Shimla: While the government draws up plans to make the state an educational hub by setting up atleast six more medical colleges, it is the death of a fresh medical student on campus due to ragging that has questioned the ability of college administrators to inculcate and enforce discipline in such institutions.
Students bodies outraged at the incident have held both the RP Medical College Tanda administration and the state government responsible for turning a blind eye to the problem of ragging that plagues other colleges also.
Mahender Rana, state secretary SFI told My Himachal News, â€œwhen Tanda medical college authorities took action against 23 students accused of ragging in 2001, it was at the personal intervention of the then chief minister that the offence was condoned then.â€
â€œNot just the college but even the government cannot absolve itself of the responsibility for the brutal death of medico Aman Satya Kachru,â€ said Rana.
Kachru, the first year student of Tanda medical college who succumbed to injuries allegedly inflicted upon by his seniors, along with 13 other classmates, is reported to have lodged a written complaint with the college authorities on Sunday morning about the ragging that took place on the Friday-Saturday intervening night. On Sunday night, Kachru died.
Two students, Ajay Verma and Naveen Verma were arrested and two other accused, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma have surrendered before the police.
In another incident, last year, authorities failed to take deterrent action against students of Ayurveda College, Paprola who were accused of brutally beating new entrants after taking them to a distant place beyond the college premises.
Rakesh (named changed to protect identity) a first year medical student at Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla says, â€œLack of any strong penal action against raggers only emboldens them.â€
â€œIt then becomes a viscous circle and the very student who is ragged badly becomes bigger bully, the following year. Authorities are aware of ragging taking place but tend to overlook it,â€ he said.
On the request of Suresh Sankhyan, principal Tanda medical college he has been reverted back as department head forensic medicine and Anil Chauhan, head ophthalmology has been appointed ad-hoc principal of the infamous college. The hostel warden has been suspended.
Chief Minister Dhumal has ordered a magisterial inquiry and stated that strict action would be taken against those found negligent in their duty.
Rakesh discloses, â€œas fresh entrants into a medical college, it takes great courage to complain or speak against seniors but no one acted upon Kachruâ€™s complaint, till he died. In fact, at first the college was in denial.â€
Alarmed by the criminal act, parents who have their wards in various institutions feel that cases needed to be registered against the principal and hostel warden, who had failed to act when a written ragging complaint was lodged.
â€œUnless institution heads are not held responsible where ragging takes places covertly or overtly, there will be no deterrent and the problem will not be contained,â€ says Rakesh Gupta, whose son is in a professional college.
Deepak Shanan, principal secretary health when contacted said, â€œaction will be taken on the basis of the magisterial inquiry ordered.â€
As a fallout opposition congress has demanded resignation of health minister Rajiv Bindal.
Party spokesman Kuldeep Rathore said, â€œthe health minister should take moral responsibility and resign as the shocking incident has brought a bad name to the state and dashed any hopes of developing the state into a knowledge hub.â€
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.