A pillow supporting his damaged left knee, Naveen Kujur tries hard to rest at his house in Lowadih, Ranchi. But he cannot shut out memories of the nights of ragging at the hostel of the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi.
Classes began in June, but freedom ended on the night of August 14. “Someone from the third year told us to assemble on the TV terrace at 11 pm on August 14 for parade. We had to do various drills till six in the morning, and we were told to return two hours later for the flag hoisting ceremony.”
Every night thereafter, the first-year students were to assemble on the TV terrace — a balcony that seems to have got its name from the adjacent TV room — and become a source of entertainment to the seniors.
“Freshers had to wear formals inside the hostel. Each night would belong to a different batch of seniors — the second, third and fourth year students took turns so that the others could study. The fifth year students were too busy to rag,” Naveen said.
And the seniors had excuses to justify the numbing violence. “There are no campus placements in the SPA anymore, we all lived in fear. Seniors would say if we did not keep them happy, they would not use their connections to get us jobs. They kept insisting that the ragging united us,” Naveen said.
This peer pressure ensured that even victims were complicit in keeping the nights at the hostel under wraps. No one squealed.
But he soon realised the hollowness of the unity argument. “Freshers were prohibited from using the elevator and canteen in the college. I went to college for two days after my injury, and the third year students were laughing at me as I struggled up the stairs. Since canteen was a kilometre away, I had to forego lunch. Later too, I missed meals when I had to stay in the hostel. No senior came to help.”
All this while, the SPA administration seemed to be blissfully unaware of what went on in its hostel after dark. But at least one individual close to the administration knew. “The night guard knew. He was almost always there, with an expression that suggested that he thought of it all as a joke,” Naveen said.
But it was no joke. “The second year students were the most harsh. The third year, less so. Fourth year students were even more lenient.”
Then, on the night of September 2, the second-year students ragged Naveen.
“We were asked to do push-ups first, with three-four bricks on the back. Then we had to hold on to a brick with an outstretched hand while someone counted up to 100.” Even time was manipulated at these gatherings. “We were not allowed watches. The pace of the count was always at their mercy. Sometimes, they would start with negative numbers.”
Warm-ups done, they were made to switch to serious business. “We had to do synchronised sit-ups while holding on to each other. If someone went early or late, the counting would start all over again,” Naveen said. That night, the count went up to 1,000. He was too exhausted to remember the time it all ended; Naveen thinks he went to bed sometime between three and four thirty on the morning of September 3.
He woke with an inflamed left knee. Ten days of pain later — during which he missed a train because of his inability to move — Naveen was in Ranchi, getting an MRI done. It revealed torn ligaments and damage to the knee cap.
The diagnosis has not been good with doctors at the Christian Medical College, Vellore waiting six months to see if they should operate on the leg. The operation carries the risk of disabling Naveen.
His father David Kujur had to approach the Jharkhand High Court which directed the SPA to register an FIR on the four-hour ragging in the hostel on the night of September 2-3. The petition was filed after the SPA ignored a November 7 legal notice.
The SPA’s refusal to file an FIR on the ground that it was conducting an internal inquiry is in itself a violation of the April 2009 anti-ragging regulation of the University Grants Commission. The regulation states that an FIR should be registered with the police whenever a case of ragging is reported. It also states that internal remedial action — independent of a police investigation — should be initiated and completed within a week of the incident.
Please wake up and catch these so called seniors who do not deserve to be. Any senior by showing love to the junior students can get so much of respect from them which will be with them thru out their life. But these morons are not able to understand this simple thing. Why can't they take the juniors as their younger brothers or sisters. Its really sad that by doing such evil acts the students think themselves to be heros. First try to become human than think of becoming an engineer, doctor etc
Such horrific condemnable acts are becoming rampant across India in many colleges/states. It is time now for the Govt (both Central and State) to enforce strict laws. People have forgotten the Delhi boy who was killed
Making public the names of the tormentors. We need to have something like a online record of person.....so that such acts get permanently nationally recorded and are available for scrutiny by employers, educational institutes, passport-visa sections of all countries. This will then deter idiots.......knowing that if caught in act, it will cause permanent damage to their reputation. The current system punishes the victim for life and the idiots go free. The same is happening in case of rape too. Though for rape I would suggest hanging a person to death, as the only deterrence that will work.