29 February, 2024


Are Tamils Horrified By Or Tolerant Of Sexual Harassment?

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof.  S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The Feminist VC?

Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam, Vice Chancellor of University of Jaffna, claimed in Uthayan Newspaper head-lines (23.03.2016) to have fired professors following sexual harassment accusations by students. “As a woman, I have done all I can,” she continued. Her remarks were made the previous day at a function by “The Voice of Women” to mark “International Women’s Day” which fell really on 8 March.

Speaking further, Arasaratnam said that women are to blame for the increase in sexual harassment and that these episodes could have been avoided had women complained in time. If they had complained at the beginning, she said, action could have been taken. She blamed the parents for not having brought up their daughters to complain publicly when they face harassment. Girls, she said, have to be brought up with self-confidence and courage in themselves.

These claims of hers reverberated through the Jaffna media – other newspapers, television, etc. The truth, however, is far from the VC’s claims on both counts – not a single predatory professor has been fired from the university and women have consistently complained of sexual harassment without action by her.

Sexual Harassment at the University

Sexual harassment claims are aplenty at the University of Jaffna and are rarely acted on. A Vice Chancellor was seen naked in his office with an equally naked student by a mason working high up on scaffoldings. A Council enquiry by a clergyman suppressed it saying the witness is not from the internal community.

Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam

Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam

A Lecturer in Political Science, according to news reports in 2005, had bail denied to him when he was accused of sexually abusing well over 40 times a thirteen-year girl who was employed as his domestic servant. Women’s groups protested and demonstrated. He was in jail pending trial. Then the LTTE intervened in his favor because he was the chief organizer for the Pongu Thamil festivities and his conviction would have reflected badly on the LTTE. Today he is a key person in the Chief Minister’s Thamil Makkal Peravai where he recently held forth on women’s rights as Chairman of a PAFFREL Seminar on electoral systems.

Many of these stories make for entertainment at the university rather than being matters of horror.

Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts (RAFA)

The recent case of Dr. S. Dharshanan shows how much Tamils care about protecting women. On Sunday, 18 Oct. 2015, as part of the Sarswati Poosai festivities, children at a famous dance school on Navalar Road, Nallur South showed off their talents. The Chief Guest that evening, like a cat among the young pigeons, was Dr. S. Darshanan, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Music at RAFA.

What was strange was that at a Special Meeting of the Council of the University of Jaffna, on Wednesday 14.10.2015, Darshanan had been interdicted after numerous complaints of sexual harassment by his students and colleagues Yet, it made no difference in Jaffna. He held a great job. He was therefore still fêted at the music school where he extolled religious values in his speech. Several men preying on women (and even boys) continue to be similarly honoured in Jaffna so long as they are educated and hold high positions.

Dr. S. Darshanan

Recently student complaints against Dr. Dharshanan forced matters to a head. Prof. Arasaratnam had suppressed these complaints since 2011. His mother-in-law is her beautician. Cornered, a Special Council Meeting was forced on Arasaratnam when a harassed student threatened suicide. Council Minutes confirm that the complaints date back to 2011 at the University’s RAFA and that they center around Dharshanan and one Mr. Robert Arudsegaram. Complainants included many female staff members of the Music Department besides students. (I have heard of students having to go to staff quarters to meet their teachers where they are met by a staff member wearing only a towel round his waist).

The minutes of the special meeting show that as far back as in 2011 Vasanthi Arasaratnam had appointed a committee to inquire under Prof. A.V. Manivasakar (Political Science), Prof. G. Mikunthan (Agricultural Biology) and Dr. Mrs. R. Kalainathan (Linguistics and English). Their report white washed the complaints, concluding that “these are internal problems and better understanding among staff should be cultivated.” Dean/Arts was accordingly asked to advise the staff to have better understanding.

When the complaints persisted, Dr. Mahesan of the Department of Computer Science was asked to conduct an inquiry and he simply did nothing. Then Dr. T. Mangaleswaran from the Vavuniya Campus was asked to look into this. Not so easily influenced, he submitted a report dated 28.04.2014 “after conducting a thorough preliminary investigation.” His report specifically named Dr. Darshanan as “the cause for most of the issues in the Department [of Music] when he was Acting Department Head and there were statements given by female students and female academic staff that Dr. Darhanan harassed them. Mangaleswaran recommended disciplinary action by the council.

Despite Dr. Managaleswaran’s strong indictment, Prof. Arasaratnam appointed Dr. Dharshanan again as Acting head, claiming it was based on the wishes of the Music Department Staff. According to the minutes:

“I also attended the meeting which was convened to discuss the appointment of Head/Music. In that meeting, while endorsing the majority decision to recommend Dr. Dharshanan as the Head/Music, I remarked that although there is a widespread opinion on his improper behavior towards females, the administration had not received any authentic allegations from the students. Therefore I told him that he should change his behavior, especially making improper phone calls fof sexual harassment.”

Indeed, the request to change his behavior must have been based on authentic allegations or else the request was improper.

Mangaleswaran’s report of April 2014 led to nothing. Matters were dragged on by appointing yet another committee consisting of the VC’s confidants Prof. K. Kandasamy and one Dr. Mrs. Navaratnarajah. Then, a year and five months later, in a letter dated 28.09.2015, a student alleged that Darshanan had asked her to acquire an android phone for exchanging messages and promised to change her zero marks in his subject to a high mark if she would cooperate. Seventy-seven other female students countersigned her letter. The student herself threatened suicide because of her loss of honour.

