RAGGING AND VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN INDIA

FIELD REPORT

Submitted By

MMJ. SABEERALI
ROLL NUMBER: 945/HR/2008

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
New Delhi-110030, India.

RAGGING AND VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION: For any student who slogs day and night to secure admission into a prestigious college, ragging can be his or her worst nightmare come true. It would not be an exaggeration to say that, today, ragging has taken the shape of a serious human rights violation with even the most respected and disciplined educational institutes falling prey to it. It has been rightly said that the end may not always justify the means. Behind the façade of ‘welcoming’ new students to college, ragging, is a notorious practice wherein the senior students get an excuse to harass their junior counterparts, and make them easy targets to satiate their own perverse sadistic pleasures. Apart from sustaining grievous physical injuries, those unfortunate students who succumb to ragging either develop a fear psychosis that haunts them throughout their lives, or worse, quit their college education even before it begins. MEANING OF RAGGING According to the Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary, "Ragging means a noisy disorderly conduct, annual parade of students in fancy dress to collect money for charity, playing rough jokes, or throwing into wild disorder a person’s room etc." The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India perhaps has given a more comprehensive meaning of ragging as under:

ragging assumed obnoxious and harmful connotations and was severely condemned. FORMS OF RAGGING . the practice of ragging became popular throughout the world. treating or handling with rudeness any student. ragging may have become deep rooted in the Indian educational set up. However. indulging in rowdy or indiscipline activities which cause or are likely to cause annoyance. without any room for doubt. almost all countries of the world have enacted stern laws that ban ragging and it has been completely eradicated in countries such as Canada and Japan. or by an act which has the effect of teasing. Ragging is supposed to have its creation in certain European Universities where seniors played practical jokes at the time of welcoming freshmen to the institutions. India. whether by words spoken or written. with time. has not been able to free itself from the clutches of this inhuman practice. but many would be surprised to know that ragging is originally a western concept. Today. hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in a fresher or a junior student and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the psyche of a fresher or a junior student."Ragging is any disorderly conduct. Gradually. But sadly." ORIGIN OF RAGGING Today. It can be said. which inherited ragging as a legacy from the British Raj. that the worst form of ragging is committed in India.

school. 4. Sexual Abuse : This is the severest form of ragging that takes place in colleges.It is said that man’s imagination knows no bounds. etc. From what was intended to provide good humour and harmless fun to students. address. the freshmen have been asked to strip before the seniors. The dress code ragging may make the freshmen feel awkward and uncomfortable as it often brings them unnecessary attention from everybody. For the dress code prescribed is generally weird. marks. The introduction includes the freshmen’s name. The seniors are mainly interested in ‘juicy’ details such as the anatomical description of one’s body parts. But this isn’t as easy as it seems. his or her sexual interests.Dress Code Ragging : The freshmen are asked to dress in a specific dress code for a particular period of time. Playing The Fool : . The freshmen may be asked to sing the lyrics of any vulgar song or use abusive language while talking to the seniors. Some of the most popular forms of ragging in colleges are: 1. Formal Introduction : This involves asking the freshmen to introduce themselves in 'Shudh Hindi'. vulgar and inhuman forms that defy all norms of decency and morality. etc. dressing totally in white or black with the hair oiled and combed in a particular style.. 5. In many cases. ragging today has assumed torturous. Verbal Torture : Verbal torture involves indulging in loose talks. eg. 2. 3.

Ragging Can Be A Means Of Retaliation: . 2. Hostel Ragging : Outstation students who stay in the hostel are most vulnerable to ragging. kissing a tree. etc. a senior student nurtures a sense of authority which boasts his morale and puts him on a high. from fetching them water or milk to completing their assignments. 6. what is it that propels a ‘professional ragger’ to indulge in ragging? Let us examine some possible reasons that initiate ragging : 1. Just as every crime has a motive. In many cases.The freshmen may be asked to enact scenes from a particular movie or mimic a particular film star. the seniors may also ask the freshmen to do silly things like climbing a tree. 7. Ragging Gives A Sense of Authority: By having the freshmen always at his command. proposing to someone from the opposite sex. It has a certain psychological basis too. They may be asked to do all odd acts from cleaning the room of seniors to washing their clothes. Drug Abuse : This can be the worst form of ragging wherein the freshmen are forced to try drugs thereby driving them into addiction. PSYCHE OF A RAGGER It is to be understood that ragging is not merely a socio-legal problem.

