Brutal Ragging in the Sri Lankan Universities: Video Evidence
Posted on June 7th, 2012

by Darshani Wimalasuriya

Sri Lankan universities are full of violence and human right violations. Ragging has paralysed the university education structure and discipline. A new video reveals the inhuman nature of ragging that occurred at the University of Ruhuna.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClymCgN28sw ). This video contains extremely disturbing graphics and victims are forced to physical and mental violence. This is the reality of the Sri Lankan Universities and unfortunately the University Authorities have not taken any preventable steps to eradicate the brutal ragging.

Ragging and Low Quality of Education 

The Education quality of the Sri Lankan universities have dropped significantly over the past two decades. According to the World ranking Sri Lankan universities are now lower than most of the Third World Universities.

World University Ranking 2011

Harvard University “”…” According to the World Ranking number 1

Oxford University -World Ranking number 6

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich -World Ranking number 15

University of Hong Kong -World Ranking number 21

University of Tokyo -World Ranking number 26

Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea -World Ranking number 28

Peking University China -World Ranking number 37

University of Alexandria Egypt -World Ranking number 147

Moscow State University -World Ranking number 155

Indian Institute of Science Bangalore -World Ranking number 559

Makerere University Uganda -World Ranking number 1062

University of Zimbabwe -World Ranking number 2246

University of Colombo Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2690

University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2324

University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2615

University of Ruhuna Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2552

Open University Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 4189

(Ranking Web of World Universities : http://www.webometrics.info/ World University Ranking 2011-2012 : http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/top-400.html)

Inhuman nature of Ragging 

The senior students of the Sri Lankan universities use physical and sexual harassments to control the newcomers. Among the sexual violence forcefully stripping naked, forced masturbation, forced to perform oral or anal sex, sexual act simulation, urinating on victim, inserting pens and candles to the victim’s anus or vagina, smearing tooth paste or marmite in the victims genitals, forcing to wear clothes without undergarments (without panties or jockstraps ) , bucketing or throwing dirty water with animal and human feces, swearing with utter filth, interrogating the victim with thousands of vulgar questions, forced to repeat filthy words or sing filthy songs in front of a group etc. are quite common. Although rape and sodomy are rare the recent reports indicate that these types of extreme form of violence are slowly emerging in the Sri Lankan Universities.

Sri Lanka may be the only country where ragging is used to murder people, particularly University students and school children. In addition to murder there have been a large number of cases of causing deformities, torture, trauma and untold pain of mind.  This wickedness, inhuman behaviour and villainy, resorted to by some psychologically deranged University students, has now spread to schools, armed forces, training colleges, technical institutions, religious institutions and generally everywhere in Sri Lanka. (Stop murder by ragging “”…”S  B. Buddhadasa)

Ragging is criminal assault

Ragging is a violation of a basic human right protected by the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the supreme law of the country. Any citizen can petition the Supreme Court in terms of Article 126 of the Constitution in case of a human right violation. The Constitution highlights ruthless, brutal or contemptuous treatment to any party by another as a violation of human rights.

Article 126 refers to filing action in the Supreme Court for human rights violations. The Article that also gets transgressed is Article 10 (and others) dealing with fundamental rights.

These Constitutional constraints are equally applicable to those in schools, universities, or elsewhere, irrespective of age. Any civil or criminal offences executed by them are liable to be punished and shall be produced before the relevant court and subject to suitable punishment after a trial and conviction.

It is also a contravention of a specific Act on ragging, passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament, Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act, No. 20 of 1998. The detailed heading specifies that it is an Act to eliminate ragging and other forms of violent and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment from educational institutions:

“Any person who commits or participates in ragging within or outside the educational institution, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and on conviction after summary trial be liable for a term not exceeding two years. The victim shall be paid a compensation of an amount determined by court in respect of the injuries caused to such person.” (Ragging “”…” My Experience Dr Brian Senevirathne)

The University Authorities turn a blind eye to Ragging   

The university authorities are turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to brutal ragging in the Sri Lankan Universities and they do not take initiative or leadership to end ragging in their educational institutions. Most of the university professors and lecturers have a past history of ragging and violence in their student days and opposing ragging is morally challenging them. Therefore most of the university authorities do not take effective actions to prevent ragging and violence.

The student political groups use ragging as a weapon to control the new students and to indoctrinate them. There are unspeakable human right violations occurring inside the Sri Lankan universities and many university professors and other authorities maintain silence. Many of the sexual and physical harassments are covered by the university establishment and the general public is unaware of most of the horrible events that occur in these educational institutions. Majority of the university lecturers do not want to get involved in internal politics or to have grudges with the extremist student groups. Sometimes inhuman form of ragging is happening in front of their eyes and still they do nothing to stop it. Many university teachers pretend that they did not see the incident and move away. Only a handful of Western educated academics with their moral upbringing oppose ragging in our universities and they see the ruthless nature and gross human right violation in hazing.

