Feature Article

Sweeping the issue of ethnic assaults under carpet is not reconciliation: Peradeniya Tamil students

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 August 2016, 20:18 GMT]
In an attempt to conceal the recent racial assault by a section of Sinhalese students on Tamil-speaking students at Peradeniya, the University Administration has said it has taken disciplinary action against the students who were involved in a clash on 22 August. Accordingly, 10 students were suspended for two weeks from attending their studies, the Administration has said. Responding, the Tamil-speaking students who were subjected to ethnic violence by the Sinhala students told TamilNet on Thursday that they didn't interpret the so-called disciplinary action as a proper response to ensure their future security. In the meantime, Reginald Cooray, Colombo's colonial governor to North has been once again exposed, this time by the Sinhalese students themselves, as a force escalating the conflict while the University Administration in Jaffna was trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution.

Mr Cooray was behind giving a one-sided twist to the clash in Jaffna and the clash, which took place in Jaffna in July. The clash in Jaffna was a result of SL military-backed Sinhala students violently confronting Tamil students with Kandyan dance. But, in South, it was widely publicised as a racial assault on Sinhalese by the Tamil students in Jaffna.

On Thursday, the Sinhala students, who took part in a meeting with the Tamil students in Jaffna as the University Administration was seeking to resolve the conflict peacefully, openly told the Administration that they were not prepared to withdraw their cases filed in the SL Courts without consulting Reginald Cooray.

The ‘accused’ Tamil students had to appear in the court on Thursday. The lawyer, supposed to represent the Tamil students was TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran. He didn't show up at the courts and the case has been postponed.

“For a long time, all the University Administrations in Batticaloa and Jaffna have swept the ‘victorious’ Sinhala military-backed violent behaviour of Sinhala students against Tamil students under the carpet. Now, we are getting attacked in South,” a Tamil student subjected to the racial attack at Peradeniya told TamilNet.

“The attacking Sinhala students on Monday instructed us to put our hands up in the air and indiscriminately assaulted us while telling us to go to Jaffna and tell what happened in Peradeniya,” the student further said.

Peradinya University Administration has not revealed the names of the Sinhala students subjected to the so-called disciplinary action. It has not even admitted that it was a racially motivated act, the Tamil student said.

The Sinhala students becoming numerical majority at certain faculties in Batticaloa and Jaffna have been behind the behaviour of ethnic harassments and assaults against Tamil students for a long time since 2009 and the episode in Jaffna was not different from the evolving pattern over a long time.

The root cause of such continued and un-ending conflict lies not in the island, but in the ‘reconciliation’ paradigm coming from Washington. The talk of ‘reconciliation’ and multiculturalism, without delivery of justice and without meaningful political solution recognising nations and territories, serves only imperialist geopolitical interests. The exact meaning of ‘reconciliation’ in Washington’s English dictionary is impunity and confirmation of genocide, commented independent academic observers in Peredeniya and Jaffna.


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