Millennium Post

The long battle against ragging

The early release of the four students who had ragged medical student Aman Kuchroo to death few years ago in a now infamous incident has not gone down well with Aman’s father and that of the entire anti-ragging lobby in the country. Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma were sentenced to a relatively mild punishment of four years and even after that were released this Independence Day six months in advance. They were supposed to be released on March 2013. Kuchroo had died of injuries suffered during ragging by the four drunk seniors in the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital on 8 March 2009. The four accused were found guilty on 11 November 2010 and sentenced to four years of imprisonment.

Aman’s father, Raj Kachroo, who is an academic has fought a lonely battle for justice in the first few months after the incident and was then joined by the media and various pressure groups to bring justice to Aman. However, Professor Kuchroo has throughout carried on a very dignified fight regarding the tragic death of his son and instead of running after the four guilty, he preferred to look at the big picture that helped him to evolve as an anti-ragging activist. In fact, it was much to his endeavour and industry that the Supreme Court and the human resource development ministry at the centre has taken stringent anti-ragging steps to ensure that ragging is barred from institutions across India. Only recently has the ministry unveiled an anti-ragging web site and helpline to help create the sense of security and protection among students. And that was thanks to Professor Kuchroo. But ironically the case that the Himachal Pradesh government has taken the very disagreeable step of releasing the guilty earlier than their prison terms, which in itself was tawdry. Given the public support and sympathy he had, Professor Kuchroo could have appealed for longer punishment of the guilty when the case was being heard. But instead of seeking personal vindication, he concentrated on the larger social and institutional mechanisms that could be used to herald change. But he has been shortchanged by the government. His statement that ‘if the four had killed someone on the streets of Kangra, outside the campus, they wouldn’t have got just four years’ is indeed telling.

The court’s decision is unfortunate and should be highlighted. But Professor Kuchroo should understand that he has earned the support and empathy of thousands in this country, especially parents, and should not be demoralised. He should carry on the good work as before.
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