Abdul Raheem

Abdul Raheem is an investigative researcher based in Colombo

Academic Discreditation vs. Political Power: The Dilemma of Sri Lanka’s South Eastern University


 “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”


  • On 21 December 2022 the UGC informed Minister of Education in writing on the course of action to be taken for SEUSL in terms of powers vested upon the Minister by the Universities Act.
  • As of today, Rameez Aboobacker, a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud, continues to remain the chief executive officer and a professor at SEUSL, a national university run by the government of Sri Lanka at the expense of public funds.

A letter from UGC Chairman Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga to the Ministry of Education officials has recently surfaced making note of the fact that the UGC had informed Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Susil Premajayantha on 21 December 2022 on the course of action to be taken with regard to the situation at SEUSL following their own attention to the matters related to academic and administrative affairs at SEUSL while it is headed by Rameez Aboobacker. Details on the academic and research fraudulences committed by Rameez Aboobacker were brought to light by several articles on various national news media including Sri Lanka Guardian, Daily Mirror, Lankadeepa and TamilMirror. An ultimate summary of the said course of action is widely understood to have been concisely phrased as “a competent authority would be appointed for the Southeastern [sic] University soon” in the minutes of a meeting held between the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) and the UGC held on 27 January 2023 – a statement to have been made by the UGC Chairman Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga, the top-most academic administrative official in the hierarchy of Sri Lankan higher education. As a side note, FUTA should be commended for taking such an uncompromising firm stand on matters of academic fraud in such simple cases of right vs wrong. For the layperson the above information from UGC means that the topmost academics of the Sri Lankan higher education establishment have already decided that Rameez Aboobacker is not fit for the job while there is need for further investigation into what appears to be just the tip of an iceberg for an academic scam at scale – more on that in future expositions.

What remains then?

As is indicated in the letter by the UGC Chairman, the power to remove the vice chancellor of a state university lies in the hands of the minister at the least, as per the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978. In other words, the UGC cannot directly execute the removal of a Vice Chancellor from position. The execution of the recommendation by UGC has to be performed by an elected Peoples’ representative or any other Parliamentarian serving as the Minister of Education, or the Minister of Higher Education, if officially vested with power.

In this account, we point out to the mere fact that despite the written information provided to the Minister of Education, no action has been seen on the matter of Rameez Aboobacker. What lacks? Or better put, what works to safeguard outright corrupt individuals like Rameez Aboobacker while the Sri Lankan academia has decided to no longer leave him with credentials and power that he is no more fit to be entrusted with? We ask this question because the resolution for the matter is well established among the academic community and that the ball is now in the courts of those who deal with ordinary national politics – perhaps we have too many wildly behaving variables at action now than when the matter was under academic and administrative investigation/ scrutiny by the UGC.

The Ministry of Education, has all the authoritative rights to take the necessary actions against Rameez Aboobacker, the current vice chancellor of SEUSL. But the delay shown by The Ministry of Education raises several questions. The biggest one is whether the autonomy of the Sri Lankan Education System is practically superseded by the political willpower. If that is the fact, which is in direct contradiction to the status quo of all places advanced and developed among all of the democratic nations in the world, then it would be an alarming sign for systematic impedance to the maintenance of the quality of the education provided in this country. The influence of politics and politicians in determining the fate of a higher education institution, practically neglecting and eventually contradicting the national expert decisions and even tolerating obvious cases of globally-unacceptable absolute academic wrongdoing, can demolish the opportunity for a higher education of quality that future generations of this beautiful nation can continue to take pride in. The situation worsens even further at a time when the country has come under the watch of many international bodies including IMF – especially when we as a nation demonstrate that we are not even capable of properly handling academic corruption at a state-run university sitting at some periphery of our national higher education system. This issue has the potential to get itself evolve into a national crisis that can have a much greater impact on the course of economic recovery and overall development anticipated by both the government and IMF, at least for the sake of argument.

Literally, Rameez Aboobacker has been identified ineligible to serve as the chief academic and administrative officer at South Eastern University of Sri Lanka since 21st December 2022. But Rameez Aboobacker is still holding the position of Vice Chancellor of SEUSL to date and this is bringing to light an obvious dilemma whether the UGC has its autonomy and power in deciding the quality of higher education in this country; or is it the political system that has the ultimate power, making UGC a mere instrument that’s used as an excuse for bureaucratic time delays, in matters as serious as this? This imbalance in power can be witnessed at the moment through what’s happening in the case of Rameez Aboobacker. A public-funded institution is still being run by a fraud – a failed vice chancellor, whilst UGC has identified serious impact on the academic and administrative affairs at this institute. Another rational question is whether those in power within the government are purposefully destroying the fate of this university. But it should be emphasized that there are more than 6000 students from all parts of the Island and this is a national university – no profiling, be it region-based, ethnic or otherwise, is practically valid considering the actual student demography that is currently benefitting at this university. The government is demolishing the future of these students by maintaining such an undecipherable silence in this issue. His Excellency the President Ranil Wickremesinghe made some strong remarks about SEUSL in his speech a few months back and it is surprising to see his lack of interest in maintaining the quality of this Higher Educational Institute by practically exercising his powers to do what’s right in this crisis of absolute right vs absolute wrong.

