Tamil student protests spread

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 July 2001, 19:42 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army and Police tightened security around the Jaffna University Wednesday. Soldiers and Police personnel were deployed on the roads in the environs of the campus and near its main entrance. The security forces set up roadblocks and checked civilians. Students of the Jaffna Technical College boycotted classes in protest against the closing down of the Jaffna University. Undergraduates of the Eastern University and the Vavuniya campus of the Jaffna University continued their protest boycott Wednesday. "The University is under siege by the army and Police," a spokesman for the undergraduates said.

All phones in the environs of the Jaffna University were disabled Wednesday, students said. They charged that this has been done deliberately to prevent information about developments and incidents in and around the University from reaching the world outside. Jaffna Telecom officials could not be contacted for comment.

Posters and boards condemning the Sri Lanka army and the Sri Lankan government were put up at the entrance of the Jaffna Technical College. Police were deployed near some schools in Jaffna town too.

"The students of the Jaffna University protested peacefully against the arrest of Thivvyan. The University has been shut down in retaliation. This shows that the Sri Lankan government is only bent on violent intimidation," said a leaflet put out Wednesday by the Undergraduates of the Vavuniya campus of the Jaffna University.

A spokesperson for protesting undergraduates in Batticaloa said that they are calling on the alliance of eleven Tamil parties and school students in the district to come out in support of their "struggle against the military suppression of higher education in the North and East by the Sri Lankan government". Education officials in the eastern town said that students might boycott schools in the district tomorrow in support of the undergraduates of the Jaffna and Eastern Universities. Students boycotted schools in the Vadamaradchi division of the peninsula to protest against the closure of the Jaffna University and the detention of the undergraduate, Thivviyan.

The Jaffna University was shut down Tuesday when students began a boycott to protest against the arrest and detention of one of their colleagues by the army. The student was arrested on 2 July.

 

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