Thiruvananthapuram: The apex court in India has closely monitored the issue of hazing in educational institutions in the country and recently issued directives to make the existing anti-ragging measures more stringent.
However, hazing is not uncommon in educational institutions in Kerala, though the managers of private sector engineering colleges that have sprouted across the state over the past decade are giving extra care to prevent hazing incidents. This is as much to abide by the law as to ensure that the college does not lose prospective students.
The most recent death of a Kerala student in a hazing incident happened at Namakkal near Salem in neighbouring Tamil Nadu in April this year. P. Deepak, a 20-year-old engineering student from Thaliparamba in north Kerala, was killed when senior students reportedly followed him in a car and hit him from behind when he was pillion riding on a bike with a friend. Deepak was a fresher at the Gnanamani engineering college.
Police registered a case against seven senior students identified as David Cherian, Jitin John, Sarath, Bijo, Aswanth, Danish John and Mithun with charges of conspiracy and murder.
Students in the Gnanamani college had staged a protest immediately after Deepak’s death, alleging that the college authorities were trying to play down the incident.
But it is the family of the deceased that has to bear the pain lifelong. Deepak was the only son of Padmanabhan and Sheela. The couple also have a daughter.
Padmanabhan was reportedly so inconsolable on seeing his son’s body that he collapsed and had to be admitted to a hospital. The family has been unable to live down the fact that the incident was apparently triggered by a petty quarrel at the college over collecting water from a cooler.