On the morning of May 10, Bhaskaran, a construction worker in Edappal in Kerala, received a phone call from a girl informing him that his niece Aswathy, a first year B.Sc nursing student at the Al Qamar college of nursing in Gulbarga was hospitalized.
One of Aswathy’s friends informed him that she had consumed phenyl and was hospitalized.
“I did not tell her mother that Aswathy was hospitalized, fearing that she would not be able to handle it well. I was also under the assumption that her situation was not so bad because her friend told me the family need not come down to Gulbarga. She told us that there was nothing to fear,” he said.
Aswathy’s uncle was convinced by the student who called that Aswathy was in no danger and there was no necessity for her mother to travel to Gulbarga, and the trip would simply be a huge financial burden on the poor family.
But that turned out to be false. Aswathy has spent the last 40 odd days in various hospitals in Edappal, Thrissur and Kozhikode. Her food pipe has been severely burnt after seniors in her college allegedly made her drink cleaning liquid.
On May 14, the friend then informed that she and another student were bringing Aswathy back home. On 15th May, they reached Kerala.
"On returning home, Aswathy who had difficulty in talking managed to inform the family about the ragging incident, said another uncle Chandran. "
"She told us now that she had been getting ragged in the past few months. She was also upset that seniors used to taunt her for her dark complexion and for being a Dalit,” Chandran said.
It was only a few days ago that the family decided to seek legal help.
Explaining the delay in filing a case, he said that though she had informed them about the ragging on returning home, the family made a conscious decision not to lodge a complaint. “One, we did not know about the seriousness of the issue. We did not realise that her health condition was so severe and we decided to let go of the incident thinking a police case would spoil her life…after all she is a girl.”
Dismissing the college principal’s statement that Aswathy attempted suicide, he said, “If she had tried to commit suicide, then was it not the responsibility of the college to inform us? The college did not even inform us that she was hospitalized nor did they enquire after she came to Kerala. She has missed more than a month’s classes already and the college has not even contacted us till now.”
Read: Karnataka ragging victim’s family did not even know they could register complaint says Kerala police
However, her uncle Bhaskaran told The News Minute that the accused had fled post the incident and it was one of her friends who admitted her to the hospital and subsequently informed the family.