Rameez Aboobacker is preparing to hold the Annual General Convocation of this institute in the near future. While UGC considers him ineligible to hold the position of Vice Chancellor, it only makes sense to question whether he will be seen academically and morally eligible to confer degrees to graduates at this moment. He is an academic fraud and conferring degrees under his chairmanship will perhaps be an unpreceded joke in this country since the dawn of Sri Lankan university education system. An ineligible, shameless Vice Chancellor is chairing a convocation to grace the occasion of some of the most precious moments in the life of a graduate – a shame and a humiliating situation brought upon the Sri Lankan higher education system by the political leadership within the Ministry.

In a parliamentary note on 04th April 2023, Hon. Susil Premajayantha stated that the Minister has no power in removing a vice chancellor as he is not the appointing authority. He made this statement in the context of the ongoing conflict regarding the Vice Chancellor of the Ruhuna University. But there is precedence in this country where the Ministers of Higher Education have removed vice chancellors and appointed Competent Authorities. UGC’s letter (Dated 16th March 2023) states that it has informed the Hon. Minister of Education through a letter dated 21.12.2022 regarding the course of action which could be taken in terms of the powers vested in him under the provisions of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978. The Minister and the Ministry of Education have not acted for more than 04 months since the recommendations were given by the UGC. It is then apparent that it is the political power that decides the nature of the Education in this country and not the top-most academic hierarchy such as UGC nor the academic unions such as FUTA. This is a clear case for an education system that’s gone corrupt by means of political power, either by exercising of it or by exercising negligence with authority. Rameez Aboobacker is a practical demonstration for the fact that one may easily become a vice chancellor and a professor (19 of 23 sociology journal articles within almost a year, all except for 3 articles in journals of questionable quality and a sociological recommendation for free medicine for elderly people in Sri Lanka in the year 2015) in this system with fake and fraudulent academic track records. A shame for the whole academic community! If this was a case in other countries, the Vice Chancellors who were found guilty would have resigned themselves or would be removed from their positions by the relevant authorities and their whole academic careers would be in trouble. On the contrary today in Sri Lanka, where we proudly boast about our free education system and the higher literacy rate, we are gradually losing the grip of the integrity and quality of our education system by politically letting fraudulent academics like Rameez Aboobacker go scot-free.

Currently the Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Susil Premajayantha, having not brought into action what was recommended by UGC in December 2022, has handed over all the Duties, Institutes and Power related to higher education to Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan (the State Minister of Higher Education) through a gazette notification on 27th April 2023. Currently the State Minister of Higher Education has the power to execute the Universities Act 16 of 1978. Hon. Minister Dr. Suren Raghavan must certainly be well aware of the seriousness of these absolute academic issues and we believe that he won’t tolerate the academic fraudulences and wrongdoings committed by Rameez Aboobacker and what appears to be a larger ring of academic underworld at SEUSL, of which Rameez Aboobacker just seems to be a prominent and popular figure. These are natural expectations and hopes one normally has on an academic with reputed scholarly track record turned politician. Quite interestingly, Rameez Aboobacker has also been found guilty of plagiarizing content from Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan’s article (published in 2013; http://www.jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/article/view/45 ) and has published a full paper at SEUSL in 2014 while he was a PhD student at the National University of Singapore. This fraudulent article by Rameez Aboobacker was titled “The wave of Sinhala Buddhist Supremacism and Muslims of Sri Lanka” and it can be found in the proceedings of the 4th International Symposium of SEUSL in 2014, from page number 166 to 171. This paper is reportedly made up with nearly 80% of content stolen from the paper published by Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan, the current Minister of Higher Education. What more the Minister needs to better understand this serial plagiarist! The details on this case of plagiarism by Rameez Aboobacker can be discussed in a separate article. The various cases of plagiarism and research fraudulence committed by Rameez Aboobacker and his associates can be made as reference materials for future researchers and academics; and Rameez Aboobacker, without doubt, can be considered the most prominent national case study example to quote when training the future academics and researchers on how not be a researcher. Not a single university Vice Chancellor, at present or in the past, in this country has been identified with this level of academic fraudulences and emergence of Rameez Aboobacker is a shame to the Higher Educational System in this country; the fall can only be our pride – and it’s not too late except for the fact that the SEUSL students who entered the university by the time Rameez Aboobacker took over, have already spent nearly half of their undergraduate life in an academic training under the leadership of an academically corrupt leadership. When the Rameez Aboobacker phenomenon was confined within the academic territory of SEUSL Arts and Humanities, it was one thing; spill over is much more likely and is even reportedly witnessed once the fraud is in power – more on this in a much more detailed coverage of systematic academic fraudulences at SEUSL later. It is surprising to see how the Vice Chancellors from other reputed universities of Sri Lanka allow someone like Rameez Aboobacker to sit next to them in an equal position at various occasions jointly making serious decisions that have impact on the whole of Sri Lankan academia, while being fully aware that Rameez Aboobacker is a demonstrated academic fraud and possibly even knowing that Rameez Aboobacker has been recommended by UGC to be ousted!

