Eastern University shuts down in protest against forced disappearance of VC

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 December 2006, 13:39 GMT]
Students and academic staff of the Eastern University in Vantharumoolai, 17km north of Batticaloa, have shut down the University in protest against the reported forced disappearance of their Vice Chancellor in High Security area in Colombo, Friday. Vice Chancellor Professor S. Raveendranath, a founder member of the EUSL, was forced to submit resignation of his post in October to the University Grant Commission (UGC), to secure the release the Dean of the Arts Faculty, Bala Sugumar, who was abducted by the paramilitary demanding the resignation of the Vice Chancellor. The resignation, pending approval by the UGC, had forced the VC to function from Colombo till he was reported disappeared.

Professor Gamini Samaranayake, the chairman of the UGC has called for a meeting in Colombo Monday where the Vice Chancellors of the Universities in Sri Lanka discussed the issue, informed academic circles in Colombo said.

At Vantharumoolai, the student's hostel stood vacated as most students fled the University premises Monday.

"Academic freedom and intellectual diversity are totally suppressed in Batticaloa," an academic at the University told the TamilNet reporter who visited the University premises Monday afternoon.

"Professor Raveendranath is a genuine educationalist. He has no political association with anyone," the academic who did not wish to be named told TamilNet.

Raveendranath, 55, father of two, who has been associated with the EUSL since it's establishment, has been actively initiating collaborative programmes with external Universities.

The paramilitary Karuna group, widely alleged to be operated by the Sri Lanka Army has imposed a press censorship in SLA controlled Batticaloa by not allowing the papers printed in Colombo.

Except Thinakaran, the Government owned paper, Thinamurasu, the paper by owned by the EPDP, another paramilitary in public political alliance with Rajapakse government and Karuna Group's "Thamil Alai" paper were seen in Batticaloa town. The paramilitary run papers were distributed by paramilitary cadres who operate jointly with the Sri Lanka Army.

 

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