File FIR if ragging cases reported: Odisha Govt to Universities, Colleges

Bhubaneswar: Amid multiple cases of ragging in colleges across Odisha, the Higher Education Department today asked Vice Chancellors of Universities and Principals of Colleges to take preventive measures to curb such incidents.

Higher Education Department Secretary Saswat Mishra today wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellors and Principals in this regard mentioning about the measures to be undertaken by them.

The Universities and Colleges have been directed to file FIR with the local police for every established case of ragging. The educational institutions have also been asked to take action against the students found guilty of ragging or abetment of ragging.

Other preventive measures mentioned by the official are:

* It is compulsory for each student and his/ her parent/ guardian to submit an online undertaking each academic year in either of the two designated websites– and Procedure for filing online anti-ragging undertaking has been communicated by UGC vide its letter dated 27.10.2021 (Annexure-B). If it becomes difficult to file online undertaking, institutions shall obtain physical undertaking from students and their parents/ guardians in the format given in Annexure C (1) and C (2).

* All institutions should distribute pamphlet/ leaflet amongst students of all batches once in a quarter, containing anti-ragging messages as well as punitive actions that can be taken against students found involved in ragging. The pamphlet/ leaflet should also contain National Anti-ragging Helpline number and e-mail ID and also the mobile number and e-mail ID of important functionaries of the institution including that of Hostel Warden, Hostel Superintendent, Head of Institution, Anti-ragging Squad Members, etc. These telephone numbers and e-mail IDs should also be conspicuously displayed in shape of wall paintings or display board at various places of the institution especially in hostels including private hostels situated outside the campus.

* Institutions should organize awareness programs/ workshops on “Awareness on Ragging and Anti-Ragging Measures”. Consciousness among students should be spread by conducting Dramas, Audio Visual Events, Nu-Skool, etc. Efforts should be made to create the ability in students to understand and share the feelings of one another. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is to be developed in them which will in turn help them to manage their own emotions in a positive way in their professional and personal life.

* An Anti-ragging Squad, comprising 3 to 4 teachers, shall be constituted by the Head of the Institution for maintaining vigil, oversight and patrolling function. The Squad shall remain mobile, alert and active at all times. The telephone number of the Squad members should be intimated to students of all batches through pamphlet/ leaflet and display board/ wall painting. The Squad should make surprise visit to hostels and other places vulnerable to incidents of ragging, including private hostels and such other vulnerable places outside the institution campus. The Squad shall conduct enquiry into any incident of ragging referred to it by the Head of the institution or any teaching or non-teaching employee of the institution or any student/ parent/ guardian or by any other person; and submit its enquiry report along with recommendations to the Head of the Institution.

* Students accused of ragging should be given adequate opportunity to defend themselves. On receipt of enquiry report of the Anti-ragging Squad, the Head of the Institution shall take appropriate action as per the provisions of the UGC Regulations. The Squad shall also conduct discreet random survey amongst fresh students every fortnight during the first three months of the academic year to verify and cross-check whether the institution is indeed free of ragging or not.

* No institution shall condone any reported incidence of ragging in any form. Action against students found guilty of ragging and/ or abetting ragging must be taken in accordance with the provisions of the UGC Regulations. For every established case of ragging and/ or abetment of ragging, the institution shall file First Information Report (FIR) with the Local Police Authorities under the appropriate penal provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Without waiting for the outcome of such FIR, the institution shall also take action against the students found guilty of ragging or abetment of ragging by imposing suitable punishment as mentioned in Para-9.1(b) of the UGC Regulations.

* In established cases of ragging, institutions must not try to patch up between the student(s) found guilty of ragging and the victim(s) of ragging. Such laxity towards ragging will do more harm than good to the institution in long-term.

* Members of State-level Anti-ragging Committee, District-level Anti-Ragging Committees and HE Department-level Anti-ragging Committee may make random and surprise visits to Universities and Colleges to check whether desired anti-ragging measures are put in place or not.

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