Rakshak, an Android “anti-ragging” app created at Lucknow University in India, helps students in distress send a message to a helpline to report ragging incidents on campus. The app is GPS-enabled so that any student on campus reporting a ragging incident can get immediate help by the appropriate university security staff.
As Director N. K. Pandey said, the app, “is not limited only to LU campus, even outside the campus if any student is in distress he or she could contact the administration officials through this application”.
Following a series of ragging incidents at Lucknow University, the school designed Rakshak to give students four different options to report ragging happening to them or another student. According to Chief Proctor Manoj Dixit, Rakshak lets students report ragging by sending a text message, making a call to authorities, submitting a voice message or through a ‘please help’ functionality.
Ragging is a prevalent phenomenon in India. Much like hazing, ragging usually involves one or more senior students that interact with junior students in a physically and psychologically harmful manner. Ragging usually means insulting, forcing a student to run errands and participation in other dignity-damaging activities.
Once a student downloads the app, they have to submit their enrollment number, mobile number and email for registration. For student authentication, the app uses a one-time password functionality. This means that if a student makes a call, the app attempts to match mobile number and enrollment number to make sure the call is genuine.
“Most incidents of ragging or indiscipline go unreported because of fear of our names getting public, but this app will help us register our complaints and keep our names confidential. Once we start using the app, we will know more about it,” said Hitisha Goel, student at Lucknow University.
The anti-ragging app is available to download for free, and currently only for Android devices. Students can contact police officers and stations directly through the app, along with the district magistrate, a women’s helpline and the University Grant’s Commission anti-ragging helpline.
“I am happy this app has been launched at the right time. Our session has just begun and there is a lot of harassment right outside our classrooms. We wanted something to happen but didn’t know what. Thanks to LU for helping students, especially girls,” another LU student commented according to the Indian Times.