June 20, 2013 | 12:48 PM (BD Time)
20 June, 2013 Thursday
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India battles ‘ragging’ in schools
CNN, New Delhi :
When Priya and Rajendra Kachroo dropped their only son Aman off at medical school, they were both proud and tired. They had to hurry home to care for an ailing elderly parent.
"It was a fast drop," recalled Aman's father, Rajendra Kachroo.
Neither had any idea what their son was about to face or they never would have left him there. Aman Kachroo, 19, a freshman (or "fresher," as they are called in India) was about to embark on a torturous six months that would end his life.
Aman, along with his new dorm mates, suddenly became the target of "ragging," a form of bullying or hazing usually inflicted by upperclassmen on freshman. Taller than his classmates, handsome and fluent in French, English, and conversational Hindi, Aman was wise beyond his years, his parents say. He had always been able to sort his problems out himself so they couldn't imagine him being intimidated.
"There is a whole guilt factor involved in all this that I didn't know [what was going on]," his mom Priya Kachroo said. "Really, I couldn't understand the size of this problem."
His parents knew something was going on when Aman came home from Tanda Medical College in Himachal Pradesh State and his hair had been sheered off.
His parents said he told them that he was being ragged but not to worry about it because it would end.
And it did. For him, it stopped after one night in 2009 when he was woken up by a group of seniors who made him and all his dorm mates stand in a line and then began beating them.
Aman later died of a head injury.
His father talked to him on the phone in the hours before he died and heard about what happened.
Then, abruptly, his son was gone.
When relatives went to Aman's dorm room to pick up his things, they found a note with the word "ragging" circled in the middle and words and phrases surrounding it such as, "Prison like torture," "dictator" and "Please talk to us don't slap us."
It was Aman's innermost thoughts about ragging and how terrible it felt.
In the hours before he died, he also managed to write a letter of complaint to police describing what happened. His father later read the complaint and was horrified.
"Not easy even to think about it. It's not easy. It is very difficult," Rajendra
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