The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ragging lands fresher in ICU

Mumbai, Sept. 4: A 17-year-old first-year student is in intensive care with muscle tear and kidney problems after being forced to do nearly 200 sit-ups by a hostel senior at Pune’s B.J. Medical College.

Nikhilesh Sahu, who has confessed in writing to ragging Akhilesh Shukla, has been suspended from the hostel and the college despite a request for lenience from the victim and his family, college dean V.L. Yemul said.

“Whether or not to rusticate Sahu depends on police investigation,” he said, adding the college had acted “within 24 hours of the incident coming to our notice”.

The police, who have registered an FIR on the basis of Akhilesh’s statement, say they plan to arrest the senior student who, too, has been admitted to hospital after complaining of orthopaedic problems.

The fresher, admitted to Sassoon General Hospital on August 30 three days after the ragging, is on dialysis but is stable, Yemul said.

“The exertion of the sit-ups has taken a toll on the young man. His muscles have got degraded and this has led to a rupture as a result of which his kidney has been slightly damaged. He was also passing blood in his urine.”

Akhilesh’s father and sister have arrived in Pune from their home in Raipur.

Akhilesh says Sahu had invited him and room-mate Nishant Kumar Abhishek to a game of chess on August 27, the day he had moved into the hostel. After the fresher lost, Sahu told him he must “undergo ragging and made me do 200 sit-ups. When I could do only 180, I was slapped by him as well”.

Yemul says Shukla had at first tried to conceal the fact of ragging when he approached the authorities with a complaint of severe bodyache, blaming it on a recent trekking expedition.

“But professors who saw him said the pain was way beyond what could have happened while trekking. When we pressed him, he relented and gave us in writing what had happened,” Yemul said.

“We have sent an officer to talk to Sahu. He is ill at the moment and is admitted to Sancheti hospital with an orthopaedic problem,” said senior police inspector Rajinder Mohite.

“The victim as well as his parents have asked us to be lenient towards Sahu and do not want his career to be spoilt,” Yemul said. “I am not going to listen to the victim’s parents. Action has to be taken as per law.”

This being the season when colleges open, ragging has been making headlines across the country. Last week, three students were suspended at a medical college in Andhra Pradesh for forcing juniors to walk up the hostel stairs naked, and a polytechnic in Assam expelled five seniors for injuring a fresher.

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