POHOTTU AS USA’ S PROXY Part 8Me
Posted on September 21st, 2022

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Unlike other political parties, the JVP has actively intruded into the   university as a disruptive force. It has obstructed university education in several ways. It has hampered undergraduate studies, and made promising students leave university by torturing and sexually harassing them.

UGC survey on ragging (2018) observed that one of the consequences of the university   ragging is the promotion of an unhealthy campus environment, distancing staff from students, discouraging individual initiative, silencing students.

 JVP has tried to prevent freshers from obtaining the benefits of university education .Freshers were made to avoid computer classes and were told not to use computers. ICT training, stops, said academics.

 Raggers actively prevented freshers from learning English   They are under pressure not to attend English classes  or speak in English. This will affect their future, observed academics. These undergraduates would not be able to get a job without knowledge of English.

 Student leaders not only stop freshers from attending English classes, but ‘not using English’ is proudly claimed to be a part of the so-called sub-culture, reported Sujata Gamage. Freshers were not allowed to utter simple English words such as ‘assignment’ or ‘canteen’.

Studies in the degree subjects were also hampered. There were many assignments in the first year, but we didn’t have any place to discuss them because some areas were prohibited for us. If we go somewhere and discuss, then they get to know that as well and it creates more problems, said an undergrad. Academics observed that poor performance in the first year would affect the final exam result.  The final GPA score of the undergrad would be low since the first year score was poor.

Freshers complained that the seniors would not   let them use the library. They come there and ask why are you only here, said one undergrad at a talk show. Freshers also complained that they could not study at night.  They had to attend classes on politics at night.  This was compulsory.

 Raggers kept on tearing the T shirts the male freshers were wearing. This was not accidental. This was part of the organized ragging. This could be considered an obstruction to their studies. Freshers would not have wanted to attend lectures wearing torn clothes. They would have preferred to keep away.

The seniors set the freshers against the academic staff. This would have been laughable if it had not been so serious. The main purpose of coming to a university was to learn from the lecturers, not avoid them.

 During the familiarization course, a conscious attempt was made among the new entrants to create hostility towards academics, said Weeramunda. They create a barrier between the staff and students during indoctrination, and create suspicion and distrust within students with statements such as They are not from your social class. They go in cars with tinted glasses” (kalu kannadi dapu karvala).

Students were told lecturers were   asking for bribes and    sexual favors, reported undergraduates in a talk show. Students are told not to get close to the staff. Don’t talk to lecturers, keep a distance from the lecturers, they are advised.  Don’t ever try to meet the Vice Chancellor or the Dean. They are terrible.

They were told that University staff whether   academic, non academic or administration were of no use’. It was best to rely on the seniors. Seniors spoke of the difficulty of assignments and the need for the seniors’ notes.

The inhuman ragging of the JVP group, made promising undergrads drop out of university. Every year around 2000 students drop out as a result of ragging, reported Daily Mirror in 2019. Hettiarachchi observed in 2020 that JVP ragging has resulted in many students dropping out of university education while many others eligible for University education refrain from getting enrolled in state universities.  Two girls known to me were accepted to Kelaniya to read English and both decided not to go, because Kelaniya at the time was teeming with unrest.

Secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education stated in 2019, It has been a little over six months since I assumed duties and out of around 400 letters I receive, one or two of them bring tears to my eyes,” The letters include an experience by a son or a daughter. Each letter ends with a sentence that urges someone to listen to his or her grievance. These letters indicated that they would not continue with their university education.

Freshers left the university because of the obscene rag activities they were made to undergo. The experience made the freshers want to leave university, undergrads said at talk show. In one ragging experience, a female student stated We are marched towards the place where the male students are present. This is the most horrifying incident I have ever experienced and this forced many undergraduates to leave the campus.”

The physical torture they were subject to, also made freshers quit. In one university hostel, freshers including girls were made to go up five flights of stairs on their bottom, said undergrads at a talk show. One girl, who was bright and was doing well in her studies, left the university after this experience.

The pre-university meetings in their home towns were used to put students off the University as well as catch them before university. A lawyer father complained that his son had been severely scolded at a meeting he attended in Gampaha and had refused to go to university, though he had subsequently agreed to go.

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