was a student of Rajah Muthiah Medical College in Tamil Nadu. John David, a senior student in the same college asked Pon Navarasu to strip and lick David’s footwear as an act of ragging. When Pon Navarasu refused to David’s demands, he was physically assaulted by David. David responded barbarically and separated the limbs from Pon Navarasu’s body and scaterred them in different places in Tamil Nadu.
It was reported that David was a notorious bully in the college and once he got the hint that Navarasu’s father was an ex-Vice Chancellor of Madras University, he deliberately targeted and chased Navarasu with malicious intent. When David was interrogated, he admitted to committing the crime and was given two consecutive life sentences. However the Madras high court released him in 2001 and he was ordered to only in 2011 to be put behind the bars.
The Supreme Court Order
The supreme court of India has taken up a strong position against ragging and has ordered to set up national anti-ragging helpline which would be helpful to victims and be informative in taking various actions by the head of an institution and with the help of the local police. A highly useful feature of this helpline is that the victims can register a complaint even through an email in complete secrecy.
All across the country, the rules in many colleges prohibit ragging strongly and this has largely acted as a deterrent, however the media still reports cases of ragging. A lot of cases fail to hit the headlines and several are not given even a fair trial. Registration of cases is often avoided by victims because they are threatened and fear for the lives and humiliation of the members of their family. It is easy to bend the rules and obtain bails without paying heavy fines. Ragging in one form or another is not just present in India rather it is a global issue. In the year 2007, reports came of 7 deaths and registration of a significant number of cases.
The Indian government has banned ragging but still we hear many such cases every year.
“LET US PUT A STOP,
LET US MAKE A DIFFERENCE,
LET US JOIN HANDS
AND PUT AN END TO THIS EVIL!
DON’T RAG…… INTERACT!”
 GreenC bot (Apr 26, 2021), https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragging
 V.S Datta, Ragging- Then and Now, Active India (Sep 27, 2013 3:52 PM), http://www.activeindiatv.com/editorials/12775-raggingthen-a-now.
 Anannke Foundation, what is the punishment for ragging and bullying in IPC (Indian Penal Code), (Mar 22, 2019),https://anannkefoundation.org/what-is-the-punishment-for-ragging-and-bullying-in-ipc-indian-peanl-code/.
 5 cases of Ragging in india That Shocked The World, (Sep 23, 2020 11:19 PM) https://www.indiatimes.com/news/world/5-cases-of-ragging-in-india-that-shocked-the-world-2738321.html
 Apoorva Reddy, 1 ragging, (Oct 31, 2011), https://www.slideshare.net/causethatshowiroll/1-ragging
Author: Vanshika Agrawal,
Navrachana University 1st year