Ragging, as one of the most rampant college crimes a decade ago, led to many institutes in India devising innovative ways to curb the crime. In lieu of several ragging cases in the past, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat, has implemented a rule that prohibits senior students from meeting the freshers upto the first six months in college. During welcome parties and other orientation sessions for first year students, seniors and freshers aren’t allowed to personally interact with each other. This may come across as a startling rule, but it was quickly accepted by the students.

In most arts and commerce colleges, the idea of
such a prohibition is alien to students. However, if you remember watching the
movie 3 Idiots, you would sympathise with ragging victims in engineering
colleges. According to a 2013 survey, there were 1339
cases of ragging registered in engineering colleges between 2009 to 2013. This data
only represents 5 major Indian states, where the number of ragging cases were
the highest. The total number of cases in India could easily be double the
given figure. Such statistics gave a poor reputation to engineering colleges.

The SVNIT Dean of Student Affairs, Prof H.B.
Naik, said, “Students here also complained about ragging incidents during the
late hours of the night, which led us to putting a strict regulation in place. While
creating anti-ragging awareness and holding related seminars is important, not
all students behaviours can be controlled that way.” Students of SVNIT didn’t give
much thought or protest towards the new rule. Mohit Singh, a fourth year
student, said, “We are not allowed to enter the freshers hostels or meet with
them in person without prior permission. However, speaking to freshers in
groups and in public places is not prohibited.” The students cannot hold
meeting or seminars for freshers or sit in the same classroom. Another third
year student said, “as long as the rule can be perceived beneficial to freshers’
safety, we were willing to adjust ourselves with it.”

The management says that in the past 6-7 years,
since the rule has been made, the number of ragging incidents have reduced to
zero. They are of the opinion that in the first six months in a new college
students are usually confused and vulnerable. Hence, when ragging incidents
occur at this time, students are unsure whom to report it to. Some students,
out of the fear of ruining the next 4 years in college, keep such incidents
under wrap.

Following the guidelines by the University
Grants Commission (UGC), the institute has organised an anti-ragging squad and
every new student is asked to sign undertaking circulars proposed by the UGC.
Besides, not just SVNIT, but even NIT Kurukshetra(NITKkr) has implemented a peculiar
rule for freshers to prevent ragging. Freshers in NITKkr are not allowed to
share their mobile numbers with senior students, even if they are working together
in college events. As more and more ragging incidents come to light, engineering
institutes are devising newer strategies to keep a stronger check on their
student crowd.

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