Stopping bullies

Stopping bullies

The series of directives issued by the Supreme Court on ragging in educational institutions is a step towards halting this ugly practice. The court has called on state governments to set up anti-ragging committees and to inform it regarding the steps being taken to stop ragging in schools and colleges. It has called for rustication of students who engage in ragging. In several recent cases, those who engaged in ragging were found to be drunk and suffering from problems of alcoholism. In a bid to tackle the roots of the problem, the court has said that such students should be sent for counselling and de-addiction programmes. It has said that every college should have psychiatrists to sensitise students on ragging and anti-ragging squads to ensure that ragging does not take place. The success of the   directives will of course depend on their implementation. It is good that the court has recommended penalties for those who fail to implement measures to prevent its practice or do not respond adequately to complaints of ragging. The court has said that the head of the institution and local police who do not act on complaints of ragging will face disciplinary action and penal consequences. Government and government-aided educational institutions that do not implement the court’s directions could find their grants-in-aid slashed or stopped and private unaided educational institutions could have their recognition withdrawn.
But court directives alone will not make ragging history. Teachers and students must come together to stop its practice. It is only if students speak up against ragging and authorities act against offenders that ragging will stop. Of course, many of these bullies are from families that are politically and economically powerful. Taking them on is unlikely to be easy. It is here that civil society’s support is required.
Too many students have died, been injured or humiliated in the name of ragging. We must not remain silent any longer. It is time that the civil society steps in to back students and teachers who are acting to stop and punish ragging on their campuses. It has been reported that the principal of the boarding school where seven senior students were expelled for severely beating up their juniors is under pressure from their well-connected parents to admit them back. Civil society must support him so that his endeavour to show zero tolerance to those who beat and bully others doesn’t go in vain.

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