The suspension of five final-year students of LS Raheja College of Art in Bandra on charges of ragging a group of juniors outside the campus last week has put the focus back on the menace of ragging. In the wake of these developments, one wonders what effect the national anti-ragging helpline has had on the problem.
MiD DAY’s investigations have revealed some shocking stats: out of over 1.6 lakh phones made to the helpline, only 1,400 complaints were formally registered.
Sources attribute the skewed ratio to the facts that most callers change their mind midway. Many of the phone calls are pranks. Most colleges have their own helplines to tackle the problem of ragging, obviating the need to make calls to a national helpline.
The national helpline (1800-180-5522) is now manned by the Aman Satya Kachroo Trust founded by Raj Kachroo, father of ragging victim Aman Kachroo.
Aman, a first year MBBS student at Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College in Tanda, 15 km from Dharamshala in Kangra district, succumbed to injuries on March 8, 2009 after being ragged by four drunk final year students.
He said, “Till date, we have registered 1,400 complaints. The case is followed up by authorities till the complainant is satisfied.” He also added that several times, students call the helpline number and abuse the helpline workers.
However, Harsh Agarwal, the co-founder of CURE (Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education) said that simply having an anti-ragging helpline or holding seminars would not solve the problem.
“An anti-ragging helpline is important for students who wish to report the incident but do not know where to complain. However, it is wrong to harbour excessive expectations from a helpline number.”
Call this number if you are being ragged
The suspension of the students from the Bandra college has also made authorities at the college more alert. Talking to MiD DAY, Shridhar Badekar, the principal of LS Raheja College of Arts said that the college would start conducting an anti-ragging campaign in the institute from next year. Badekar said, “The college has submitted their enquiry report to the Bandra railway police on Tuesday. Being a college of Arts, we didn’t have much problems related to ragging but now we may start an anti-ragging seminar from next year.”