Don’t leave any room for ragging in universities On January 19, a  newspaper reported a tragic case where a student in Peradeniya university who opposed ragging was assaulted by a group of ‘raggers’. The victim needed admission to hospital and is said to be the son of a judge. I congratulate this student’s courage and [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Don’t leave any room for ragging in universities

On January 19, a  newspaper reported a tragic case where a student in Peradeniya university who opposed ragging was assaulted by a group of ‘raggers’.

The victim needed admission to hospital and is said to be the son of a judge. I congratulate this student’s courage and wish him a speedy recovery.

I have been a doctor in Sri Lanka and overseas for the past 54 years and sadly, since my university days the despicable practice of ragging has become even more depraved and dangerous.

In 2015 a 23- year-old female student at Sabaragamuwa University was psychologically so traumatised by ragging that she committed suicide.

In 2012, a 21-year-old female student fell during ragging and suffered a spinal injury.

In 2010, my grand-nephew who was then a medical student at Peradeniya University paid dearly for opposing ragging. Raggers assaulted him and fractured his nose and lacerated his face. He needed surgery and still has problems with his nose and the scars are  reminders of his ordeal.

In 1995 a nephew of mine (now an architect) and his batch mates were ragged at the Moratuwa campus for three months. The perpetrators’ rude orders given in foul language included crawling up to the fourth floor almost daily  and staying  crouched under chairs. On the last day they were barred from urinating for several hours. It was a humiliating and harrowing experience for the new entrants.

Subsequently, that nephew’s younger brother refused to go into any university because he couldn’t and wouldn’t face ragging.

I am sure there are many other untold stories of humiliation, horror and hurt caused by ragging in our highest seats of learning.

Sadly, after burning midnight oil for years, students in Sri Lanka begin university life not with great elation but in fear (of ragging) and their parents are equally apprehensive and anxious.

I have written to newspapers on several occasions condemning this dastardly practice by thugs who consider the universities to be safe havens to give vent to sadistic urges.

I also wrote to the previous President in 2012 about this matter to no avail. I will write to the current President as well.

Current anti-ragging measures are obviously inadequate and the wardens either turn a blind eye or are impotent.

There should be no ragging in any form or degree and raggers should be barred from universities for life.

I hope that some day every university will be a happy place for every student from day one.

W. Y. Rambukwelle
Via email

Bond issue: The public are entitled to know what action the Central Bank has taken

I refer to the news item in the Sunday Times of January 22 under the heading Bond Issues –AG hits out at the Finance Minister. Apart from the larger issue of whether there has been a fraud or malpractice  regarding the  issue of bonds by the Central Bank (as far as the information available so far to the public there does not seem to be so; in my opinion any irregularity in taking a larger volume of funding at the same rate of interest although it exceeds the amount called for in the tender notice provided it is a reasonable excess).

There is another  allegation that the fund managing company Entrust Securities allocated the bonds bought for the CEB to some other party in its books. This if true constitutes a violation of the fiduciary obligations of the Primary Dealer and it calls for the suspension and if found true after an inquiry, the cancellation of the licence of the Primary Dealer. Primary Dealers are expected to show the utmost good faith in their dealings just like Insurance Companies. Failure to do so will undermine the whole system of fiduciary obligations of Primary Dealers.

Has the Central Bank taken action to suspend the primary dealer? I hope so. It is true that the number of Primary Dealers is limited and suspending the licence may deprive the Central Bank of a much needed sufficiency of primary dealers. The answer is to penalize the person or persons directly responsible for such misdemeanor instead of penalizing the firm by suspension. Does the Central Bank have such power? If it has, then it must take criminal action against the dealer. If not, the condition must be written into the Constitution of a Primary Dealer in the future that the Directors are personally liable for any misdemeanors directly attributable to them in the conduct of the affairs of the Primary Dealer, where they have taken the decision personally with a secondary liability of the Directors where such decision has been endorsed by the Directors  present and who consented to such Board decision. The public are entitled to know what action the Central Bank has taken with regard to this misdemeanor.

R.M.B Senanayake
Via email

Traffic snarl at High Level Road: New plans a must

I have to thank the Traffic Police for their efficient service to control traffic but new plans and  initiatives are necessary.  From the flyover to Seibel  Avenue on the High Level Road, traffic moves at snail’s pace and right side crossing the road obstructs the flow of traffic.  There are too many pedestrian crossings between Nugegoda flyover and Seibel Avenue.  The right side crossing should be allowed only under the Nugegoda  flyover to enter by- lanes.  All road users should co-operate to make the flow of traffic easy.

Crossing the road  to the right  from 6.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.  and 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. should not be allowed unless at the appropriate place for right turn.

Similarly vehicles from Nugegoda to Kirulapone should take their right turn  near the Bo tree passing the Kirulapone bridge or any other  convenient  road/roundabout  directed by the Police to enter by roads.

A right turn at Railway Avenue should be completely banned and traffic should  take their left  turn  to Railway Avenue only.

Crossing left to right and right to left at the entry and exit of the Flyover at Nugegoda  should not be allowed. Drivers in the habit of cutting the double line at both ends of the flyover too should be stopped and offenders brought to book. Several accidents have occurred at these points when  cutting the double line.

Buses should be parked away from the Nugegoda flyover to give way for traffic  moving towards  Maharagama.  A CCTV should be installed at the both ends of the flyover.

Karalasingam Sivalingam
Via email

Mr. President, how do you want to be remembered?

Needless to say people are not very happy about Yahapalanaya, but neither would they like the earlier regime back. The main reason why Yahapalanaya is no more is because the President, in spite of  being a sincere, trustworthy  person is struggling between two contradictory roles.

While being the President of all the citizens of Sri Lanka he is also trying to fulfil his role as the leader of the SLFP. Obviously this is going to cause conflicts. While sincerely trying to be true to all his promises he made as a presidential candidate, he is also trying to keep the strings of one political party within his grasp. This is what made him bring in all the unwanted  elements into the government, not punishing the culprits of the previous regime and allowing all what he abhorred to continue in his own regime,  undoing all the good he could have achieved.

A President, once elected is the president of all the citizens, irrespective of  party affiliations and irrespective of who voted for him. In fact every politician must realize this is the attitude they should take. This used to be the case  long ago but then party politics overtook democracy and politicians publicly refused to serve those who did not vote for them.

A President is even more duty bound to serve all the people, since there is only one President for the whole country.

Unless and until our president  recognizes what  these conflicting roles are doing to him, there can never be yahapalanaya.

He has to choose whether history will remember him as the best President of Sri Lanka ever, which he is capable of being,  or one who struggled to keep the SLFP alive and failed in both roles.

One can only wear one hat at at ime.

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai

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