Amidst continued boycott of classes by the students of Jaffna University, two of the four detained student activists of the Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU) have been released on Tuesday in Vavuniyaa. The release comes following the exposure of reports that the SL Defence establishment and the Secretary of Education did not keep their ‘secret’ promise to the Colombo-appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna Ms Vasanthi Arasaratnam. The President of JUSU, Mr V Pavananthan and student activist S. Solomon of the Science Faculty were released in front of the Vice Chancellor and Deans who were on their way to Welikande to visit the students, who were subjected to SL ‘military rehabilitation’. In the meantime, the SL military in Jaffna is on a ‘search operation’ threatening the families of two students who are in hiding.
While the news of the release of the two was interpreted as a victory by the students in Jaffna, the continued detention of two prominent leaders of the JUSU and renewed harassment indicated that the SL military was still focused on waging a terror campaign against the students, student activists in Jaffna said.
The SL defence establishment and education secretary had secretly promised the Colombo-appointed Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University that two of the detained students would be released before 14 January and the other two would be released after that, in order to persuade the VC and other members of the university administration to pressurize the students to drop the boycott and resume classes by the first week of January.
The secret promises were made by the SL Education Secretary J.B. Dissanayake and by the Commander of the occupying Sinhala military in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, informed sources say.
This made the VC to go to the extent of her resignation threat and other threats to prevail upon the student representatives to agree to the reopening on 08 January.
However, a large number of students avoided attending the classes despite the threat by the SL military.
The release comes as Jaffna University student circles were enraged over the silence maintained by the university administration and by the SL defence and education establishments.
A delegation comprising a section of Deans from the university together with the VC, was forced to make a trip to Sri Lanka’s occupying military base at Welikanda in the East on Tuesday to meet the student representatives detained and are undergoing ‘military rehabilitation’ there.
The students of the University of Jaffna have been boycotting classes for more than 2 months.
The TID unit in Vavuniyaa operated by Colombo’s defence ministry had inititally obtained 3-months detention order to detain the four students.
Secretary of the JUSU P. Tharshanantha and the President of the Arts Faculty Students Union K. Jenemajeyamenan are still in the custody of the SL military at Welikande.