University ragging: Deans must be made answerable – Prof. de Silva


Professor Harendra de Silva says no lawmaker has campaigned against university ragging. He said so participating as a panelist in a webinar held last Saturday (27). The webinar, hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to mark the International Day in support of victims of torture 2020 was held under the theme, ‘Torture and other forms of societal violence in Sri Lanka - Parts of one spectrum?’

Professor de Silva said that the most politicians did was to appoint a commission to inquire into incidents as and when they occurred and release its findings when the issue fizzled out.

Ragging at Universities in Sri Lanka would go on as long as it was given sufficient justification, he reiterated.

The former founder Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority said that parents, university teachers, law enforcement authorities and even those subjected to ragging, justified it. Social dominance similar to ragging at universities was seen among primates, he added.

Prof. de Silva recalled that as a new entrant to medical college five decades ago even he had been ragged. He said that in 1972 he had initiated an anti-ragging campaign but recalled that only 14 of his batch of 160 had supported the campaign. 

Professor de Silva said that students unions having political backing were the main perpetrators of ragging at universities.  Parents and immediate family members were traumatised when their loved ones whom they protected for nearly two decades are subjected to sordid ragging he added. 

Professor de Silva stressed that those selected for university admission should be empowered with attitudinal changes and skills to deal with seniors before they enroll. He said that the government should make financial provision for it.

He reiterated that perpetrators should be charged under the Penal Code of Sri Lanka. If sordid ragging took place in any faculty,  the Dean of faculty and the Vice Chancellor had to be made answerable, he said.

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