The powers from the Universities Act now lie in the hands of Hon. State Minister Dr. Raghavan and it is widely believed that Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan will act promptly to implement the recommendations made by UGC in 21st December 2022 to the Minister of Education Hon. Susil Premajayantha.

Finally, some food for thought for our regular readership:

  1. If a research fraud can be a professor and a university vice chancellor in this country and then imagine the quality of Education provided at this institute under such leadership! No wonder SEUSL couldn’t recover from being the last preference of significant proportions of newcomer students from many streams.
  2. There must be individuals, politicians, authorities, power brokers, corrupt academics and various other influencing characters helping Rameez Aboobacker to hold on to the position of Vice Chancellor to date. These individuals, if any, certainly are a curse to the whole nation due to the fact they directly or indirectly contribute to the demolition of this institute and the future of generations of what could otherwise become invaluable human capital for this economically suffering nation!
  3. When UGC has already recommended to remove Rameez Aboobacker from his position after he has been demonstrated to be a plagiarist and a research fraud, is he still academically and morally (legality aside) eligible to serve as a Vice Chancellor and would the decisions made by him be respected by an academic community after the fact of 21 December 2022 UGC decisions is brought to light?
  4. A Vice Chancellor identified as incompetent in terms of academic integrity and administration and recommended to be ousted by UGC chairs a convocation at SEUSL!
  5. Is there an autonomy for the UGC in this country or can the Politicians simply overrule or neglect the decisions made by the topmost officials of higher education hierarchy even in such black and white matters of absolute academic fraudulence?
  6. Why Rameez Aboobacker is still kept in the position of vice chancellor despite the fact there is a severe impact on the academic and administrative activities at SEUSL?
  7. Does the Academic Community at SEUSL consider the seriousness of this issue and have they acted promptly in this matter?
  8. A Research fraud without any academic integrity is chairing the academic and administrative meetings, conferences and all the evets at SEUSL. But the majority of the SEUSL academic community is keeping quiet in the cases of research fraudulency and academic integrity. Does this allow and accept the wrongdoings of Rameez Aboobacker?
  9. The Universities Act 16 of 1978 gives power to the Minister to exercise all or any of the following matters (a-c) relating to such Higher Educational Institution and what are the recommendations made by the UGC in addition to appointing a Competent Authority at SEUSL among the course of actions a-c?
  10. The closure of such Higher Educational Institution;
  11. The appointment of any person by the name or by office, to be a competent authority for the purpose of exercising, performing or discharging, in lieu of any officer, Authority or other body of such Higher Educational Institution, any power, duty or function under this Act or any appropriate instrument, and
  12. Any other matter connected with or relating to any of the matters aforesaid. 


a. Parliamentary speech by Hon. Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebH_bHt-aBA from 11:42 to 11:56)

b. Gazette notification transferring powers to Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan (link: http://documents.gov.lk/files/egz/2023/4/2329-44_E.pdf)

c. Speech by H.E. the President Ranil Wickramasinghe (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlbiRnnv08E from 10:13 to 11:17)

South Eastern University in Sri Lanka: Apocalypse Continues Due to Government Indifference

South Eastern University of Sri Lanka has had a very steady growth during the last two decades since its establishment. As a significant success story of the university, the establishment of the Engineering Faculty can be considered. This university is producing thousands of graduates in a year. The products of this university comprise students from all parts of the Island with different ethnicities, cultures and languages. The existence of this diversity at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka makes it as a national asset. The main pillar of the university has been the academic integrity maintained throughout the last two decades since its establishment.  Unfortunately, recent reports from the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (SEUSL) is making shocking revelations regarding the current academic bankruptcy related to its academic members.