they too join the herd. 5.A senior who has some previous history of ragging may like to get back by venting his frustrations on the freshmen. 4. 3. Let us examine some shocking consequences of ragging: EFFECTS OF RAGGING ON THE VICTIM . This truly stands apt in the case of ragging. What begins from a friendly introduction in the name of ragging takes no time to assume disgusting and perverted overtones. Seeing most of their batch mates indulging in ragging. Ragging Makes A Fashion Statement: Many senior students live under the misconception that ragging makes a style statement and thus will put them in the ‘influential crowd’ of their college. Peer Pressure: It is also a reality that not all seniors who commit ragging enjoy doing it at their sweet will. So in order to avoid isolation. they fear being left out. Satisfaction Of Sadistic Pleasures: A potential ragger sees ragging as a good opportunity to satiate his sadistic pleasures all at the cost of a poor freshmen’s imagination. CONSEQUENCES OF RAGGING: It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

ragging also simultaneously causes grave psychological stress and trauma to the victim. 5. Though incidents of physical assault and grievous injuries are not new. 6. Those who succumb to ragging may drop out thereby hampering their career prospects 7. In extreme cases.1. Besides incurring medical and other incidental expenses to rehabilitate their child. It demoralizes the victim who joins college life with many hopes and expectations. The victim declines into a shell. incidents of suicides and culpable homicide have also been reported. An unpleasant incident of ragging may leave a permanent scar in the victim’s mind that may haunt him for years to come. 2. especially his or her parents who see their child suffering in pain and stress. 3. they also have to bear the trauma of seeing his or her prospective career coming to an end. 4. EFFECTS OF RAGGING ON THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION : . Those students who choose to protest against ragging are very likely to face ostracism from their seniors in the future. EFFECTS OF RAGGING ON VICTIM’S FAMILY: One can imagine the plight of a ragging victim’s family. forcing himself into ignominy and alienation from the rest of the world.

ragging spares none. Severe media barrage in extreme cases of ragging lowers the character of the educational institution and destroys the respect and faith it commands from society. Ragging has been prevalent in India for a long time. our society is bearing with it. while . Thus we see that the practice of ragging does good to none. blacklisted and even permanently expelled from college. including the 7 in 2007 alone. Many more have been seriously injured and/or disabled while countless of innocent teenagers have been physically and sexually abused. Countless Of Innocent Teenagers Have Been Physically And Sexually Abused. EFFECTS OF RAGGING ON THE RAGGERS: Ragging does not spare even its perpetrators. From those who are victims of ragging to those who commit or encourage it.(i) spreading the awareness by various means(ii) supporting the victims(iii) promoting healthy and humane modes of interactions between the seniors and the juniors. injured thousands and killed many. Still. It has ruined countless careers. CONSEQUENCES OF RAGGING – INDIAN EXAMPLES 1. Those who indulge in ragging bring a bad name to their college thereby hampering its reputation and goodwill in society. Though less than the tip of the iceberg reaches the media (in ragging cases). We are trying to put an end to this evil of ragging by . about 31 ragging deaths were reported between 2000-2007. 2.1. Those found guilty of ragging may be suspended.

The society has already made a long delay to stand against ragging. was taken to hospital after three seniors assaulted him with a blunt object Saturday afternoon. The victim. the faculty and the staff. Tanda medical college student dies due to ragging In what can be stated to be first such incident in Himachal. The victim also accused the college's private guards of not intervening. 2. and it has paid the price as lost lives and careers as well as bereaved families.2010). Chaudhary told reporters.' he added.P. Police have booked four third year student of the medical college under Section 304 and two of them have been arrested while the other two are absconding. 'A case has been registered against the three seniors. Engineering College Student Injured Due to Ragging An engineering student in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district suffered multiple injuries after he was allegedly ragged by his seniors. According to police.discouraging ragging(iv) setting up / promoting anti ragging units within the campuses by involving the students. a first year student. 3.2009). He has alleged that three seniors started beating him when he refused to obey their orders of introducing himself to a group of seniors.etc. Moradabad is 350 km from Lucknow.'The student is out of danger. Aman Kachroo. a first year student of Dr Rajindra Prashad Medical College in Tanda died of alleged injuries caused due to ragging on Sunday (10.03. is said to have been under depression for quite some time as his parents . Manjeet Singh.' Sub Inspector S. police said Saturday (24.04.

