Nineteen-year-old Aswathy is struggling to regain her voice and is undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College. An investigation involving police from Kerala and Karnataka is trying to find how Aswathy ended up in hospital, with her food pipe burnt.
The first year B.SC nursing student at the Al Qamar College of Nursing in Gulbarga has alleged that she was forced to drink cleaning liquid phenyl by a few seniors.
Aswathy, who still cannot speak properly, has written a letter to her lawyer, detailing the terror she was made to undergo in the name of ragging. She also gives an insight to the mental trauma she underwent as she was teased about her dark complexion and was taunted about her father abandoning her family when she was an infant.
“I could study in the college only from December 2015 to May 2016 and had to discontinue owing to mental torture by few third year students,” she writes.
Aswathy describes in the letter addressed to her lawyer, the routine ragging that went on in their college and in the girls’ hostel. The copy of the complaint that has been submitted to chief ministers of Karnataka and Kerala, and details how the juniors were expected to respectfully wish the seniors at multiple times during the day, failing which they would be reprimanded for hours.
Aswathy writes in her letter that many times in the past, a few of her seniors (all hailing from Kerala) had meted out various punishments including making her and roommate walk on their knees or jump like frogs.
“This was all bearable, but what happened on the night of May 9 was beyond what I could endure. Two of our seniors summoned me and my roommate to their room. They were five of them inside the room and as soon as we entered they started shouting at us and abusing us demanding to know if one of us is planning to go on a vacation."
Aswathy says the situation soon deteriorated, and they were asked to write names of seniors they liked and despised. In a moment of grit, Aswathy named the two who had summoned her as the seniors she despised the most.
“They became very angry and told me no wonder I was ‘black’. No surprises that my father had abandoned me and my mother,” she writes.
The two girls were then asked to go back to their room, but leave the door and windows open.
“Chechis (elder sisters) came barging into my room a little later and said they will teach me a lesson and poured bathroom cleaner to my mouth,” Aswathy writes.
Aswathy then says that she fell on the floor vomiting and howling and desperate for breath. "Other seniors who rushed to room hearing my voice, put their fingers in my mouth and tried to make me vomit the liquid out".
“I was taken to Basaweshwara hospital in Gulbarga and I spent five days in the ICU and one day in the ward. I did not even realize what was happening to me. Police came once to ask what the issue was but other seniors told me that I should not name anyone as it will spoil their future. But I cannot take it anymore. I have been taken from one hospital to another and not been able to eat or drink since then. I continue to suffer and I want justice,” she ends.