19 November, 2018

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Protesters Demand The Resignation Of Bishop Thiagarajah From The Jaffna College Board

A protest was held near Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai yesterday, the 24th of July 2018 demanding the resignation of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Jaffna College Board of Directors. The protest was attended by the alumni of the College, parents, members of the community and well-wishers of Jaffna College. A statement was issued at the end of the protest and submitted to the Principal of Jaffna College. Earlier, on the 19th of July, in a letter addressed to the members of the Jaffna College Board, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds insisted that the Chair of the Board Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah and Vice Chair Ms. Vijulaa Arulanantham resign from the Board and make way for constitutional amendments. The letter also states that if these conditions are not met, the Trustees will discontinue funding Jaffna College from January 2019 onwards. Mr. Kanagaratnam Sugash (Alumni Representative to the Board), Professor Prince Jeyadevan (Alumnus), Dr. Bahirathi Rasanen (Parent) and Dr. Rajasingam Prsanthan (Alumnus) spoke at the protest highlighting the administrative and other problems that plague Jaffna College. 

Watch a segment of the protest here

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Latest comments

  • 21
    4

    Way to go, Vaddukoddai. You made history in 1976. And you’re breaking new ground again: You are telling Jaffna society to clean house first, before settling issues with the outside. Thiagarajah should go now for God’s sake.

  • 19
    2

    Please ask for the resignation of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith while you are at it.
    Can get rid of a huge problem for the poor catholic Christian community too. They deserve a true Christian not this kind of corrupt hypocrites.

  • 10
    0

    At this moment this should become Comment no. 3: two others already displayed.
    .
    Yes, the normal laws of the land should apply to all clergy (no, to all citizens: this is a genuine change I introduced after beginning to type). The spotlight has been on Buddhist clergy, but there are serious issues with other clergy – and politicians.
    .
    Why can’t we have people speaking the plain truth all the time? We’ve discussed politicians for a long time; then there are the Muslim clergy who will not allow women to enjoy Fundamental Rights.
    .
    This will be extremely puzzling to almost all readers; Bishop Thiagarajah is the Anglican Bishop of the Church of South India. There are two other Anglican Bishops in the Church of Ceylon (sic). The more important one is in Colombo, and I’ve been trying to reason with him for about five years. I’m sure that he’s not a bad man exactly, but to understand what he has done please Google “Thomian Pharisees”. You will hit upon two of the three articles I have written 2 years ago. Some have slung mud at me – you’ll be able to assess that fact with no difficulty.
    .
    On August 11th 2018 we meet again; check here next week for the minutes of last year’s four and a half hour meeting: http://www.stcboba.org/oba/annual-report.php
    .
    All because the Priest-Principal wanted to have these powers which we will not grant even our top politician:
    .
    “The President shall have power, when he considers, in the highest interest of the OBA so requires, to take any steps necessary, whether in contravention of the rules or otherwise, to ensure the continued existence and proper functioning of the OBA.”

    .
    Will continue . . .

  • 8
    0

    .
    Continuation:
    .

    In 2016, the same priest insisted that he could “elect” the person who would represent the staff on the Board of Governors. The rules say that “The election shall be by secret ballot”, but also there is this: “One person elected by an electoral college . . .”.
    .
    Obviously, you must see this in context – so please go here:
    .
    http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

    The previously cited website will have the same Rules, but not many readers will want to download it; here you can click and see on line for yourselves.
    .
    If you still feel you don’t know the context, go to the articles on “Pharisees”. Few of you will know the word; never mind: what is at stake is the sense of integrity that we pass on to coming generations.
    .
    Let not all the blame be put on the Head of this school: Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabai and I know each other well; he also knows that I don’t tell lies. So he avoids meeting me. Oh, we’ve shaken hands – but he always finds an excuse to run away. No comment on all this. Why? This impasse helps nobody.
    .
    I’m not some anonymous coward saying things. Those articles display name and photographs. Please pose all the questions you want right here; I don’t think that they’d be considered off topic.

  • 2
    0

    An aside
    The ubiquitous Army is not there. They know that the demonstration will be orderly. Will require effort to call it ‘resurgence of terrorism’.

    But look just beyond the horizon. The ‘Vidhya-case’ created lot of genuine grief and anger. Demonstrators were brutally dealt with, some charged in the courts. “Reemergence of the terrorism runt’ was sung in full blast.

  • 4
    0

    Mr. Kanagaratnam Sugash,

    We are thankful for the time you spent demonstrating being a busy lawyer and politician. You are calling for more transparency at Jaffna College and two directors to step down. Can you kindly explain why you do not provide copies of the minutes of the meetings of the board of directors of Jaffna College for alumni and others who are interested. You are the only independent director in the board and represent not only alumni but in practice also the parents and well wishers.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Francis,
      .
      I know neither you, nor Mr. Kanagaratnam Sugash.
      .
      If he’s on the Board of Directors it is likely that he will excuse himself from full commitment to your cause on the grounds that he has to maintain confidentiality on Board matters, including the contents of Minutes.
      .
      Let me think this one out.
      .
      So the alumni and the parents are protesting. What about the teachers?
      .
      Who are well wishers? Guys like me from the South? Certainly, I wish you well in your struggle against injustice and exploitation.