Academic integrity and academic quality are the main components of a university or an educational institute. The overall quality of the graduates produced from these institutes mainly depends on these factors. When these factors are compromised due to various reasons, then the downfall of an institute can be inevitable and it can affect the undergraduates produced. This can challenge their employability too. There are obvious evidences to show the downfall in the academic integrity and academic quality at South Eastern University of Sri Lanka.

The contributing factors for the loss of academic integrity should be looked very carefully. The appointment of Professor M.M.M. Najim as the Vice Chancellor to this institute has been the starting point to the downfall in administration, academic quality and integrity. Professor Najim has been encouraging the number of publications and professorships throughout his period as the vice chancellor. The numbers were astonishingly very high and the university had many hundreds of publications from the academic members. But Professor Najim has totally forgotten to maintain the quality of these publications.The evaluation of these publications and the professorships are giving evidence of significant poor quality in academic nature. It’s rational to raise a question; whether Professor Najim did this intentionally or he left these matters unnoticed. The harvests of these publication mafias can be seen at this university. There are many numbers of professors and academic staff at SEUSL without proper publication ethics and academic integrity. These staff members have been awarded Senate awards and Vice Chancellor awards during the period of Prof Najim being the vice chancellor. It’s astonishing to see where all those scrutinizing mechanisms gone away during his period! People with publications in predatory journals and false index metrics have been awarded as best researchers!!  The similar scenarios are hardly to be seen in other universities and institutes. The same award-winning papers have been the instrumental to become the professors for such academics at SEUSL. Many questions can be raised about the measures which were taken by Prof. Najim to maintain the academic integrity at SEUSL!He himself being a professor left things going unnoticed in front of his eyes where a publication mafia was operating within the institute. The term ‘publication mafia’ can be used properly to explain the situation existing at SEUSL. Significant number professorships offered during the period of Prof Najim is an evidence to this scenario. The current vice chancellor Rameez Aboobacker and another professor with MSc from SLIIT at the department of Management and Information Technology (MIT), SEUSL are main examples. They had the boosted publication numbers within a year and have applied for the professorships during the next year. The professor at Department of MIT, SEUSL has published the maximum number of publications (nearly 20 indexed publications) during a period of one year and the next year he has become as a professor in Management and Information Technology, SEUSL. The academic community from other universities and the UGC, Sri Lanka might wonder how one individual can publish such a big number of indexed publications himself without involving at any major research projects. But the autopsy of these publications shows that there are various activities of fraudulences associated with these publications (this can be published as a separate investigative article). The SEUSL would be the only university in the whole Sri Lanka which was reluctant to provide the list of publications used by the existing professors to claim their professorships under the Right to Information Act!The Information Officer and the Designated Officers at SEUSL are purposefully violating the provisions in the Right to Information Act in many ways to hide the academic and administrative malpractices occurred within this institute.

The contribution done by Professor Najim in the loss of academic integrity and quality at SEUSL didn’t come to an end with his completion of two terms. The newly appointed vice chancellor, Professor A. Rameez is being another instrumental in bringing this institute to a standstill and to the graveyards. The readers may wonder why the vice chancellors are responsible to these downfalls. To explain precisely, they are the chief academic officers maintaining the academic quality and the smooth functioning of the university.

The story behind Professor A. Rameez is well known to the readers. He has been proven to be a research fraud and his academic integrity is in a big question. But he is the chief executive officer of this institute. When his research fraudulence are looked at in detail, they give a solid evidence for his unsuitability to continue as a vice chancellor and as an academic member. The undergraduates are not allowed to copy or plagiarize in their academic activities according to the examination rules. There are many examination rules and regulations in place to maintain the academic standard among undergraduates. But not a single regulation has been followed with regard to academics, especially in the case of A. Rameez. Professor. Prof. Najim promoted A. Rameez as a professor in sociology within a short period of time to prepare him for the vice chancellor’s chair.  But Professor A. Rameez is making himself a greater example for various types of malpractices related to his academic achievements.  One may wonder, whether the A. Rameez’s professorship application was properly evaluated at various levels! A question to ask is, whether a person with ALL these malpractices may focus on maintaining the academic standard of the programs offered at this institute. The answer is obvious; He cannot maintain the quality of the programs offered at SEUSL. Because he hasn’t had any feeling of guilty or inhibition in his fraudulence.

