After releasing 7 of 13 students of the University of Jaffna, the Sri Lankan ‘Terrorist’ Investigation Department has handed over detained students, comprising President of the Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU) V Pavaananthan, Secretary of the JUSU P. Tharshananth, President of the Arts Faculty Students Union K. Jenemajeyamenan and S. Solomon of the Science Faculty, to the headquarters of the SL military in Vanni, which placed the students at the torture chamber of the notorious Joint Services Special Operations (JOSSOP) camp in Vavuniyaa and later transferred them to Sri Lankan military ‘rehabilitation’ detention at Welikanda in Polonnaruwa – Batticaloa border, where ex LTTE cadres and members are detained under a brutal ‘rehabilitation’ programme. In the meantime, SL military has stepped up threats against civil protests in the North.
The JUSU leader had earlier sought humanitarian protection from the SL Human Rights Commission in Jaffna, but the office in Jaffna had declined to provide such protection. The SL Human Rights Commission in Jaffna had ‘explained’ to him that it was not operating during the weekend when he had approached the office.
Later, accompanied by a Dean and two other students of the University of Jaffna, he went to the TID office in Vavuniyaa.
Tamil activists in Jaffna blame the University administration, particularly the Vice Chancellor of the University Ms Vasanthy Arasatnam, for not revealing the details on how the students were getting transferred to the SL military torture chamber and into military ‘rehabilitation’.
The TID unit in Vavuniyaa operated by Colombo’s defence ministry has obtained 3-months detention order to detain the four students.
However, informed sources said that the students were being sent to Welikanda with a motive to keep them under SL military ‘rehabilitation’ programme for at least one year.
In the meantime, a TID investigation unit had visited the University taking photos of the site where a signboard inscribed with the Pongku Thamizh Declaration was made in 2001. They were also taking photos of the memorial for Tamil Heroes inside the University premises that had already been destroyed in recent times, and recorded statements from the guards.
The SL military, which has been waging a terror campaign against the students, has also started to threaten the civilians participating in the protests.
The Sri Lankan military on Monday attempted to stage a ‘demonstration’ by bringing in around 30 collaborators and goons attached to the SLFP to counter the demonstration jointly organised by a an umbrella group consisting Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) and New-Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party (NDMLP) together with the Nava Samaja Party (NSSP).
However, hundreds of participants, including the civilians from Ki’linochchi, foiled the attempt by the SL military by their active participation in the protest in front of the District Secretariat in Ki’linochchi.
Although Mr Suresh Premachandran of the TNA took part in the protest, the participants were disappointed at the conduct of certain ITAK parliamentarians who were not present at the protest.
In the meantime, the Jaffna University Teachers’ Association and the Jaffna University Students Union have said that they would continue their protest campaign against the detention of the students.