More than 45 students from Bandra’s L S Raheja School of Arts have alleged that for the past three years, they have been suffering campus terror unleashed by a group of senior students who extort money, snatch their bags and mobile phones, land up at the college drunk, and publicly humiliate those who dare to challenge their authority.
On Thursday evening, the harassment spread beyond the campus when 11 of their classmates, including five girls, were humiliated by some of the seniors on a jam-packed Churchgate-bound local train, the students, all from third-year commercial arts, have alleged.
The next evening, the entire batch trooped into Bandra Railway Police Station demanding action against around eight boys from the fourth year, who they say have grown so powerful that even the college authorities are finding it difficult to rein them in.
The complaint said five girls and six boys boarded a 7.22 pm local from Bandra on Thursday, when around five seniors accosted them. One of the girls said, “They asked for money, and when we refused, they got aggressive. They shoved the boys in our group, threatening to beat them up.They seemed totally out of control, pointing in our direction and asking their friends to choose a girl for themselves. We were reduced to tears because of such humiliation.”
|The L S Raheja students at the Bandra Railway Police Station on Friday. “We are united against the bullies,” they said
Another student said, “It’s a shame that the group of seniors has become so brazen in its aggression. For the past three years, such behaviour is common on the campus, where they thrash whoever tries to stand up to their bullying. They have turned the cantene into their personal den.”
The police have not registered an FIR, but have promised to visit the college on Monday, where the students will be asked to identify the seniors. Senior Inspector Vijay Dhopaokar (Bandra Railway Police) said, “We need to speak to the college authorities before taking action, as the case involves students. Also, the students don’t have the addresses or the names of most of the boys who they have alleged of harassment. We will question the principal too.”
The principal, Shridhar Badhekar, was not available for a comment. The students said some of the seniors were warned some time ago, but that obviously didn’t work.
A student said, “It’s this group of seniors who think they are invincible because of the backing provided by some ex-students. After our complaints to the principal, parents of some of the boys were summoned to the college, but nothing worked.”
The students said they will no longer tolerate the ‘bullying’. One of them said, “We are united, no longer meek. We have seen students being humiliated in the canteen, on the campus, but not anymore.”
There’s help online
On Thursday the Centre launched an anti-ragging website helping students of universities, colleges and professional institutes lodge online complaints and seek faster response. One can also get the anti-ragging affidavits through email registering on the website www.antiragging.in.
The UGC-managed portal has been developed in active collaboration with Rajendra Kachroo, father of Aman who lost his life to ragging at a college in Himachal Pradesh in 2009.