Kerala nursing student 'forced' to drink toilet cleaner, battles for life

The principal claimed that she did it to take her life because of her family problems and not because of ragging.

Kalaburagi: A Dalit nursing student from Kerala, studying at a nursing college here, has been admitted to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital (KMCH) with serious health problems allegedly due to ragging by her senior students.

Aswathi, the first-semester nursing student of Al-Qamar College of Nursing run by senior Congress leader and former Minister Qamrul Islam, hails from Pulluvanpadiyil near Edappal. She has reportedly been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with severe stomach problems.

Aswathi was allegedly ragged by senior girl students, also from Kerala, at the women's hostel of the college here on May 9 and was allegedly forced to drink toilet cleaner.

Following the incident, she had been admitted to a private hospital in Kalaburagi with serious stomach issues. After five days, her health condition deteriorated and she was sent home by college authorities along with another Kerala student. She was taken to Thrissur Medical College Hospital by her relatives and after a two-day-long treatment, she was shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on June 2.

According to her relatives, the doctors have suggested a major surgery as the chemicals in the toilet cleaner consumed by the girl have severely damaged a major portion of her gullet.

Aswathi, who belongs to a poor family, joined the college five months ago after taking an education loan from the Kerala Gramin Bank (KGB). According to her uncle, she was being ragged since she joined the college hostel.

The girl’s mother has approached the DG&IGP Om Prakash in Bengaluru, demanding strong action against the culprits behind the incident.

The nursing college principal, however, denied that Aswathi had been ragged by her seniors at the college hostel.

While admitting that Aswathi had consumed the toilet cleaner, the principal said that she did it to take her life because of her family problems and not because of ragging. “When the incident took place on May 5, we immediately rushed her to a private hospital here and got her treated. After she became alright, we sent her back to her hometown with a girl student, with the consent of her parents. I don’t know what happened after she went to Kerala and why they have approached the police now,” the principal said.

Kalaburagi SP N. Shashikumar, who received a message from the Kerala police on Tuesday regarding the complaint, has ordered an inquiry by an officer of the rank of deputy superintendent of police.

After visiting the college and hostel on Tuesday, Mr Shashikumar said that he was expecting the FIR copy from the Kerala police on Wednesday. “We will complete the inquiry and file a report,” he said.

Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil said, “It is a very sad incident and I have made enquiries in the case. Once the FIR is transferred to our police in Kalaburagi, action will be taken. Also, according to the MCI protocol, every college should have an anti-ragging squad. Apart from the police investigation, the college should take action. We will look into the whole case once the FIR is transferred.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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