Odisha in top-three spot for ragging for last two years

In the current academic session of 2021-22, State has reported 21 cases

Published: 26th April 2022 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2022 06:48 AM   |  A+A-


Representational Image. (File Photo)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR : Odisha is the third highest among states reporting ragging cases in the country for the last two years. The latest alleged case being the death of a medico in Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital at Balangir.

According to the anti-ragging helpline of the University Grants Commission (UGC), in the current academic session of 2021-22, Odisha has reported 21 cases till April 3 this year. The number of cases was 39 in 2020-21 taking the total to 60 in last two years. Most of them have come from medical and engineering colleges.

In the same period, Bihar registered 68 cases with Uttar Pradesh at the top with 141 cases. Madhya Pradesh is at fourth spot with 50 ragging cases. Of the total cases in Odisha, MKCG Medical College has reported 9, the highest, followed by Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research or VIMSAR (5) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology-Sarang (8). When it comes to gender-wise distribution of the 21 cases this session, 16 were filed by boys and rest five by girls.

Despite implementation of UGC regulations on curbing ragging in higher educational institutions since 2009, the menace has not been curbed in Odisha which has remained among top-5 States reporting the maximum number of cases in last 13 years (602 since the year 2009).

Every higher educational institution in the State has an active anti-ragging cell comprising 4 to 5 members and sometimes more depending on the number of faculty members and staff available. They are in charge of implementing the UGC norms on campuses to prevent ragging. 

Institutions are also supposed to maintain vigil on students by installing CCTV cameras and alarm bells at vital points on campuses. Students, on their part, sign an undertaking during admission not to indulge in ragging. These measures notwithstanding, the menace remains stubborn. In some cases, anti-ragging cells are non-functional due to lack of adequate number of faculty members, while many institutions do not take UGC guidelines seriously which is why a majority of the cases go unreported.

“It is no secret that only a miniscule number of ragging cases are reported to UGC or other regulatory bodies like AICTE, Dental Council of India, MCI and MHRD because the tortured students fear retaliation by seniors,” said Gourav Singhal, the national coordinator at Society against Violence in Education (SAVE).

Faculty member of VIMSAR-Burla Dr Sadhu Panda who was a part of the MCH’s anti-ragging panel said the panel cannot always be blamed for such incidents. “Faculty and police are a part of such panels but they cannot keep an eye on students round-the-clock. Squad members and hostel wardens speak to students and urge them to abstain from ragging. But that clearly is not helping as it is ultimately the students who decide what to do,” he said.

Even the provision of stringent punishment has not deterred the students from ragging. In VSSUT, Sambalpur, 12 accused students faced rustication for ragging juniors last year. Academician Pritish Acharya suggests that workshops and awareness drives among students are need of the hour. “Students who have faced ragging in their initial years consider it their right to harass their juniors. This mindset needs to change through awareness drives,” he added.

Secretary of Higher Education department Saswat Mishra did not respond to a query on the issue. 
Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar-based Centre for Policy, Governance and Advocacy which runs a ‘ragging free campus abhiyan’ in the State wrote to the OHRC on Monday seeking operation of an Odisha anti-ragging helpline on the lines of the UGC helpline under the Human Rights Protection Cell of Odisha Police.


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