Universities

The dark side of ragging in state universities

Do you have children who are about to take their advanced level exam or who are about to enter a local university? Then take your time and keep reading. After reading, do not decide to send your children abroad for higher education or employment.

The best thing you can do as parents is to equip your children with all the plans, information, tactics, etc. to graduate and come out alive without any permanent mental or physical disability.

If you really want to do it, you can do it now because the current government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe has already started ensuring the safety of your child after entering a state university as a freshman. We’re going to talk about ragging.

20th anniversary of the death of Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha

Tomorrow is a historic and darkest day for all local state universities, as it marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha (Samantha Vithanage), who was brutally murdered in broad daylight inside the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on November 7, 2002.

Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha, known as Samantha Vithanage, was a third-year management student who pioneered an anti-ragging campaign and was killed during a discussion to end the brutal practice of ragging at University.

On November 7, 2002, anti-ragging activists sat down for a discussion with the controlled pro-rag student council – General Union of Students of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, which championed the practice.

The meeting took place at the premises of the Department of Marketing Management. In the midst of the discussion, a mob of around 200 staunch supporters of the political party popularly known as the ‘Three Percent’ with clubs and stones burst into the hall and viciously attacked Vithanage and others in the anti-ragging camp.

The assailants stabbed their victims with shards of glass, pens, pencils, compasses, dividers and all other available weapons and Vithanage, who was hit, fell to the ground.

The President of the General Union of Students at the time (November 2002) crashed a heavy computer screen on his head. Vithanage was seriously injured. Then the pro-rapid students blocked the vehicle transporting the injured to the hospital, delaying proper medical treatment. The first hour of any seriously injured person is called the “golden hour” by doctors because it decides whether the seriously injured person lives or dies. This is why these victims must be hospitalized as soon as possible.

As Samantha was about to be taken to the hospital, her attackers lay on the ground, blocking all internal roads inside the university, preventing the vehicle from reaching the main gate. Two days later, Samantha Vithanage died.

my own story

It was March 8, 1993 (nine years before this murder). It was 8:30 a.m. I entered Sri Jayewardenepura University in first year of undergraduate.

I endured severe rags for a year, got physically ill, recovered, fought rags, won my lonely battle as a young girl and graduated alive . My only strength was my own planning, tactics and skills. Nothing or no one else helped me. There was no need to wait for help from a lecturer, as some of them openly supported ragging. This situation is still the same in state universities and some professors openly or secretly support ragging because of their political ideology.

I had a very good knowledge of the premises of the university before entering it. As soon as I was selected for this university, I visited the place with a relative who graduated from the same university and visited inside and around the institution spending several hours in order to fully understand the location of the establishment and its surroundings.

I knew every corner of the university before I walked in the door. Also, I had full details of all possible raggers who were in their second year at that time, their personal details such as home addresses, parents details, etc. I had more than one plan and many helplines on hand to deal with the bullying. I implemented them one by one corresponding to specific situations and raggers. Before entering, I changed my appearance 100% to match the mentality of the raggers, their beliefs and ideologies.

I gave fabricated details about myself to all the raggers that resemble the backgrounds of the raggers. I completely avoided hostels because the hostel is the “headquarters” of ragging. But the bigger problem is that university authorities prioritize maintaining the university’s positive image over student safety.

From 1974 to 2022, they killed about 25 innocent poor undergraduates while rendering several others permanently disabled (physically/mentally or both). They didn’t stop there. They caused temporary disabilities and mental illnesses in many students and drove thousands of poor and innocent students from state universities. The families made unimaginable sacrifices to send them to state universities.

There are several family members such as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents who died in pain after losing loved ones or seeing their tragic lives in bed or in wheelchairs. rolling.

They cared for their disabled sons and daughters at an age when their sons and daughters should be caring for them.

Previously all raggers belonged to the political party popularly known as “Three Percent” and now they have split into two very small political parties but secretly operate as one. The country is witnessing it from the Aragalaya in April this year.

Who killed whom and how?

This well-planned system of torture began in 1974 with the torture of a professor of mathematics at Kelaniya (then) Vidyalankara University.

In 1975, it was Roopa Rathnaseeli who jumped from the top floor of a university building to escape bullying, then committed suicide in 2002 after enduring 27 long years as a permanently disabled person.

The list of students killed is very long. Chaminda Punchihewa (1993), Prasanna Niroshan (1993), S.Varapragash (1997), Kelum Thushara (1997), Samantha Vithanage (2002), Shanika Dilhan Wijesinghe (2019). There are many others.

The incident of DKnishantha, 24, who died in 2014 after being sexually abused by undergraduate students. He obtained three A passes and entered the Faculty of Arts at the University of Peradeniya despite many financial difficulties. Later, his lifeless body was hanged on a tree by the killers.

It is very important not because of the victim or the way he was killed. It is because of the way the murderers faced the sentence imposed by justice. They forcibly collected the Mahapola scholarship, bursaries and all other allowances received by undergraduate students in order to pay the legal costs.

This injustice, pure violation of the law, rules, regulations, human rights, has not been noticed by any authority or media. No media reported this dark side of the incident, except an article in a Sinhala-language newspaper.

Amali Chathurika made a remarkable turn before she died in 2015 at the age of 23 due to ragging. She was a student of applied sciences at the University of Sabaragamuwa. Before her death, she wrote very clearly who had done what to her, with their names, ages, addresses and all the other details that led to these individuals being found.

The law was not enforced because various “authorities” wanted to hide the murder, but later then Minister of Education Wijayadasa Rajapakshe started enforcing the law in connection with the matter.

Brutal robbery is one of the main reasons why talented local students go abroad for higher education, dropping out of state universities which offer free tuition with a Mahapola scholarship of Rs.5000. If the government stops harassing state universities, Sri Lanka could save millions of US dollars. Until now, we were talking about history. The current day is also full of various media reports on ragging. JA Pasindu Hirushan, 21, from Kamaragoda in Minuwangoda, was a freshman attached to the Faculty of Management at Sri Jayewardenepura University.

After a party, he was walking up the stairs to the university playground pavilion. Raggers sent a tire down. It hit him in the head. He collapsed to the ground with serious head injuries.

Pasindu struggled with life support for a long time at the National Hospital.

Doctors and his family fought to save his life. After four months, he returned to his university with the help of his family, friends, university staff, etc.

Serious cases of ragging have been reported at Peradeniya and Kelaniya universities over the past few weeks. Students have been attacked and injured. Last week, the Court of Appeal upheld the death sentence against the defendant who committed the murder of fellow junior Selvanayagam Varapragash, who was a student at the Faculty of Engineering at Peradeniya University in 1997.

The dean of the faculty of arts at Peradeniya University has received death threats from the raggers.

Are you preparing to enter any state university here in Sri Lanka or first year undergraduate?

Then this is for you. Please take revenge on those who tortured you and not on the strangers who were not there when you went through hell. Usually we hit who hits us and not some stranger who appears in front of us after a year out of nowhere. We attack those who attacked us, not strangers. It is the natural way of the world. Do you want your loved ones to be protected? So simply abstain from voting and bring “murderers and torture experts” into the next Parliament.