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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ratnajeevan Hoole flees Sri Lanka

Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, the unsuccessful candidate for the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jaffna supported by a section of pro-Rajapaksa elements, had to flee Jaffna as well as the island in the wake of a defamation case filed by SL minister Douglas Devananda in the Kayts court, news sources in Jaffna said adding that Prof Hoole is on his way back to the USA via UK. Even though Hoole accuses Devananda for his miseries, informed circles are of the opinion that the issue is much deeper, associated to international power polity. Hoole, known for re-invoking the colonial idiom of confrontation between Protestant Churches and native revival movements as his ‘sociological’ approach, gets the rare distinction of not getting the trust of both Pirapaharan and Rajapaksa, despite his opportunistic approaches or denunciations, the news sources said.

Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Ratnajeevan Hoole, a professor or engineering trained in the West, as Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna in early 2006. But he was not able to function as the LTTE opposed to the appointment. Hoole at that time approached Vanni but informed sources say that LTTE didn’t want to take a risk with him at a critical time. Hoole went to the USA during the war.

Hoole was given new hopes in 2010 by Rajapaksa supporters in the diaspora. On his way back to Jaffna in London, Hoole criticised the Tamil diaspora for preventing Rajapaksa speaking at the Oxford. Colombo created a new office for him at the University of Jaffna as coordinator to open an engineering faculty, so that he could prepare for the procedures of the Vice Chancellor appointment. Meanwhile, Hoole was a regular attendee of SL government and military functions in Jaffna. Hoole family’s internationally awarded ferocious exposures of human rights abuses also have come to an end with Rajapaksa ending the war.

After managing to get nominated as one of the three candidates for the Vice Chancellor post by the council of the Jaffna University, Hoole personally had a tea meeting with Rajapaksa in which, according to Hoole, he was promised of the appointment.

The appointment letter was to come the following day according to expectations. Rajapaksa-supporting websites grooming Hoole have even released news that he had been appointed. But for months the letter didn’t come and ultimately medical faculty Professor Vasanthi Arasaratnam, who stood number one among the candidates elected by the university’s council was appointed as the Vice Chancellor.

It seems chemistry didn’t work between Ratnajeevan Hoole and Rajapaksa-collaborating SL minister Douglas Devananda. Hoole openly accuses Devananda and the Saiva Ve’l’laa’las of Jaffna for standing in his way.

Hoole comes from an elite Protestant Ve’l’laa’la family. Often he used to highlight his family’s relationship with CW Thamotharampillai and Maaviddapuram Kanthasaamy temple. He is known for his opinion that the orientation of the Saiva-Ve’l’laa’la dominated revival movement in the colonial times against the progressive Protestant Churches resulted in the subsequent social and political evils of Tamils.

But very few think that the engineering professor’s amateurish sociology writings in this regard stood in his way, for many would have appreciated him for his Tamilness, enthusiasm for innovation and charisma, had he not come as a symbol of elite collaboration with Rajapaksa regime. Through the struggle the Eezham Tamils have long outgrown the kind of feuds that still haunt Hoole.

Again, very few think that Douglas Devananda, who has no power to even field candidates in the elections in the name of his own party, was able to dictate the great Mahinda Rajapaksa to break his promise to Ratnajeevan Hoole.

There was something else working at higher levels that made Rajapaksa to decide not to take a risk, informed circles familiar with ‘research’ foundations said.

Prof. Hoole is now on his way back to the USA, abruptly ending his engineering project to rebuild the north collaborating with Rajapaksa.

After failing in getting the VC post he was critical of the SL government, occupying military and particularly Douglas Devananda.

Devananda filed a defamation case in the courts at Kayts in Jaffna, against Hoole for an article written by him recently.

According to EPDP website, SL police questioned Hoole on 29 July, he was asked to be present at the courts on 31 July but he didn’t come. Hoole refuted the news but gave a statement to the SL police on 2 August responding to six charges against him. He was served with summons on 4 August to appear in the court on 5 August.

News reports allege that the nature of the charges was such that Hoole could have been arrested without bail had he not fled.

But Jaffna University sources say that Hoole was already planning to leave after failing in becoming the Vice Chancellor.

The Hoole saga is a good example for the elite of Eezham Tamils to grow more with statesmanship, basing and believing in mass struggle than in collaboration adventures.


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