At that special council meeting in October 2015, according to the minutes, Council Member Eng. Vigneswaran complained that a recommendation was made to the Council on 08.08.2015 and said “the Council should have taken action in the matter at that time.” The VC could no longer save Darshanan. The Council decided

“In view of the gravity of the situation and need for the [sic.] remedial action the Council decided:

  • “to remove Dr. Darshanan from the headship with immediate effect.
  • “to interdict Dr. Darshanan from the post on no-pay,
  • “to declare the whole University Premises out of bounds to him.”

Incredibly, even after the decision was conveyed to Dr. Darshanan, the VC permitted Dean/Arts Dr. Gnanakumaran to object to the decision and read out a lengthy letter from his brother of Colombo’s Law Faculty, Mr. Selvakumaran, arguing that the suspension was wrong. Other Council members strenuously objected but Gnanakumaran was allowed to read that letter. At the end,
“the Council members pointed out that the decisions taken are valid, justifiable and collective in nature. Further the legal advice the Dean/Arts got was unsolicited by the Council. … Therefore the Council decided to stand by the decision taken.”

However, another section of the minutes states that a half of Darshanan’s salary was restored.At the next meeting Dean Gnanakumaran withdrew his brother’s letter.

Commitment to Women

Despite Vasanthi Arasaratnam’s claims to the press, no professor has been fired from the University of Jaffna for sexual harassment. Women have complained of sexual harassment in large numbers and she did nothing to protect them. In the case of Dr. Darshanan, her beautician’s son-in-law whose innocence was pleaded by his wife in a letter to the Council, she acted 4 years too late only when a student was on the verge of committing suicide. Even after suspending Dr. Darshanan (who has not been fired and is still a senior lecturer but not a professor), she tried through Dean/Arts to get the suspension lifted.

Today we have a Jaffna where Darshanan was a chief guest among children at a music school. A former VC who was into sex with his students is a regular guest at Jaffna’s social functions. We have a Chief Minister who appealed to India’s Prime Minister to release his co-religionists convicted by Indian courts of rape. That Chief Minister is part of the TMP, where a key figure had a child servant as his sex slave and is honoured as a keynote speaker on political matters including women’s rights. Most Jaffna homes have pictures of a guru-godman who, according to a BBC documentary, loved to oil the testicles of the male children of his disciples.

What indeed are our values in Jaffna?

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Latest comments

  • 10

    I admire the grits and the guts of the author to highlight the sad state of affairs in the Jaffna University. It also raises a question in the average reader’s mind, namely, what is the motive of the female Vice-Chancellor of the University to defend (going an extra mile) a male academic accused of sexual harassment? If the female VC has a whole host of males to support her cause which appears to have immoral connotations then what would the average readers think of the motive of the males to be ardent supporters of the female VC? In the circumstances, should not the Vice-Chancellor step down or be removed?

    For one moment I do not condone the allegations levelled against the accused and if he is punished by a court of law, which he may richly deserve (including a flogging if it is in a country like Malaysia, Singapore). But that is not the end of the story. It could be a story of a repeat offender as the incidents alleged appears that the accused is suffering from a psycological disorder. Defending and covering up with legal jargon just to save the reputation is not the answer. The intervention of a qualified psycologist may be warranted.

    • 1

      University sex business deeper than Jaffna case. Check how fee levying courses money they used. Some sex workers in Dept work under the payment from this money.

      • 2

        Sex is outside marriage, particularly teacher-student sex, is prevalent not only in Universities but in schools as well, whether it is hetero, homo, lesbi and all kinds you can name.

        In this particular instance Prof. Hoole exposes the conduct of the Vice Chancellor. In my previous comment I have raised some food for thought and in my view the higher ups should take the initiative. No point shouting on top of one’s voice that sexual harassment should be stopped because the concept is reduced to a slogan and those who suffer have to do so in silence.

        What is more important at this stage is to get specialist attention on possibly a deranged individual who thinks that females are toys. If this mentality continues without cure it can escalate to a situation where the victims would be found murdered. Then it is too late.

    • 3

      I guess these girls are above 18 years and only men can not have sex alone. Girls also have to have will for that. Therefore not only men girls also responsible for that. If a man say something sexual you can not penalize him for that. In real Sex act only 50% responsibility for girls other part for men. Therefore look two sides of coin. Do not expose only men. I know some fake prof in English dept in Arts faculty Peradaniya University per day three times he is having sex with various girls of that faculty. But you can not do anything because all girls say we like it and it is our body we can do anything with it. That is our choice. Therefore Hoole do something for Mr Devasiri’s suggestions. At least stop 1) Identify and transfer all family members work in same University/Dept/Faculty as Lecturers. Recheck how these all family members came to system and penalize the responsible. Sometime wife is writing articles putting husband’s name for articles and husband getting professorship without shame (what ethics) presenting these to promotions.

  • 8

    At times, you appreciate the courage of Dr Hoole. I am not sure whether it a point scoring against the University and the Vice Chancellor for his missed opportunity.

    But, beyond that Lingan and that Lingam he covered in his article, we heard a lot about two senior lecturers, a Kumaran and a Rooban. They even asked for sexual favours from the female students as easy as you seek to to borrow a pen! Even there were rumours around the university that if you find an abandoned child in the area with fair complexion it was X’s game and darker complexion it was Y’s mischief.

    Please expose those sexual predators too, if the rumours had any truth in them.

  • 6

    When women staff members complained of sexual harassment, an inquiring committee of Prof. A.V. Manivasakar (Political Science), Prof. G. Mikunthan (Agricultural Biology) and Dr. Mrs. R. Kalainathan (Linguistics and English)asked the women to have greater understanding and cultivate cooperation!

