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Sri Lanka Sabaragamuwa University students stage walkout.

Colombo, Feb. 11 -- Sections of Sri Lanka's Sabaragamuwa University student population staged a walkout on Thursday (February 10, 2011) against suspension of studentship of student union leaders, who were found to have engaged in the ragging of freshers.

A statement issued by S M P R Kumarathilake of the Sabaragamuwa University General Student Union accused the government of suppressing students under the pretext of clamping down on ragging.

"The University management turning a new page in the campaign to suppress students, has so far suspended the studentship of several (comrades) students including (comrade) Student Union Leader for periods ranging from a minimum of three months to a maximum of two years three months", the pro-JVP union alleged.

"They were subjected to this suspension on the fallacious accusation that they had engaged in inhuman ragging of fresher's,"

"As such all students of the university decided to refrain from attending lectures on 10.02.2011 as a mark of protest to this arbitrary suspension."

Meanwhile Minister of Higher Education, S B Dissanaike has vowed to eliminate all forms of ragging from the higher education institutions including universities and to upgrade all state universities.

The government also has an ambitious plan of introducing non-state universities and thereby breaks the monopoly hitherto enjoyed only by the state in Sri Lanka and to regulate and standardise all higher education institutions.

In 1998 Sri Lanka's Parliament unanimously passed the 'Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act, No. 20 of 1998', popularly known as the 'the Anti-Ragging act' - the first legal enactment of Sri Lanka against ragging. It was intended to eliminate ragging and other forms of violent and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment from educational institutions.

In terms of the Act, ragging means 'any act which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological injury or mental pain or fear to a student or a member of the staff of an educational institution'.

The Act specifies the relevant Higher Educational Institutions coming under the Act and that includes all the Higher Educational Institutions established under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978.

Under the provisions of the Act, 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.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Feb 11, 2011
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