Toll free Helpline for Ragging
Ragging of freshmen in academic institutions by senior students is rampant in Indian Colleges.Ragging has taken many shapes including physical violence, sexual abuse and humiliation and milder form of pressurizing juniors to do Term Papers etc. Several steps taken by authorities so far have not improved matters. Even deaths due to ragging continue to be reported.
University Grants Commission has set up a toll free Helpline for dealing with Ragging. Any victim of ragging can ring up the toll free number 18001805522 or send an email to: helpline@ antiragging.net . The helpline will be operational 24 hours. Immediate action will be taken within fifteen minutes by alerting appropriate authorities, be it the head of the educational institution, the district collector or the police. Monitoring the progress of follow up activities by all concerned is also included.
The Anti Ragging Guidelines issued by UGC defines Ragging in a broader way to consider all activities that constitute ragging. They are applicable to all educational institutions both in government and public sectors including transport facilities. The culprits when found guilty may be rusticated for four sessions or fined up to 2.5 Lakhs
The Supreme Court recommended setting up of such a helpline only in May 2009. The Helpline is already in place, well ahead of next academic session. UGC and the ministry of HRD must be complimented on this fast move. Reports of appreciation and high hopes have come in from all sections like Students, Educational authorities and social activists.
The Helpline will speed up booking of culprits, investigations and such follow up actions. Success in this sphere may improve compliance on the part of college authorities; may encourage more victims to register their complaints. This may also bring about some transparency as the progress investigation of cases of ragging will be on the website for everyone to see.
However, preventing ragging can be achieved only changing the mindset of students. The same students (when they enter the college) who protest and detest ragging by seniors (They should – there no two opinions about it), when they become seniors, engage in ugly ragging. This is a psychological problem of just feeling superior. Only consistent counseling constant vigil may prevent ragging.