Myths and Facts about Ragging   

1) Myth Ragging makes a student bold and prepares us for the difficult circumstances in Life. It makes us strong.

Fact : Boldness as  instilled by ragging is a weak acceptance of fate by victims. It teaches us how to be exploited and mutely, non-resistively accept it.

2) Myth Ragging helps in breaking the ice between the seniors and freshers. It helps in their interaction and developing friendship between them.

Fact :Ragging is an archaic method of interaction with several harmful effects. Today with  advance psychological science there are many other healthy ways of interaction which are more effective and without any human rights abuse.

3) Myth Ragging generates a feeling of unity and Oneness.

Fact :Ragging divides the students on the lines of caste, region, class etc. It sets mob mentality in the students.

4)Myth Severe Ragging is not prevalent anymore.

Fact: Severe ragging is widely prevalent in most of the University hostels. There have been  deaths due to ragging   The problem is not yet solved, it is just hidden.

5) Myth After the ban on ragging, colleges have geared up against it.

Fact :Many colleges now try their best to keep the incident under the cover to save themselves from embarrassment and the reputation of the college.

(Ragging in Indian Universities and Colleges Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education)

Sir Ivor Jennings, the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya once said the  fundamental task of higher education is to produce men and women who are capable of fulfilling any function in the world that may fall to their lot, citizens of high intelligence, complete moral integrity and possessing energy, initiative, judgement, tact, and qualities of leadership” (Jennings, 1948).  The perpetrators who commit serious violence and human right violations in the Sri Lankan Universities do not have the central qualities such as moral integrity, leadership and intelligence that  Sir Ivor Jennings mentioned. These are wasted people and they have nothing to offer to the society. These people do not deserve to be called “University Students”.

16 Responses to “Brutal Ragging in the Sri Lankan Universities: Video Evidence”

  1. David Appuhami Says:

    I have never seen this anywhere. These radical Marxist JVPers are really psychopaths . They get some sadistic satisfaction by torturing innocent and vulnerable village boys and girls. These perpetrators of torture should be rounded up and sent to psychiatric hospital for treatment. GOSL should take immediate action to identify them and separate them from the rest of the university students. GOSL should start upholding fundamental human rights from universities.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Barbarians!

    Whitevan these culprits. Softer responses won’t work with these barbarians.

  3. Jayantha Says:

    This is what has happened over the years in Sri Lanka. Starting from the so called universities we have degraded ourselves to a country of degenerates. I saw this video and could not believe it. I was ragged at Ketubedda Campus. I bore it in silence and it was degrading. I completed only one year of a four year degree course and joined a British University (I managed to get out of Sri Lanka, worked in restaurants – washing dishes, cleaning toilets, supermarkets, gas stations to name a few) and got myself an engineering degree. I then spent three years of training, from tea boy all the way to technical craftsman before I could call myself an assistant to an engineer.

    I look at the garbage that are graduates turned out from the so called Universities in Sri Lanka and at their attitudes and I am sad. I advise all my relations and friends to send their kids overseas by selling whatever they have so that at least they do not enter the universities in Sri Lanka. No wonder we have a bunch of jokers and thieves for politicians and incompetent least productive bosses at our workplaces.

    Politicians and the Governor of the Central Bank when they talk about 8.00% growth one must ask where is this so called growth. Yes, they is so much corruption and I am positive our growth in corruption must be a world record. We as a country are rotten to the core.

    No wonder every powerful nation step on us with the kind of trash leaders our Sri Lankan children turn out to be.

    On the other hand the children of the Tamil Diaspora who have the advantage of getting the best education in the west turn out to be some magnicient leaders, economists, professionals and hold leading positions in the countries they live. We have no hope.

    JP

  4. AnuD Says:

    Why the govt is not banning Ragging outright and prosecute those who engage in it ? IS it because none of the children of politicians, if they get through A/L will not go to Sri Lankan Universities instead they go to overseas Universities ?

    OR simply, the govt wants to blame JVP and wash their hands ?

    Ragging has gone beyond the limits.

  5. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SHOCKING !!! These are the ROWDIES who would be governing Sri Lanka in the near future. I fully agree with Lorenzo. There should be a mafia that would collect all this UNIVERSITY SCUM in White Vans. It is ashame that the Legislators of this Country are not interested in stopping this damning sadism, once and for all. THEY TALK THE TALK, BUT CANNOT WALK THE WALK.

    Honourable Minister of Education, HIGHER EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY EDUCATION and all that, !!! YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO SRI LANKA. YOU ARE SPINELESS MAGGOTS. NO WONDER THAT BUGGER SAMPANDAM WANTS TO BRING WHITE TRASH AND COOLIES TO RULE THIS COUNTRY.

