SL military coerces Jaffna University students to closed-door talks
The commander of the occupying Sinhala military in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, intimidated leaders of the boycotting students of the Jaffna University to come for a closed-door meeting at the occupation headquarters on Wednesday to tell them that the SL military would not provide security to students if they engage in political or social activities. The students were boycotting classes since last Friday, after an attack on the students’ union secretary, Mr. Dharshananth, when he was going to the university to organise Mu’l’livaaykkaal remembrance. Demanding security assurance to come from the Vice Chancellor of the university, earlier the students refused to talk directly with the occupying military unless it was an open meeting involving the media. But through the VC the military threatened the students of ‘dire consequences’ to force them into a closed-door meeting.
There was a nuance in the students expecting the security assurance to come from the Vice Chancellor Professor Vasanthi Arasaratnam who had come to the position with the support of the EPDP paramilitary leader and SL minister Douglas Devananda.
Last year the president of the Jaffna University Students’ Union, Mr. Thavabalasingham was attacked during the remembrance event and the boycotting students resumed to studies after security assurances were given by the occupying military.
More number of Sinhala and Muslim students has been admitted to Jaffna University this year. As they have gone back home following the boycott, the news of the Jaffna University situation has found highlight in the Colombo media.
Hence, colonial Colombo’s Defence Ministry has sent direct orders to Jaffna University administration to start the classes immediately. This is the background of Hathurusinghe ordering the VC to bring the student leaders to him for a closed-door meeting through threat, news sources in Jaffna said.
The Vice Chancellor and some from the faculty also went with the student representatives to meet the occupying commander.
During the meeting, when Hathurusinghe in a casual way came out with the usual hoodwink and rhetoric of assuring security, the students confronted him saying that the matter is serious, student community is in rage, and measures need to be genuine and trustworthy. This has become a practice with the military to give assurances and then to breach them, they pointed out.
Hathurusinghe then came out with true face of the occupying Sinhala military saying that students should do only studies and he could not assure them security when they engage is political or social activities. His military is not answerable to the attacks, he said.
The general was silent when the student representatives pointed out that last year when the student union president was attacked, there was an assurance that covered the political freedom of students.
In short, the message from the occupying Sinhala military is that the Tamil students don’t have the right to even remember their dead and Tamils in general don’t have the right to memory.
The same SL military conducted Mu’l’livaaykkal ‘victory’ day at its ‘fortress’ at Palaali in Jaffna on Thursday last week, for which Tamil school children were forced to attend and present ‘medals’ to the Sinhala soldiers participated in the genocidal war against Tamils.
Despite personal insults heaped at him by the Sinhala military, the Indian diplomat in Jaffna Mr. V. Mahalingam decided to grace the occupying military’s show last Thursday.
Maj. Gen Hathurusinghe was awarded Gucci Peace Prize at Philippines immediately after the genocidal war, and the occupying Sinhala military paraded it as an “Asian Nobel Prize”.
One has to look upon to the US State Department to understand the dynamics of ‘militarized reconciliation’, political activists in Jaffna commented.