The Eastern University in Batticaloa is helpless to political appointments made to its governing council by Colombo, said the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University, Professor K. Gobindarajah, following a recent appointment to the council backed by SL Deputy Minister V. Muralitharan alias Karuna causing the students to boycott classes for the third day on Saturday. The appointment of Dr Jaffer, director of the Kalmunai Base Hospital, to the council membership vacated by the demise of Fr. Sylvester Sritharan, is aimed at capturing and silencing the spirit of the university by paramilitary groups operating with the regime in Colombo, said students in Batticaloa. Such appointments theoretically made by the University Grants Commission are dangerously politicised in recent times especially with the universities in the north and east.
Sometimes back, the occupying Colombo has appointed a Sinhala Competent Authority to run the Eastern University, but students thwarted the effort.
As the Eastern University, like the Jaffna University, remains a centre for the liberation spirit of the Tamil-speaking nation in the island, the Colombo regime and its operators of paramilitary politics try all means to capture and make the university impotent, students said.
The SL Deputy Minister Muralitharan alias Karuna and Eastern Chief Minister S. Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyaan, both deserted the LTTE, are now competing to capture the university.
Even the appointment of the current Vice Chancellor was not beyond politics. Collaborative politics first, education is secondary; is the situation in the university, students further commented.
The Catholic Bishop of Batticaloa has suggested the name of a priest for the vacant post in the governing council where maintaining balance is a very sensitive issue (6 Tamils, 3 Muslims and 3 Sinhalese).
The students union of the university has now demanded that a Christian priest should be appointed to the slot in the governing council.
The boycott will continue until the matter is resolved, said the president of the Eastern University students’ union, T Krishnananth.
No changes will be made in the appointment, says, SL minister MLAM Hisbullah, citing the SL Education Ministry.