Raghavan panel reaches Himachal to probe ragging death

SHIMLA - A three-member commitee of the Supreme Court Thursday reached Himachal Pradesh to probe the death of a first-year medical student last month allegedly due to ragging.

Aman Kachru, 19, died March 8, a few hours after being allegedly ragged by four final-year students of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College at Tanda town in Kangra district.

The magisterial inquiry as well as the police report pointed out that Kachru succumbed to his injuries caused during the ragging by the four senior students.

‘A three-member team of the Raghavan Committee this (Thursday) evening reached the medical college to investigate into the death of the first-year student,’ Anil Chauhan, the new principal of the medical college, told IANS on phone.

He said the committee members included A.K. Aggarwal, dean of the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, and Rajindra Prasad, principal of Ramjas College, Delhi.

‘They (the team) will study in detail ragging incidents in the college and the alleged negligence on the part of college authorities in treating the victim (Kachru),’ he said.

‘The team will remain here till Friday.’

The Raghavan panel will submit its report to the apex court before the next hearing in the case.

Earlier, a team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) had completed its probe and submitted it to the apex court.

The team had recorded the statements of doctors from various departments, staff of the college, Kachru’s friends and students.

State Principal Secretary (Health) Deepak Sanan said the government had initiated action on the report of the magisterial probe.

‘Show-cause notices have been issued to 40 persons, including two former principals of the college, in whose tenure ragging incidents had taken place from 2001 onwards. Their names cropped up in the magisterial inquiry report concerning the death of Kachru,’ he said.

They have been asked to file their replies by April 23, he said.

Former principal S. Shankayan was suspended on the directions of the apex court March 30.

A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly ordered immediate suspension of Shankayan after the MCI and the Himachal Pradesh government, in their separate reports to the court, disclosed that he had ignored the incidents of ragging despite being informed about these by the security guards of the hostel.

Soon after Kachru’s death March 8, the state government divested him of the post of the college head, but let him continue as the head of the Department of Forensic Medicine in the college.

But infuriated over Shankayan’s inaction, the bench ordered his suspension, saying: ‘Don’t let him even enter the college premises.’

The bench observed that deaths and suicides by students ‘due to ragging is a national tragedy’.


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