|Navin Gupta — one of the second-year MGM Medical College (top) students who made casteist remarks on the networking site — at hospital on Friday. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
An alleged casteist remark on Facebook led to an ugly fracas inside the hostel of the state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur on Thursday night, making it the third of student brawls in eight months and prompting college authorities to offer the budding medicos psychological counselling.
On Thursday evening, some second-year students — Navin Gupta, Chrag Kumar and Sachin Giri — posted comments on Facebook to mock the presence of a boy from a disadvantaged community on the social networking site.
Senior student Suprabhat Ranjan, who belongs to the caste mentioned, was offended by the comment and retaliated by posting a volley of abuses. On seeing the abusive comments, the junior boys went to the senior’s hostel room where an altercation ensued as the latter also called up his friends.
The seniors thrashed the boys and locked them up in a room. An anonymous phone call brought a team from MGM police station to the campus around 10.30pm, when initially students denied any clash but later recounted the sequence of events, said OC Rati Bhan Singh.
“A backward caste final-year student got hurt by the Facebook comments of upper-caste second-year students. Juniors were beaten up. They received superficial injuries,” Singh said.
Though both groups of students shook hands and called it a truce around midnight and also apologised to college principal A.N. Mishra, the cradle is taking the matter seriously and mulling preventive measures.
Sources said the college authorities are mulling psychological counselling for all the five MBBS batches. The final seal would be given during an academic committee meeting on Monday at the principal’s chamber.
Couple of weeks ago, intern Rajiv Ranjan had slapped first-year student Priyam Kumar when the latter had refused to undress. The ragging had received widespread media coverage.
On November 16, 2011, final-year student Suprabhat Kiran roughed up first-year student Amit Kumar.
While the first two incidents are age-old instances of bullying, the Facebook incident reflects how deeply entrenched social schisms are even on new-age communication tools such as Facebook.
“We need to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Psychological counselling of students is the need of the hour, besides other deterrents,” said chief hostel warden A.P. Singh.
The frequency of counselling will be decided on Monday. Experts will comprise senior faculty members and visiting psychologists.
Singh added that if students did not mend their ways, authorities would certainly ask the trouble-mongers to vacate the hostel and if they still stirred up fights, they might be expelled from the college itself.
Have you or your friends faced humiliation on Facebook ?