Seven Girls Linked To Ragging Asked To Vacate Hostel 3 October 2006 AHMEDABAD: Seven senior girl students of the Fine Arts faculty of Vadodaras famed MS University. were also told to pay a fine of Rs500 and warned against supporting ragging activities in future. Ragging Spoiled One more life . A fine of Rs1. have been asked to vacate the hostel. 4. A student-teacher committee formed after the victimised girls gave written complaints. 27 senior girls who remained mute spectators when five freshers were being forced to perform vulgar dances. who were responsible for last month’s ragging incident in the girls hostel. In another surprise action. probed the first-of-its-kind. shocking case and submitted its report. were informed in advance and the chief warden of the hostel was shown the door soon after the shameful incident. The report blamed the seven final-year students for torturing the five firstyear students during a birthday party in the dining hall of the hostel. Parents of the seven girls expelled from the hostel. The seniors had also compelled the junior students to answer their obscene questions put to them with obscene gestures.000 was also imposed on them.alleged that ragging had been going on for the last few months and the college authorities did nothing about it despite having knowledge about it.

Police has registered a case against unidentified students for compelling him to take such extreme measures. MCA first year student in the Pioneer College left a suicide note which said that he was not happy with the ragging incident of his seniors and lost confidence before ending his life. the students of the nursing school joined the three-year diploma course after class X. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the suicide by the student. Most of them were from rural . 4 April 2008 CHENNAI: Authorities in the Government Stanley Medical College in north Chennai are inquiring into a ragging incident in its nursing school. A private college student committed suicide after he could not tolerate the alleged inhuman ragging by the seniors told the police. a resident of Khandwa was found hanging with a ceiling fan in the rented house in Chanakya Complex near Malwa Mill. "Students involved in the incident would be suspended. Durgesh Shukla." said in-charge dean Mustaq Ahmed Khan. Ragging in Tamilnadu: Students face Suspension Friday. According to the college authorities. The incident sent shock waves throughout the city. Shukla.Thursday. 17 April 2008 Indor: What an irony that one student has not yet recovered from the trauma of ragging that we hear another student ending his life due to the erosion of self-confidence consequent of ragging by seniors.

Some junior boys were asked to enact postures they found in adult magazines and warned against complaining to teachers. Ragging Sends Student to Psycho Ward . Dr. the school had only six boys against 90 girls. citing personal reasons. Some time ago. Khan seeking better amenities. The nursing school has a tutor in-charge besides faculty to supervise the students. Only the MMC offers degree and postgraduate courses in nursing. The first year students were admitted on January 19 but by Thursday. Kilpauk and Madras Medical Colleges. senior boys have been ragging the juniors. two students had sought to withdraw from the course. Khan said suspending the students involved would serve as a deterrent to others. The added student strength in the school has burdened its already overcrowded residential accommodation. A third boy who wanted to discontinue was given leave so that he could reconsider his decision. Until this year. asking them to shave off their moustache. second year students presented a memorandum to Dr.areas. The school now has 38 boys in the first year and 47 boys in the second year. the government decided to transfer nursing students from other parts of the state to the city's nursing schools in the three medical colleges — Stanley. Meanwhile. Other colleges offer diploma courses. Three days ago.

