Report on the News on Ragging at the University of Jaffna.

by Prof. S. Mohanadas, Vice Chancellor, February 22, 2005

I wish to report on the real situation about the news item published in "The Island" and "Weerakesary" two days ago [18.02.2005] that the Sinhalese and Muslim students admitted to the University of Jaffna this year underwent severe ragging.

The fresher Sinhalese and Muslim students were accommodated in our University Hostel as usual and their basic needs were looked after. In addition, proper strict measures were taken to ensure that these students are protected from any harassment by the seniors in the hostel. Furthermore, senior students are keen on abolition of ragging in the University this year than in previous years.

Hostel accommodation is provided usually for the first and the final year students from out stations only due to the limited facilities available. But second and third year Muslim and Sinhalese students were given special permission to stay in the hostel from last year as requested by them. These students continue to stay in the hostel and carry on with their studies. I must point out that Tamil Medical Students have sacrificed their rightful hostel accommodation voluntarily for these Sinhalese and Muslim students.

The traditional introductory activities between freshers and the seniors are taking place this year also. In some Faculties this has been completed for the year and welcome parties are also over. The fresher welcome party at the Faculty of Medicine took place yesterday [20.02.2005] and some Sinhalese and Muslim students participated in it. The main purpose of this event is to emphasize that all students participate in the university activities as equals after the fresher welcome party.

Under these circumstances, the news item that was published in news papers that Sinhalese and Muslim are subjected to severe ragging is a surprise to the University Community. I wish to emphasize that the university administration will take severe punitive action on the senior students involved on receiving reliable complaint from any source if such ragging had actually taken place.

I state categorically that the Sinhalese and Muslim students go about with their academic activities with full freedom in the University. There is no intimidation from inside or outside the University to the religious rights, traditional values or security of these students. The University Student Bodies and other educational organizations that operate outside the University are very keen and helpful in solving the social or any other problem faced by these students.

The student councilors and the marshal meet the fresher students in the hostel and in lecture halls frequently and discuss the shortcomings and problems. No fresher student has ever told or even indicated their fears, difficulties or prohibitions to these officers to date. The University Student Union and the Medical Student Union are very positive that no ragging took place on these students. According to the warden of the hostel, some parents came about 10 days ago and had discussions with the Fresher Medical Students. After that they vacated the hostel stating that they have found a more convenient accommodation near the Faculty of Medicine.

Therefore the information given through news papers or other means about ragging in the university and particularly about selective ragging of Muslims and Sinhalese, are baseless and untrue. These accusations have caused severe mental agony to the University Community which takes utmost care in looking after these students.

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Posted February 26, 2005