24
June , 2017
Saturday

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A new academic year, especially for the students getting into college for the first time has become a time of uncertainty and mixed feelings for them and their parents. From anxiety to excitement, from high school to higher education, young students are a confused and an apprehensive lot about the treatment they might be given in the college by their seniors. At this point of time, probably they are all set mentally for the college but ragging is also at the back of their minds. Some students look forward to the fun filled days and friendly ragging, while the others are more sensitive, emotional, and protective in their up bringing, might not be used to physical or verbal abuse or being commanded to do small or big errands for the senior students. Over the years, “ragging” has come to mean extreme harassment and even physical and mental torture of the first year undergraduate at a time when they need friendship and support to adjust to a new environment of undergraduate life.

The students of St. Mary’s College, Yousufguda, wanted to initiate an anti-ragging drive to combat ragging. When the students of the St. Mary’s showed enthusiasm and eagerness to fight for the cause and spread awareness, the management of the college backed and encouraged the students to go ahead with their cause. The activities of the Ragging Action Force (RAF) were flagged off on 24th June by the Director of St. Mary’s College, Mr. Mahender Reddy, who has been a pillar of support to these volunteers. With the backing, motivation and encouragement of the director 35 student volunteers have germinated the seed & nurtured it, hoping it to grow and spread like a banyan tree with its roots deep and branches wide spread over a large area to spread a general awareness about the consequences of ragging that a ‘ragger’ might have to face if found guilty.

RAF volunteers on their way for the Anti-Ragging Drive. Credit:Ghost Rider

RAF volunteers on their way for the Anti-Ragging Drive. Credit:Ghost Rider

The student volunteers of the RAF have been visiting various colleges in the twin cities and have spoken to the students about the consequences of ragging and also about the severe punishment that a “ragger” will have to bear if he/she is found guilty. The RAF volunteers had also put up various kinds of posters around the city colleges to spread the awareness of anti-ragging. The punch lines on the posters have the typical ‘Hyderabadi’ essence, which says ‘Ragging ko goli maar’ and ‘Aa lagaa ragging ki waat’. The RAF volunteers had also got the pledge cards signed by the student community.

Mrs. Anju Prasad, Co-ordinator of the RAF says, “Ragging is not only a heinous offence but is also an infringement of the fundamental rights of the victims as no one can be forced to do anything one doesn’t want to. It is most prominent in the professional institutions and must be eradicated. There are no two ways about it. The new comers should also remember that while it is the duty of the college managements to ensure that the freshers’ are not put through such ordeals, it is also the duty of the fresher to bring the offence to the notice of the authorities if they are put through any inconvenience or embarrassing situations”.

RAF is not an action taking body. It is a force to spread awareness about the consequences of ragging. The students believe that the acts of ragging take place only because the students do not realize or are not aware of the fact that ragging is a punishable offence and is a crime in the eyes of law. And for once, ignorance is not bliss.
If a person understands that running across the road blindly might cost him his limb or life, he will cross the road cautiously, similarly if the students / youth understand that as a consequence of ragging he / she might have to cool his / her heels in the jail from two to ten years and so he will not be foolish enough to rag and ruin his/her life.

RAF volunteers at a campaign in a city college. Credit:Ghost Rider

RAF volunteers at a campaign in a city college. Credit:Ghost Rider

“No one has the right to abuse anyone physically and sexually for their own sadistic pleasures, so much that it embarrasses a young person to such an extent that he/she attempt’s or commits suicide. But the fact also remains that the young students do not come forward and complain openly to the lectures or the management for the fear of being harassed further or being snubbed by the senior students”, says Ravi, student captain of the RAF and the President of the Student’s Council.

“Every college is supposed to have an anti-ragging cell and a new comer can approach these cells for help apart from the help line number provided by the government. But for the knowledge of the senior students of any institution, one might note that ragging is a punishable offence and the punishment for ragging is two years rigorous imprisonment which might be increased to ten years in case of grievous hurt or physical abuse”, says Zoya, a second year student of the college.

This is the endeavor of the Ragging Action Force, to create awareness among the youth, because they believe that the concept coming from a young person to the student’s community will definitely make a difference and they also hope to take this wave to the national level. They call it ‘Peer Education’.

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