The history of downfall in academic integrity has started with Professor Najim and it has been accelerated with the appointment of Professor A. Rameez as the vice chancellor. The appointment of Professor A. Rameez as the vice chancellor to SEUSL has occurred in a controversial manner. He has been in the third place in the selection list and he has bypassed the top two candidates in the list by doing nasty politics. It is still a big question, how A. Rameez got appointed while he is having these academic inefficiencies. Even after getting appointed as the vice chancellor, he never tried to restore the academic integrity. The ongoing scenarios are making the situation worse and worse at SEUSL. He is trying to promote various academics as professors with poor academic quality and academic inefficiencies. This may increase the number of professorships at SEUSL, but a significant number of them may fail to prove their academic integrity.

SEUSL is catering for the whole nation. Thousands of students from all parts of the country are doing their studies here. Their academic standard is crucial for their better future and betterment of the nation. Billions of revenuesare being invested here annually. If there is no proper system to investigate and monitor the functioning of this institute by the government, then the responsible authorities also contribute knowingly or unknowingly to this downfall. When this institute reach an irreparable situation, the problem may become a national issue in various ways.

But the University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka has initiated investigation about the academic and administrative practices regarding Prof A. Rameez and it has been evidence that the UGC has suggested appointment of a Competing Authority to SEUSL while removing A. Rameez. Because, one cannot enquire an academic theft with administrative incapacity while he is serving in a big seat of the particular institution. The Minister of Education and H.E President have the main responsibility in this regard. This issue, if not attended immediately by the Minister of Education and H.E President, this is going to affect many generations who are undergraduates here. The quality of the courses, degrees and research programs offered at SEUSL will be in a huge turmoil!

It’s evident that the UGC has recommended the measures to be taken to rectify the situation at SEUSL; the delay in implementing the decision by the Ministry of Education is raising questions whether the government of Sri Lanka is treating this university with partiality without considering it as a national university under any political circumstances or any other reasons.The Ministry of Education and the Government of Sri Lanka should implement an absolute decision immediately to rectify the academic fraudulency and administrative inefficiency at SEUSL to open a way for the investigation and rectification. The delay in implementing the decision by UGC is a greater betrayal to the whole country, where the Ministry of Education allows the fraudulent professors to enjoy the tax payers’ money during this miserable situation of the country!

Inside Story:  Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka – Part 2


In his response to our first part of this series, Prof. A. Rameez, Vice Chancellor, Professor in Sociology, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Oluvil, has said the following in an email. “As I was engaged in an official duty over the last two days, I couldn’t write to you. I know that you have published an article referring to my academic integrity in your website yesterday. You could have sought my clarification on the contents of the article before being published in your website. I just wonder who this investigative journalist is. However, many people are in the pursuit of tarnishing the image of University in the public domain due to various reasons. Hence, he may also have some ulterior motives behind his move. Having said that, I am now consulting people to legally approach this matter.”

Editor’s Note: As far as ethical journalism is concerned, it is our responsibility to publish his response in full without any redactions, stressing that the Vice-Chancellor must have known that questioning the author’s details was indecent. However, we as the editorial board wish to emphasize again that Sri Lanka Guardian always welcome responses from the named parties in this part of the series as well.

Rogue Academics’ Behavioral Intension to Recycle Research Fraudulence: A Study of a duplicate publication of plagiarism by Professor A. Rameez, the Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka

Less important quote for the sake of looking fancy: “Here he used his talents for deviousness and vitriol in a more socially acceptable way, successfully conducting a major campaign against counterfeiting, even sending several men to their death on the gallows” – Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time.

In part one of this series, the readers were presented with some solid evidence for some serious research fraudulences committed by the current Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (SEUSL). Now that we have the audience sufficiently oriented, we will proceed on to gradually expose more and more of the research fraudulences and academic malpractices that are plaguing this institution of higher education, thanks to the likes of intellectual conmen like A. Rameez.

The recent article covered the plagiarism contained in the two publications below by A. Rameez:

  1. Rameez, A., M. Riswan, and N. Lumna. “Ageing and health seeking behaviour: a medical sociological approach to Nintavur divisional secretariat, Sri Lanka.” (2015).
  2. Rameez, A. “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis.” (2016).

In this article we focus on some further findings on research fraudulence by A. Rameez, who is serving as a professor in sociology since 2019 and the vice chancellor of SEUSL since 2021.

Evidence in Summary:

  • A. Rameez published in 2016 part of his M.Phil. research conducted until 2010. This 9-page long publication text contained stolen text for three pages.
  • A. Rameez re-published the same 2016 article, a 100% copy, in a different journal with the same stolen content.

