Suspected Sri Lanka Army intelligence personnel armed with sharp iron rods followed the Jaffna University Student Union leader K. Thavapalan and attacked him at Kantharmadam in Jaffna seriously wounding the student leader who has been mobilizing students in democratic protests against the grease-devil threat recently. Mr. Thavapalan has been admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of Jaffna Teaching Hospital. This is the third iron-rod attack on prominent persons of the civil society in Jaffna after the Vanni war. Suresh Premachandran’s secretary Ramesh, who now heads the Valikaamam East Piratheasa Chapai (PS) narrowly escaped from the attackers first. Later, in July 2011, the chief news editor of Uthayan daily, Gnanasundaram Kuganathan, was attacked by the motorbike squad.
Mr. Thavapalan was elected as the leader of the JUSU in 2010.
The Student Union has held a remembrance event on 18 May 2010, paying tribute to the thousands of victims of Vanni war. The event was held amid harassment by the occupying SL military and its paramilitary group, EPDP, which is headed by SL Minister Douglas Devananda.
The EPDP, exerting control on the administrative affairs of the university in Jaffna, has been opposing the election of Mr. Thavapalan.
The Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, Vasanthy Arasaradnam was forced not to recognize the election Mr. Thavapalan.
However, following the protests by the students, the Vice Chancellor had to finally accept the election of Mr. Thavapalan, but there has been no formal engagements between the JUSU and the University administration, which is under the pressure and influence of the occupying SL military and its agents.
The protest against the grease-devil attack drew thousands of participants from the students of Jaffna.
Despite the disruptive efforts by the SL military intelligence and the EPDP, the student leaders have managed to reflect their voice in meeting foreign envoys visiting Jaffna and in organising public protests.
“The attack on Thavapalan is an attack on the entire student society in Jaffna” said a JUSU representative who met journalists after visiting the attacked student leader at the hospital.