All Police Stations have been informed to take legal action against university students involved in ragging new entrants under the Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act No. 20 of 1998, Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday.
He said that the law is firm against those who engage in ragging in universities and even the bailing out of a ragging suspect does not come within the jurisdiction of a Magistrate. He added that if convicted, such a criminal would be sentenced to 10 years Rigorous Imprisonment.
Minister Rajapakshe further said that the Anti-Ragging Act which was not fully implemented right along will now be fully brought into force. The Minister added that the University Grants Commission (UGC), Vice Chancellors of the Universities and other relevant officials have already been instructed to take action against the students who go against the law. Minister Rajapakshe made these observations yesterday during a press conference held at the University Grants Commission Auditorium.
“Ragging practised in the universities in Sri Lanka is not found even among the tribal communities in Africa,” Minister Rajapakshe said. “There are a large number of students leaving the universities due to ragging and there are instances of suicide attempts.” Minister Rajapakshe also said that in some universities, students maintain safe houses outside the universities to torture the new entrants.
The authorities have been instructed to direct those students to psychiatrists for treatment. “The UGC has introduced a separate phone number to the undergraduates to make complaints on ragging,” the Minister revealed. “An Emergency Unit has been set up in the Uva Wellassa University as a pilot project and similar ones would be set up soon in other universities as well.”
The Minister pointed out that a bankrupt political party was behind these raggings and they engage in these activities to achieve petty political gains. University Grants Commission Chairman Professor Mohan de Silva, Deputy Chairman P.S.N.Gunaratne, Peradeniya University Vice Chancellor Professor Upul Dissanayake and Eastern University Competent Authority, Senior Professor Uma Kumaraswamy also participated in the media conference.