A. Rameez, being the sole author, has published in 2019 an article in Volume 7 Issue No. 1 of the print-only journal “Journal ofClassical Thamizh: A Quarterly International Multilateral Thamizh Journal (Arts & Humanities)” (Tamil name: செம்மொழித் தமிழ்: பன்னாட்டுப் பன்முகத் தமிழ் காலாண்டு ஆய்விதழ் (கலை & மனிதவியல்)) (ISSN: 2321-0737). The title of the article, not-so-surprisingly for us at this stage of our understanding on the workings of academically degenerate small-brains, is “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis”. Interestingly, this 12 pages long article by A. Rameez is the only English-language article in this entire Classical Thamizh journal issue with 278 pages. On a different note, the publisher’s note for authors on their website (link https://rajapublications.wixsite.com/journals/author-centre) requires authors to submit content for 7 pages minimum for each article, yet there exist articles that are only 3 pages long – a possible indication on the compromising nature of the journal itself. This article, or the version-with-zero-changes to be precise, has been published in 2019, about three years after the item 2 covered in our previous article was published. It is worthwhile noting that the content of this article can be considered as a publication of a part of his research conducted for his M.Phil. degree – a degree he was granted after his claims for years-long research study following his defense of a dissertation written based on his research work. It is also interesting to note that A. Rameez published the item 2 covered in our previous article after about 5 years. The relevant timeline is summarized below:

  • 2010: A. Rameez graduates with M.Phil. after defending his dissertation
  • 2016: A. Rameez publishes an article titled “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis” in KALAM -International Research Journal
  • 2019: A. Rameez publishes an article titled “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis” in Journal of Classical Thamizh: A Quarterly International Multilateral Thamizh Journal (Arts & Humanities)

We find that the KALAM version of the article on social capital is hosted by the electronic repository of SEUSL libraries – link here (http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/5251*). However, the Classical Tamil version of the same article is not included in the SEUSL e-repository, nor is it to be found in the Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles of A. Rameez. However, we get to notice it in the Curriculum Vitae posted at the Faculty of Arts and Culture webpage of SEUSL – link here (https://www.seu.ac.lk/fac/staff/academic/fac/rameez/cv.pdf). This publication is listed as “Rameez, A. (2019). Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 319-330, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.” in the CV of A. Rameez.

In conclusion we now have evidence for what’s called ‘self-plagiarism’ in the language employed by UGC to describe various forms of plagiarism; or simply duplicate publication. Of interest is the fact that A. Rameez chose to duplicate-publish an article with three pages of raw plagiarized material! Even more interesting is that he had to publicize his plagiarism when publishing part of his research carried out for his postgraduate degree at two different points in time, once when it was 5 years past his M.Phil. graduation and once again when it was 9 years after his M.Phil. graduation – an evidence for sustained academic bankruptcy and persistent dishonesty of this rogue academic. For those either with a lack of capability to discern such simple mischief or with other forms of inexpressible guilt for similar academic offenses, we feel that there is an explicit need to restate here that the 2019 version of A. Rameez’s publication on Social Capital is a 100% copy of his 2016 version and that both of them contain three-pages-long plagiarized material from one single source (Hazleton & Kennan, 2000) in addition to other plagiarized content.

Is it that A. Rameez had already forgotten that he got his manuscript on social capital already published in the journal KALAM when he thought of publishing his thesis-inspired paper in Classical Thamizh in year 2019? Or was it something else? Perhaps a rush for publications before submitting his application/ self-evaluation-report for professorship in 2019? Or is it that A. Rameez considers that a publication in the Tamilnadu-based print-only journal would be looked at favorably than the version that appeared in the journal run by their own faculty? Rumor has it that A. Rameez got about 07 research articles published in the year 2019 alone by the publishing company of the journal Classical Thamizh, Raja Publications – we can get this count verified if and when SEUSL, a public authority currently headed by A. Rameez with A. Rameez himself functioning as the Designated Officer for Information, gets an opportunity in future to release the information on the list of publications attached along with his application for professorship. One wonders how much it costs to get published in the journal Classical Thamizh, how long it takes to get an article published there, what are the scrutinizing practices – including check for plagiarism – employed by the editors and finally how much of possibly reimbursed public funds had been effectively flushed out of the country as foreign currency in 2019 by A. Rameez!

Acts of self-plagiarizing duplicate publication of articles composed of content stolen from other published scholars can only be done by a Research Fraud who doesn’t have any sort of inhibition for intellectual theft and any sense of fear for losing honor. This leading SEUSL academician in sociology and a self-appointed apostle of research and publication must have well been aware that the Classical Thamizh version of his publication was only going to be available as a printed material and not on the internet (publisher’s website here: http://www.rajapublications.com/) whilst the KALAM version of his publication was to remain in the e-repository of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/5251), thereby ruling out the possibility for any detection of his act of plagiarism using contemporary software solutions.

