ECONOMYNEXT – Police in Jaffna are asking a crowd protesting against the destruction of war memorial inside the University grounds to disperse as the gathering will cause a further spread of Covid 19, several people at the protest said.
The protest began last night after a bulldozer was used to break down a memorial to the civilians killed during the last stages of the war.
BREAKING – Authorities destroying Mullivaikkal memorial at Jaffna University
A monument paying tribute to the tens of thousands of Tamils massacred by the Sri Lankan state at the University of Jaffna is currently being bulldozed by authorities. pic.twitter.com/n0uOwgRbU5
— Tamil Guardian (@TamilGuardian) January 8, 2021
Former Member of Parliament for Jaffna Mavai Senathiraja told EconomyNext that the university had ordered the memorial destroyed after it was “pressured by the central authorities,” to do so.
After news spread of the destruction, a crowd had begun to gather outside the University gates, but Police Special Task Force officers had been deployed to prevent them from entering the campus grounds.
Senathiraja said the STF and Police were still there and are trying to disperse a peaceful protest.
He said that the Tamil National Alliance as well as other political parties were also staging protests at the destruction.
Dr K Guruparan, a former head of the Law Faculty of the University claimed that the former Vice-Chancellor of the University had been sacked because he had refused to remove the monument.
The current Vice-Chancellor Prof S Srisatkunarajaha told reporters that he had been ordered by the Ministry to remove all unauthorized structures on campus. This monument he said had not been approved.
Senathiraja in his comments to EN said that the University Council had approved of the memorial which had been completed and unveiled in 2019.
Police and the government have not made any comments over last night’s events. (Colombo, January 9, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana