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Wednesday June 7th, 2023

Ruhuna campus ragging; victims gathering evidence against perpetrators

Darsha Udayanga the university student who stormed Media earlier this month with his tales of graphic sexual torture he endured at the hands of students at University of Ruhuna says a group of students is gathering evidence of the ragging.

Talking to journalists in Colombo today (28 Aug) he described the fall out from his expose of the inhuman torture that students have undergone.

Darsha who was a victim of ragging practise that has claimed the lives of many university students in the past was the first to come forward to reveal about the degrading treatment he received.

After Darsha’s expose the authorities moved to arrest the perpetrators. The University Grant Commission (UGC), Human Rights Council (HRC) and Attorney General’s Department are involved in getting justice for the aggrieved students.

“Now questions are being raised as to why only one student came forward to reveal about the ragging,” said Darsha.

There are a lot more who had been ragged in a similar manner and quit University because of these incidents.

“We should do something to give them the justice and protect future student batches from receiving such raggings,” he added.

After 19 of the students in the Ruhuna University were arrested and remanded for ragging, the practice at the Ruhuna University has almost stopped.

He said that the group of raggers have an announcer nicknamed as ‘Gura’ who speaks to the freshers in a way to create the mindset that they should love ragging and that the administration and the management of the university had allowed them to rag the freshers.

“But later we found out that was not true, they even told us if we try to complain about the ragging to the management they would in return send them the names of those who complain,” Darsha said.

Other main characters in the ragging team are known as Bura the leader of the raggers and ‘Bonaparte’ who rags students separately by himself before the main ragging session.

Darsha also added that most of the inhuman raggings and tortures take plae in room no 114 which also known as the ‘Common Room’ in the Medawatta hostel of the university.

Another student from the same university who would like to remain anonymous for now said that he was responsible for gathering evidence within the university from other students who faced such traumatic tortures.

He also said he was able to make 10 more students come forward without fear to speak about the tortures they had received from these raggers.

With the help of the Vice-Chancellor in Ruhuna University, they hope to increase the number of witnesses.

Darsha also said that after the arrest of the 19 students for ragging he had been cornered by rest of the others in the university and other students are also been warned about consequences if they have any contact with him.

He also said that the Student Union of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ruhuna had made media statement inviting the future university students to join them without any fear as the ragging stories are fake.

“A complaint was lodged in the HRC in order to make sure the court case goes in the right direction,” Darsha said.

With the support of the Vice-Chancellor of the Ruhuna University Darsha and other students who were targeted by these cruel tortures has taken the initiative to establish an Anti-ragging Student Movement to prevent future raggings within the university

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Sri Lanka’s shares slip on profit taking and selling pressure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed lower on Wednesday after four consecutive gains in previous sessions spiraled into selling interest and profit taking, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was down 0.28 percent or 24.39 points to 8,722.06, this is the lowest the index has been since May 02, while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was down 0.40 percent or 9.92 points to 2,468.44.

“The market was gaining in the previous sessions and there is selling and profit taking present today, due to continuously being on green,” an analyst said.

In the previous sessions the market was seeing gains, due to lowered policy rates and low inflation stimulating buying interest and driving the sentiment up, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

“There are gradual improvements in the market sentiment, with positive sentiments coming in from lowered policy rates and inflation,” an analyst said.

The market generated foreign inflows of 12 million rupees and received a net foreign inflow of 18 million rupees, due to low share prices and discounted shares followed by a dividend announcement.

The market generated a revenue of 554 million rupees, this is the lowest the turnover has been since May 10, while the daily turnover average was 1 billion rupees. From the total generated revenue, the banking sector contributed 120 million rupees, Diversified Banks contributed 115 million rupees and the Capital Goods Industry generated 78 million rupees.

Top losers during trade were Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and Aitken Spence. (Colombo/June06/2023)

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Sri Lanka Treasuries yields plunge, 12-month down 318bp

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields plunged across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 12-month yield falling 318 basis points, in one of the biggest one day falls, data from the state debt office showed.

The 3-month yield fell 244 basis points to 23.21 percent.

The 6-mont yield fell 339 basis points to 21.90 percent, along with the 12 months to 19.10 percent.

The short-term yield curve is inverted.

The central bank last week cut its policy rate 250 basis points in a signaling move but is not printing money to enforce the rate cut.

The debt office sold all 140 billion rupees of offered securities. (Colombo/June07/2023)

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Sri Lanka forex reserves rise US$722mn in May 2023

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves grew 722 million US dollars to 3,483 million US dollars in May 2023 from 2,761 million US dollars in April, official data showed amid weak credit and better inflows.

Sri Lanka lost almost all its reserve in over two years as the central bank sold reserves and printed money to keep rates down (sterilized reserves sales) including borrowed dollars from India.

Gross official reserves fell to a low of 1,705 million US dollars in September 2022.

Sri Lanka’s central bank hiked rates in April 2022 to slow credit and also stopped printing money after it ran out of borrowed Asian Clearing Union dollars from India.

Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves are made up of both monetary reserves of the central bank and any balances of the Treasury account from loans or grants it gets.

The central bank’s net foreign reserves are still negative after busting up borrowed reserves to suppress rates. By April (before the collection of reserves in May) the central bank’s net reserves were negative by 3.7 billion US dollars.

In May alone 662 million US dollars were bought from the market, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.


No pre-determined level to stop Sri Lanka rupee appreciation: CB Governor

Borrowing dollars through swaps and busting them up, was invented by the US Federal Reserve as it was printing money and breaking the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s.

Sri Lanka received a 350 million US dollar tranche from the Asian Development Bank and 331 million US dollars from the IMF to the Treasury for budget support.

The loans can be sold to the central bank by the government to generate rupees and spend. However, since credit is weak, not all the inflows go out of the country particularly as the central bank is conducting deflationary open market operations on a net basis.

By allowing the rupee to appreciate unlike in previous episodes of recovery in an IMF program, after a bout of money printing, the central bank is bringing down inflation – in some cases absolute prices – and restoring confidence and easing the ‘pain’ of ‘monetary policy’ or stimulus.


Why is Sri Lanka’s rupee appreciating?

Though exports are falling, tourism revenues are also picking up.

The budget support loans, tourism receipts less the reserve collected will widen the trade deficit. Building foreign reserves involves lending money to the US or other western nations and is similar to repaying foreign debt. (Colombo/June07/2023)

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