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'3 Idiots' under fire for ‘inspiring’ ragging, suicide

Taking cognisance of the allegations, the state government said it will examine the content of the movie to decide if the ragging incident was indeed inspired by the film.

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It is often said that any publicity is good publicity. But not this time. The Aamir Khan-starrer 3 Idiots, which opened to resounding box-office success a week ago, is under fire for ‘inspiring’ 18 students of the Seth GS Medical College to rag juniors; the students were arrested on Sunday. One of the scenes from 3 Idiots showed freshers played by Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and R Madhavan being ragged by their seniors in the hostel.

Taking cognisance of the allegations, the state government said it will examine the content of the movie to decide if the ragging incident was indeed inspired by the film. The state medical education minister, Dr Vijaykumar Gavit, on Monday said that his department will ask the producers to submit the script to verify if the ragging incident had any connection with the movie. “We have decided to watch the movie. Also, the script will be scanned,” the minister said. “We will also ask the censor board to remove the scenes that could lead to further damage.”

The movie is also being probed for allegedly influencing 12-year-old Sushant Patil, who hanged himself on Monday in what could be a case of  ‘copycat suicide’. Patil, a seventh grade student of Shardashram School, Dadar (Marathi medium), had failed in four papers out of six in the mid-term examinations.

The youngster had apparently watched 3 Idiots twice on Sunday - the film portrays an engineering student who failed in his exams hanging himself to death from his hostel room. On Monday, he hanged himself to death with a nylon rope in the toilet of his school premises.

“A copycat suicide is the duplication of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about from depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media,” says Dr Fabian Almeida, psychiatrist and director, Wellspring counselling clinic, Kalyan. When Marilyn Monroe committed suicide, it became a rage, a lot many people wanted to achieve limelight by dying in the same way, said Dr Almeida.

Even the police said the influence was a possibility. “Prima facie, it appears as if the victim was influenced by the film. Further investigations are on,” said Ashok Unde, senior police inspector, Dadar.

Meanwhile, Gavit said that the Maharashtra (prohibition) of Ragging Act 1999 has the provision of two years of imprisonment and fine to the guilty students. “Once booked and dismissed from college for ragging, the students are not likely to get admission in any other college for five years. We take an undertaking from the students saying that they won’t indulge in ragging during their course. Also, anti-ragging committees are formed at the colleges,” he said.

A voluntary organisation working against ragging in India has recently complained to the Supreme Court appointed anti-ragging committee about the menace allegedly being glorified in 3 Idiots.

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