|An An-32 unloading supplies and troops at Palaly in Jaffna. (File photo: Indian Air force)
The commander of the occupying Sinhala military in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe now ventures to directly order the academics and to run the University of Jaffna from his military base at Palaali, news sources in Jaffna said, citing his call to the deans of the faculties to meet him at Palaali on Wednesday to talk to them on resuming classes at the university. All the faculty deans in unison rejected the call and told the Vice Chancellor that it amounts to militarisation of education. Meanwhile, the talks between the Student Council and the Vice Chancellor of the university on Wednesday failed as the students have categorically conveyed their decision of not attending to classes until all the student leaders detained by the SL military are released.
The Deans realising the nature and gravity of the SL militarisation of the education of Tamils comes after their meeting with the SL Defence Secretary and presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Colombo, informed circles said.
The Deans who went to see the Jaffna University student leaders detained by the SL military at the Welikanda camp in the Polonnoruwa–Batticaloa border, later visited the SL Defence Secretary in Colombo to discuss their release.
Gotabhaya talking to the Deans in his typical arrogant way, told them not wait for the release of the students to resume the university, as he could release the students only after their ‘rehabilitation’ by the military, which might take time, sources close to the university circles said.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, whose appointment was decided by the SL President, is under severe pressure by Colombo and its occupying military in Jaffna to re-open the university.
The Deans of the faculties are senior academics (one of the Heads of Departments) elected once in two years by all the academic staff of the concerned faculties.
The decision of the Deans not to go to Palaali at the call of the occupying SL military commander has found overwhelming appreciation in the university circles and among the public in Jaffna.
Meanwhile some of the Deans and former Deans of the faculties are harassed in an intimidating way by the occupying military that visits their residences often, news sources in Jaffna further said.