Feature Article

Extra-judicial killings escalate in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 September 2006, 10:17 GMT]
62 individuals including Newspaper Manager Sivamaharajah, ex- Member of Parliament and 2 undergraduates were killed, and 53 civilians including a Catholic Priest and 10 students below the age of 18 have disappeared in Jaffna Peninsula in 35 days since August 02. The International agencies present in Jaffna are yet to voice their concerns for the increased dissappearances of children in Sri Lanka Army controlled Jaffna district, according to civil society leaders in Jaffna.

Deans of Jaffna Univeristy have charged that the search operations conducted by the Sri Lanka armed forces inside the Univeristy premises were deliberate attempts to damage the reputation of the University and instil fear in the students.

6 civilians were killed in Jaffna during the first two days in September.

K.Vimalathasan, 30, a mini bus driver, and his relative C.Vijayasekaran, 25, were shot dead in Vallai, Uduppiddy on September 01.

Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers attached Vallai Camp confiscated Vimalathasan’s National Identity Card and asked him to report to the nearby check point for inquiries, Friday. When he turned up with his relative, Vijayasekaran, both were asked to come later and while they were returning, 4 assailants waiting 500 meters away from the Check Point shot them dead. Eyewitness told the Motorbike Group from the SLA provided escort to the gunmen.

Another unidentified civilian was shot dead in Kodikamam on the same day.

An officer from Sevalanka and his mother who tried to save her son were shot dead in Karaveddy, Friday night.

On Saturday, a mini bus driver who was on the driver’s seat waiting to travel to Punkuduthivu was shot dead at Kasthuriyar road, Jaffna.

During the period December 2005 to 31 August 2006, 312 cases of disappearances were registered at the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) office in Jaffna, including 81 persons missing after alleged arrests.

Of the 312 cases, 23 persons were found killed, 119 persons returned home and 170 residents are still missing.

Meanwhile, the Jaffna University Students Federation, in a press communique, expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the Peninsula and urged to delay the re-opening of the University until normalcy is returned, curfew fully lifted, and SLA harassment ceased.

The recent killing of the Science Faculty student Sivasangaran and the arrest of Arts Faculty student Paheerathan have severely impacted the education in the campus, the statement by the student union charged.

Actions should be taken to open the A9 road to enable the students from outer districts to visit and consult their parents, and the student activist Paherathan, who was arrested by the SLA, should be released, the press release said.

On August 27, Jaffna University deans, in a statement statement issued to the press, had condemned the cordon and search operations carried out inside the Jaffna University Campus by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The statement was signed by the Acting Vice Chancellor and Dean of Science Faculty, Professor E R Kumaravadivel, Professor K Kandasamy, Dean of Graduate Studies Faculty, Professor E R Sivachandran, Dean of Art Faculty, Dr. K Sivapalan, Dean of Medical Faculty, Dr. Mrs C Sivachandran, Dean of Agriculture Faculty, and Professor K Thevarajah, Dean of Management Study Faculty.

Sri Lankan Army (SLA) troopers from Achchelu, Jaffna, and Uduvil Army camps rounded up the university campuses on 18 August, the statement said.

The soldiers took videos of the 240 female undergraduates and 110 male undergraduates who were resident at the university hostels and searched their belongings.

The search was conducted from morning till evening in the presence of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. E R Kumaravadivel, and Deans of two faculties, and attended by the Superintendent of Police Kankesanthurai and the Military Civil Coordinator, Col. Perera.

The search did not produce any incriminating evidence.

The soldiers returned, two days later to the university on Sunday, August. 20 without giving the customary notice, and searched the premises from 4 p.m. to 7.30, when no responsible University Authorities were present.

The troopers took the watchmen to the outside of the student union office and shone a beam of light from their motorbike at a location near a lamppost to reveal a bundle of 5 hand grenades that have been tied together, the statement charged.

Later the SL forces claimed they seized grenades at the University.

The University authorities appealed to the southern media to work towards encouraging better learning and advocate assistance for providing better facilities for the smooth running of the university.

Referring to the grenade attack on the university hostel prior to round up, searching of students stranded at Ramanathan campus hostel, and the shooting of a student at university premises, the statement by Deans, accused the SLA for attempting to instil fear in the students and charged the armed forces for working to damage the reputation of the University.


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