“Japura Sarasavi Samantha Killing” a biography on murdered university student
Onlanka News – By Janaka Alahapperuma
Pix by: Nalin Hewapathirana
The book “Japura Sarasavi Samantha Killing” a biography written on undergraduate Ovitigala Samantha who was killed at the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura in 2002 was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Activist Samantha was studying in the Management Faculty of the Sri Jayawardenapura University at the time of his death. He was murdered by a group of fellow students for opposing ragging in the university during that time.
Mother of the victim Mrs.Wimala Perera has compiled her son’s biography which deals on the life of the murdered undergraduate to commemorate his death. At a ceremony held in the Temple trees today on 01 February the book was presented to the president by the author. The 448 pages book containing information on Samantha from his birth until his unfortunate death. He was a past pupil of Ashoka Vidyalaya, Maradana, Colombo 10.
After handing over of the book, President Rajapaksa exchanged pleasantries with the family members of Ovitigala Samantha. Minister S.B. Dissanayake and Parliamentarian J.R.P. Suriyapperuma were present on this occasion.
This is a very sad story. I hope his death will not be in vain, by bringing a stringent law against ‘ragging’ itself, by an Act of Parliament. ‘Ragging’ is nothing less than sadism. I strongly approve the efforts of Hon Minister of Higher Ed in his efforts to rid the universities of’ragging’.
I suggest that this book be serialised in a Sinhala daily like Dinamina or Divaina for the good of the more.
A new is not required as I am sure there are volumes of existing laws that can be used in delaing with the sadists.
The problem is law enforcement agencies cannot enter the University and residential premises to enforce the law. Whenever a posse of policemen enter a University premises, the incident becomes a police vs students clash.
Our learned dons who walk the corridors in University and residential premises turn a blind eye towards these sadistic acts. They treat ragging as “not their business”.
I suggest a more humane approach in delaing with ragging consisting of
An education program for all undergraduates on behavioural issues
mobilisation of sections of student community to carry forwrd the message of good behaviour
formation of vigilance groups amongst student communities to watch behavioural breakdown and non-violent intervention
Sponsoring formal welcome festivities for frashers based on cultural and religious norms
It is common knowledge meeting violence and sadism with more violence does not get anyone anywhere.
Ragging has to be made a crime on its own. Currently only those sadistic students who commit murder, rape or sexaul abuse or physical abuse are arrested and charged for those crimes. But this is too easy for them to get away scot free. That is why the law has to be enacted to make ‘ragging’ itself a crime.
Why use the stick Mr Dias when there is a kinder way to approach this issue? Using the stick and laws is itself, sadistic, isn’t it? An eye for an eye?