By Arulkumaran Subajini –
University of Jaffna is full of wrongdoings. Every appointment from the VC’s down to that of Labourer is based on political loyalty rather than excellence. The most senior persons from whom we expect leadership have no backbone. The Council – both internal and external members – simply sit back and endorse these improper appointments. As an Acting Dean awaiting regular appointment confessed to a friend, “I need to go along with the VC in everything to survive.”
I was wrongfully denied an appointment as Computer Applications Assistant. Many friends have advised me not to complain and suggest that my husband Mahalingam Arulkumaran who works as a Technical Officer under the Vice Chancellor will pay dearly if I pursue a complaint. As they put it to me, if the Deans who are wise and highly qualified people comply, why wreck my husband’s future just to tell my story when it is unlikely that anything will be done.
I respectfully disagree. It is that attitude that brought the university to its knees. Come what may, I would like to set an example to our so called elders of the Tamil community. I urge everyone to whom injustice has been done to come forward. After all, the whole country has come forward with one voice to call for a new Sri Lanka where justice and fairness prevail and all are equal.
Victimization and denial of justice become impossible when we stand shoulder to shoulder. As an example I am giving below the letter I sent out to our new President asking for justice.
39(59) Annasathra Lane
Jan. 23, 2015
His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena
Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka.
Political Victimization through University Appointments against Regulations in Jaffna
Having been politically victimized while applying for positions at the University of Jaffna, I am writing respectfully to bring the relevant facts to Your Excellency’s kind attention in the hope of receiving relief from your government which is committed to being free of corruption and vindictiveness in the spirit of good governance. I am happy and proud to have participated in that democratization process by exercising my ballot for Your Excellency’s noble candidature.
To narrate my experience in progress of time:
- I applied for the post of Computer Applications Assistant
- By letter dated 18.04.2011 I was asked to appear for a general proficiency test on 29.04.2011
- I appeared for the test as asked to.
- I was informed by post on 23.05.2011 that I had been selected for a practical test and asked to appear for it on 25.05.2011.
- Despite the short notice I appeared for the test and felt I had done well.
- I have heard nothing about the test or my results since. Nor have the other candidates.
- I learnt reliably that, based on the instructions of the then Minister Douglas Devananda, all recruitment exercises for the post had been halted because only those supportive of his party and recommended by him could be appointed.
- I brought this injustice denying me the right as a citizen to apply and be appointed on equal terms to the notice of the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education on 05.01.2012 through the good offices of Hon. E. Saravanapavan, MP.
- Accordingly the Ministry Secretary ordered the Vice Chancellor/Jaffna in writing to look into my grievance and report to him.
- Nothing was done and only those coming with the blessings of Hon. Devananda through his list were entertained for appointment.
- This unfair recruitment practice by VC/Jaffna came under severe criticism by the Jaffna University Teachers’ Association, Employees’ Union and other university stakeholders. Local newspapers also highlighted these goings on in their news pieces.
- Following these protests, as if in a pro forma exercise, recruitment exercises were begun again using persons on Hon. Devananda’s list and the legitimate formal applicants.
- Accordingly by letter dated 02.04.2012 I was asked to appear for a general aptitude test on 24.04.2012. No mention was made of the previous test or how I had fared.
- By letter dated 04.04.2012 I was also asked to appear for a test for Clerk/Management Assistant on 25.04.2012.
- I appeared for the two tests as required on 24.04.2012 and 25.04.2012
- Based on my scores on the test for Computer Applications Assistants, I was asked by letter dated 03.05.2012 to present myself for a practical test on 17.05.2012 and I complied.
- Based on that last mentioned test I was instructed by letter dated 04.09.2012 to appear for a face-to-face interview on 26.09.2012. I feel I did well at the interview
- At the September 2012 meeting of the University Council (which was held in October) at Vavuniya Campus the recruitment list was to be finalized and given Council approval. However, saying there was no agreement on appointing persons from Hon. Douglas Devananda’s list, all appointments were halted by the Registrar.
- I learnt subsequently that the reason for the disagreement was the absence from the list of selections of every person from Hon. Devananda’s list of recommendations.
- Out of the blues thereafter appointment letters for the post of Computer Applications Assistant were issued only to persons recommended by Hon. Devananda. Likewise nonacademic staff appointments were also made on 07.10.2013.
Your Excellency, this is my sad story. I respectfully ask for appropriate inquiries into these grave matters of abuse of power by Hon. Devananda and the VC/Jaffna. As Your Excellency unwaveringly tries to create a Sri Lanka free of corruption, I ask for relief for myself and for all those denied appointments like me.
I am bringing to Your Excellency’s kind attention copies of the relevant correspondence and newspaper reports.
I am in gratitude,
(Mrs.) A. Subajini.
CC: Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education
Secretary, University Grants Commission