Colombo Telegraph

Religious Discrimination By Staff-Short Jaffna Engineering

By Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Jaffna VC Vasanthi Arasaratnam recently admitted that there is no place for Christians there. Around 2002, Jaffna advertised Professor Electrical-IT-Civil. I applied. VC Balasundarampillai immediately cancelled the advertisement and readvertised only Civil saying the new Dean must build buildings. Recently, they hired a Hindu Electrical Engineer as the first Dean without advertisement, violating the Universities Act on transfers. I could not apply.

There has been bad blood between me and Arasaratnam since I applied for VC. I have a D.Sc., Ph.D and am the first Lankan IEEE Fellow. Yet, the VC has previously found both my wife Prof. Dushyanthi Hoole (with a doctorate under Nobel laureate George Olah) and me unqualified for appointment despite Court orders and a presidential directive to appoint us. UGC Chairman Mohan de Silva, hiding behind autonomy, fails to regulate university administrations as empowered in the Act.

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Hell-bent on serving, I applied for Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering (closing date 10.07.2015) fearing I would be found unqualified again. The Establishments Code requires that as soon as it is known that a vacancy exists, the university should act to fill it. Arasaratnam however waited for a year and called me for an interview on 08.07.2016, two days before the limit for deciding on the application. There is another rule that when a doctorate-holder applies, no application for Lecturer shall be considered without first finding the doctorate-holder unsuitable. There was one Lecturer applicant, a student of mine at Peradeniya. His interview was scheduled immediately after mine, strengthening my suspicion that I would be found unsuitable. However, even scheduling his interview before rejecting me was considering him.

As expected, my Selection Committee decision was simply “No Selection Made.” Arasaratnam then immediately interviewed my student, and selected him. But the Council which has to act on the Selection Committee’s recommendation, rejected it. Almost every member of the Council objected. They directed the Committee to reconvene and give a reason. This, the VC has stalled for 3+ months. Now there are two problems. If the Selection Committee changes its decision, it would be after the expiry of the year-limit; and then there would be the problem of my student who has already assumed duties as Lecturer.

President Chandrika asked Mohan de Silva why. He inquired from the VC and replied in writing that I quarrel wherever I go, I wrote against Arumuga Navalar and that Jaffna is for Hindus and Christians should respect that. Now Jaffna being for Hindus is official. Mr. Mavai Senathirajah of the FP, relative of Arasaratnam, has endorsed this policy in communications with Minister Lakshman Kiriella and others. Mr. R. Sampanthan is aware but told me he has left Jaffna matters to Jaffna MPs.

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