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NLIU Bhopal investigates ‘challenging’ anonymous online ragging complaint

Can the ragging underbelly, be uprooted through anonymous complaints?
Can the ragging underbelly, be uprooted through anonymous complaints?

NLIU Bhopal is currently investigating complaints of ragging that were registered with the University Grants Commission (UGC), purportedly by first year LLB students of the law school against their seniors, as first reported by the Express.

However, the law school in its investigation has no assistance from the complainant who has entered the phone number of the accused senior in the space meant for the complainant's phone number in the UGC complaint form, according to sources who have seen a copy of the UGC complaint.

The Times of India reported: “[NLIU] Proctor, Rajeev Khare told TOI that an investigation is on to identify the culprits. However, the biggest challenge in front of the authorities is how to identify the complainants. 'We are trying to identify the complainants, so that the real culprits could be caught. We have tried to convince the juniors that their identity will not be disclosed as it is the responsibility of the college to stop ragging,” said Khare. “Unfortunately, none of them has come forward.' Director, NLIU, Prof S S Singh, told media that a probe has been ordered but claimed that the complaints were not entirely true as some people named in the complaint do not exist on campus.”

According to the complaint, one male student was molested and sexually abused in an inebriated state by a senior female student, while other junior students were made to watch porn against their wishes.

Complaint Mechanism

The UGC's anti-ragging cell, created after ragging on college campuses became an offence in 2009, allows complainants to register their ragging complaints online by filling in basic information and attaching a word document with full details of the alleged instance of ragging.

There is no mechanism for verification of the identity of the complainant. The complaint in this case at NLIU was made completely anonymously, to the extent that the complainant provided the wrong phone number in the form.

A source on campus who saw the detailed copy of the complaint called it a “hoax” and a “prank” and commented: “If you see the complaint it looks like a parody. Last year also something like this had happened and the students who were named in [the UGC complaint] are the most disciplined ones They don't even talk to juniors.”

“As a student body we do feel that there is a 1% chance that the complaint might be right so we have a duty to check that. On the face of it it may look like a parody but we have a duty to follow [UGC mandated] procedure,” the source added.

The source also told us that the alleged incidents would have been hard to accomplish at NLIU due to the separate hostels and mess for the fresher students from the rest of the student body, as also due to the stricter curfew for the freshers. Due to the 9pm curfew, said the source, senior students cannot interact with the fresher students as the freshers are supposed to go back into their hostels so being forced to watch porn till 5am is a hard task to execute.

NLIU director Prof Singh was not reachable for comment by phone at the time of going to press and has been emailed.

NLU Jodhpur suspended three students found guilty of ragging by the law school's anti-ragging cell at the beginning of this month, and in 2012 NUJS Kolkata banned a third year student from representing the college in inter-university events after the student was found guilty of ragging.

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