Jaffna University Community Petitions the President

| Reported by Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole
( December 7, 2012, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Guardian) Almost a hundred members of the Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association have petitioned the President expressing concern over the disturbance created there by the army while “no official here seems to be able to deal with the problem or to adequately comprehend our concern.”
The dons accuse the government of default “through continued presence of the military without tangible moves towards a political settlement.” At a time the petitioners are trying hard “to make our university one that respects differences and advocates pluralism,” the Army, they say, entered the halls, “separating the Sinhalese from the Tamil students, showing hostility to and even threatening [only] the latter.”
Attesting that there “is now no anti-state terrorism in Jaffna,” they accuse the police of physically attacking the students who demonstrated on 28 Nov. against the attack on the previous day by merely carrying slogans that were “well within the norms of democratic protest.”
Their 4 page memorandum details the harassment they face. They question how perpetrators of a bomb throwing which was used to arrest students got away despite the place being surrounded by armed forces. They point to the university administration being given without any intimation as to why, a list of 10 students by the TID to be produced, and state their conviction  that the 10 students “were wanted only because they were well known as prominent in student activities or were victims of police assault on 28th November, whose pictures featured in news reports on the internet.” They question the “practice of the University authorities ‘handing over’ students without questioning “the police as to the reasons.” The situation is so bad, they say, that even lawyers are afraid to represent students.”
The petitioners politely remind the President that he has been in politics for several decades and at the centre of two Southern insurgencies, and “that the defeat of an insurgent force does not extinguish the feelings or causes that gave rise to it. Such feelings are not a police matter, but are rather to be handled as part of the political task of reconciliation and rebuilding.”

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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