A horrifying case of alleged casteism and ragging has come to light at a medical college in Bengaluru. A 19-year-old freshman was allegedly assaulted and insulted by men belonging to upper castes in Bengaluru’s Rajajinagar.
On the night of December 24, Saurabh Tupe (19), a resident of the ESIC Medical College Boys Hostel, was fast asleep. His seniors – Karan Sharma, Indrajeet, Rahul Jha, Shubhav and Gautam were out drinking as it was Christmas Eve, and later allegedly barged into his room while he was asleep. “I woke up when someone slapped me across the face. It was Karan. He held the collar of my shirt and dragged me out of bed. My seniors then dragged me to the hostel’s terrace and began hurling abuses at me. They called me a child molester and words that I could not even repeat,” Saurabh says.
Karan and his friends allegedly forced Saurabh to strip down. He was made to stand naked on the terrace while Karan shaved off the back of his head, he alleges. “They shaved a part of my hair. They made me strip and they were laughing at my body and passing really bad comments about me. After Karan shaved my head, he told me that Dalits are not meant to study MBBS and become doctors. He said that people of my kind were only meant to do menial jobs for the upper caste,” Saurabh added.
Karan and his friends soon left Saurabh on the terrace. He rushed to his room and began mulling over filing a complaint with the college regarding the torture he was facing at the hands of Karan. “In the morning, they came to my room again and threatened to kill me if I spoke about the incident to anyone. I was so worried but I finally decided to tell the police. On December 25 at around 10 pm, I went to the Rajajinagar Police Station and filed a complaint,” Saurabh said.
“Ever since I joined this college in June this year, my seniors (the accused) were always ragging me. Initially they made fun of all juniors and I thought it was normal. But after a few days I realized that they were only targeting me. And it was always about the fact that I am a Dalit,” Saurabh told TNM. Over the past few months, Saurabh alleges that Karan, Rahul, Shubhav, Gautam and Indrajeet, who were also residents of the hostel, would rag him and hurl casteist slurs at him.
The police arrested Karan, Indrajeet, Rahul, Shubhav and Gautam on Thursday night. The five accused were produced before the court on Friday and were remanded to judicial custody.
The Rajajinagar Police registered an FIR under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 34 (common intention of the IPC), section 116 (penalty for ragging) of the Karnataka Education ACT 1983, section 3(1)(x) (intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.