      • 3
        0

        Sinhala Man,
        #
        I have read what you posted about the court case. Very interesting but I did find not anything on the post of manager there. Does the Education Ordinance have something that I have missed about an unaided school having to have a manager and her/his powers? I know managers of assisted schools are mentioned. You may be happy to know that Jaffna College Ordinance is from 1894. The school is older than STC. It existed even before the 1894 Ordinance.
        #
        Are you certain the pension circulars have correct numbers? The links did not open and I did not find them using the numbers.
        #
        “he has to maintain confidentiality on Board matters”
        #
        How can an alumni representative be silent and at the same time represent alumni? Catch22?
        #
        Jaffna College Board met yesterday but any result is unknown and may continue unknown since minutes are top secret.
        #
        Who can stop mal practices at STC and JC? Only God? Mr Salahudeen? Court? The trustees of course can stop Jaffna College by stopping funding.

  • 1
    0

    Gabriel,
    .
    Thanks. All that is relevant can be explained in 5 minute phone chat. To get in touch, please start with sending me an email.
    .
    S. Thomas’ started with one school at Mutwal in 1852. The school moved to Mount Lavinia in 1918. The S. Thomas’ Ordinance dates from about 1930. It can only be changed by an Act of Parliament, but is of little significance, unless somebody wants to change the requirement that 80% of Board members should be Anglican.

    We can go on saying things like this but they have little relevance to any issue currently faced by us. For the record Royal Academy is older and was an Anglican school run by then government. This is from a mobile device and nothing that I have here stated is of importance to us now.
    .
    That’s what gets sickening talki

    • 2
      0

      Dear Gabriel,
      .
      Let me complete the stub above. I was not able to control that phone. Continuing on lap-top; but after that, I will post, at the bottom, my response to your query about pensions.
      .
      I was saying that the self-congratulation of the alumni of “prestigious” Private Schools on their supposed social superiority is sickening. The fact that the justification for the existence of any school is that it prepares children for their lives as responsible adults is too often lost on alumni. Many smugly self-satisfied wisenheimers declare grandly that they are what they are because of their wonderful upbringing.
      .
      The explanation for the 1983 Regulations you are likely to find very interesting, although not very relevant! Ranil wickremasinghe did not like one of his earliest teachers at Royal College: Ralph Ignatius Thomas Alles. Alles, a quite able human being, was viewed with favour by then powerful Colombo politician, Ranasinghe Premadasa, and succeeded in founding a new “elite” State School, D.S. Senanayake College, Borella.
      .
      When Ranil became Minister of Education, he chucked Alles out. Zahira College, Maradana, appointed him Principal. Ranil got those Regulations passed. Alles was not a “University Graduate”. He was a “Handicraft Trained Teacher” – English Medium, of course.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahira_College, Colombo

  • 2
    0

    Gabreil, et al.
    .
    I’m making too many of the comments, but since you wanted to know about pensions, let me tell you what the position is in the school here.
    .
    The scheme is important to the teachers and is working well. Seventy of the 110 teachers are contributing towards it; the balance forty contribute to the provident fund. When new teachers are interviewed they are told about the pensions as a way of attracting them to the school; some of of the newer entrants, the young people, seem a bit reluctant to trust that they will really get a government pension, but the more sensible opt for it. Those teachers who have retired over the last ever so many years are indeed getting their pensions.
    .
    What I have just written, after making inquiries, implies that the use of this as an instrument of manipulation is rather exaggerated. These aspects of the school are working well, and I see no reason why Jaffna College and UGC should not be getting these benefits. Of course it is a contributory pension; ten years’ minimum service is required; service cannot be carried over from one school to another. The status in relation to pensions can be checked on line. These benefits began about 1978, with the J.R J. government. Before that, from 1962 onwards, the teachers of these schools were really struggling with these problems.
    .
    You will have to ascertain how all this applies to the situation there, and as already indicated, I don’t think that all this belongs on this blog.
    .
    Best wishes.

  • 4
    2

    We are missing the full picture.

    The CSI was once run by old families who took all church positions and schols to MCC, WCC and Vellore, and even American Colleges

    Then by some accident and the influence of project money, a man who was jailed for abusing KNH orpanage girls was backed by these families. He became the leading candidate for Bishop. A young priest in Council even described how this man hugged his wife after sending her sister to fetch the cool well water he asked for.

    The then Bishop, Bishop Jebanesan, backed Thiagarajah. He delayed elections for Thiagarajah to reach the qualifying age of 50. The church split.

    The American trustees with their long connections to the old families turned on Thiagarajah. Sinhalese Christians too, listening to the old families isolated him. Trustees show their true colors by copying correspondence to Douglas and now Wigneswaran.

    Isolated without people of ability, Thiagarajah has begun breaking rules to run the church. What is unfolding is the sad story of a man without friends.

    • 3
      0

      CSI roots,

      “Isolated without people of ability, Thiagarajah has begun breaking rules to run the church. What is unfolding is the sad story of a man without friends.”

      He may be isolated, alone, sad and with no competent assistants but that is no excuse. Breaking the rules in his case is widely believed to include putting money into his own pockets in addition to spending money on less important vanity projects. Why have the accounts of the JDCSI and all the institutions (the schools and Green Memorial Hospital etc) administered by Thiagarajah not been presented for any of the stake holders since he became the Bishop in 2007? Even after the 20% cut he has not provided complete access to the trustees as can be read in the latest trustee letter.

    • 2
      0

      CSI roots,
      #
      “Then by some accident and the influence of project money, a man who was jailed for abusing KNH orpanage girls was backed by these families. He became the leading candidate for Bishop. A young priest in Council even described how this man hugged his wife after sending her sister to fetch the cool well water he asked for.”
      #
      What is KNH?
      #
      “The then Bishop, Bishop Jebanesan, backed Thiagarajah.”
      #
      I have heard that Thiagarajah was sent home from a “priest seminary” in India because of sexual abuse. There may be documentation in India and the Methodists in Jaffna who sent him there might be willing to disclose additional information.

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