They Called Me 'Black', Poured Bathroom Cleaner Into My Mouth: Ragged Dalit Nursing Student Recounts Horror

23/06/2016 8:54 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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A 19-year-old Dalit student, studying at the Al Qamar College of Nursing in Gulburga, will need major surgery for her "severely damaged" food pipe after seniors poured toilet cleaner down her throat during a session of ragging, according to reports. Almost 40 days after she was admitted to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital in Kerala, the woman, whom The News Minute named as Aswathy, recounted her horrific ordeal to the media.

The first semester nursing student, a native of Edappal in Malappuram district, joined the college five months back and was periodically ragged -- the students were allegedly made to "walk on their knees and jump like frogs" -- but what happened on the night of May 9 crossed all boundaries of endurance, the News Minute reported.

In a letter to her lawyer, the girl alleged that her seniors taunted her for her dark complexion and mocked her because her father had abandoned her and her mother. The mental torture went on for months. But on May 9, two of the seniors summoned her and her roommate to a room. There were five of them there. They were asked to write down the names of the seniors they liked and the ones they despised, the report said.

When Aswathy wrote down two names, the seniors who were named were enraged.

“They became very angry and told me no wonder I was ‘black’. No surprises that my father abandoned me and my mother,” she wrote in her complaint, copies of which are now with chief ministers of both Karnataka and Kerala. The women were asked to return to their rooms, following which the seniors barged inside and forcefully poured toilet cleaner into her mouth to "teach her a lesson".

The News Minute quoted her as saying that she immediately fell to the floor, retching and desperate for breath. Other seniors tried to make her vomit the liquid out.

She was admitted to a private hospital in Gulburga. As her condition worsened after five days of treatment, she was sent back home along with another Keralite student. She was then admitted to Thrissur Medical College Hospital and after a few days, she was referred to KMCH on June 2.

Doctors at KMCH had suggested a major surgery as the chemicals of the toilet cleaner severely damaged her food pipe following which she has been admitted to the ICU.

"It's been more than 40 days since I attended the college but no one from there has called me even once," the woman told NDTV.

However principal, Dr Esther, claimed there was no ragging on the campus. He said the girl drank phenyl because of family problems.

Cases under various sections of IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder), 36 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 346 (wrongful confinement in secret) and various sections of SC, ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act have been registered against the senior students, he said.

The case has been transferred to Gulbarga University police station for further investigation.

(With inputs from PTI)

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