Kozhikode: A Dalit student, K.P. Aswathi, 19, hailing from Malappuram and studying in Al Qamar College of Nursing, Gulbarga in Karnataka, was allegedly ragged by her seniors and force-fed bathroom cleaner. The girl belonging to Pulluvanpadi, Edappal in Malappuram, was brought to the Government Medical College here on June 2. Hospital sources say her internal organs have been seriously damaged and that it may take another six months for her to recover.
However, the college management alleged that Aswathi, first BSc (nursing) student, had attempted suicide on May 9, was admitted to Basaveshwara hospital, Gulbarga, and discharged three days later. “Aswathi had some issues at home and she was an introvert, with few friends in the hostel. The incident occurred a few days after she returned from home. Her seniors were busy with exams and had no time to rag. Aswathi consumed bathroom cleaner,” said principal Esther Rani.
Ms Rani said the victim rested in the hostel for two days after discharge from the hospital. “When no relative turned up, we sent her home along with a girl in her locality on May 15. I don’t know why the family is taking up the matter after one-and-a-half months and raising allegations,” the principal said.
Intriguingly, no case of suicide bid has been registered by the local police and neither the college nor the hospital has filed a complaint of attempted suicide.
Her mother Janaki used to do odd jobs to raise her and her elder sister with the help of their uncles. Her father, a Tamil, had left the family soon after Aswathi's birth. Aswathy had taken an educational loan of Rs 3 lakh.
Bhaskaran, her uncle, said the college authorities had not yet contacted them even on phone to check her condition. “A hosteller informed us that Aswathi was hospitalised after consuming lotion. We did not know she was this serious. Her health worsened gradually and we took her to a hospital at Edapal, then to Thrissur and finally here,” Bhaskaran said and added that they were busy saving the life of the girl than moving legally against her seniors or the college.
SC/ST Development Minister A.K. Balan on Tuesday promised government’s assistance to meet all the medical expenses for Aswathy. He would take up the matter with Karnataka after getting the family’s complaint, he said. Medical college police registered a case based on the complaints of Aswathi and the same will be handed over to Roza police station, Karnataka.
Karnataka 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.”...