    The three inquiring officers and the VC are sick.How does a woman have greater understanding and cultivate cooperation with a man who is forcing them to have sex with him?

    It is a man’s world propped up by women like Vice Chancellor Arasaratnam and Dr. Mrs. Kalainathan. They failed us women.

  • 3

    Having sex with somebody nothing wrong in any society. Then all the MPs and Ministers must be hanged to death. Girls and boys starts sex now around 13 years of age. Some VCs used this as a strategy to remove his/her opponents from the system. For that girls also they hired by giving even academic staff positions and promotions. But Prof. Hoole address the real issues in public Universities. At least one of the following measures promote to clean Universities and get back to old golden days.
    1) Identify and transfer all family members work in same University/Dept/Faculty as Lecturers. Recheck how these all family members came to system and penalize the responsible. Sometime wife is writing articles putting husband’s name for articles and husband getting professorship without shame (what ethics) presenting these to promotions.
    2) Recheck all Lecturers and Professors qualifications and publications based on that re-grade them.
    3) Never sent job applications received for academic positions to the respective academic depts. If you sent these applications they remove qualified PhD people and only interview henchmen.
    4) Remove good business subjects from Arts faculty and hand over to Science and Technology faculties. See how Arts faculty destroyed good names of many good disciplines. Today Arts faculty products (graduates) are a symbol of unemployment.
    5) Famous family dept must be closed and appoint President Commission to check inside and FCID must be called to checked inside for last 20 year period.
    6) Never give professorships for jokers.
    7) Reduce retirement age for academics 65 years to 60 or 58.
    8) Follow strict rule while appointing Professors: In order to be a real international professor your PhD from world top 100 University, minimum 20 articles in ISI/SCOPUS indexed journals, 10 text books with international publishers and three countries have to appoint you as a Visiting professor.
    9) Never allow any dept to issue first degree if you do not have sufficient number of PhDs in that dept. Take some Universities many Deans do not have PhDs. This is a recipe for disaster.
    10) UGC can directly take task of recruitments of lecturers and give to respective Universities. This must be done quickly.
    11) Select the best Lecturers with help of private sector independent body and sent to world top 100 universities with strict bond requirements.
    12) Many of these so called academic jokers are now entering into professional bodies or they themselves create own fake professional bodies and they destroyed that profession also.
    13) Develop comprehensive web sites for each University and say to show Publications with indexing place to public by each academics (not joke conference papers) and degrees where (Country and the University and international ranking of that University) they got their PHD. Today the most important thing is your PhD must come from accredited, ranking (at least 100) best University of the world to recognized your University basic products.

  • 6

    The long turmoil, wars, displacements, migrations and the resulting destruction of social and cultural restraints have hyper-sexualized the northern society. The same may also be true of the east. The brain has been taken control by the sex hormones even in old grand fathers and eleven year old girls!

    What is happening at the Jaffna University is only a manifestation of what has become the norm in northern society. Wars are evil and their after effects are worse and last for decades. The old humanizing norms and restraints constructed over millennia have been obliterated and we have been rendered subhuman.

    The sexual revolution spearheaded by birth control measures, dress codes and greater freedom for the females to move around and interact with males, reached the north late, and has been like a garland in the hands of a monkey, in the prevailing circumstances. The drastic decline in the intellectual and spiritual content of life in the north has also contributed to the present epidemic of hyper-sexuality. The ‘anything goes and everything is acceptable provided there is personal gain’ mentality developed during almost three decades of turmoil and wars, has also contributed and will be harder to eradicate.

    Recently I received an audio clip of a mobile phone conversation between a Hindu temple priest and a married women who attends the temple. They apparently had a illicit sexual relationship and the nature of their conversation was explicit and pornographic to the extreme. I had to force myself to listen, with much disgust! It was to me once again a symptom of one major fault line in the northern province.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran.

  • 3

    Dr Hoole,

    Thank you for this article. I sincerely hope that action is taken.

    You name some and choose not to name others. Why? Since some readers especially in diaspora might not know who you are writing about I will below provide names expecting that they are not edited out.

    “A former VC who was into sex with his students is a regular guest at Jaffna’s social functions.”

    Dr Shanmugalingam who is about to retire soon.

    “That Chief Minister is part of the TMP, where a key figure had a child servant as his sex slave and is honoured as a keynote speaker on political matters including women’s rights.”

    K.T Ganeshalingam who is or soon will be head of political science and apparently has a very recent doctorate from India. Please note that he was not found guilty by a court. To my best knowledge nobody took up the fact that his family had a child servant.

    “Most Jaffna homes have pictures of a guru-godman who, according to a BBC documentary, loved to oil the testicles of the male children of his disciples.”

    Sai Baba?

      • 2

        Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole,

        Thanks for the link to the BBC documentary. I have seen him, call it by accident or coincidence, driving around the Kodaikanal lake in Tamil Nadu, in a brand new red colored Mercedes Benz in 1985-86. I was not impressed. I also heard stories in Kodaikanal about the special attention he pays to the Susan’s and Linda’s from the west.

        I was also aware that the Sai Baba cult was intruded to Sri Lanka with his framed photographs dropping holy ash and a postcard campaign demanding that the recipient send out ten hand written postcards with the same message to ten others, to forestall misfortunes. My poor mother complied, but had to die a decade or so later murdered by the IPKF!


  • 1

    ” I had to force myself to listen, with much disgust!”

    self flagellation is not a good thing to indulge in.In future delegate such onerous tasks to someone who does not mind listening to the vivid descriptions of the kama sutra by hindu priests.It may be like trying to find a needle in a haystack in jaffna but i’am sure you might find someone who appreciates our ancient culture of you search long enough.

