Students criticise Jaffna VC as protests mount
[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 July 2001, 21:10 GMT]
Schools in the Jaffna peninsula were closed Thursday in protest against the closure of the Jaffna University and the detention of the undergraduate Krishnasami Thivyan. Groups of protesting students who gathered near their schools in Jaffna town were assaulted by Sri Lanka army and police personnel who have stepped up security here since early this week.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala, the commander of the Sri Lankan security forces in Jaffna was quoted as saying that students should give up their protests during talks Thursday with Jaffna University Vice Chancellor Prof. P.Balasundarampillai about the 'crisis' in Jaffna following the closure of the University, according to a note issued to undergraduates by the VC.
The commander had called on the students to speak to him directly to resolve the crisis, according to the VCís note.
University students criticized the VCís action, saying that he should have briefed them about the talks and discussed the development with their union than just issuing a note. They charged that the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University is not keen on taking necessary action to stop the arrest and intimidation of his students.
Additional Sri Lankan army troops and Police have been deployed at important intersections in the Jaffna town and in the neighbourhood of the University. Troops had forcibly entered a University girlsí hostel in Maruthanamadam in Jaffna around 5.30 p.m. Thursday and had threatened the students and security guards there. The troops had left after tearing off protest posters on the walls of the hostel.
Meanwhile, protesting undergraduates of the Eastern University in Batticaloa called on Tamil students abroad to join the United Studentsí Struggle on Monday 16 July. The eastern undergraduates in a statement issued Thursday called their brethren abroad to join hands with them in their "struggle against despotic oppression and military intimidation of Tamil students."
Protesting undergraduates of the Vavuniya campus of the Jaffna University sat in a token fast in the northern border town from Thursday morning. The head of the Vavuniya campus Prof. S. Mohanadas spoke to the student protestors at the venue of the token fast.