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Indians with social woes rag harshly

                   By K. Baradan and Frederick Fernandez

PETALING JAYA: The ragging incident in Universiti Putra Malaysia is
  reflective of the many socio-economic and cultural problems faced by
Indians, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.

"There are many such problems in the secondary schools and it has
worked its way into the varsities," he said adding that he fully supported
any stern action that could be taken after the university had investigated the incident.

  Samy Vellu also urged parents not to stop sending their children to the
universities because of the incident.

"It is really difficult to get a place in the universities," he said adding that the  authorities were already taking action to control ragging.

He blamed social problems, broken families and lack of parental guidance   as reasons for the "unruly" behaviour of some Indian youths.

The university's deputy vice-chancellor (students affairs department) Prof
Rahim Mohd Sali, who also expressed shock over the incident, said the
authorities had been wary of Indian seniors wanting to rag other Indian
freshmen.

"I think it has to do with social status as Indian seniors, particularly from
  rural areas or from needy families often want to dominate over other
Indians who come from better backgrounds," he said.

 He added that these students also behaved in a rowdy manner during the orientation week.

 "We had a special briefing session just for the Indians warning them of the consequences of ragging, including expulsion," said Prof Rahim, who is heading the inquiry into the incident.

UPM was earlier hit by such a ragging incident that led to the expulsion of three final year students in 1989 and the suspension of two others.

In that incident the seniors ordered a "helicopter spin" by tieing a string
  between a fan blade and the penis of a freshman and asked him to run
around in a spin.

Meanwhile, academics and social scientist also say that the high incidence of Indian students involved in ragging -- both as victims and perpetrators --  could be connected to their socio-economic background.

"The raggers often have a low self esteem and suffer from a general
malaise," said MIC education expert Datuk Dr T. Marimuthu.

Dr Marimuthu, who handled ragging cases while lecturing in Universiti
Malaya, said sometimes the "fun" of orientation got out of hand ending with tragic results.

He stressed that only a small minority of Indian students were involved in
extreme forms of ragging.

 Another social scientist, Dr Denison Jayasooria said ragging had to do with  issues of "power" because some Indians come from "oppressed and depressed" backgrounds and often had an urge to "dominate."

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