  • 3

    (a) Of course sexual harassment is evil and allegations should be looked into seriously. But this should not be a gossip-driven witch-hunt. In the case of the mason claiming to have seen a naked VC, how do we know the mason is speaking the truth?

    (b) Are Council minutes public? It is a good idea to make them so. But here, it seems members of Council are prepared to leak in detail who said what at the meeting. This is not at all healthy.

    (c) In the case of Dr Darshana, the Council DID act and remove him from office. Of course, if the Arts Dean proposes at a meeting to question the decision, it is not wrong for the Chair to give him time to make his case. It turns out the Council spoke up and rejected his case. So things ARE moving in the right direction, at least when compared to the Devanada appointed jokers running the show. Lets acknowledge that and work to improve the system even more.

    (d) The point made in the final paragraph about the Chief Minister is sad. Instead of using his office to serve the people of the Province, he has opted for cheap politicking by getting into bed with two of the most irresponsible idiots among current Tamil politicos: Gajen Ponnapalam and Suresh Premachandran.

    • 2

      Prof. Hoole thank you bringing up a frightening matter for not just all university women but all women, and not just in Jaffna. Sadly you have not told us what can be done about it. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe you were instrumental in asking for the sexual harassment act in the universities and angered the administration.It was then shuffled in with the anti-ragging act as if sexual harassment in universities was but a minor constituent of ragging. We hardly know what happened with that document.

      From 2011 complaints have been continuously recorded against Dr. Dharshanan. Even the male students know what is going on. Sometimes some of them insult the poor women students for the acts of these lecturers. Quite a few act like these poor students are loose women who invite sexual harassment. Most of them are frozen stiff to deal with these lecturers fearing they would be touched or failed or both. Only men who do not understand the implications of a Tamil woman’s chastity norms can not understand how horrifying, disgracing, soul searching honour-sacrifice it is for a Tamil woman in an arranged marriage system to make a complaint of sexual harassment against herself in public. Then it is all turned against her.

      Sirs, please don’t pretend not to see through. Through experience I will vouch that the complaints are turned around and as one Tamil woman VC, who was in charge of women’s issues on her campus asked a ready-to deliver female academic who complained of a public molestation by a student in the canteen:”Why is it happening only to you. It must be because you are not wearing a saree”. The academic was wearing a maternity dress. Many young women fear that the older Tamil women in positions will safeguard their own position among their male colleagues and will shame and punish the girls who complain and hide or dismiss the complaint. This is now true of three women VCs in Sri Lanka. Outside they will talk at religious platforms about the glorious past about Veeman avenging Draupadi’s shaming. It is sad to hear that a clergyman was also part of the whitewash. Where then does a woman go to complain? To confessions?

      Jaffna claiming to be a bastion of Tamil culture should be even more sensitive or stop teaching Tamil Classics.Men have no chastity norms imposed by Tamil literature as is taught and often its religion turns a blind eye because it has allowed sex to be a sacred tool for god realization. So they are not sensitized. After prostitution and was made illegal in the 18th century in Jaffna and the the “Emancipation of slavery” Act, relating to caste, many decent and high ranking Vellahlaa men started to violate girl servants and it is public knowledge. Their wives or no one else seem to have chastised them but the poor servants were sent away secretively one after the other to avoid gossip. These men were even elected by Jaffna people to the parliament. What came of the children of these famous illegitimate fathers no one has recorded.

      Mandatory teaching with role playing of the Rights of all marginalized and vulnerable sections should be practiced in all educational curricula.Tamil society should have open discussions on the matter, including special sensitivity on its cultural norms. All women students long for a harassment free environment for learning, it but they do not know how to begin it.

      But it now appears that Jaffna University is the last place for this critical matter to be debated. Even the Chief Minister has lost that trust, not to exclude the clergymen of the Church. DMK has exposed the Brahmin priests too. Under these conditions, should a support group be started for women students at Jaffna University with some person who understands these matters, may be hired from a reputed university abroad? Look at the men around the VC speaking for her! So scary. These academics and former academics lacking principles, will squash any reform to curry favour with the first lady.

    • 0

      colgate white

      i have slightly modified your name.hope you don’t mind.

  • 0

    Prof has let off easily our bishop who is the priest who dismissed the
    mason’s testimony as that of an outsider. It was not only defending
    sexism but also classist.

    His Lordship’s appointment is a lot like the VC’s. Three names are
    sent up and one is picked after intense lobbying by the Supreme
    Pontiff (or the President for VC). Our Bishop’s name was tarnsihed
    because ofr his loyalty to Douglas Devananda and his role as obedient
    servant. Many objected. Even the army helped him and put up
    decorations when he was finally ordained. That day a party was thrown
    to the army top-brass at a Jaffna hotel making one of our more
    spiritual priests living in poverty to tell me, “Paaradaappaa.
    Avangalukku thanni, engalukku kanji” [Look my friend, liquor for them
    and conjee for us].

    Now that he is our Bishop I hope and pray he will not tolerate abusive
    priests who have made many to leave our Holy Mother Church in the
    West. May God be with him and guide him.

  • 2

    Everything I quoted is in the minutes. No one leaked to me who said what.The editor insisted that the article be carefully backed up and I did that.

    As for the Mason, there was an inquiry and council members from that time say they let the man off because bringing the story out would have been bad for the university, whereas suppressing the story and letting the predator roam free looking for other victims is what has been bad for the university.

    Let us not make excuses for the system saying the council did act. Note that the only action after complaints in 2011 was to advise the women to cultivate an understanding with Darshanan as if advising them to give in to his demands for sex.