The figures below show the 2019 version of the print-only publication by A. Rameez, the content of which once belonged to the copyrighted journal KALAM.


Inside Story: Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka


This investigative report is open for response as the accused have been named by the reporter-editors

As funny, stupid and pseudo-intellectual as it may sound, the above title of this article is not what I initially intended to give it. The originally intended title is along the lines of “A Case of Serial Plagiarism…” or something like When the Vice Chancellor is a Plagiarist – more on this in the later parts. Now welcome to some enlightenment.

Presented below is a summary of findings we had the misfortune to make after having a compelling urge to study the academic profile of this intellectual from South Eastern Sri Lanka: Professor Aboobacker Rameez. A. Rameez is currently the Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka since 2021 and a professor in sociology at this higher education institution since 2019. Some readers would also be familiar with the name from many op-ed articles he has authored for Colombo Telegraph, references to which can also be found at his Google Scholar profile page and Research Gate profile – maintained for a delicate balance between keeping it clean and being still stocked with stuff, reportedly due to Webometrics ranking requirements. Some of his newspaper-published scholarly works being listed in these research database profile pages were published by the online Tamil news website jaffnamuslim.com.      

While lacking the necessary tools and this being a pastime activity triggered initially by personal pursuits, and despite the attempts of the university administration headed by A. Rameez himself to repeatedly deny information on his publications he used for his promotion as a professor by merit in response to right-to-information requests, we were still able to find to our own shock and surprise the fact that serious acts of plagiarism and academic-mafia-like practices had been freely allowed in the most carefree ways.

Evidence in summary:

  • A. Rameez stole nearly 80% of the abstract of a published journal article covering actual research conducted in Nigeria and he published it as an abstract of his own work carried out in Sri Lanka
  • A. Rameez stole written content from another published, properly peer-reviewed Scopus-indexed journal article and composed about 3-pages long content, without a single modification, for his own article submitted to the journal run by his own faculty

A formal complaint regarding this matter has been made to the Council of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka via the Registrar of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. All the council members of SEUSL have been presented with evidences of these offenses, which are termed Research Fraud in the language employed by UGC for describing offenses of this nature.

An extended summary of our findings is presented below for the amusement of the general public who are contributing financially and in various other ways directly or indirectly for the proliferation of activities of the sort that is being reported here.

  1. A. Rameez plagiarized nearly 80% of the abstract of O. Odaman et al. (2014)

A. Rameez, being the primary and corresponding author has published an abstract in the South Eastern University Arts Research Session 2015. The title of the Abstract is “Ageing and Health Seeking Behaviour: A Medical Sociological Approach to Nintavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka”. The following table shows a side-by side comparison of passages extracted from the abstract submitted by A. Rameez for publication against the abstract of a research article that had already been published.

Rameez et al. (2015)Odaman et al. (2014)
It focused on the most common health related problems of elderly: revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick, and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.It focused on the most common health related problems of the elderly; revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick; and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.
The findings show that, the majority of the elderly persons had age associated physical illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.Majority of the elderly persons (62.7%) had age associated illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.
More elderly males than female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visit chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.More elderly males than their female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visited chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.
This research suggested that, the government should puts in place programmes that would ensure good health behaviour and elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and other health care centres.It is recommended that elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and health centers because they would utilize the health services when available, accessible and affordable.

Notice that the work allowed to be published by the editorial committee of the Book of Abstracts of South Eastern University Arts Research Session (2015) makes the suggestion, as an outcome of the supposed research findings, that the elderly people should be provided free healthcare in Sri Lanka! We believe that it’s needless to say that unlike in the case of Nigeria, the Governments of Sri Lanka have been providing free healthcare for all of its citizens in all of Sri Lanka not only at the time this abstract was being presented and was being issued in print, possibly out of public funds, but since long before that until now and far into the future for sure.

If word counts are to be used as a crude estimate to indicate the severity of the rogue academic conduct with such a shallow level of sophistication in carefree plagiarism, we observe that of the 185 words that have been originally used for composing the abstract of Odaman et al., the abstract of Rameez et al. employs more than 80 percent of the words (149 out of 185) to compose itself.

The abstract published by Rameez et al. can be found in the Book of Abstracts published by SEUSL on 22nd December 2015.

This abstract can also be found at http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/1532

The figure below portrays A. Rameez in the act, with hijacked text highlighted in yellow:

The work published by Odaman et al. can be found here. The article has been published in Vol. 7, No. 1 (2014), pp. 201-210 of International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities (ISSN 2248-9010 (Online), ISSN 2250-0715 (Print)).

