| MMS malady
Hyderabad, Sept. 2: At other times they would have sprinted up the two flights of stairs. But last Thursday, the circumstances were different.
In fact, it couldn’t have been more traumatic for the three young aspiring doctors — Karthik, Siddiah and Pradip Kumar.
Stripped naked, the three second-year students were made to walk from their ground floor hostel room in a government medical college in Kurnool to a room on the second floor as three seniors clicked away on their cellphone cameras.
Their ordeal lasted over four hours — from the time they were asked to strip in their Room No. 91, crawl along the corridor and up to number 125 till they were set free by another group of students.
The reason for their humiliation: a running feud between Karthik’s brother and the third-year trio — Srinivas Reddy, Murali Krishna and Sandeep Kumar Reddy.
The incident triggered statewide protests, prompting the government to act. Srinivas has been suspended for two years and the others for six months. This evening, the three were taken into custody but not before senior students gheraoed the principal.
More than ragging, junior students are upset that Srinivas and the others messaged pictures of the trio during their four-hour humiliation to friends all over the state. The victims have been hospitalised and kept under guard lest they do something drastic, said principal Dr Ch. S.R.K. Sharma.
Sources in Kurnool, about 220 km from Hyderabad, said the threat of ragging has kept most junior students away from the hostel. Only six out of 47 stay in the hostel.
K. Lakshminarayana, the commissioner of collegiate education, said a committee would be set up to probe the August 31 incident and the MMS destroyed. The committee would also form a task force of students and teachers to prevent such incidents in future.
Thursday’s incident was not an isolated instance of ragging in Andhra.
In June, three girls of an engineering college in Hyderabad were asked to remove their undergarments and dance in a classroom. In another college on the outskirts of the city, 10 students were asked to do a striptease, serve food, clean the rooms and wash the clothes and toilets of seniors.
The Kurnool incident happened despite the Andhra Pradesh government’s ban on ragging in all professional institutions. College authorities are also empowered to file criminal cases against the guilty. “They can be stopped from writing exams and also suspended for several years,” said principal Sharma.
The government has extended the ban to all educational institutions.
Lakshminarayana said apart from suspension, those found guilty of ragging could be punished with withdrawal of scholarships or fellowships, withholding of results and benefits like travel concessions.
Their photos would be published on college notice boards and in local newspapers.