Most of the student communities in India have to shift to some school and college hostels for their studies. Students and guardians prefer college hostels for care, security and friendship. But recent events in our college and university hostels all over India show that the college and hostel authorities often neglect their duties when it comes to the health of the students.
Prosenjit Sarkar, 22, a fourth year medical student who died on campus in NIT Durgapur due to gross medical negligence is making headlines already. But Prosenjit’s case is not an isolated one. Suraaj, an IITian at Banaras Hindu University fell sick and was refused any proper medical attention. In an isolated university campus like BHU, medical help might be only what the authorities provide. After Diwali, Suraaj was sent back home alone on a flight and he died in no time. A 19 year old medical student attempted suicide at night, but the hostel authorities did not act responsibly and did not take her to the hospital which led to the apparent death of the student. College mates of the students went protesting for hours and the negligence of the college hostel authorities was brought into light.
These cases received attention because the victim died. But there are countless incidents which show a gory side of hostel lives. A student from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University fell sick in the college premises and was promptly hospitalised for two weeks. Once she returned to her hostel, she was informed that she is suspended for three weeks for not submitting a leave form though she had informed the warden on phone. She had to stay at a local guardian’s place which was two hours away from her college and attend classes immediately after she was discharged. Assumption Hostel in Kerala once served poor quality food to their students at night and over twenty girls fell sick and they pleaded to be taken to the hospital. The wardens took the students to another building claiming that it is too difficult to go to the hospital at midnight. Next day the students were taken to a hospital run by the same management who gave a clean chit to the college hostel. But a student who informed her parents with the coin phone at the hostel was given proper medical care and the doctors certified that the problem was the hostel food. To stop students from informing their parents, the college authorities did not send students home for two weeks and all the coin phones in the college and hostels were disconnected.
In this situation, going on in all parts of the country, how can a student be sent to a college hostel? Since the institutions are prestigious, no student would dare to lodge a complaint because it could tarnish their career possibilities. But it is outrageous that college and hostel authorities are taking such barbaric attitudes especially when it comes to the health of students. Just because the colleges have a high reputation, the authorities feel they cannot be harmed. This blind arrogance of college and hostel authorities should be brought into light if we care for our students and hope them to be healthy, happy and safe.
By Anna George for DU Times