In reply to the RTI query it came to light that over the last five years, at least 25 students have died by suicide after being subjected to ragging, the UGC has revealed.
Ragging refers to the practice of seniors or older students engaging in various forms of harassment, bullying, and humiliation against newer or junior students, especially in educational institutions.
Ragging can have serious psychological and emotional effects on victims and can even lead to tragic outcomes. In response to this issue, India has taken several measures to prevent and stop ragging.
Prohibition: The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have both issued regulations and guidelines explicitly prohibiting ragging in educational institutions. Ragging is a punishable offense under these guidelines.
Anti-Ragging Committees: Educational institutions are required to establish Anti-Ragging Committees and Anti-Ragging Squads consisting of faculty members, administrative staff, and student representatives. These committees are responsible for preventing and addressing incidents of ragging.
Mandatory Disclosure: Institutions are mandated to provide information about anti-ragging measures, contact details of committee members, and helpline numbers on their websites and in official communications.
Awareness Programs: Educational institutions regularly organize awareness campaigns, workshops, and orientation sessions to educate students about the harmful effects of ragging and the consequences for both perpetrators and victims.
Affidavits: Many institutions ask students and their parents or guardians to submit affidavits affirming that they will not engage in or tolerate ragging. This serves as a deterrent and makes students and their families aware of the seriousness of the issue.
Helpline Numbers: Dedicated helpline numbers and email addresses are provided to students for reporting incidents of ragging anonymously. This encourages victims or witnesses to come forward without fear of retaliation.
Counselling and Support: Institutions offer counseling services to victims of ragging to help them cope with the emotional aftermath. Additionally, support groups and mentoring systems are put in place to facilitate the integration of newcomers.
Strict Punishments: Perpetrators of ragging can face severe consequences, including suspension, expulsion, fines, and even criminal charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Orientation Programs: New students are often given orientation programs to introduce them to the institution's culture, rules, and policies, fostering a sense of community and discouraging harmful behaviours.
Collaboration with Law Enforcement: Educational institutions collaborate with law enforcement agencies to ensure that incidents of ragging are promptly and effectively investigated, and appropriate action is taken.
Despite these measures, instances of ragging continue to occur. Efforts to combat ragging require a concerted and ongoing commitment from educational institutions, students, faculty, parents, and the legal system.
Creating a safe and respectful learning environment is crucial for the holistic development of students and the preservation of human dignity.