Over a month after a Dalit student from Kerala was allegedly forced to consume a toilet-cleaning liquid in an apparent case of ragging at a nursing college hostel in Karnataka’s Gulbarga, the victim’s family has lodged a case against three students at a Kozhikode police station. The victim is battling for life at the Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode.
Kerala police have referred the case to Gulbarga police. The victim, from Edappal in Malappuram district, is a first-year BSc nursing student at A L Qamar College of Nursing, Gulbarga.
In a statement given to police and her advocate, the girl said she underwent physical and mental torture by some seniors hailing from Kerala after she joined the institute in December.
“Every day, I had to wish them several times. After reaching the hostel, I would have to turn up at their rooms, where they would subject me to various kinds of torture. These seniors would not allow me to prepare food. They would insist that I keep the door of my room open during the night,” the victim said in her statement, adding that she was prevented from taking her mother’s calls and even ridiculed over her dark complexion.
On May 9, the girl, Ashwathi K P, was allegedly forced to gulp down the toilet-cleaning liquid. She was rushed to a hospital by her seniors after she reportedly fell on the floor screaming. She was discharged from the hospital four days later and then moved to hospitals in Malappuram and Thrissur, before being admitted to the Kozhikode hospital.
“We are poor. We could not understand the gravity of the issue. Although she was admitted to medical college on June 5, we filed a complaint today. Gulbarga police have not acted on the issue,’ said Bhaskaran, the victim’s uncle.
However, IGP of Karnataka district’s north-eastern range, M Shiva Kumar, said the victim did not approach Gulbarga police. “We came to know about the incident Tuesday and the SP concerned rushed to the college,” he said. SP Shashi Kumar N, who visited the college, said: “We have collected some information and are waiting for the FIR lodged in Kerala…We will also take action against the college management if they are at fault…”
Karnataka Police believes it was the victim who did not wish to complain earlier. This led to the incident being projected as a suicide attempt.