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Sri Lankan universities have
decided to take stern action against Ragging and violence after a freshman
female student of Kelaniya University was ragged by a group of senior students.
Vice Chancellor of the
Kelaniya University, Professor Sunanda Madduma Bandara said all the
universities in the country will fully implement the Charter signed by the
Commonwealth University Union and the University Grants Commission to eliminate
ragging and violence against women from the 12th of this month.
Ten undergraduates of
Kelaniya University allegedly involved in ragging a female fresher are to be
charged under the Anti Ragging Act for which tough penalties could be imposed,
Kiribathgoda Police, Chief Inspector (CI) S.K. Meeallage said police had acted
after the student complained to them of being assaulted and verbally abused for
wearing Denim jeans to university.
CI Meeallage told that
according to the complaint, the fresher had been told to remove her Denim jeans in
public. Thereafter, abusive language was used on her and one of them had
slapped her hard, causing her to strike her head against a wall.
“Seven suspects were
arrested with the assistance of other police stations in various parts of the
country where they were residing. They
were remanded till May 17 after being produced in the Mahara Magistrate
courts,” he said.
He said that, among those
arrested are two first-year undergraduates who allegedly told the victim to
withdraw her compliant. However, the possibility that these two undergraduates
were forced to threaten the victim has not been ruled out. “Police and the university will provide
special security for the fresher who complained. We intend to offer her a safe
house and security outdoors. The university will be requested to provide her
security within the campus,” he said. A
search for three other suspects is in progress. They are from Negombo,
Gokerella and Ibbagamuwa.
Under the Anti Ragging Act,
sexual harassment or causing grievous hurt to a student or member of the staff
in Educational Institutions is a non-bailable offence, for which bail should be
obtained from a High Court.
If found guilty, they are
liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, and could also be
ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court.
Kelaniya University Vice
Chancellor (VC) Prof Sunanda Maddumabandara said that, this time they allowed
the girl to file a police complaint before an internal investigation.“We are taking disciplinary action against
the suspected students while ensuring the safety of the victimised girl”, he
“Ragging is a menace that
affects university activities. To date, eight students have left our university
this year for ragging. There could be more planning to leave or have already
left without giving notice,” he said.
He said that most students
are experiencing stress and are mentally depressed, while some commit harm to
themselves due to this.
Prof Maddumabandara said,
“Therefore, the university administration is compelled to take maximum action
under the Act Prohibiting Ragging in Educational Institutions.
Kelaniya University Teachers
Association Chairman Prof Sumathipala Halpita said the student victim took the
He said the University
academic staff too stood with her against ragging within the university.
Prof Halpita condemned the
actions of the group of students who verbally and physically attack university
The University Grants
Commission recently decided to initiate tough action to prevent ragging. Among
the measures were to implement the anti-ragging act with tough penalties
including expulsion. The Anti-Ragging
Act introduced in 1998 has so far not been strictly enforced.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka's
Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna affiliated student union IUSF “Anthare”
says ragging has become a subculture and it is not only in universities it
This subculture of ragging
also exists in offices, schools, army camps, police stations and other
institutions, the convener of the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF)
Lahiru Weerasekara told.
The student union leader
charged that there is a movement to suppress the students behind the arrest of
students alleged of ragging.