Surveillance measures to check ragging in educational institutions should not be limited to CCTV cameras which are often illegal as they intrude upon privacy, a Supreme Court-appointed panel has said.
The four-member committee set by the apex court in 2009 stressed the need for strengthening community links to combat ragging in a list of recommendations submitted to the UGC.
"Surveillance systems are largely understood to mean CCTV cameras. They cannot be limited to such impersonal policing... They are illegal as they intrude upon privacy," it said in the report -- "Psychosocial Study of Ragging in Selected Educational Institutions in India".
Data from other countries also show that such measures do not decrease the incidence of ragging and violence, it added.
"This sort of intervention does not address the root causes of ragging," the report, submitted recently to the University Grants Commission, said.
These measures, it added, acted as "partial deterrents" and could not be relied on for complete coverage.
"They also induce a sense of complacency in administrators and prevent what needs to be done, that is building a sense of community," it said.
The panel suggested that surveillance comprise a human system of guardianship--of wardens, mentors, senior students and others in regular contact with newcomers.
Freshers should be included in sports and extra- curricular activities in colleges and hostels, it said.
According to the panel, ragging occurs in the context of "power relationships in a deeply hierarchical and unequal society and is reflective of these social processes".
The panel also recommended strengthening institutional roles in "fostering inclusion, belonging and acceptance" of new students, implementation of UGC protocol and guidelines on ragging and widening the role of anti-ragging cells in varsities.
It called for psychological support and counselling and promotion of diversity in terms of ethnicity, language, religion and sexuality in educational institutions.
The Supreme Court had ordered the setting up of the committee while hearing a ragging case in the University of Kerala. The court felt the reasons behind the increase in incidents of ragging needed to be deliberated upon.
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