    IT IS CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT SRI LANKA LEGISLATURE CANNOT CONTROL THIS MENACE.

    Iam very sad for those young girls and boys who are subjected to this inhuman treatment. May the White Vans take over.

  6. Vijendra Says:

    University is expected to provide the highest level of education in a nation. Senior students in such institutions should pave the way by guiding the junior students not only to read for their degrees but also to participate in useful team-building social and cultural activities to graduate at the end of their period as respected and useful leaders of our society. Unfortunately, it is sad to see that a few dominant psychopaths are taking over the innocent newcomers to the university to abuse, denigrate and belittle them by ragging them in the most indecent ways to satisfy their own poor up bringing and mental delinquency. Some even have the audacity to brag about such dastardly acts.

    Politicians carry the power to change the life of others through their actions. They can make life a misery for some while making it a goldmine for others. If one looks at some of the politicians we have, being the village thug has been the qualification for them to end up in the parliament or to have direct access and influence on some of the elected members. These are the role models we have! No wonder then, the seats of higher education are ripe with this sort of rotten behaviour, which is accepted by the authorities as something normal. Even Buddhist monks have entered this arena today. That is the level of degeneration in our society today. To make things worse, the disparity between the “haves” and “have-nots” has grown by leaps and bounds, leading to lot of social and economic stress and upheavals.

    Basically, to rag another student in the university, one should have a twisted mind with an envy or hatred towards the victim. Some of these raggers select their victims based on their background. Some students who are smartly dressed, appear affluent or come form “high class” and “cultur” schools get victimised because of “you are not in my class” attitude and inferiority complex. Some even hate the “godaya” students coming from the village schools. Some feel it is a good occasion to threaten someone they deem “different” to get their sick minds fulfilled. Some backboneless senior students join in just because they feel it is “fun”. Having a civil war over the last three decades did not help either. Perhaps it desensitized some and conditioned them to accept this sort of immoral behaviour as normal. What ever the reason, there is no doubt that it is something that should not be tolerated by the authorities.

    We have not only a ministry of education but also a separate ministry of higher education. Some time back, we saw some progressive moves when the government introduced a pre-university management course under the guidance of the armed forces to discipline the students. However, there seems to be little impact of that sort of move, judging from what is happening today. It is a real shame to all Sri Lankans who graduated from these institutions to see this sort of rowdy behaviour in these respected institutions. It is high time that the authorities took drastic action to bring back normalcy and discipline to the universities and schools through legal action and NOT
    using white (or any other colored) vans as suggested by some.

  7. jljay1 Says:

    It was sad to see such humane acts performed in our Universities and they were allowed to get away because the higher authorities turn a blind eye for these types of stupid actions from so call Seniors (Bloody Idiots) who bring shame to our beautiful country Sri Lanka.

    This type of behaviour will give added ammunition to human right activist. Please take firm action for those who committed these crimes and expel them so they will learn a lesson. What a shame this video has brought to our Universities.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Expelling these barbarians won’t work. Then the entire university will strike to bring them back. Until then expelled criminals will work from outside the university.

    Whitevan the KEY trouble makers. Others will crap in their pants in fear, do their studies and get out without any of this. They will be GRATEFUL for saving them AND the university.

    Otherwise this will spread.

  9. jljay1 Says:

    Correction:

    meant to say inhumane acts.

  10. Dham Says:

    This is what the publishers ( the writer is one of them ) says,

    “The organisation which submitted this video to us had stated that the video was taken at the Ruhuna campus. However we have been notified by the Campus Vice Chancellor Prof. Susirith Mendis that that the video was not taken at Ruhuna. We apologize over any harm this video may have caused to the good name of the Ruhuna campus. The purpose of the video is not to harm the name of any university but to bring to the public attention how students are mistreated by seniors. (Colombo Gazette)”

    This video did not show
    “Among the sexual violence forcefully stripping naked, forced masturbation, forced to perform oral or anal sex, sexual act simulation, urinating on victim, inserting pens and candles to the victim’s anus or vagina, smearing tooth paste or marmite in the victims genitals, forcing to wear clothes without undergarments (without panties or jockstraps )”

    This writer is simply making use of Lanka web to bash Sri Lanka as in the past.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ragging (British term) or Hazing (American term) is not an invention of places of learning in Lanka. There was NO ‘ragging’ in Lanka’s ancient Buddhist universities. It was ‘imported’ into Lanka during the time of British Colonial rule. Ragging started in ancient Greece and spread to other countries, especially Britain with its fairly rigid Class divide. Here is a write up on the historical facts on ‘ragging’, written by a Pakistani citizen (I have made some obvious corrections to the writer’s presentation) :

    “Let us take a look on the history of Ragging, its visage tracks back to seven or eight century A.D in Greece, in the sports arena and after years it spread to the educational campuses; by the eighteenth century, it had spread to Europe, and then it spread to America. After world war I, ragging became more violent. And the British brought this Rag-Culture with them to India. It was observed in the English public schools that British established and also in the army. British inherited this to India; consequently after the partition it was transferred to Pakistan. The British call it fagging, and the Americans call it hazing and their societies appear to have largely left off this activity. While on the other hand if we look on India, it’s going severe day by day, despite number of laws against this activity their society still embraces it, there are number of brutal incidents observed every year in India, and day by day it’s getting intensified.

