Sinhala military ‘ragging’ university entrants continues

Sinhala military ragging students entering the universities, in the name of obligatory residential ‘leadership training’ given in the military camps in the island of Sri Lanka, continues unchecked for the third year. The programme is a double ragging to the Tamil students, from the SL military side as well as from the side of fellow Sinhala students, news sources in the island said.

Ragging was a psychological disease in the universities in the south of the island, especially at Peradeniya in the 70s, when class differences becoming prominent in the university tried to find outlets through ragging.

Ragging wans banned in the universities in the 80s.

It has been now taken over by the Sinhala military, students and parents say.

The SL military insists that the students should bring items listed by them to the camps, including jeans etc., for the girl students. The items cost around 15,000 SLR, parents say.

Parents of poor students, especially in the East find it difficult. Many Tamil students stopped going to the obligatory programme without worrying about their admissions getting rejected, either because of discouragement by parents or because of their own conviction for self-respect.

Apart from the kind of ‘training’ they get from the Sinhala military that involves hardships and psychological threat, Tamil students complain of harassment by fellow Sinhala students, whether boys or girls. Theft is common and on many instances the Tamil students find even their whole bags ‘missing’.

The Sinhala military programme has become an occasion showing who are the masters in the island, student circles returning from the camps said.

In the meantime, the Sinhala military has started giving ‘training programmes’ to civil officials in the East as well, news sources said.

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