An Interview with Thushara Jayarathna
(October 31, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Here is an Interview with Thushara Jayarathna who filed the case against Namal Rajapakse, son of President Rajapakse. It is widely believed that the Head of Law College facilitated Namal Rajapakse to have extraordinary benefits during the final Law exam, which benefits were not facilitated for others sitting the exam.
Despite submissions on this basis - the case was recently dismissed by the court. “Political interfered especially by the President who is the father of Namal Rajapakse may have influenced the decision taken by the court,” Thushara has pointed out.
But Thushara , an energetic and intelligent guy who says he is never going to give up the continues to fighting for justice. Thishara has talked to the Sri Lanka Guardian from Colombo and expresses his feelings on present and his future plans:
01. Tell us briefly about your back ground?
I am Dasanayaka Mudiyansalage Thushara Jayarathna, from Nugegoda. I was registered at the Law College under registration no : 17988. I won gold medal in ‘addressing the jury’ and I was a captain of the law college debate team. Currently I am hiding myself due to security reasons. After my abduction my father suffered brain hemorrhage. Now he is severely handicapped. My mother has also become a disabled person. I have no source of income and now I‘m totally living out of welfare from my friends.
02. You fundamental rights petition has been rejected by the court; how doyou feel?
I filed fundamental rights petition with the assistance of a local Human Rights Group and Attorney At Law Lakshan J.S. Dias. On 25 October 2011, Deputy Solicitors General Shavendra Fernando and Nerinpulle objected to the case being accepted – on the basis of the application being ‘out of time’. D.S. Wijesinghe PC appeared for Namala Rajapakse, made the same objection and the case was dismissed after the Court heard my submission to the above objections. I feel is that this judgment does not satisfy intentional standards and also that the Judiciary have been influenced by President Mahinda Rajapase. I believe this is a judgment under political influence. From the bottom of my heart, I thank my lawyer and all those who helped me, despite knowing that this was likely to happen. To me, their help was an act of belief in Justice and in my courage.
03. Did you yourself witness Mr. Namal Rajapakse who is a son of the President Rajapakse and currently Member of Parliamentof the ruling party, being facilitated with auxiliary benefits that other students did not have, when he sat the exam conducted by the Law College of Sri Lanka?
On 3rd December 2010, I made an official complaint about irregularities in the Law College examination system. I registered also a complaint at the Keselwaththa Police Station. Following my complaint which garnered a lot of attention within the college, in the media and by the Asian Human RightsCommission, I was summoned before college authorities on 11th January2011 and asked to explain the exact nature of the irregularities. I then listed three main complaints as follows:
1. The college allowed Mr. Namal Rajapakse to appear for his exam in an air-conditioned room with internet facilities. This is in direct contravention of rule 60 of the college's own exam code as well as article 12(1) of the constitution. Rule 60 of the exam code clearly states that candidates may not have any books or learning aids with them for the duration of the examination. It also does not allow mobile phones - even if they have been switched off. However Mr. Rajapakse was allowed an internet enabled computer on his table. I saw Mr. Rajapakse enter that hall and I clearly stated as much at the time of registering my complaint.
2. The question paper on the third day was leaked. I witnessed two candidates discussing the question paper before the exam began.
3. The college registrar used the Law College official phone line to make a threat to my life on 6th December 2010. I was thus, as a result of these threats , in no condition to appear for the Accounts paper.
The head of the institution then informed me that he would make a copy of my statement available to me. However I have not received a copy todate. The honorable principal of the Law College then stated to local media that I had made the complaint against the institution and went on to dismiss the complaints as mere hearsay, on the basis I was not fluent in English. I immediately wrote a letter to the Honorable Chief Justice on 26th of January 2011, strongly condemning these statements. I am making arrangements to send you acopy of the letter as an attachment. In the letter I clearly stated that my complaints were not based on hearsay but on what I had personally witnessed (seen and heard) and known. I sent the letter by registered post.
With regards to the death threat I received, I would like to draw your attention to a statement by the former Chief justice to BBC Sandeshaya, where he said that if any candidate was allowed to appear for the exam in an air conditioned room it would be a clear and serious violation of the institute's own exam code and would indeed call the entire examination system into question. The Hon. Principal made a statement to the media saying that Namal Rajapakse was given an AC room in which to sit for the exam since there was no space in the other examination halls. In my letter sent to the Chief Justice, I pointed out that this claim was absolutely false, since there was plenty of space to accommodate candidates in my own examination hall. The Hon. Principal then made a statement to the media that a decision concerning me had been made on the 17th. However after I sent my letter to the Chief Justice, the Hon Chief Justice, in a response to BBC Sandeshaya, said that a decision in this regard had not been taken as yet and that the matter was still under investigation
04. How do you feel about your security? Are you under threat because you tried to find justice against the unjust?
I hope that you may know after this case that I was abducted; I was beaten up in my own home and made to forcibly sign documents. I was hiding myself in Hatton church after I escaped from the Hatton Police who abducted me and tried to kill me. Hatton Police ordered the parish priest to hand me over to them. In terms of my current situation, no one has come forward to help me, because according to my knowledge they too have got threats. I live with my friend and am undergoing difficulties as I change my location every day.
05. What is your future plan?
I would request your help in presenting my case before the international Human Rights Court in Geneva. I believe that what took place in the Law College examination is not only a sign of the institution compromising its own examination code, but also sets a dangerous precedent. If this is allowed to continue, I believe that we may soon be faced with a situation where the children of prominent politicians will be allowed to appear for even the Law College entrance examination in unfair conditions. I assure all concerned that I will fight to reestablish the Rule of law until my last breath. I humbly request all right thinking people to help me in my pursuit for Justice.