Second ‘ragging’ death in three months but Odisha remains silent on menace

Meanwhile, members of the BJB College Students Association took out a rally demanding justice for the deceased.

Published: 04th July 2022 09:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2022 09:32 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational Image. (File Photo)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: In little over three months, Odisha has seen the second death of a college student alleged due to ragging. On Saturday, a first-year history student of BJB Autonomous College ended her life after leaving a suicide note in which she blamed three of her seniors for harassment. In April, a first-year MBBS student of Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital in Balangir district died by suicide after he was allegedly tortured by seniors. In this case, the student had informed his parents of the harassment before taking to extreme steps.

Even after the two deaths, the Higher Education department has maintained a stoic silence on the issue. Despite every college - both general and technical - having anti-ragging cells, the menace seems to have no end in the State. In fact, Odisha has always remained in the top-5 states across the country when it comes to ragging as per the anti-ragging helpline (1800-180-5522) of the University Grants Commission.

The Supreme Court has mandated several regulations that every higher educational institution must follow including submission of anti-ragging affidavits by students during admissions at colleges, regular visits by anti-ragging cell authorities to hostels where newcomers have been accommodated, providing them brochures/information booklets containing the telephone numbers of the UGC anti-ragging helpline and installation of CCTV cameras in common areas of the colleges and hostels.

Sources in the BJB College informed that there is just one functional CCTV camera in the hostel where the victim was staying. Currently, a student can register a ragging complaint with the anti-ragging cell of his/her institution or with the UGC helpline or by mailing the complaint to odishaantiraggingcell@gmail.com.Superintendent of the BJB hostel Jyoti Rath said all the newcomers in the hostel were sensitised on not tolerating ragging and to reach out to her or other college authorities if they are ragged. “Had she or her parents informed us about the harassment meted out to her, we would have taken action,” she said.

However, most institutions appear insulated from anti-ragging norms except the submission of anti-ragging affidavits during the admission.“If the wardens or anti-ragging cell members made regular visits, the Balangir case would have never happened. In the case of the Bhima Bhoi MCH student, there was evidence of harassment by seniors but so far, no action has been taken against either the warden who is responsible for the safety of the hostel students or the accused students,” sources said. 

Although scores of ragging cases are being reported every academic year in Odisha, the only stringent measure taken so far was the rustication of 12 students of VSSUT-Burla for assaulting a third-year student on September 22 last year. Prior to that in 2019, the same institute had imposed a meager fine of Rs 2,000 on each of the 52 students who were accused of ragging 50 juniors. The New Indian Express reached out to Secretary of the Higher Education department Saswat Mishra on the issue but he did not comment.

Meanwhile, members of the BJB College Students Association took out a rally demanding justice for the deceased. The three seniors who allegedly caused her mental harassment should be identified and stringent action taken against her, they demanded.



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