An alleged scout team promises trustee funds to all and sundry to destabilize the JDCSI

An unsolicited visit of a large delegation of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds raises suspicion of sinister moves

Contrary to the much hackneyed false belief prevailing in Sri Lanka even among the alumni, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds is not a mission body. Neither the Trustees nor even Jaffna College is connected or linked in any way to the Batticotta Seminary founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1823 or any of its predecessors or successors.

l by Isabel Aseervatham

( February 14, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a few days a large delegation of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds from the US will be descending on us on an unsolicited and unspecified visit defying traditional mores, courtesies and protocol that is not only customary but also mandatory in view of the relationship this organization has with Jaffna College.
Jaffna College authorities, namely the Board of Directors are not even aware of their plans neither were they consulted in scheduling this visit. And for that matter the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds was founded on initial funds campaigned for, and raised in Sri Lanka more especially in the District of Jaffna when Jaffna College was established in 1872.
It was founded as a fiduciary trust of Jaffna College and none other.
Contrary to the much hackneyed false belief prevailing in Sri Lanka even among the alumni, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds is not a mission body. Neither the Trustees nor even Jaffna College is connected or linked in any way to the Batticotta Seminary founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1823 or any of its predecessors or successors.
In 1855 the Batticotta Seminary was strangled out of existence by an arrogant mission commission headed by a man called Rufus Anderson whose complaint was that the seminary was not turning enough Hindus into Christians. He could not understand the expectations of the local people and hardly had any idea of our rich culture and perhaps reckoned them as uncivilized natives over whom he could drive his decisions regardless of their needs and interests. He paid two hoots to the reality that the cradle of our rich culture is Hindu, a civilizing force that goes back to eons of ages.
There is no doubt the Batticotta Seminary had the promise and all the potentials to become one of Asia’s topmost universities and the oldest in Sri Lanka at least by a century. The decision to close the seminary was the first serious dent in the integrity of the ABCFM.
The founding of Jaffna College in 1872 was the inspiration of the local people who worked hard to set up this institution to provide educational opportunities not only to meet the standards set by the Batticotta Seminary but also to provide facilities from the primary classes upwards. The founders gallantly went ahead to work hard with utter determination to make this a reality and this is why Jaffna College is an independent educational institution and in course of time became an inspiration to the founding of other educational institutions in Jaffna not just Christian alone.
It is indeed very sad that even today there are people who do not recognize and acknowledge the real founders, the local people, and still give the credit to ABCFM as the founders following the insensitive closing of the Batticotta Seminary in 1855.
The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds was also a Jaffna College inspired organization enabled into existence in the US as a fiduciary trust of Jaffna College and none other with the initial funding collected in Jaffna. As stated here it has no links with any mission organization and only Jaffna College has fraternal relations with the American Ceylon Mission which fused into the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India with the historic genesis of the Church of South India in 1947.
The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds was charged to operate for the purpose of obtaining, holding and managing funds for the support of Jaffna College to meet the educational needs of the people of the Jaffna District.
In 1963 or thereabouts an amendment was made to accommodate our students seeking higher studies in India in such Christian institutions as the United Theological College in Bangalore, Christian Medical College in Vellore and even Madras Christian and Women’s Christian Colleges in Chennai, Lady Doak College in Madurai and some other similar institutions to be able to receive funds support. Some students who went further afield especially for post-graduate studies were also supported.
This amendment was certainly not a blank cheque to dole out our scholarship support as the Trustees liked and willed and being a fiduciary trust they also have a legally binding obligation to be in consultation with the Board of Directors of Jaffna College especially in all matters pertaining to scholarship grants and funds support. It is the Board of Directors of Jaffna College that has the right to decide how these funds are disbursed and in this respect the Trust Laws of the State of Massachusetts in the US where the Trust is registered are very clear.
A matter of great concern and it is time the people of Sri Lanka wake up and become aware especially those of the Jaffna District for whose educational needs Jaffna College was founded and who raised the initial trust funds, the alumni and friends of Jaffna college of the reality that for some time now it has come to be known that the trust funds have been manipulated to stream out to areas and individuals not covered by the mandate entrusted to the Trustees.
The Trustees have also chosen to ignore the strict legal requirements that they have to be in communication with the Jaffna College Board of Directors and none other in matters concerning disbursement of funds. Unfortunately, they have even gone too far as to overlook the Board of Directors and chose to deal with the employees of the Board and even that of Uduvil Girls College which unlike Jaffna College is a school of the JDCSI. The Uduvil Girls College is in no way linked with the Trustees.
Even if wrong messages have been given to the Trustees by certain individuals especially those who have mismanaged their responsibilities, they have to honour the laws, obligations and customs that govern the relationship of the Trustees with the Jaffna College Board of Directors.
This writer has received some shocking information which has been thoroughly checked and found to be true. In recent days a certain scout team has been exceptionally active and visited several parishes of the JDCSI mostly in the Wanni promising grants from the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds for those willing to leave the JDCSI and join up with the illegally founded rebel church that arrogantly took the name of American Ceylon Mission despite the fact that such an entity had fused into the JDCSI sixty five years ago. The objective evidently was to destabilize the JDCSI using Trustee funds.
The rebel group took the name American Ceylon Mission no doubt to cheat the US and other benefactors to milk funds out of them.
What is most disturbing is that at least two members of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds are known active supporters of this rebel group, the Rev James Wijeyakumar, the secretary of the Trustees and Miss Grace Bunker who during the time she was in Sri Lanka actively supported the rebels. Miss Bunker and her colleague, the late Ben Bavinck who was also a member of the Trustees were fully in tandem with the rebel group.
The Rev James Wijeyakumar is in no way connected to Jaffna College or even Sri Lanka and it has been reported that a great deal of fund support is given away in India canvassed by the Rev Mr Wijeyakumar. He has also attended meetings of the rebel group in Toronto, Canada.
In view of the campaign in the Wanni in particular with promises of Jaffna College Trustee funds headed by the itinerant trouble maker from Madurai, India, Dr Dhayan Chand Carr who has been a source of perpetual problems to the JDCSI, the presence of the Rev James Wijeyakumar and Grace Bunker on the delegation raises suspicions of some sinister moves.
This is further accentuated by the unsolicited visit of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds sans consideration of courtesies and the mandatory protocol. It is understood the delegation consists of eight individuals.
Why was therefore a need for such a large mission especially without consulting with the Jaffna College Board of Directors? Even if Sri Lanka was a colony the colonial authorities would have extended courtesies and protocol that are standards of civilized behaviour and etiquette.
It has been reported that this large mission has planned a 10-day visit to Jaffna College and other institutions supported by the Trustees but hardly any groundwork has been done in preparation.
Under the circumstances one gathers the impression that this is merely a tourism-type sight-seeing tour and no doubt at great cost obviously paid from trust funds that are precious to our needs.
However, information is afoot that a behind the doors meeting has been organized to meet the rebel group at the illegally occupied seminary at Maruthamadam with sinister intentions and the architects being the Rev James Wijeyakumar, Grace Bunker and the Dr Dhayan Chand Carr.
Therefore it is incumbent on the head of the delegation of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds to submit to the Jaffna College Board of Directors a report as to why they undertook an unsolicited and unspecified visit to Sri Lanka, the need for such a large delegation for whatever purpose it was intended and finally what they choose to achieve by this visit.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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