Tamil students' rallies, protests in Northeast

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 June 2002, 13:27 GMT]
Thousands of students in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai held rallies Thursday to observe the Tamil Students’ Upsurge Day, protesting against decades of discrimination by Colombo, bombing of schools, chronic dearth of teachers, classrooms, teaching and science equipment, arrest and detention of schoolchildren, and the presence of Sri Lankan security forces in their schools. Student leaders who addressed the rallies demanded that Tamil students too be granted equal opportunities in education by Colombo, denied them for more than three decades under partisan education schemes.

Ms.Kaaronja, head of the women's section of the LTTE's political division in Trincomalee addressing the rally Thursday. (Photo:TamilNet)
"We have left behind our arms and have come today to areas controlled by the Sri Lanka army to engage in political work among our people. This clearly shows how seriously we are committed and dedicated to take forward the current process towards its fruition," said Ms. Kaaronja, the leader of the women’s section of LTTE’s political wing in Trincomalee, addressing the large gathering of Tamil students Thursday at the Trincomalee St. Joseph's College grounds. Thousands of Tamil students participated in the Tamil Eelam Students Upsurge Day processions and the rally in the eastern port town. There were large student processions and rallies in Senaiyoor and Kiliveddy in the southern Trincomalee and in Nilaveli Thursday, sources said.

Rallies were held on the grounds of the Central College in Jaffna town and Nelliyadi Central College in the Vadamaradchi division of the peninsula. Addressing the rally of about a thousand, A.Thananjayan, a student leader from St. John’s College, Jaffna, called on the Sri Lankan security forces to leave the schools occupied by them in the peninsula and to remove checkpoints and bunkers in their environs.

Meanwhile, students who saw an army video unit at the rally stopped it from recording the event. "It might cost us lives later," one of the organisers said, explaining the reason for preventing the army from filming rally.

Ms. Thamilvili, the head of the women's section of the LTTE's political division in Jaffna, Mr. A. Panchalingam, the President of the Jaffna district branch of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union and student leaders addressed the rally.

More than three thousand students took part in a march and public meeting in Mannar town. Large meetings, attended by thousands of students were held in Kalmunai town, Navithanveli and Thambiluvil in the Amparai district.

stud_protest_trinco_3_060602.jpg stud_protest_trinco_4_060602.jpg

(Photos: Students marching through the Trincomalee town Thursday)

More than three thousand students gathered on the grounds of the Hindu College in Batticaloa for the Tamil Students’ Upsurge rally in the eastern town Thursday. Large rallies were also held in Valaichenai and Chenkalady, north of Batticaloa.

In Trincomalee, processions from three corners of town- Anpuvallipuram junction, Uppuveli 3rd mile post junction and Ehambaram playgrounds- commenced around 8.30 in the morning and arrived at the venue of the rally about 11 a.m.

Students carried placards and shouted slogans about shortage of teachers, furniture, science and other teaching equipment in Northeast Tamil medium schools and demanding the removal of State armed forces from schools in the northeast.

The LTTE official, Ms Kaaronja, addressing the gathering further, said it was a red-letter day in the annals of Tamil students in the Northeast. "Today's event shows that Tamil students have risen to the occasion to demand their rights and to ensure equal opportunity in education in the country," she said.

"The current environment for peace has been created by the military power we achieved on the ground. We will work hard for the achievement of permanent peace in the country. The student community should fight to win their rights. Tamil students play a vital role along with us in the struggle for our rights," said Ms Kaaronja.

"Until the suppression of the rights of the Tamil people comes to an end, our freedom struggle will continue," Ms Kaaronja stressed.

Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham of Tamil National Alliance said that the university of Jaffna and Eastern University in Batticaloa were established in two leading colleges there which were acquired for the purpose. The Thirunelvaely Parameshawara College was taken over for the Jaffna University.

The Vantharumoolai Central College was taken over to establish Eastern University. No leading Sinhala school was acquired in this manner by the government to start Universities in the south. This clearly showed the discrimination meted out to the Tamils in the sphere of education, the TNA politician pointed out.

stud_protest_trinco_1_060602.jpg A section of the students at the rally in Trincomalee St. Joseph's College grounds. (Photo:TamilNet)


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