Unending ordeal: On continuing acts of ragging

Law enforcement officials and colleges must do more to prevent ragging

The Supreme Court-appointed R.K. Raghavan Committee had captured the causes, and suggested actionable remedies, in its 2007 report, ‘The Menace of Ragging in Educational Institutions and Measures to Curb It’. The panel rightly categorised ragging as a form of “psychopathic behaviour and a reflection of deviant personalities”. In 1999, a University Grants Commission (UGC) Committee had recommended a “Prohibition, Prevention and Punishment” approach to curb ragging. Yet, as the Raghavan Committee pointed out, many State laws only seek to prohibit, and not prevent, ragging. In its words, “while prevention must lead to prohibition, the reverse need not be true.” Despite ‘The UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions 2009’, except for formalities such as conducting freshers’ parties, mandating undertakings from students and parents against indulging in ragging, and putting up ‘no-ragging’ notices, the stakeholders have done little to prevent it. Institutions must create an encouraging atmosphere where teachers and hostel wardens, and not parents living in a distant place, are the first point of contact for victims. There must be greater accountability by educational institutions to prevent ragging. As the Raghavan panel recommended, regulatory authorities must ensure a ragging-free campus. This has a direct bearing on the maintenance of academic standards in individual institutions. Governments too must be earnest in implementing regulations, failing which campuses would not be safe for students.