The figure below shows how A. Rameez et al. did a stealth-mode robbery of the intellectual effort of Odaman et al., with the stolen text highlighted in yellow:

Anyone serious enough to access and look at the actual content of Odaman et al. would appreciate the true effort the original authors have put into their work despite what the title and abstract look like. And those familiar with social sciences will admit that often text itself is the very embodiment of ideas.

  1. A. Rameez published a journal article with 3 pages long content stolen straight from a journal article by Hazleton & Kennan (2000)

A. Rameez, being the sole author has published an article in KALAM -International Research Journal, Faculty of Arts and Culture, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Volume X Issue 1, 2016. The title of the Article is “Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis”.

A. Rameez’s Publication is available at http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/5251  (available at SEUSL e-repository).

The figure below of the article by A. Rameez, with the stolen content highlighted in yellow, should indicate the proportionality of the content discovered to have been stolen word-for-word from just one single source (other stolen content not indicated):

A. Rameez has plagiarized for his publication from here (Scopus entry: Here )

A. Rameez’s publication (Page numbers 05 to 08 highlighted in Yellow) has copied the above mentioned publication by Vincent Hazleton and William Kennan (Social capital: reconceptualizing the bottom line; Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Number 2 . 2000. pp. 81-86) word for word from page numbers 82-84.

The figure below shows the proportionality of the content stolen word-for-word from the work of Hazleton & Kennan, with the portions in yellow being the stolen content.

Of about nine pages of writing contributed by A. Rameez for this journal issue, about three pages come straight from the composition of Hazleton and Kennan verbatim, even with citations as they appear in the work of the original authors, but without being listed in the list of references of the publication by A. Rameez! For example, we see the original article of Hazleton from year 2000 referring to articles by themselves from 1993, 1998 and 1999; but the article by A. Rameez only has the one by Hazleton from 2000 in his list of references, meaning that the readers (and obviously the reviewers of this SEUSL journal) would have no idea what those articles of Hazleton from 1993, 1998 and 1999 actually were/ are. Other examples include such questions of curious readership of Rameez on where they can actually locate the original works referred to as Monge (1987), Garfinkel (1967) etc., all of which, interestingly are properly listed at the end of the original, genuine work of Hazleton and Kennan (2000). Apart from this 3 pages long direct stealing of written scholarly work by Hazleton and Kennan that I have brought to light here, there are various other curiosity-provoking pointers to other possibly interesting findings that are possible from a thorough investigation on the rest of the 6 pages of this publication by A. Rameez; one such pointer for example is the curious question of what exactly Portes published along with Landolt in year 1996.

These two items above bring to light the evident lack of academic honesty & integrity on the part of Prof. A. Rameez and the evident lack of scrutiny and review practices of any level of rigor concerning the two publications above. It is interesting to note that we don’t see A. Rameez having published any work on healthcare seeking behaviour of the elderly other than the single abstract above plagiarizing the work of Odaman et al. It is also interesting to note that A. Rameez obtained his M.Phil. degree in 2010 by writing a dissertation titled “The Role of Social Capital in Disaster Management: A Study of a Tsunami Affected Coastal Village in Eastern Sri Lanka”, a work possibly very similar in theme to his publication in item 2 above (Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis); yet we find him after five years with the necessity to plagiarize to produce 3-pages long content for a journal article on a related topic.

Under these circumstances, it is evident that the intellectual con artist who produced the two fraudulent publications above is guilty of one of the gravest academic offenses: Plagiarism. Being non-hesitant, uninhibited and not-insightful about copying the published, reviewed works of other academics and scholars is a major evidence of academic bankruptcy of the person in concern. With such a history of Research Fraudulence, Professor A. Rameez being a Vice Chancellor of a Higher Education Institution, and thereby being the head/ chairperson/ overseeing authority/ supervising authority on almost all of its academic, academic-administrative and academic-disciplinary matters, can severely affect the academic and administrative integrity of the institution in question. This can lead to demolition of high standard academic culture, accountability and transparency in research and dissemination and the quality of the academic programs offered at the University.

Questions for the readers are below:

  1. What are the roles played by editors and reviewers (if any) of books of abstracts and journals published by the Faculty of Arts and Culture of SEUSL?
  2. What are the impacts on the undergraduate education and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  3. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  4. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  5. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  6. What are the impacts on the postgraduate education, postgraduate research programmes and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  7. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  8. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  9. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  10. What are the impacts on the academic administration processes including recruitment of BEST OF THE BEST academic staff and appointment of directors & heads of various divisions & departments at this Sri Lankan state university
  11. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  12. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  13. What are the impacts on the disciplinary processes in academic matters at this Sri Lankan state university
  14. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  15. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?