Probe into Kalaburagi ‘ragging’ begins

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Karnataka: The Kalaburagi police took over the case of K.P. Aswathy, Dalit student from Kerala who was allegedly ragged and forced to drink toilet cleaner by a group of seniors. A special team has been appointed to investigate.

Notices were being issued by police to the principal of the Al Qamar Nursing College where Aswathy was studying, the warden of the hostel where the incident took place, the administrative officer of the college and Ms. Aswathy’s roommates to record statements.

Two police constables from Kozhikode brought to Kalaburagi on Thursday, the First Information Report (FIR) registered by Kozhikode Medical College Hospital Police and the statement of the first year nursing student.

Mr. Shashikumar said no arrests had been made based on the FIR of the Kozhikode Police.

Panel seeks action

The Kerala State Women’s Commission is determined to get justice for Aswathy, Member Noorbina Rashid said in Kozhikode on Thursday.

After visiting Aswathy at the hospital, Ms. Rashid said, “The Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson has taken up this case strongly with her Karnataka counterpart to ensure that appropriate action is initiated not only against the senior students, but also the nursing college and its authorities under the provisions of the Anti-Ragging Act and other relevant laws.”

“If it is a clear case of ragging, liability must be fixed on the institution and its authorities for suppressing it. They should have reported it immediately to police. There is a liability provision in The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998. We hope the Karnataka Act too has it,” she said.

“We hope strong provisions under the Indian Penal Code will help her get justice,” Ms. Rashid said.

In special ward

The hospital authorities housed Aswathy in a special ward, relocated other patients, and restricted entry of visitors. “We have done this to prevent secondary infection,” said hospital Medical Superintendent K.C. Soman.

The injury to the oesophagus was severe, caused apparently by a strong alkaline fluid. “Oesophageal mucous is very sensitive, and the injury caused by the fluid has constricted the food route so much that she is not able to swallow even her saliva,” Dr. Soman said.

“When she was brought in, she was weak because there was no food intake. She is picking up slowly. But, we want her to be strong enough to undergo an endoscopic dilation of the oesophagus so she can eat and drink normally,” he said.

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