Female student suspended: Ruhuna rag victim semi-paralysed in hospital

  • Police up against the wall as nobody is willing to identify perpetrators for fear of reprisals
By Leon Berenger

A female undergraduate attached to the Ruhunu University has been suspended with immediate effect, following a ragging incident that left a fresher semi-paralyszed in one limb, a senior academic said yesterday.

The alleged incident took place within the precincts of the university on Wednesday morning, when the suspect student is alleged to have led a group of seniors in a ragging session, head of the university, Professor Susirith Mendis told the Sunday Times.

The rag victim receiving treatment at the National Hospital. Pic by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk

He added that the victim who was earlier treated at the Matara Government Hospital, was later transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo, after her condition worsened. The victim who suffered an injury to her spine, is believed to be semi-paralysed in one leg. Investigations also revealed that the victim had suffered a spinal injury during the leadership training programme at a security forces complex earlier this year. During Wednesday’s incident, the student had aggravated the same injury, Professor Mendis added.

Police investigating the case are also facing an uphill task as nobody is coming forward as an eyewitness to the incident, Professor Mendis said. “What is even more damning is that even the victim refuses to identify those responsible for her present condition”, he added.

This has always been the case in previous issues as well, that eventually allows the culprits to go free and the law enforcers helpless, he said. He added that, during Wednesday’s incident, there would have been dozens of other students, both seniors and freshers, but no one is bold enough to come forward for fear of reprisals, and so the ragging continues unabated during each intake.

Under the country’s laws, ragging is a criminal offence, be it university students or otherwise. But it is difficult to implement it or book the culprits, owing to the lack of evidence, Professor Mendis added.
He said that there should be an intense re-think on the whole issue, where the matter should be addressed more seriously before things get out of hand. Police said that they had recorded the statement of the suspended student, but were yet to make any breakthrough.

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