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Ragging: the hidden human rights violation

July is the time when lakhs of students take their first steps out of school and into college life. For some, the first few days in college leave a permanent scar on their psyche.

How to deal with ragging

For some, it can be a harrowing experience to be ragged in college. The severity of ragging varies from frivolous play to verbal harassment, sexual abuse and physical torture. It is hard to understand how students, who are otherwise academically-bright and appear to be normal, can be insensitive towards their peers who have gained admission in their college as their fellow-students. Ragging is deemed essential to break ice between ‘seniors’ and ‘freshers’. What is needed is that more friendly ways of interaction be devised by the college authorities themselves, so that the very reason why ragging happens, is rooted out.

Punitive steps can also be a deterrent. As far as the law is concerned, the Supreme Court of India has appointed a committee to recommend how ragging can be curbed. The points made by the Committee, if implemented in full spirit, can go a long way towards preventing the scarring of thousands of young and sensitive people, who suffer at the hands of their peers.

What is the Raghavan Committee?

A six member committee headed by Dr R.K. Raghavan, Former Director, CBI, was constituted by the Supreme Court of India in November 2006. The committee members travelled to different cities across the country and held discussions with students, college faculties, civil society organisations, psychological experts, officials from various educational councils, etc. and submitted its detailed report in Supreme Court on May 16th, 2007. Some of the key findings of the Raghavan Committee were:
  • Primary responsibility for curbing ragging rests with academic institutions themselves.
  • Ragging adversely impacts the standards of higher education.
  • Incentives should be available to institutions for curbing the menace and there should be disincentives for failure to do so.
  • Enrolment in academic pursuits or a campus life should not immunize any adult citizen from penal provisions of the laws of the land.
  • Ragging needs to be perceived as failure to inculcate human values from the schooling stage.
  • Behavioural patterns among students, particularly potential 'raggers', need to be identified
  • Measures against ragging must deter its recurrence. Concerted action is required at the level of the school, higher educational institution, district administration, university, State and Central Governments to make any curb effective.

Ragging: How to curb it

College authorities must make effort to sensitise both seniors and freshers on ragging. They must undertake various activities such as games, dramas, short excursions to facilitate interaction between senior and junior students.

  • College authorities must conduct anonymous survey of freshers to know if ragging is going on in their institute.
  • Worst form of ragging takes place in the college hostels during the night therefore college authorities must conduct surprise checks in their hostels during the night.
  • In case of any incident of ragging victim must try to take the teacher into confidence and apprise him/her of the incident.
  • Parents of fresher/senior students must form a small group and remain in touch with each other on phone or email.
  • This would help them share information on the situation of ragging in college and the involvement of their wards in it.
  • Education Ministry at the Central and the State level must conduct various awareness programmes to make ragging a social evil.


  • During the initial days in the college, freshers must try to be in groups and avoid places like canteens or hostels of the senior students.
  • College must take each ragging complaint seriously and should not ignore or avoid cases even of mild ragging.
  • It is commonly seen that college authorities try to save the reputation of the college and deny cases of ragging. In case of any serious incident of ragging, college shouldn’t hesitate in registering complaint with the police.
  • Seniors should not do anything, which could make their juniors uncomfortable.