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India ragging death

Gurgaon/New Delhi:  A 19-year-old student who died after being hazed by drunken seniors was cremated in New Delhi yesterday with distraught family members saying they had been wrong in not taking his complaints of harassment at college seriously.

“We should have called him back when he complained to us about hazing,” said a relative of Aman Kachru, a brilliant student who died after being beaten by his seniors at a college in Himachal Pradesh.

A senior police officer said the alleged attackers – Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma – have been arrested and booked for the crime.

Rajiv Bindal, Himachal Pradesh’s health minister, said a magisterial probe had been ordered.

“We will take strict action against the senior students who indulged in hazing and anyone else who showed laxity in curbing ragging. If a murder case has to registered against the seniors, it will be done on the basis of the postmortem report,” Bindal said.

Aman died on Sunday after being hazed by four final-year students of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College at Tanda, a small town 20km from Kangra. Police said he had suffered head injuries.

“My biggest mistake is that I could not foresee the incident happening,” said Aman’s grieving father Ravindra Kachru, who flew into India yesterday from Tanzania, where he is a professor.

“He had complained to us but we never imagined it would be so serious. If I had known, I would have dealt with that gang myself,” Kachru told reporters at the family home in Gurgaon, bordering New Delhi.

Aman’s body was brought to the family’s Gurgaon Sector 23 residence at around 2am yesterday before being taken to New Delhi’s Lodhi Road crematorium.

Aman’s uncle Rohit Dhar added: “He had complained to us earlier about hazing in the college. We should have called him back. If only we had, he would have been alive today.”

Added Dhar, who lives next door to the Kachrus: “Aman and 12 other students had complained to the college authorities about the hazing by seniors but the college never took any action.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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