The suicide of BJB college student Ruchika Mohanty was the third instance when an Odisha student ended their life within a span of just three months, bringing the much debated issue of ragging to the fore again.
Ruchika’s suicide note which she had left before hanging herself in her hostel room indicated that she was being ragged by her seniors the stress of which led her to end her life.
Earlier in May this year, a girl student committed suicide by jumping from her hostel roof in Balasore. Similarly, a medical student in Bolangir jumped to death just a month before in April. All these incidents are related to ragging.
It is pertinent to mention here that despite a clear direction by the UGC to form anti-ragging cells, monitoring committees, to hold anti-ragging workshops and installing CCTV cameras in educational institutions, ragging cases continue to rise in the State. While the parents blame absence of a stringent anti-ragging law, the educationists demanded lack of willingness to execute the existing rules on the ground.
Basudev Bhatt, the President of Odisha Parents Association said, “Almost 98% of the ragging cases do not come to fore. And the 2% cases which comes out to our knowledge, no action in those cases leaves a big gap in execution of the law on the ground.”
“We demand an Anti-Ragging Act to be introduced in Odisha. Apart from that the Police should launch a toll-free number for the students to lodge their grievances in connection with ragging,” Bhatt added.
As per Centre’s data, a total of 2790 ragging cases were registered in the country between 2018 and 202, out of which offenders in only 1296 cases were punished.
Worthwhile to mention that States like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have their own anti-ragging laws under which there are provisions of imprisonment for the guilty students. The accused students will be barred to take admission in other colleges and universities for a certain time too.
According to the Principal of BJB Autonomous college, Dr Niranjan Mishra, “Students generally do not inform such occurrences to their guardians. Unless they inform the authorities or the parents about the ragging, how will the institution know if there is ragging going on.”
Academician, Satyakam Mishra said, “There is no need of another law. The existing UGC directions are sufficient to curb ragging in educational institutes provided they are executed properly. This is spreading like a disease because of lack of action against the perpetrators and poor execution of the law.”