    Things happened this time only because 1. A student was on the verge of committing suicide. 2. 77 female students were very angry over the inaction for 4 years from 2011 and were ready to riot. And 3.Thanks to the new government about 7 of its 13 or so new Council appointees are good men who would not stand for the VC’s covering up for Darshanan.

    • 2

      Prof Hoole,

      Where are the minutes published? Are they on the Web? — or are they made available to all university staff and one of them gave you a copy? Or did a member of Council show you the minutes? Do the minutes explicitly say that Gnanakumara was reading a long document written/drafted by his brother? Was his document attached as appendix to the minutes? How do you know it was a long document he was presenting?

      Enlighten us please? Just saying “it is all in the minutes” is not enough. I’d like to know where you got them from?

      • 2

        Dr. Gnanakumaran, Dean/Arts read from the document and what he read out is long and in the minutes.

        The minutes are distributed with agenda papers as 2-4 bound books to council members. There is no “Confidential” stamp on the books.

        • 3

          So it WAS a member of Council who showed you the minutes. They should not do that. Was your contact one of the 7/13 “good men” or from the 6/13 spineless lot?

          Hope at the next meeting they either decide that Council papers should not be shared with outsiders OR they be public documents that any of us can read at the Jaffna library.

          • 1

            This is the era of Right to Information. Colgate is out of place.

            It is common for people to carry public documents in thair possession under their arm pit saying “Sh! Confidential.” It makes them feel so important.

            • 3

              Pity my inability, Sir, at explaining to you there is a difference between (a) the minutes being public documents that all of us have access to; and (b) the minutes being not usually public, but someone on Council showing them to an outsider (relative? former student?).
              “Era of RTI?” — bollocks. I give up.

              • 5

                There are many many documents in the state and private sector that are confidential, without being marked so.
                If a document is in the public domain, it should be readily accessible to all.

                It is a “gentleman’s agreement” in such instances that confidentiality is preserved. That also ensures free discussion.
                Various people have right to access through various proper channels.

                Improper access is the issue here.
                Breach of confidentiality in such situations reflects lack of ethical values.

                Selective breach of confidentiality and inclusion of speculative content goes beyond that.

                • 0

                  There are also internal members of the Council like the Deans who have access. There are university officials and secretaries not on the Council who have access. The books are open to all of us at the university when we really want to see them. If some can see them, why not others?

                  There are irresponsible people who make untrue or slanderous statements behind people’s backs and do not want that known. I know a Peradenya professor on the Jaffna Council (who some say is SJ) who is a little highly strung and would not want his crazy comments at the Council out in the open.

                  Responsible persons should not fear taking positions in public.

  • 0


    Is Dr.S.Dharshanan a pinkish Vellala?
    He appears to have a propensity for the pink colour! Or is it the deep red?
    He could be a communist!

    • 1

      [Edited out]

  • 2

    I wonder what Prof. David Kumar has to say about this!
    It takes a lot of courage to address these issues in this political climate. You cannot blame the war on all matters. I have heard of sexual harassment of women before the war / 1983 reported by women in Jaffna.
    And even countries that have peace have these issues. Sexual harassment at university is a common problem that has to be dealt with any where in the world.

  • 2

    What indeed are our values in Jaffna? asks Dr.Hoole.

    30 YEARS OF WAR has taken its toll on Jaffna society!
    Jaffna was very much a conservative society in the old days.
    This looks like the case of a Convent becoming a Nudist colony!

  • 5

    SRH Hoole

    Have you heard of the case of three catholic trainee priests arrested in Jaffna for the death of a poor catholic girl whose body was found in a well. Parents of the girl were accusing those three sex starved priests for the death but Jaffna Bishop and other faithfulls from the Church did everything possible to suppress the parents’ voice and thus safeguarded the priests and the ” good name of the Church” . Police investigation too was put on hold by the influence of the Bishop. This happened about two years ago. As a person interested in exposing the sexual crimes would you raise your voice In support of the poor illiterate parents of the girl and see that the case is reopened. The file of papers of this case is still in the record room of Jaffna Magistrates Courts.

    I hope you will not come out with some lame excuses to support the Judas.

    • 3

      Since you know the case and have seen the file, you can do a better job than I can. Go for it!

    • 5

      This was SRH Hooles response when Sinhala_Man queries him on the conduct of the Christian men of cloth:

      “In my time I have taken on crooked bishops but am a little more cautious after reading one of the greatest Saints of the Church, St. Francis of Assisi, on taking on the clergy: If you will be sons of peace you will win the clergy and the people for the Lord, and the Lord judges this more acceptable than to win the people but scandalize the clergy. Hide their lapses, supply for their many defects; and when you have done this, be even more humble (From Celano, Second Life, 146).” I am not sure of that but will not dismiss his views lightly. ….””

      If anyone takes him seriously then that person needs help. For Christian clergy he wants a whitewash; although not a Hindu he wants to publicly defame Hindu holy men. I guess that shows his true self. Is such a man fit for high office in a multi-cultural open society ???

      • 0

        Re: your quote: “If you will be sons of peace you will win the clergy and the people for the Lord, …”

        JP I am overjoyed to see the dear Saint of poverty quoted anywhere.But sadly you have quoted him here totally out of context which demeans the Saint’s holiness. Permit me therefore.

