Will not permit student demo- Jaffna commander
| Date: 20010111
The Sri Lanka army's objective is not recapturing Elephant Pass but ensuring the protection of Jaffna and its people said Major. General Anton Wijendra, the Security Forces Commander for the northern peninsula, addressing a press conference for foreign and local journalists flown in Wednesday by the military at his headquarters in Palali. He charged that students of the Jaffna University are engaging in political agitation with the backing of the Liberation Tigers and vowed to stop demonstration the undergraduates are planning to hold on 17 January.
The Sri Lanka army has been systematically taking concerted action to suppress mass agitations by the public and students urging the government to start negotiations with the Liberation Tigers and end hostilities in areas under its control.
Maj.Gen. Susil Chandrapala was also present at the press briefing Wednesday at Palali. The Jaffna SF commander said that the resettling of civilians displaced from the recaptured Thenmaradchi region will have to wait as there are mine fields to be cleared in the region.
The SLA commanders claimed that the Liberation Tigers are suing for peace because the army is gaining the upper hand in the war. They felt that a cease-fire would be advantageous to the LTTE for regrouping and that negotiations are possible while the war was on.
The SLA took the journalists Thursday morning on a tour of the areas it recaptured from the Liberation Tigers recently, to the east and southeast of Jaffna town. The media persons were taken through Kopay to Chavakachcheri, Kaithadi, Navatkuli and Thanangkilappu.
In the Jaffna town they were shown the district secretariat, the central bus station and the bazaar. Journalists spoke to civilians whom they met here.
Jaffna University students' union leaders also spoke to the media persons and explained the demonstration they are planning to hold on 17 January.
Police issues threat against planned protest
"If the demonstration by students of Jaffna University takes place on the 17th of January as planned, the protesters will face dire consequences," warned the Chief Inspector of Police, Jaffna district, in a special meeting held this morning for Nallur and Jaffna Pradeshya Sabha officials at Jaffna police station, sources in Jaffna said.
"University students are inciting widespread disturbances with their actions. There is no need for such political agitations and we are not going to allow this to happen.
"If protest still takes place, we may have to resort to use of force such as baton charges, use tear gas and even use firearms with live ammunition to prevent the demonstration. Therefore we urge you to notify the public and the school students not to participate in the protest," the Police Chief further warned.
Meanwhile, several Jaffna based organisations including Union of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Hindu Priests Association, Jaffna Branch of the Medical Doctors Union and students of Jaffna Techical College, have expressed their support for the protest.
Military intimidation threatens Jaffna student rally
[TamilNet, January 16, 2001 20:43 GMT]
"The attempts of the Sri Lankan government to suppress the peaceful 'Pongu Thamil' (Tamil Upsurge) rally in the University of Jaffna shows that the people of the north are living in the grip of military rule" Jaffna university students' union representatives said Tuesday.
Students and staff of the university put up red and yellow flags and a large float depicting Jaffna as an open prison on the campus grounds in preparation for the event tomorrow.
Students said that have not called on the people to join the rally because the army is expected to use violent means to oppose it tomorrow.
"We will go ahead and hold the rally even if we have to face violent intimidation" said a union leader. Students will stage a play depicting the condition of the people in Jaffna and teachers and other staff members will address the rally and march he added.
The Sri Lanka army warned the students of the university last week against holding the rally and threatened to take strong action against their political activities.