3RD LEAD (Correction)

SL Commander threatens VC-led team visiting Palaali

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 December 2012, 07:46 GMT]
Following the refusal of the Deans of the University of Jaffna to meet the SL commander of the occupying forces at Palaalai military base on Wednesday, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna on Friday morning led a team to meet the SL commander at Palaali. The team included many of the deans, heads of departments and parents of the detained as well released students. The SL Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe threatened the visiting team that if they insist on the release of the detained students for the re-opening of the University, then there will be no chance of the students getting released. He ignored the pleading and crying parents of the students, who attempted to prostrate before him.

He ridiculed about two of the detained students, Tharshananth, the secretary of the Jaffna University Student Union and Solomon a student activist, as ‘Brigadiers’ of the diaspora forces. He named three persons in the diaspora, Rudrakumaran, Nediyavan and Vinayagam, whom he imagined or wanted to project as driving forces behind the Jaffna University students.

The Jaffna University students ‘dream’ that Pirapaharan would come and lead their struggle, Hathurusinghe told the visiting team.

Responding, an academic Dr Satkunarajah, who accompanied the Vice Chancellor Prof Vasanthi Arasaratnam to the meeting, came hard on Huthurusinghe.

Dr Satkunarajah told Hathurusinghe that it was such an attitude of the SL forces against the Jaffna University students right from early 1980s that escalated the crisis to its later stages. Whether the SL commander is re-enacting it now, he asked.

The meeting of the VC-led team going to Palaali took place at the orders of the SL Defence Secretary and presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, informed sources said.

Last Friday, when the Deans met Gotabhaya, they were told to restart the University even if only two students come for lectures.

Later, Hathurusinghe told the Vice Chancellor that he wanted to have a meeting with all the deans and the heads of departments. At the faculty meetings, the heads of departments also felt that such a call from the SL commander was improper. However, they all decided to go with the Vice Chanellor to Friday's meeting because some of them ‘had to go’ and others just didn't want to be seen that they were boycotting the meeting at Palaali.

Only selected media persons were allowed to cover the meeting.

Meanwhile, the SL Police spokesman in Colombo was telling media that the four Jaffna University students are not detained, but have volunteered to go through a ‘rehabilitation’ programme by the SL military.


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