Indian universities and colleges are still dealing with rampant ragging cases and abuse of students mentally, sexually and physically.

The 2023 tragic case of the 18-year-old BA Bengali (honours) student of Jadavpur University (JU) in Kolkata dying after ‘falling’ from his hostel balcony which later turned out to be due to vicious and inhumane ragging by other students is one that comes to mind.

That and several other horrific instances of students losing their lives on campus due to ragging or other forms of harassment have really shone a light on the problems that Indian institutions are facing these days.

Many students during this time brought up how despite regulations being set in place to create a safe environment, many institutes are still making proper efforts to keep the mental and physical health of students in mind. This is besides all the caste and gender prejudices that students have to suffer through.

As per the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) anti-ragging helpline data, around 300 calls are coming in daily with 3-4 of them being about ragging of a “serious” nature.

What Does The UGC Say?

According to data collected by the team behind the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) anti-ragging helpline, there are around 300 calls on average coming in daily that are termed “general” such as “enquiries on filing affidavits (downloading, purpose, verification), university compliance forms (login details, updates) and other helpline regulations and procedures”.

Along with this, the 24×7 anti-ragging helpline (1800-180-5522) confidential service, allowing students all over India to report cases of a wide range also receives around 3-4 ragging complaints on average in a day that can be “can be very serious” and range from “mental, sexual harassment to physical abuse”.

As per a News18 report, UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar also said that most of the ragging complaints revolve around:

issues faced by new students such as

  • mental harassment (abusive language, name-calling, false accusations, body shaming, and threats related to attendance or grades);

  • physical abuse (some calls involve reports of physical violence, including beatings); social ostracism (being forced to do unnecessary tasks or being excluded from social activities);

  • sexual harassment (any unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or physical contact); extortion (demanding money or valuables from new students;

  • verbal abuse (insults, derogatory language, and other forms of verbal aggression are unacceptable); and

  • substance abuse (being pressured to smoke, drink, or use other substances).

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According to the UGC data, the 2023-24 academic year saw an increase in the number of ragging cases registered by 45% compared to the previous year 2022-23.

While in the academic year 2022-23, the anti-ragging helpline received 858 complaints, in this year the number went up to 1,240 ragging cases between January 1, 2023, and April 28, 2024, as per reports.

As per UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar, the confidentiality of the person registering the complaint could be a reason why more people are coming forward with their cases and feeling comfortable reporting problems on their campus.

Kumar said, “The accessible and confidential helpline empowers students to report ragging incidents without fear of retribution”.

The UGC did claim that 90% or 1,113 of the cases were resolved in the January 2023 to April 28, 2024 period, however, that cannot completely be an indication of the situation improving.

The admins could mark a case as resolved even if it’s not been properly done or actually results in a safer environment overall, however, Kumar speaking with FPJ did say, “The University Grants Commission is firmly committed to promoting a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students in universities and colleges across India”.

The UGC is also making it mandatory for all higher educational institutes (HEIs) including colleges and universities across India to make sure they have organised anti-ragging committees and that any violation of the anti-ragging regulations will result in serious action.

In a letter, the UGC stated “These regulations are mandatory, and all institutions are required to take necessary steps for its implementation including the monitoring mechanisms”.

It further added, “If any institution fails to take adequate steps to prevent ragging or does not act in accordance with these Regulations, or fails to punish perpetrators of incidents of ragging suitably, it will attract punitive actions as per UGC Regulations for Curbing the Menace of Ragging – 2009”.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: News18, New Indian Express, Free Press Journal

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: ragging, ragging india, university, indian colleges, ugc, ugc helpline, ugc anti ragging helpline, anti ragging helpline, University Grants Commission, india university mental health, mental health, helpline, mental harassment, sexual harassment, physical abuse

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