Jaffna University Professors, Deans and students face fresh death threat

In a precarious development which can result in far reaching consequences, Jaffna University Professors, Faculty Deans and Students’ Union representatives on Tuesday have been threatened with death by a hitherto unknown 'organisation' called 'Thesaththai Kaakkum Padai' (Force to Protect the Nation).

Sources in the north said that latest death threat against the Jaffna University community has come in the form posters and leaflets. Headlined “Final warning” and dated May 18, the leaflet has accused “the Jaffna University community of trying to nurture and harbour terrorism that was defeated five years ago”.

The warning leaflets sprung up on the university walls barely a couple of days after the fifth anniversary of the Mullivaikkal massacre, have created fresh panic waves among the students as well as parents.

“Those who are trying to nurture terrorism in the Jaffna University have already been identified. According to our information, Professors, Deans and Students are among those who have been identified for nurturing terrorism. Some journalists have also been identified to have been working with them in this regard,” the notice has claimed while naming some professors, deans, students and Jaffna-based journalists in its hit list.

“This is the final warning. If you don’t correct your actions you will face death sentence. Dates have been fixed for some people, who are already identified,” the leaflet warned, urging the University Community not to ignore this warning or take it lightly like they did in the past “to avoid being relieved from this world”.

Right to mourn denied

It was only on Tuesday that the University of Jaffna was reopened after the authorities closed for a week ahead of Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day on May 18. The government troops have denied the Tamil people even their right to mourn in remembrance of their loved ones, who were killed in tens of thousands during the final months of the war that ended in May 2009.

The Colombo government which celebrates the ‘Victory Day’ in the South has gone on record saying that any move to hold Remembrance Day in the North and the East would be considered an act of supporting terrorism.

Meantime, the Jaffna University Students’ Union has called for a two-day boycott in protest of the continuous threat against the university community.

“We have called for boycott of classes on Thursday and Friday to show our protest against these death threats. This is a very serious threat and it has created a panic wave among the students and their parents. We will be followed and closely monitored by the intelligence people from now on. The University administration has taken no action to ensure the safety and security of the students as well as that of the teaching staff,” a member of the Students’ Union told the JDS via phone from the university premises.

Meanwhile, President of the Jaffna University Teachers’ Union, Professor Rajakumaran has been summoned to the notorious Fourth Floor in Colombo by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) for interrogation. He has been summoned after the Mullivaikkal remembrance was observed inside the Kailasapathy Memorial Hall of the University today (Wednesday morning). A large number of professors, deans, lecturers and students have taken part in the event and lit candle lights in memory of those who have been killed in the war.

Photos: Students and staff members light candles and lamps during a ceremony in Jaffna University to mark the fifth anniversary of the Mullivaikkal massacre on May 21, 2014.