Shimla, April 10 (IANS) Four years after losing his son, the father of the boy who was ragged to death is hopeful that one day such harassment of freshers in universities and professional institutions will be a thing of the past. He is actively involved in monitoring an anti-ragging programme mandated by the Supreme Court in 2009.
However, Rajendar Kachroo has apparently lost interest in the legal case of his Aman Kachroo. A first-year medical student, Aman died of injuries suffered during ragging by the seniors in the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital in Tanda in Kangra district March 8, 2009.
He expressed ignorance of the verdict of the Himachal Pradesh High Court last week in upholding the conviction of four drunk seniors and held them responsible for his son's death. Upholding their conviction by a trial court, the high court last week rejected their appeal seeking relief and enhanced the fine from Rs.10,000 to Rs.100,000 each.
"I have lost all interest in the case," an ageing Kachroo told IANS in an interview.
He was severely critical of the media for raking up the issue time and again without serving any useful purpose. "I am fed up with the interviews.
"For hours, I was interviewed by the news channels but nothing came out of it," he said.
Kachroo said he is now concentrating his energy on strengthening anti-ragging campaigns in educational institutions through the Aman Satya Kachroo Trust, of which he is the founding trustee.
The trust works for the eradication of ragging, research on judicial reforms and research on improved governance.
"The trust monitors and manages the National Ragging Prevention Programme on behalf of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It involves managing a call centre in Delhi, developing contact data bases of students and staff and organising awareness campaigns," Kachroo said.
He said the trust works in close cooperation with senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, the amicus curiae in a case in which the Supreme Court ruled May 8, 2009 that implementing the anti-ragging programme would be mandatory for the central government.
"The first component of the plan, comprising anti-ragging helpline (100-180-5522), started in 2009 but became effective only last year," he said.
He said on an average one serious complaint against ragging or harassment is being registered every day.
"Generally the call centre gets 30-40 distress calls. Some of the complaints are coming from remote corners of the country," Kachroo said.
He said all subsequent communications with the local administration and institute authorities are posted on the web so that the victim could access the status of his/her complaint.
Last year the trust launched an online registration (www.amanmovement.org) of a student's particulars.
"Currently over 300,000 students have been registered with the trust. In the coming academic year (beginning June-July) we are expected to have a data base of over 10 lakh students. The data base will help to spread awareness on ragging and ways to counter it through email and SMSes of the students," Kachroo said.
From April 17, 2012, to April 9 this year, the trust received 413 complaints of ragging and 82 are still being investigated by the University Grants Commission, the nodal agency for implementing the anti-ragging programme.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)