Day of mourning announced for Jaffna undergraduates killed by police

The University Students Union of Jaffna announced a day of mourning for two undergraduates killed by Sri Lanka police shooting.

Wijayakumar Sulakshan and Nadarasa Gajan in their early twenties met their untimely death when police shot at them while returning to their campus accommodation on the night of 22 October.

'Influence of liquor'

Heavy presence of armed police was visible in the northern town of Tamil majority Jaffna on Saturday and black flags were hoisted around the campus.

Police initially claimed that the two art faculty students met with an accident while riding a motorbike under the influence of liquor.

However, university students who suspected foul play massed at the Jaffna teaching hospital premises where the bodies were taken and demanded the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) politicians to help find the truth.

The TNA in a statement condemning the shooting said that its leader R Sampanthan had made representations to the President and the police chief urging them to conduct an impartial investigation and take immediate action.

“A special police unit has been deployed to Jaffna to investigate the incident on the orders of the President and the police officers who had allegedly involved in the incident has been taken into custody,” it said.

Gunshot wounds

Following an inquest held by Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) U Mayuran Jaffna Magistrate Court Judge S. Satheeskaran announced on 21 October that young Sulakshan had gunshot wounds on his upper boy.

The skull of Gajan has been severely damaged, he said.

Five Sinhala policemen including Sub Inspector Sarath Dissanayake arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were remanded by the Jaffna magistrate on Saturday until 4 November.

They were sent to the remand prison in Sinhala dominated north central town of Anuradhapura.

Residents of Kulappiddi junction where the shooting happened have told journalists that they heard several shots being fired.

‘Independent investigation’

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has announced that he has ordered to pay compensation and to immediately conduct an independent inquiry.

The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has cast doubts over the independence of the investigation due to police attempt to cover up the shooting.

“We do not have confidence that the police would conduct a proper investigation. As a community, we must be vigilant to monitor the investigation,” the TCSF said in a statement.

The final rites for Gajan is to be held in Kilinochchi on Sunday (23) and the funeral of Sulakshan will take place in Jaffna on Monday, the day of mourning.

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