Eastern University students clash with police during protest fast
[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 December 2008, 13:27 GMT]
Eastern University students observing a protest fast in the university campus Thursday around 9:00 a.m. against the detention of two fellow students, raised strong objections when two Sri Lanka Intelligence officials who had come with the police tried to video film the protesters, sources in Batticaloa said. When the students tried to expel the two officials, police who had accompanied them opened fire on the ground, the protesting students said. The police, however, claimed that one of their men’s gun had accidently gone off.
Members of Eastern University Students' Union (EUSU) began a fast Thursday around 9:00 a.m in protest against the various restrictions and harassment by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the police while demanding the release of two students held in police detention.
Though prior permission had been obtained to observe the fast, SLA and police personnel who earlier had come to the campus threatened to open fire on the protesters for ‘talking too much’, members of EUSU said.
Subramaniam Sasikaran, a third year Agriculture Faculty student, who is not involved in any crime, is under detention for three months following the killing of a Sinhalese Commerce Faculty student, Samarasinghe on 11 November in the campus and the assurance by the authorities that Sasikaran would be released has not been kept, they pointed out.
Ulakanathan Suresh, a second year Commerce Management Faculty student, who was seriously injured in a blast 26 November when he happened to pass by at the time of explosion and admitted to hospital, has been detained on false accusation by the police claiming Suresh had launched the attack, they added.
Suresh is the treasurer of Sivaananthiyan Undergraduates’ Union.
The police who had come along with the intelligence officers dispersed following the objection raised by the protesters while the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) paramilitary and an allied with Rajapaksa government in the provincial body, assured the protesting students that action will be taken to release the detained students.
The students extended a request to the authorities concerned to release the two detained students and not to subject the students to similar suppression in future.
They also said that the restrictions and harassment by the SLA and police in the name of security are causing great disturbances to their learning as well as related activities.
The protest fast ended around 4:00 p.m.