University students in Jaffna still face death threat from SLA intelligence

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 November 2011, 18:57 GMT]
Representatives of the Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) are continuously being threatened with death and intimidation by the Sri Lanka Army intelligence operatives. Some members of the JUSU on Tuesday narrowly escaped from the hands of the SLA intelligence division personnel when they were returning from Puththoor in Ki'linochchi district after making arrangements for holding free special classes for G.C.E.O/L students of Vanni who are to sit for the forthcoming examinations scheduled to commence in the first week of December.

JUSU members returning from Puththoor in motor bicycles were followed by a group of SLA intelligence unit men in motor bikes from the nearby SLA camp. JUSU representatives escaped from the chasing SL operatives near Ki'linochchi town by leaving their motor bicycles in the protection of some TNA parliamentarians and got in to a passenger transporting bus to Jaffna, according to an escaped JUSU representative.

The JUSU representatives were followed by army intelligence personnel in a planned way to cause harm to them, he added.

On October 16, the Student Union leader S. Thavapalasingam was severely attacked by alleged SL military intelligence personnel. Another student activist of the Jaffna University was attacked in Paranthan in Vanni 7 days later on 23 October.

The SL police and SLA intelligence operatives were monitoring and videotaping the protests organized by the students and were using the video and photos to identify key activists of the JUSU, the students further say.

The students allege that certain key personalities within the Jaffna University who are backed by EPDP leader and SL Minister Douglas Devananda were also supplying information about the activities of JUSU to SLA intelligence.

JUSU sources citied a recent incident in which the SL Police in Jaffna were allowed to enter the student hostel intimidating students over a complaint of assault between two students and a warden of the hostel while the student representatives had been taking steps to sort out the dispute between students and academic staff, a group of police officials for the first time in the university history  had entered the premises of the institution in two vehicles.

In the meantime, the Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, Ms Vasanthy Arasaratnam, is reported to have admonished varsity security staff for allowing journalists to attend a media briefing held by the JUSU at the university. The VC had warned that security officials who were on duty at that time would be sent home.

Under the current circumstances the movement of suspicious persons inside the varsity premises is reported to have increased and the Vice Chancellor and relevant persons for the administration had failed to prevent such movements, the JUSU representatives allege.

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