SL President's secretary threatens Jaffna University against May 18 Remembrance statue

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 May 2018, 23:15 GMT]
Kalupage Austin Fernando, the secretary to SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, has threatened the Jaffna University administration and the student community not to embarrass the SL President by proceeding with their plan of launching a memorial statue within the premises of the University of Jaffna in remembrance of Eezham Tamils who perished in the genocidal war in 2009. A highly placed source at the administration of the University of Jaffna told TamilNet that Mr Fernando as threatening the university community in a teleconference meeting at the presence of Vice-Chancellor Professor R. Vigneswaran. Austin Fernando, who maintains a close rapport with the Sinhala Buddhist Establishment and Dayaka of several Buddhist temples, is also well connected to foreign Powers influencing the affairs of the genocidal State in Colombo.

However, the leaders of Jaffna University Student Union, when contacted by TamilNet on Tuesday said they were determined to erect the statue as planned and agreed with the University administration earlier.

The University administration has come under pressure from SL Minister for Higher Education, University Grants Commission and now the SL Presidential Secretariat.

In the meantime, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the leader of Tamil National Peoples’ Front and Suresh Premachandran, the leader of Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front, have condemned the interference of the SL authorities in a matter that should be decided by the university community in Jaffna.

Austin Fernando was also challenging the University administration by stating that the students at the universities in the South would start erecting statues honouring the victory of Sinhala army on 18 May if the Tamil students in Jaffna proceeded with the planned move.

The role Mr Fernando has raised serious questions in the circles of Jaffna University, the source further said.

Austin Fernando, who is a veteran SLAS officer, got involved with the foreign policy and NGO affairs for a long time and has interacted with India, China, Japan and the USA for a long time.

He has also served Wickramasinghe in the past as an adviser, but has shifted sides with Sirisena since 2015.

Known as an effective manager of fund sources associated with foreign Establishments and with an official background from the UNDP on behalf of the SL Government in the past, he is believed to be a preferred agent of the foreign Establishments to steer the affairs at the side of Mr Sirisena.

Fernando has interacted with foreign State agencies such as the USAID, JICA and NORAD during his public career as well as his private carrier as a consultant at the Resources Development Consultants Limited in the past.

Now, Fernando's ‘management’ skills also include intimidation and deception of Tamils serving the public institutions in the North-East, commented the sources at Jaffna University.


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