State Panels for preventing ragging, checking alcoholism

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Accepting advice of its panel, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the states to form two committees each – one to tackle rampant alcoholism in educational institutions and the other to give psychological counseling to both the raggers and the ragged. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P. Sathasivam ordered this on the basis of recommendations of a panel, which on the apex court's order earlier probed incidents of ragging. It specifically investigated the incident that led to the death of Aman Kachroo, a Himachal Pradesh medical college student on March 8. The panel, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R.K. Raghavan, had blamed 'rampant alcoholism' for the spurt in cases of ragging in educational institutions. 'One of main reasons for violence (ragging) on the campus is rampant alcoholism and it is recommended that that de-addiction measures be introduced in educational institutions,' Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had told the bench on April 20, quoting from the report. Accepting the panel's findings, the bench on Friday said the committees, to be formed in the states, would also help set up de-addiction facilities in educational institutions. The Raghavan panel had stressed 'dire need' to probe psychological aspect of ragging and had called for appointment of a committee of psychologists and mental health experts for the purpose.

'There is a dire need to examine the psychological aspects of ragging, including its impact on young students and the rationale behind seniors' urge to rag and torment their juniors,' said the panel, in its report on April 20. 'Ragging is similar to child abuse at home or at orphanages. Young men and women who are abused by their seniors under the pretext of ragging believe that the abusers are part of their extended family and automatically, in their minds, it becomes an internal family affair, and hence very rarely do students ever speak out against it,' said the panel. In subsequent hearing on April 23, the bench had broadly expressed its agreement with both the findings of the panel.

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