People of Jaffna were shocked to see Prof Balakumaran, the Medical Faculty Dean of the University of Jaffna under pressure, handing over five students of his faculty directly to Sri Lanka’s military intelligence on Thursday. Another student of the Science Faculty was handed over by his father. When the students were first taken to the SL police at Koappaay, the police refused to take charge of them saying that they had no ‘instructions’ and directed the university authorities to take the students to Military Intelligence headquarters in Jaffna. The students who were handed over were immediately taken to Vavuniyaa where a notorious unit of Colombo’s White Van defence functions. While escorting the students the Medical Faculty dons scared of even taking the students in their cars asked them to come in motorbikes.
The occupying SL military was individually intimidating the deans and former deans of all the faculties of the university.
The Medical Dean was not acting on his own, but was directed by another faculty member Dr. Raviraj, who was earlier in the EPDP-controlled Council of the University and by one more faculty member, Dr Mukunthan, informed sources said.
Out of the four students detained earlier this week, one has been released, but three are kept in SL military detention in Vavuniyaa.
After handing over six more students, the university authorities under pressure are in a hurry to call off the protest, declare ‘normalcy’ and open the university for classes. But the media and public, aware of the realities, took no notice of their statements.
The Jaffna University is getting into a situation reminding of the Dhaka University under the Pakistani military in 1970-71. Whether the West and India are going to allow another worst to happen as they allowed the genocidal Vanni War, or whether they are going to act accepting their blunders, ask social and humanitarian workers in Jaffna.
The medical faculty students in the universities all over the island are known for their timidity and submissiveness in shunning any protests usually spearheaded by the other faculties. Those who know the history of the medical faculties in the island were surprised to see so many of the ‘wanted’ students coming from the medical faculty of the University of Jaffna. That is the reality of the times and the reality of a genocide-affected society, commented a senior faculty member of the university.
The Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) plans to hold a press meet in Colombo on Friday to protest the occupying military’s brutal crackdown on the democratic expressions of Tamil students.
The so-called international media and its reporting infrastructure still operates and thinks Colombo-centric as it was in the times of the genocidal war, commented a senior Tamil journalist in Colombo.