Warden strike adds to the woes of ragged juniors at MANIT, Bhopal

Four first year students of the
Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) Bhopal,  filed a ragging complaint on Saturday, January
9 2016 against five senior students. A complaint has also been filed at the
National anti-ragging cell of the University Grants Commission alleging that five
seniors coerced the juniors to watch pornographic film, and forced them to
imitate the same act in front of the seniors. The students filed a complaint
with UGC only after the institute’s anti-ragging cell did not respond to their
repeated pleas.

This incidence of ragging has come to
light at a point of time, when PaGaLGuY had already reported in its previous
article on MANIT about the issue of student safety in the absence of hostel
wardens. It has been a week now that the Hostel wardens along with the teaching
faculty of MANIT are on an indefinite strike.

When PaGaLGuY spoke to one of
the student victim, all of whom who hail from Andhra Pradesh, he said, “Our seniors
have been ragging us right from the start of this academic session. Despite
numerous complaints from us, the MANIT administration has not taken any steps.
We have registered many complaints with UGC’s National anti-ragging helpline as
well, but the UGC has not communicated with us.”

The Director of MANIT, Dr. Appu
Kuttan K.K, has suspended the five senior students mentioned in the compliant.
The suspension is for a period of one semester and a bond of Rs. 1,00,000 will
need to be submitted with the institute individually. Will this one semester
ban and a monetary penance ensure student safety in the future? This question
raised is worrying, especially when the senior students don’t have any
disciplinary binding in the absence of the hostel wardens.

When PaGaLGuy spoke to Dr. Appu
Kuttan about the institute’s failure in preventing such incidents, he said,
“Hitting and slapping has been a culture of this place, which takes time to
change. Such incidents of ragging have been on a fall in the past two years.
The only solution to this is strict punitive actions.”

A first year student of MANIT, who on
a condition of anonymity, said, “I, along with 39 other MANIT students had
signed a letter requesting the institute to take preventive steps against
ragging. We had submitted this letter to the then Director In-charge, Professor
Malik, who now refuses to acknowledge receiving  the letter”.

From mild bullying to sexual
abuse, ragging has only reached another dimension of introducing the freshers
not just to the college but also to brutality. Who has to be held responsible
for this incident-the administration or the faculty on strike. This is a
question posed by students who are definitely at loss in the tussle between the
administration and the teaching faculty.