CUDDALORE: Over five college students who stay at the government hostel run by the Backward Class Welfare Department in Cuddalore have made allegations of ragging, and extortion of money, against some senior students who also stay there.
After the Periyar Government Arts College in Cuddalore opened for the year, several students joined the government hostel which was situated just opposite the college. Most of them belonged to remote villages and had chosen the hostel with hopes of a peaceful living environment as they pursue higher education.
The positivity, with which college students begin new life away from home, has been shattered in the matter of a week, allegedly due to ragging at the hostel. With tears welling up in their eyes, they said “We cannot take this anymore,” said a student with eyes welling up, “We want to go home.”
Summing up the experience, some of the victimised students said, “A gang of senior students forced us to gather in a room in the night one day, for a ‘meeting’. This has continued on every night ever since. They would ask us trivial, often funny, questions and if we get the answers wrong, we are given small ‘punishments’. We are not allowed to go back to our rooms until after midnight.”
Some students claimed that a hostel employee, along with some senior students, were also extorting money from them. Students have given them amounts from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000, reportedly.
“After food is prepared in the kitchen, the seniors take it off to their room. We have to go to the mess hall and take our food, but we do not get enough food to eat,” some junior students said.
Even residents seem to be aware of the issue, and some opined that the police and district administrations should conduct anti-ragging awareness programmes in all colleges.
Collector T P Rajesh promised to look into the matter, when contacted. “I would send a team to the hostel to look into the issue. Action would be taken if anyone is charged of ragging,” he said.
Some students wished that any official inquiry would be conducted with the students being questioned individually.
Said a victimised student, “ If officials want to know the ground realities, they should inquire juniors and seniors separately. Nobody will open up with the seniors watching, as they may be bullied after the officials leave.”