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Ragging rages in West Bengal institutions Ragging rages in West Bengal institutions

Jul-01-2015 | 0 Comments


KOLKATA: Admission brochures will tell you that Bengal campuses are ragging-free, but the reality is that the state is second only to Uttar Pradesh in the scourge for the last six years.

In May and June alone, at least 18 complaints from Bengal have been registered with the UGC's anti-ragging cell. Raj Kachroo, who heads the call, described the situation as "alarming". He had toured the state last week, meeting heads of institutions. He explained that the number of complaints registered is a mere 1% of what actually goes on because victims are scared of being ostracized by seniors or even by college administrations that don't want their brand name sullied.

Physical torture, brutal beatings and humiliation through sexual innuendos are shockingly common. Seniors often take cellphone videos of the torture and circulate them among friends or post them on the internet.

On May 4, a junior at Presidency's Eden Hindoo Hostel complained of prolonged physical and sexual abuse by seniors, giving a blow by blow account of the torture. He has named the seniors and mentions how they flaunted their political links to browbeat victims. The university's anti-ragging committee is probing the complaint. A police case has been initiated, but the victim is too traumatized to appear before cops. Registrar D Konar said, "We have taken this up with utmost seriousness and have already called the accused for inquiry. The victim has not been able to appear yet."

On May 20, 2015, first year girls at Indian Maritime University said they wee made to crawl on their bellies, forced to take alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Some were allegedly beaten up — and the prime accused, they said, was a girl. Some juniors secretly filmed the torture, which strengthened their case. The college went to police and suspended the accused, but the victims chose to withdraw the case.

At NSHM, a fresher was beaten up so badly in front of the hostel superintendent on May 16 that he choked, had to be given oxygen and was hospitalized. "The boys have been suspended and the superintendent is being moved out. It was indeed traumatic for the boy," said director Arnab Roy.

On May 10 and 11, two incidents of ragging rattled University Institute of Technology, under Burdwan University. "Police cases were filed and the accused suspended but it will not solve matters. We are trying to get to the root of the problem," said VC Smriti Kumar Sarkar.

"Between 2009 and 2014, 359 complaints were filed, second only to UP. My experience with the state's college authorities has not been happy. They acknowledge the incidents but are somewhat nonchalant about them," Kachroo said from Delhi.

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