Thursday. forced entry into the room.” said the college dean. “We will provide him with a comfortable environment. When his worried uncle. In Singh’s case.” he said. but cries out for help in his brief moments of consciousness. A scared Singh rushed to his uncle’s house and locked himself up. Dr Krishna Dutt. It took six people to get the boy to a hospital. Sudhakar Singh. 17 April 2008 Ragging by his seniors pushed this cheerful college student over the edge. His uncle later lodged an FIR against five final year students. Family and friends allege that Singh. he was on his way to college when some seniors threatened him for complaining to the hostel warden. “It is sad that some members of the college management are alleging that he is abnormal. with hands and feet tied. He is heavily sedated. On Saturday. “Even those who have never displayed signs of mental illness. was the victim of ragging which included stripping. if they have a predisposition to certain conditions like depression and neurosis. first year student of a private management college. driving him to a psychiatry ward. he was stunned to see his nephew thrashing his limbs. lies on his hospital bed. Sanjay Pal Singh.” . will do so under conditions of extreme stress. the recurring ragging led to those conditions. By late Monday evening. crying and mumbling. a cheerful and helpful boy. the college management had voiced its support for the student. clinical psychologist at Lucknow’s Medical University said.

Latheef." he said. The Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act. He said he underwent a surgery on his injured eye on April 5 at Ernakulam. The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act. 4. Ragging made Blind of an Engineering Student A student of a Tamil Nadu-based engineering college on Friday alleged he lost vision in his right eye due to injury caused by seniors during ragging. Marut-hakulam in Tirunelveli. These are: 1. 2000 (Applicable in the State of West Bengal). SUBSTANTIVE LAWS PROHIBITING RAGGING Presently. They threatened him of dire consequences if he reported it to anyone.5. clai-med he was assaulted by his seniors on March 19. (Applicable in the State of Tamil Nadu). 1998. The Prohibition of Ragging in Educational Institutes Act. there are only four state legislations in India that prohibit ragging. The Prohibition of Ragging Act. "The doctor said I will have permanent disability in my right eye. 1996. 3. 1999. a second year Electronics and Communication student of National College of Engineering. 2. . hailing from Changanachery in Kerala said. Abdul Latheef (21).

The Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act. doing of any act which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to a student in any educational institution." Secondly. they provide for setting up of Disciplinary Committees for taking immediate and effective steps against ragging. 1999 says : "Offenders of Ragging will be liable to a fine of Rs. abusing.10. Thirdly.000.The common essential features of the aforementioned legislations are: Firstly. they provide a statutory definition of ragging. The Maharashta Prohibition Of Ragging Act. 5000 or two years of rigorous imprisonment or both. Depending upon the severity of . For instance. the legislations declare ragging to be a cognizable offence and prescribe punishment for the same. 1998 reads: "Students found ragging directly or indirectly or abetting within or outside an educational institution are liable for imprisonment for a term which may extend upto two years with a fine which may be upto Rs." The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act." The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act. For instance. 1998 defines ragging as: "Teasing. 1999 defines ragging as: "Ragging means display or disorderly conduct. Offenders may also be expelled from their institutions without any scope for re-admittance. playing practical jokes or causing hurt or asking a student to do an act which he is unwilling to do.

through Cabinet Secretary is particularly significant as the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Tamil Nadu. the guilty can be either suspended or dismissed and can also be debarred from gaining admission in any institution for five years. these guidelines are: . Central Government through Cabinet Secretary The judgment in the case of Vishwa Jagriti Mission through President vs. Central Government. namely. have enacted legislations to deal with it. Very Briefly. Vishwa Jagriti Mission through President vs. As for other states and union territories in India. has laid down broad guidelines for colleges and educational institutes to prevent ragging. while exercising its jurisdiction under Articles 32 and 142 of the Constitution of India. Preventing Ragging : The Landmark Supreme Court Guidelines With ragging becoming a national issue affecting thousands of students across India. only four states. State of Kerala 2. the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India too could not remain silent and has seriously condemned the issue." Despite incidents of Ragging being reported from almost all states in India. Kerala. Ragging is banned but only through circulars and administrative orders. So far there have been two landmark judgments prohibiting ragging. Ragging of Freshers in Thiruvananthapuram Government Engineering College vs.the case. Maharashtra and West Bengal. These are: 1.