    In Pakistan we have bearable attitude. All developed countries have mostly already left ragging, and no law can restrict people if society accepts it as it is happening in India”.

    ———–

    A number of people I have spoken to say that they experienced harmless ‘ragging’ (fun type, with acceptance of seniors of junior entrants) when they entered a university in Sri Lanka. Sadistic, sexually degrading ‘ragging’ should be banned and senior students who indulge in such activities suspended/sacked from our Unis. Another short list for the Hall of Shame.

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    P.S.: This is a good chance for Ruhuna Campus authorities to sue the source of misinformation via the YouTube video, take them to Courts and collect millions of rupees in damages. It is time to stop all misinformation on Sri Lanka.

  13. Naram Says:

    THe students who are acting in this manner bring shame to their families, schools that nurtures them the universities from which they will finish their degree and themselves. I have heard that in cases when Police prosecuted thecases dragged on for a long time eventually leading to a dismissal of the charge.

    As Dr Seneviratne recommends, University throughtheir security system under te Proctor should be able to bring a quick resolution by bringing immediate punishment on the group of students guilty of the offence. The student union leaders should be made to account and face suspension if they cannot help identify the criminals.

  14. Dham Says:

    As we grow in age and wisdom, we tend to see things in right perspective.
    None of the writers wil approve barbaric ragging occuring world wide.
    Leaving aside ragging, US marines have conducted barbaric crimes wherever they went, only a few incident were dicovered. In the western world, numerous ways of mental tortures exists in work places to distract new comesrs and some instances they suffered acute dipression causing suicide.

    Sir Lanka learned all these stuff by white man ( the evil one). Let us acknowledge that first before jumping like bloody fools.
    I am sure most of the writers have experienced some sort of ragging , if they are Lankan graduates. I am not an overseas graduate, I cannot comment on “white man’s” lands universities. Other than physical exercises I have learned that stripping naked was common even 30 years ago in hostels. But “forced to perform oral or anal sex, sexual act simulation, urinating on victim, inserting pens and candles to the victim’s anus or vagina, smearing tooth paste or marmite in the victims genitals” are the hallmarks of gross exaggeration. Such action are extremely rare.

    But, I want to point out that this writer is making an exceptional effort to discredit Sri Lnakan grduates in general, in the name of “ragging”. This wirter may not even be a woman, just an evil force with an agenda.
    So, commentators, beware of Dogs.

  15. aloy Says:

    I view this vedeo and the write up differently. Did anyone observe that it is the same background noise that can be heard from the start to the end?. The producer has put in noise even when all students are seated on the ground and there should not much of noise. I believe this is an attempt to ridicule our nation, political system and the village youths.
    I do not see any torture here (except perhaps the pouring of paint over a girls head which I think is little too much). Although not at this organized scale, raging like this has been going on for the last fifty years. I too have been made to swim on the ground and I did not take it so seriously.
    I hope the dreams of all these youths will materializes one day like mine. I also hope that our politicians will not plan to overproduce graduates like in Spain where every youth is a jobless graduate and there are no workers to shore up the economy.

  16. Dham Says:

    Alloy,
    Yes, I agree. ( But I don’t think it is paint in the bucket, paint is bloody expensive and they cannot afford !)

    The writing is from our enemy, possibly LTTE Diaspora.
    Unfortunately, even without examining the hyperlink our readers jumped to conclusion.
    Normally very alert our King Lorenzo ( with IQ = 170) too fell for it.

    When we see a write up first thing to look is “are there any hidden agenda’s ?”.

    Why the second para “University Ranking ” ? what is it got to do with ragging, you stupid writer ? Who cares about Unviversity ranking ? There are some Australian Universities close to Sri lankan Universities ranking but produces similar acadamics to our O/L s ?
    We have so many ex-Lanakan Uni graduates who are top professors in UK, USA, Australia , Singapore top ranking Unis.
    When they passed out from Moratuwa or somewhere ( not OXford) we did not even have any ranking.

    I guarantee this is LTTE propaganda to prove our nation are barbaric, inhuman and stupid.

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