As the new academic session is about to begin in higher education institutions, the University Grants Commission has issued a public notice to contain the menace of ragging.
The notice uploaded on UGC website and published in the local media here on Wednesday says, "It is brought to the notice of the public that ragging is a criminal offence and that UGC has framed regulations on curbing the menace of ragging in higher educational institutions, 2009, in order to prohibit, prevent and eliminate the scourge of ragging in Indian universities/colleges/institutions. The regulations are mandatory and all intuitions should take necessary steps for its implementation under intimation to the UGC."
Under the regulations, all the educational institutions have been directed to form anti-ragging committees and squads and ensure that no such incidents take place. The regulations have empowered the educational institutions to punish the perpetrators depending upon the severity of the crime. Students indulging in such activity can be suspended, barred from attending class or library or even rusticated from institutions. To top them all, the ragging can be separately dealt under the Indian penal code.
Being aware of the fact that educational institutions may or may not publicize instances of ragging to prevent damage to their reputation, the UGC has also started a toll free helpline 1800-180-5522 to lodge complaint.
Rajendra Institute of Medical Science has formed an anti-ragging squad last year comprising teachers to ensure that no such activity takes place on the campus. If the institution authorities are to be believed, not a single case of ragging or intimidation was reported since last year. "Who is going to indulge in such activity after the UGC and the Supreme Court of India issued such strict guidelines," said director Tulsi Mahto. However, a junior doctor said some of the (ragging) cases were resolved at the level of students and teachers because everyone was aware of the consequences of reporting the matter to higher level.
According to the UGC guidelines, every institution is supposed to put up a notice prohibiting ragging and should also display contact numbers of anti-ragging committee members. Complaints received by the institutions are to be displayed on the website of the institution. However, most of the institutions in Jharkhand have not posted any complaint on the website.
Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, has uploaded the UGC guidelines on its home page but no complaint can be seen. Pawan Kumar, a former student, said, "Ragging is no longer an open affair. It happens in closed corners like hostel and playground and if the matter worsens, senior batches intervene."
Additional registrar at RVS College of Engineering in Jamshedpur Shivaji Bose said every year anti-ragging committee was formed but it had not received any complaint since 2004.