Jaffna, Batticaloa students lobby against UK ban

[TamilNet, Friday, 09 February 2001, 15:23 GMT]
Jaffna university students have organised a signature-campaign to urge the British Government not to proscribe the Liberation Tigers under its new anti-terrorism legislature, said student sources. The campaign, which began on Friday, is a part of 'Pongu Thamil' (Tamil Upsurge), the sources said.

University students held a meeting at Kailasapathy auditorium Friday morning to plan further action. Student Union sources told TamilNet that the meeting was held although the Vice Chancellor of the University Prof.Balasunderampillai had not given permission to hold it. The sources claimed that he had come under pressure form the authorities following series of protests by the staff and students of the university against the government's refusal to reciprocated the Liberation Tigers' unilateral ceasefire.

Thousands of students, academic and non-academic staff of the university participated in 'Pongu Thamil' rally held on 17 January. Students sources said they are planning to hold a similar rally in support of the Tamil people's right to self-determination and to urge the government to respond positively to LTTE's cease-fire.

Meanwhile the Eastern University Community (EUC ) has appealed to the British Government not to take steps to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as it would negate the final opportunity of bringing peace to the island.

The memorandum sent to the British High Commissioner in Colombo through the Government Agent, Batticaloa district, by the East University Community is given below:

"We, the University Community of EUSL which has considerable voice among the Tamils of Sri Lanka, wish to put forward the following aspirations of Tamil speaking people.

We would request you to take necessary measures to expedite a permanent peace in Sri Lanka by recognizing the following demands and by letting the Sri Lanka Government to know the pressure of the international community in this regard.

a) The self - determination of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. b) Accepting the territory of the traditional homeland of the Tamils. c) Recognizing the Eelam Tamils as a nationality.

"We request not to include the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in your list of terrorist organizations by taking into consideration the following basic, political and historical self evident truths.

1. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is fighting to re-establish the independent Tamil state, earlier known as Jaffna Kingdom which was lost to Portuguese in 1621 A.D.

2. The arms struggle of the LTTE began as a last resort after having failed in all non-violent measures against the oppression of the Sinhala Buddhist racist governments and their 'yes men'.

3. LTTE is fighting for the unanimous aspirations of Tamils such as self-determination, territorial homeland of Tamils and Tamils as a national ethnic group.

4. It is the general opinion of peace enthusiasts that the act of including LTTE in the list of terrorists organizations will negate the final opportunity of bringing peace in the island. The LTTE has expressed its willingness for peace talks with the mediation of the Norwegian government by extending the ceasefire."

Hundreds of students, and members of the academic and non-academic staff of the Eastern University in Batticaloa picketed on 1 February urging the British Government not proscribe the Liberation Tigers under the new Terrorism Act. Photo:TamilNet

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