Sirisena disappoints student leaders, Cooray humiliates families of hunger-striking prisoners

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 October 2017, 17:11 GMT]
The Leader of Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) K. Krishnameenan and Secretary K. Jackson on Thursday evening said their negotiations with SL President Maithiripala Sirisena earlier on the day have failed to produce a favourable timeframe for meeting the demands of the hunger-striking Tamil political prisoners. Since the JUSU was behind postponing a fast-unto-death campaign announced unilaterally by the Arts Faculty Student Union earlier in the week and as the health of the three political prisoners on 25th day of the fast-unto-death in Anuradhapura prison would become life-threatening within the next five days, the JUSU leaders said Thursday evening that they now have no other option than stepping up the protest after consulting with fellow students.

JUSU statement
JUSU statement
JUSU statement
In the meantime, the kith and kin who met the SL President with NPC Councillor M.K. Shivajilingam said that the SL Governor was almost insulting them at the meeting.

“The SL government could of course think about releasing all Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim prisoners in the prisons, but there were security, law and order issues for which the Government have to be answerable,” Mr Cooray was telling the families in a humiliating manner, the families said.

The SL Governor has also phoned Mr Shivagilingam after the meeting to say that the meeting with SL President was ‘productive’ and that Shivagilingam’s performance in the meeting was ‘appreciated’.

SL President’s meeting with JUSU leaders took place at 1:40 p.m. after his meeting with the families of the political prisoners.

Mr Sirisena was asking a time frame until next Wednesday (25 October), which is not at all compatible with the prevailing situation, the student leaders said. The SL President was saying he needed time as the Justice Minister and the Attorney General were on travel and that he could only meet them on Monday.

SL State Minister of Defence Mr Ruwan Wijewardene, SL President’s Secretary Mr Kalupage Austin Fernando, SL Cabinet Minister of Law and Order Mr Sagala Ratnayake, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Mr D.M. Swaminathan, SL Governor to North Mr Reginald Cooray and other defence officials accompanied SL President in his meeting with the families and the student leaders.

The JUSU leaders said in a hand-written statement in Tamil released to media on Thursday night that they were disappointed with the outcome and wanted to discuss with their fellow students Friday morning before launching the next phase of the struggle.

In the meantime, 70 Tamil political prisoners detained at New Magazine Prison in Colombo have also submitted a written request to Jaffna University Student Union urging the students to fight for their release with dignity.

There are 132 Tamil Prisoners of War languishing in the prisons of genocidal Sri Lanka.

But, the whereabouts of hundreds more, handed over to SL military after Tamil people entered the territory controlled by SL military in Mullaiththeevu and Vavuniyaa in 2009, is not known. The kith and kin of the enforced disappeared are also waging continuous protests in Ki’linochchi and Vavuniyaa.


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