Nagpur: The District Legal Services Authority, (DLSA) here has launched a campaign to create awareness among students in professional colleges about the ragging menace.
It has conducted two successful programmes, one each in a Medical College and other at an Engineering college in the city.
DLSA addressed medicos from NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre and Vishwesheriya National Institute of Technology (VNIT formerly VRCE) for senior students of MBBS and Engineering respectively on anti-ragging laws recently.
"The senior students should approach their juniors in a friendly manner and should not involve in ragging activities," DLSA, Secretary Kishore Jaiswal, the brain behind the awareness campaign said.
Even forcing a junior student to call seniors as `Sir` or `Madam` too comes under the offence of ragging, he said.
Jaiswal, a Civil Judge in Sessions Court here told PTI that the death of a Medical College student Aman Kachroo from Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Kangra (HP) after brutal ragging, had shocked the entire nation in 2009 and since then the Government has initiated strict measures to curb the ragging tendencies and prosecute the guilty.
The two programmes stressed on college authorities being vigilant and strict towards offenders of ragging.
Former Government Pleader advocate P K Sathianathan who is part of the DLSA team explained various provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act 1999.
He informed that committing ragging is an offence punishable with two years imprisonment and fine upto Rs 10,000.
Jaiswal and Sathianathan said ragging is a damaging form of interaction of seniors in college or school with juniors, newcomers or first year students. It is similar to but not same as hazing in the United States.. "it is not an initiation. It involves insult (simple or suggestive sexual, sarcastic and even physical), running errands for seniors, and many other complex activities."
Highly reputed Indian colleges have a wistful history of ragging especially Medical colleges. It has become increasingly unpopular due to several complaints of serious injury to the victims and strict laws regarding ragging, they said.
Ragging is now defined as an act that violates or is perceived to violate an individual student`s dignity.
Following the Supreme Court directive, a National Anti-Ragging helpline was launched by the Government some years back.
The DLSA would be interacting with students of Government Medical College and Hospital next month, Sathianathan added.
Jaiswal said besides anti-ragging laws, the accused students can be tried under the various sections of IPC for wrongful confinement and threatening also.