Occupying Sri Lanka’s Governor of North and war crimes accused former SL commander of Jaffna, Major General (retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, has instructed the Jaffna Municipal Council administration to immediately remove the computer section at the Jaffna Public Library, used by the readers of the library for viewing electronic documents, to construct a modern toilet there for the benefit of the visitors from the South. CVK Sivagnanam of the Council of NGOs in Jaffna District has sent an urgent letter to SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and stop the destructive move. Talking to media, Mr. Sivagnanam on Monday warned to wage a campaign if the move is not abandoned by timely intervention. The news has already upset the wider community of the Eezham Tamils in the district, the veteran civil and political activist further said.
The director of Hindu Affairs Ministry of Northern Province, Ms. Sridevi, had come to inspect the site following the instructions to close down the computer section at the second floor, officials at the Jaffna Library told media on condition of anonymity.
The officials were not able to respond on the question whether the computer section would be relocated.
Meanwhile, informed civil sources elsewhere in the civil administration said that the SL governor was aiming at the comfort of visitors to the auditorium situated in the second floor of the Jaffna Library. They also said the officials at the library have been threatened by sections of the ruling UPFA and the EPDP.
The auditorium is often deployed for the use of SL governor’s Sinhala visitors from south and a modern toilet facility is needed for the use of colonial governor’s southern visitors, who do not wish to share the toilet in the first floor of the library.
For this purpose, the computer section of the library, established with British and US aid, is to be discarded.
Jaffna Municipal Council administration is controlling the affairs of the public library and the SL governor has given the instruction to remove the compute centre through Jaffna Mayor, Ms. Yogeswari Patkunam, who is a representative of the ruling UPFA of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the EPDP paramilitary of SL minister Douglas Devananda.
The SL governor G.A. Chandrasiri was the former commander of the SLA in Jaffna. Thousands of persons ‘disappeared’ in Jaffna district during the term of Maj. Gen. Chandrasiri and the people of Jaffna regard him as a war criminal, civil sources in Jaffna said.
The Sri Lankan Police and Sinhala thugs burned down the Jaffna public library in 1981 on the eve of the district development council elections.
The library, considered as one of the finest in South Asia containing a cultural heritage that comprised around 97,000 priceless books and about 150 centuries’ old irreplaceable Tamil manuscripts, lost its entire collection when the original two storied building was destroyed.
Widely regarded by the global Tamils as an act of cultural vandalism, the destruction of Jaffna library by the predominantly Sinhalese police has long been a point of resentment.