The punishment may also take the shape of: (i) withholding scholarships or other benefits (ii) debarring from representation in events (iii) withholding results (iv) suspension or expulsion from hostel or mess. Anti -Ragging Movements To Be Initiated By All Colleges And Educational Institutes: Anti-ragging movements should be initiated by the institutions right from the time of advertisement for admissions. Undertakings To Be Taken Both From The Freshmen And Their Parents/ Guardians: The application for admission / enrolment shall have a printed undertaking to be filled up and signed by the applicant to the effect that he/she is aware of the institution’s . 2. the forms for admission and/or any other literature issued to aspirants for admission must clearly mention that ragging is banned in the institution and any one indulging in ragging is likely to be punished appropriately with punishment which may include expulsion or suspension from the institution or class for a limited period or fine with a public apology. and the like.1. If there be any legislation governing ragging or any provisions in the Statutes/Ordinances they should be brought to the notice of the students/parents seeking admissions. The prospectus.

keeping in view the needs of new entrants in the institution. 5. the Principal. 3.approach towards ragging and the punishment to which he or she shall be liable if found guilty of ragging. along with the addresses and telephone numbers of such persons. Undertaking To Be Taken From Seniors Students And Their Parents/Guardians Too: The institutions which are introducing such a system for the first time shall ensure undertakings being obtained from the students and their parents/guardians already studying in the institutions before the commencement of the next educational year/session. the Teaching Staff should interact with the freshmen and take them in confidence by apprising them of their right as well as obligation to fight against ragging and to generate confidence in their mind that any instance of ragging to which they are subjected or which comes in their knowledge should . Principles And The Teaching Staff To Have Personal Interaction With The Freshmen: The Management. help and guidance for various purposes. Management. A similar undertaking shall be obtained from the parent/guardian of the applicant. should be given to freshers at the time of admissions so that the freshers need not look up to the seniors for help in such matters and feel indebted to or obliged by them.Notices To Be Issued Indicating Where To Approach For Redressal In Case Of Ragging: A printed leaflet detailing when and to whom one has to turn for information. 4.

the institution should constitute a practorial committee consisting of senior faculty members and hostel authorities like wardens and a few responsible senior students: A) to keep a continuous watch and vigil over ragging so as to prevent its occurrence and recurrence. 6. may be used for the purpose. etc. notice boards and signboards wherever necessary. 8. shall be identified and specially watched. 7.Society To Be Sensitised On The Issue Of Ragging: The local community and the students in particular must be aware of the dehumanizing effect of ragging inherent in its perversity. Posters.Prone Zones To Be Identified And Carefully Guarded : All vulnerable locations in the college such as the canteen. B) to promptly deal with the incidents of ragging brought to its notice and summarily punish the guilty either by itself or by putting forth its findings/recommendations/suggestions before the authority competent to take decision. Practorial Committees To Be Set Up: At the commencement of the academic session. . parents and students collectively or in groups in this behalf. the playground.forthwith be brought to their knowledge and shall be promptly dealt with. Ragging. It would be better if the head of the institution or a person high in authority addresses meetings of teachers.

was punished for ragging. the principal and the persons in authority of the institution. Migration Certificates To Mention Whether The Student Ever Indulged In Ragging: Migration Certificates issued by every institution should have an entry apart from that of general conduct and behaviour whether the student had participated in. if necessary by posting security personnel and placed in charge of a warden/superintendent who should himself/herself reside there. the University Grants Commission/Funding Agency may consider withdrawal of financial assistance to such an institution till . Failure To Prevent Ragging To Be Constructed As An Act Of Negligence: Failure to prevent ragging to be constructed as an act of negligence in maintaining discipline in the institution on the part of the management. 11. 12. and in particular. Entry at other times may also be regulated. Withdrawal Of Financial Assistance To Institutes Where Ragging Incidents Are Reported: If an institution fails to curb ragging.9. 10. Similar responsibility shall be liable to be fixed on hostel wardens/superintendents. and wherein the entry of seniors and outsiders shall be prohibited before and after a specified hour of night except under the permission of the person in-charge.Hostels/Accommodations To Be Carefully Guarded: The hostels/accommodations where freshers are accommodated shall be carefully guarded.