        That quote is not for the public, but an internal injunction to the guardian of a novitiate or friar in training and applies only inside his monastery. Such a person is not yet a parish priest. He is in spiritual training under the minister to whom this letter is addressed. During training, lapses are corrected sometimes when necessary with corporal punishment. If the friar in training is not fit he is not ordained but sent out of the monastery for violation. His sin is not talked about with those not having authority to bring him to obedience. The sin is recordedI have quoted a little more of the same injunction for clarity:

        ..” Francis encourages a minister, a regional leader among the friars, to trust in God and live in compassion – even in the most difficult situations.I want all the chapters of the Rule that treat of mortal sin we shall make one chapter such as this:

        If any one of the brothers at the instigation of the enemy should sin mortally, he is bound by obedience to have recourse to his guardian. And all the brothers who might know that he has sinned are not to bring shame upon him or speak ill of him, but let them show great mercy toward him and keep most secret the sin of their brother; because it is not the healthy wbo are in need of the physician, but those wbo are sick (Mt 9:12). Likewise let them be bound by obedience to send him to his custodian with a companion. And let that custodian mercifully take care of him as he would like to be taken care of if he were in a similar position (cf. Mt 7:12). And if he falls into some venial sin, let him confess this to a brother who is a priest. And if there is no priest at hand, let him confess to his brother, until he has contact with a priest who will absolve him canonically, as it has been laid down. And the brothers who are not priests should have no power to enjoin any other penance except this: Go and sin no more (cf. Jn 8:1 1).

        St. Francis of Assissi was a hermit. He was not a priest.Priests are lower in grade. IF you would watch “Brother sun Sister moon” you would surely get the context right.

        Re: Mr. Hoole: Mr. Jeevan Hoole exposed sexual harassment of female students at the Pilimatalawa Priest’s Training College during one Diocesan Council meeting. This was a first for his Church and many at the Council were angry with him for it. That day Bishop Kenneth Fernando was furious threatened to excommunicate him. His successor too supported the Bishop. Not everybody wanted this, especially representatives outside of Colombo. Many priests were angry with him. I will never forget the drama that day. Mr. Hoole was given one month until the next Liturgical Council Meeting to produce the evidence. Bishop Kenneth knew of the incident but he pretended not to know. Those who mentioned it to him did not want to be quoted for fear of transfers. So at the next meeting he still could not bring first hand evidence so he asked for a few days more. Finally Mr. Jeevan Hoole produced the evidence coming from trainees who were witnesses. He then put it in the Sunday papers. It was one full page article with the picture of the Bishop concerned. Next year he was not in the Council. He was not allowed to preach.

        Wishing you the very best.

    • 2

      Some time ago, there a was a story in the newspaper. Two Catholic Priests from North had given a free ride to a Tamil woman whose husband was traveling overseas. They took her to the church and close the door behind. They were not coming out, the Tamil man looking after the church had climbed to the roof on a ladder and had checked.

      Two priests were having sex with the woman.

      That is how Almighty looks after women.

      • 2

        Is no Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim member of the clergy unlikely to act in such ugly fashion?

        Goodness is within one, and has nothing to do with one’s religion.

      • 0

        jim softly

        from the stories i’am hearing the best way to be a successful peeping tom in the north is to get on the roof.

  • 7

    It is high time to clean up the academic and administration matters of schools in the Northern Province too. It is not a digression from the university politics or it does not mean that I am selfish and do not care about other provinces in SL. But since I read closely on what is going on around me, I care more about NP. I recently listened to scholars coming from Switzerland discussing on power devolution in SL at the Uni of Jaffna saying that each cantons in Switzerland HAVE autonomy and they compete with other cantons in development and upgrade them in multiple ways. Why can’t the NP be the first in progress of all the other provinces like phoenix, rising from the ashes of war?
    The future generation is silently going to the steep of ignorance/knowing very little. They do not know even what they are supposed to know from the formal education!! Government of SL (NIE) have designed nice text books for school children and it is nicer even in appearance compare to the time I studied. I in order to compare the contents of the curriculum of SL with the first ranked in education in the world, Singapore I got some text books in science and mathematics from there from one my friends and was surprisingly contended and was proud of the curriculum of Sri Lanka. Many things are very similar except the texture of the book is more colorful and the texts are relatively lesser. But important question is whether these lessons in the books are taught in schools by those who are responsible for??
    I had recently been invited as a resource person to new comers on Allied Health Science/Faculty of Medicine. I chose a topic to discuss on the social determinants of health since it is more related to my field, sociology and it is an underserved subject in medicine. My lecture began with displaying two exercise copies of Grade 6 on Health and Physical Education of the two leading schools in Jaffna. I took the text book as well and showed the number of lessons and topics of lessons to them. If anyone had gone through the Physical and Health Education of Grade 6, you will understand and realize how the syllabus is nicely arranged with range of topics and also in very nice manner. It starts with Health and then differentiates Need from desire etc. with very catchy examples. For instance a child is stimulated to react for what actually his/her real need is rather than her desires are, given example is how one is tempted to buy a perfumed eraser rather than a big less expensive eraser without perfume which does the same job! If these are taught by teachers in good way and then the students internalize them, we will have a wonderful future generation who is health concerned and can verify needs from desires and be self-disciplined. It can be applicable to these sexual abuses in schools by teachers too. You may have a need for sex, and even can have a desire to have sex with someone who is culturally not accepted. If the lessons are properly internalized by the students, it should clearly prevent you from engaging extra-martital sex or premarital sex. You will be practiced to how to control your sexual desires in civilized manner. These two leading schools in Jaffna had taught all ten lessons in only 10-15 pages!! It was clear that all the lessons had not been gone through. What do the teachers do then during the lessons hours? Playing with mobile phones? Or talking with the teacher in the next class room? Don’t they think that they have the future generation in their hand/in front of them looking at teachers as their role models? Teachers are responsible to mould them as good citizens?
    We should start somewhere and at some point. Please gather together to clean up the schools, it can be initiated by the parents Association if they are consciously going through of what their children are going through in school every day.
    It is shocking for me having heard last week from two teen aged girls studying in different schools in the rural belt that the male teachers are verbally sexually harass them. They do not want to bear this and at the same time they are afraid to react against the male teacher who is the oppressor according to Paluo Freire. I forced them to tell the name of the teacher to inform to the Zonal Director. They refused. But my next question is what will happen in this case? Will the admin of Zone have a mechanism to carry out proper investigation against these sexual allegations? and give punishment? Have they done?
    It is now high time that the NPC should design a mechanism along with Educational Zonal Offices and at least one female and male should be appointed to visit schools in rotation every month to advocate gender issues and inquiries. Zones need Gender Specialist along with existing Health Inspectors (HIs) and In Service Advisers (ISAs). There should be a series of gender seminar for school children including boys. Every verbal, physical, sexual and other abuses should be recorded, investigated and punished. White-color crimes should not be escaped from the rule of law as they are elitist institutions. Victims should be saved and the criminals should be punished.
    Now a principal of a school in Kilinochchi who was my peer at the University as undergrad, sexually abused a school girl asking her to come to school on Saturday! I can’t imagine as he would have done this!! I met him a year ago on a stage in Nallur taking a role as bear to teach some lessons to people and children!!! At the end I went with my kids and spoke with him briefly. We did recognize each other.
    I’m sorry that I can’t bear any more shocks like this in societies. I may get stroke or heart failure. Please wake up NPC, Educational Zones, School administration and especially the parents to fight for justice and against all the injustice over there. Universities are also in the venture to appoint lawyers within university system to expedite these matters.
    My beloved Diaspora, your attachment with your motherland should not be measured by how much money you pump here, instead it should be dignified how they are used and for what. Do not expand buildings, focus more on the existing programs how they are run by the administration. Do independent surveys on the text books of the children who are expected go through and there you will find how much they know how much they are covered by the teachers, do this periodically and fund for that.
    Please NPC members do not place the pictures on the media that you hand over the loudspeakers to some institution/temple, instead educate them how they should be used according to environmental protection law in Sri Lanka. You will be renounced then.
    Most enforced media, please bring up the follow up stories of the incidences you report. Public is more concerned on that rather being informed of an incidence.

