Less than a fortnight after allowing four medical students convicted for ragging to death their junior Aman Kachroo to continue with their studies, the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) Wednesday launched an anti-ragging campaign in the victim's name.
Vice chancellor A.D.N. Bajpai launched the state-wide campaign that would be carried out through the Aman Satya Kachroo Trust, a university statement said. The trust, of which the victim's father Rajendar Kachroo is the founder, works for the eradication of ragging, research on judicial reforms and research on improved governance.
Anti-ragging campaigners say HPU's 'dual politics' has come to the fore with the university launching an anti-ragging campaign soon after re-admitting the four students - Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma - convicted for the 2009 ragging-death in Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital at Tanda town in Kangra district. The university executive council, chaired by Bajpai, Sep 28 allowed the convicts to continue their MBBS studies from the institution they were made to leave after the incident.
The three convicts were third-year MBBS students, while the fourth Ajay Verma was an intern at the time of the crime. Kachroo, 19, was a student of the college since 2007. He died March 8, 2009 after he was ragged by his four drunk seniors.
Reacting to the HPU's decision to re-admit the students, Aman's father Kachroo told IANS over telephone from Gurgaon in Haryana: "We have nothing to do with this." He had earlier said: "I am not against rehabilitation, but that doesn't mean they should be given the same position as earlier."
"The decision to re-admit them is a major setback in this direction. It may be symbolic (to re-admit them), but it has the large dimension in the context of the campaign," said Kachroo, currently monitoring the National Ragging Prevention Programme on behalf of the University Grants Commission. Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma, who were convicted by a trial court in Dharamsala Nov 11, 2010, spent three years and five months in jail before the state government waived off their remaining seven-month jail term in August 2012.
They were earlier held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, house-trespass, assault or wrongful restraint under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Upholding their conviction by the trial court, the high court in April rejected their appeal seeking relief and enhanced the fine from Rs.10,000 to Rs.100,000 each.
According to official sources, the three convicts are likely to join 'supplementary batch' in the same college in December. The 'supplementary batch' comprises students who were not successful in the regular exams in the first attempt.
However, the state government, which initiated the decision to re-admit them, has already made it clear that the convicts will not be eligible for a government job after completing the degree.