Teachers associations of universities in the south of the island of Sri Lanka held an anti-SL government demonstration and meeting in Jaffna on Friday that was also participated by teachers of the University of Jaffna. It was an impressive demonstration and meeting held in Jaffna in recent times, news sources in Jaffna said.
Their demonstration march starting from the old railway station of Jaffna went through the Hospital Road and KKS Road of the heart of the city to reach the Veerasigham Hall, where more than 500 delegates mostly from the south held a meeting. Now only we come and see for ourselves the conditions in Jaffna that despite the complete end of the war even elected parliamentarians from this place are unable to anything, the university teachers from the south said in a press meet held in Jaffna, Friday.
If the SL government commits any violence against us in Jaffna that would further prove the absence of democracy in the north, the delegates from the south said.
Even though the occupying SL Army in Jaffna didn’t do anything to the Sinhala university teachers from the south, hundreds of SL troops and military intelligence personnel maintained an intimidating presence throughout the demonstration and meeting.
Whether the university teachers act against the SL government on the advice of US Asst Secretary of State Robert Blake, as accused by the SL government, was a question put to the office bearers of the university teachers associations at the press meet. The delegates said that they would only laugh at it, since the SL government on one hand negotiates with them and on the other spread stories like this.
Explaining the struggle of the university teachers at the press-meet, the representatives of the unions said: When we first held talks with the SL Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake, he ignored our demands. The university teachers would not support the federation of the university teachers unions, he said. He would appoint his supporters to the vacancies in the universities, he threatened. But we didn’t budge.
Since last May 9, we are struggling. We had talks with the SL finance secretary, with Mr. Basil Rajapaksa and even with the SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa. There was no use. Now the SL government has come out with an interim solution. But until it implements the solutions, we are not going to stop our struggle trusting this government, the teachers union representatives said in the press meet.
The meeting held at the Veerasingham Hall was on the topic “Sustaining the Quality of University Education.”