    • 3

      Dr Bahirathy Jeeweshwara Rasanen,

      Thank you for your comment and the fact that you have had the courage to post it using your own name.

      “Why can’t the NP be the first in progress of all the other provinces like phoenix, rising from the ashes of war?”

      This is a good and fundamental question. My humble understanding is that most of the sector of education has been devolved to the NPC. The NPC of course has to mostly follow the rules and regulations coming from Colombo but this does not mean that the Provincial Ministry of Education has been forced to its current passivity.

      Here is an example of what I mean:

      From earlier comments in another thread and a look at statistics available on line I gathered that schools on the Jaffna islands have problems with low academic results and low attendance of staff and students. Unless the children on the islands suffer from some local medical condition causing their low achievements the reason behind the low results is elsewhere. Is it not obvious that children who do not attend school and teachers who are “Missing in Action” or “Absent without Official leave” cause low results?

      Is it not equally obvious that the principals should together with other authorities find out why children do not come to school and suggest corrective action? Is not the duty of the principals to initiate disciplinary action against staff who does not come to work or do their work? If the principals fail in their duties the matter should go to the Zonal Director. If he/she also fails there is a chain of command leading to the Provincial Minister of Education.

      Why do these government servants not do what they are paid to do? In my opinion this has nothing to do with lack of devolution of power.

      Consider the fact that the children of the small Jaffna elite almost all attend a handful of schools that are in Jaffna town. Jaffna Hindu, Bosco, St Johns, Chundikuli, Vembadi and Jaffna Central College. Does the elite really çare about what happens on the islands? Do they even know what is going on there or in the Vanni?

      In the rural areas of NP middle class government servants try to select one of the better schools for their children or send their children to Jaffna town. Many of them move to Jaffna town and prefer to commute to work. There are countless small rural Grade 1-5 schools and Grade 1-10 schools that are desperately avoided by the middle class parents. As a result we have separate schools for the shoe less poor children and virtually none of them passes any exam. Maybe needless to say this but nobody cares about what happens in these schools reserved for the poor.

      “These two leading schools in Jaffna had taught all ten lessons in only 10-15 pages!!”

      Why don’t you name them? You might get an official denial and comments from the old boys.

      “It was clear that all the lessons had not been gone through. What do the teachers do then during the lessons hours? Playing with mobile phones? Or talking with the teacher in the next class room? Don’t they think that they have the future generation in their hand/in front of them looking at teachers as their role models? Teachers are responsible to mould them as good citizens?”

      The teachers might even be going thru the rest of the lessons in their private tuition centers. If this is the situation in leading schools in Jaffna town we can guess what happens in the less privileged schools.

      “I forced them to tell the name of the teacher to inform to the Zonal Director. They refused. But my next question is what will happen in this case? Will the admin of Zone have a mechanism to carry out proper investigation against these sexual allegations? and give punishment? Have they done?”

      I have seen and treated victims of corporal punishment and injuries caused by total neglect of children who, for instance, were told to build a fence. I assume that Grade 4-5 children are not supposed to build the fence of the school but this happens. When I have offered to take pictures and file a written complaint parents have not given their consent. They are afraid of reprisals from the principal and teachers.

