Rag student severed victim's head

March 27, 1998

Ragging restraints at Indian universities are likely after a southern court sentenced a former medical student to life imprisonment for beheading a fresher.

The court heard that the first-year student refused to do certain things during Raja Muthiah Medical College rag in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu in November 1996.

The Tamil Nadu state government has already banned ragging. The judge described the offence as "hair-raising, extremely brutal and diabolic" but rejected a prosecution plea for capital punishment because the case was built on circumstantial evidence.

The accused student, John David, broke down and pleaded: "I swear I am not guilty."

David, a 19-year-old senior student, allegedly beat up Pon Navarasu, son of a former vice-chancellor of Madras University, for protesting at his "humiliation" and when the boy lost consciousness he severed his head.

The prosecution said David then tossed the head into a canal behind the college, packed the body in a suitcase and was on his way to Madras (now Chennai) when the police caught him. David's college mates testified that he had a reputation for being a bully and humiliating freshers.

Ragging in professional colleges has assumed serious proportions. Almost every year there are suicides after freshers are subjected to extreme ragging. However, the case was the first time a link was established between ragging and the death of the victim.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign

  • Worker checks thin-film silicon solar module, Truebbach

Asia doubles representation while European countries face varied performance

  • Man and woman dancing wearing stilts

Study argues that, while Oxford and Cambridge stand apart, rest of mission group does not live up to ‘elite’ tag