If there are any local laws governing ragging. they should be implemented and knowledge and information about such laws should also be disseminated. . Students To First Approach Their Colleges: In case of any incident of ragging.such time as it achieves the same. Police Not To Follow A Retributive Approach While Dealing With Ragging Culprits: It may be important to note here that the above stated guidelines are only illustrative and are not intended to come in the way of the educational institutions and authorities devising ways and mean to curb ragging. the students must approach the Disciplinary Committee of their respective colleges first. A university may consider disaffiliating a college or institution failing to curb ragging. and only if the said Committee does not take cognizance of the matter or if they feel dissatisfied with its decision that they should approach the police. 14. The objective behind this is to restore the faith in the ability of educational institutions to maintain discipline and protect the interests of their students. 13.

And it is this type of ragging which comes under the scanner of the judiciary which has at last had to intervene to stop this nuisance altogether or at least curb it to a considerable extent. traumatic ragging can be. Often the perpetrators of the crime of ragging cross all the limits of civility and humanity.RAGGING SHOULD BE BANNED The ruling of the apex court of the country against ragging should be welcomed by all right-thinking people. Only the victim knows how painful. It is this latter type of ragging which is objectionable. tormented and even roughed up by the senior students mostly of the same institute under the exercise of “introduction”. They derive unbound joy when they find their helpless victim totally at their own mercy. abhorring and a matter of great concern. The victim of ragging may be subjected to a wide variety of sufferings. It often leads the victim psychologically shattered and physically wounded. They enjoy every moment of the entire show. In ragging “fresh students” of an educational intuition are often teased. the more is the enjoyment of the ragger and the onlookers. They will go to any extent to satiate their sadistic pleasure while ragging their juniors. Ragging is a bitter experience. It can range from some innocent and harm less leg pulling to harsh physical and mental assault. In ragging no one knows what would be the extent of suffering for the ragged ones. More the suffering of the victims. harmful. which may range from digesting a barrage of filthy language to bearing physical assault of all sorts. There are examples when . which many unfortunate students of our country have to face sometimes of the other during their long academic career. Ragging often leaves an indelible unpleasant mark in ones life.

After undergoing the pains of ragging. little sincere effort has been made to eradicate this evil from our educational system. There are cases of many bright students who’s careers are ruined due to ragging. the students who are supposed to be the future of the nation and are expected to do some constructive work for the country and for themselves are unfortunately found here engaged in villainous activities in perfect Bollywood style. these students were so much frightened that they never return to their classes again and they never again dared to join any other institute to pursue their studies any further! Ragging.R. lost their mental balance forever. The suggestions were: – to hold the educational intuition responsible for ragging. It also suggested that the concerned educational intuition itself should lodge an F. The court has had already declared ragging as illegal. with police. the Raghavan committee had already offered some suggestions to stop ragging. But in spite of the legal ban. in such cases the . Prior to the latest direction from the Supreme Court. a collage or any other educational institutions.R. unable to bear the unimaginably pain and shock of physical and mental torture. infact is a blot.I.I. a slur on the face of our so-called civilized and educated society. The youth. with the police informing the later about the incident and to prevent a recurrence of raging should take stern action against the offender and avoid them the strictest of punishment.the victim of ragging. It is disparaging because its actors are senior students themselves. the parents of the victim or the victim himself could also file an F. It is more disparaging since it originates from the centers of education – a school. If the concerned institution fails to take up the matter seriously.

CONCLUSION: Ragging is a problem of the students and by the students. The committee also suggested that the courts also should take up cases of ragging on priority basis. This might act as a deterrent but the need is to educate such criminal minded students before hand. the erring students will be turned out of the intuition. They must be taught the value of love. the solution to it also lies with the students. and therefore. The supreme court has now directed the educational institute to mention clearly in their prospects itself that if found guilty of ragging. With ragging becoming rampant in colleges. . compassion and mutual respect for each other in the society. during their early formative years. it is about time that the student community awakens its conscience to this inhuman practice before more and more innocent students become victims of it and before more and more educational institutes are degraded by it. But alas! In the present fast and utterly materialistic life. To make a better and healthier society we have to educate the members of the younger generation to become good human beings before they aspire to be a big success in their careers. the elders of our society are found wanting in their duty to give proper advice and instill human values in the younger generation. These qualities are instilled in a child by their elders at home and in school. humanity.police also has a right to take action against the concerned educational institution.

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