      There should be some kind of anonymous complaint box or other way that can be used to reach independent persons working with child abuse. At the same time the problem is that the victims and their parents are very weak. I don’t know does the complaint number 1919 work in Jaffna especially in the rural areas. The police emergency number does not work.

      Last year a friend of mine contacted St Johns to admit his son. He was told that the admission costs rs 125000 followed by annual fees of 20-30000. He was also informed that there is no corporal punishment at St Johns. Instead of that naughty boys will be given some warnings and if it does not help they will be expelled. Would the school really expel a boy whose parents are paying full fees? I became puzzled when Dr Somasundaram last year publicly stated that even leading schools like St Johns continue to use corporal punishment.

      My experience from rural schools is that all the principals say that corporal punishment has been banned and thus there is no need to discuss it.

      Does not a police complaint of child abuse always end up at a special unit of Attorney General ? Is it not mandatory for the police to investigate child abuse? If I am correct why are the abusers not afraid and why are they not punished?

      “My beloved Diaspora, your attachment with your motherland should not be measured by how much money you pump here, instead it should be dignified how they are used and for what. Do not expand buildings, focus more on the existing programs how they are run by the administration.”

      Why do all the projects in the Northern Province require diaspora, ADB, WB, Central Government etc funding? Are we beggars who are unable to manage what we have?

      Implementing the already existing regulation does not need any kind of additional funding. It is a question of government servants, politicians and the civil society doing their duty!

  • 4

    SRH Hoole

    Why did you drag Sai Baba when He has nothing to do with the sexual harassment in Jaffna University, the subject you choose to write. Your habit of dragging Hindu holy men, whether they are alive or dead, and criticise them shows you are suffering from an incurable anti Hindu mania. Stick to the subject or get back to US and take treatment. None of the Universities in Srilanka will take you. Don’t waste time.

    • 1

      MR, what is your problem. Dr. Hoole rightly points out the inconsistency of half the Tamil community talking about women and their charity while hanging Sai Baba pictures in their houses. He did not even name the man and soared you your feelings, but someone else did.

      I think you are angry because you have a Sai Baba picture in your house and perhaps received a massage from him.

      Those who need psychiatric help are those who pretend to sexual virtues while worshiping all kinds of sexual practices. If you come to America we have a cure for you: we will convince you that your practices are normal so that you can go through life thinking you are normal.

  • 3


    Disappointed with your reply above.

    I am in Singapore at present and will take a few more months to return to Srilanka. You are living in Jaffna closer to Courts, hence your involvement in this murder case is greatly appreciated. Please see that those Christian clergies are punished for the crime committed.

    I expect you to be a good Christian. Please reply.

    • 0

      What you can do yourself, you should do yourself. Do not look for a cat’s paw. If all of us were courageous enough to come out in the open, this would be a better world.

      A true Yesuvadiyan will stand up for what he believes in and not hide behind others.

  • 1

    Thanks a lot Big Brother for your very insightful ground analysis in the system of school education in the NP. This is the only insight lacking in all the development projects concerned in NP. Unless we correct us and be responsibly committed in the places where we work, none of the development projects will be sustainable nor fruitful for us. Corrective mechanisms in all the sectors should be strengthened and perhaps as you suggested giving to independent bodies/ commissions would be one idea. Schools must have too an independent body to deal with their issues. Btw thanks again for your free and valuable analysis!

  • 1

    Can you please list all the sex workers (academics) at Jaffna University:

    I know few names. Dharshanan, Shanmugalingam, Ilankumaran, Raguparan, Kanesalingam, STB Rajeswaran, Kumaran, Rooban

  • 1

    Vasanthy arasaratnam is a corrupted academic at Jaffna University. She did her degrees in Biotechnology and published papers at JSA in Biotechnology and acting as a professor of biochemistry. She did not qualify to enter university in Sri lanka and went to India to finish her 3 year degree.

    The former Dean/Medicine (Balakumar) did a 3 year general science degree with an ordinary pass. He has failed in some courses and completed in the second attempt. His application for a permanent Lecturer post was rejected couple of times at the university council many years ago. Vasanthy Arasaratnam has influenced at higher levels and appointed Balakumar as a Senior lecturer in biochemistry. He also did his degrees in biotechnology, not in biochemistry. He took many years to complete his PhD in Jaffna under the supervision of Vasanthy Arasaratnam

    Please read this article for more information:


  • 1


    Sexual assault on students is nothing new in Jaffna or any other parts of Srilanka. In most of the boarding schools boarders are sexually harassed or assaulted by boarding masters and Principals. Christian boarding schools are no exception where brothers or fathers have a field day. Ask any old boarders how they were hiding in nights to escape from these predators.

    There have been hundreds of Oscar Wilde in each province but no one including parents of students dared to identify and expose them openly. This sad state of affairs existed hundreds of years and it will go on for ever. That is the whole truth and nothing but truth.

  • 1


    Dr.Hooles article does not expose Homosexual tendencies at the Jaffna University![Edited out]

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 0

    I was a student (female) in Jaffna between 1965 and 1972 – let me say that sexual harrassment was a regular thing even then. If you went to the cinema, you went armed with a safety pin to prod any hands that wandered into your personal territory. It was also quite common to be suddenly groped by a cyclist while walking along the street. On my last visit to Jaffna, leaving by train for Colombo, in a saree, I was repeatedly groped by a young man on the train every time I nodded. I was with my mother. I have never returned to Jaffna or even wanted to. Not a place that impressed me, having lived in Batticaloa and Bandarawela before that, where this kind of behaviour was completely unheard of, and where I used to walk around by myself with nothing untoward ever happening.

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