2 December, 2020

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Charge The Jaffna University Students Detained In Court Or Release Them Forthwith – FUTA

By Colombo Telegraph

“Once more we agree with our colleagues in Jaffna that ‘dragging  innocent students through police stations  and  police  cells,  as  happened  in  the  1970s  and  1980s,  is  frightening  at  the  start  and  then hardens  them  and  breeds  contempt  for  the  law  and  for  the  officers  entrusted  to  uphold  it.’ The country has seen the effects of breeding contempt for the law in several devastating insurgencies in the  North  as  well  as  the  South.  Justice  must  not  only  be  done,  but  must  be  seen  to  be  done.  A government that deviates from this maxim condemns us all to a bleak future.” says Federation of University Teachers’ Associations.

“We demand that the Government must either charge the students detained  in court or release them forthwith.” issuing a statement FUTA media spokesman Dr. Mahim Mendis further says.

We publish below the full text of the statement;

While  expressing concern  about  the  recent  beating,  harassment  and  arrests  of  students  in  Jaffna, FUTA reminds the authorities of its demands made in the recent protest to keep the universities free of  political  interference.  Not  only  does  this  hinder  academic  enterprise  but  leads  to  unrest  in  our universities.  We  in  particular  demanded  that  the  training  of  new  entrants  in  army  camps,  which included  an  ideological  component,  and  the  imposition of Rakna Lanka Security Service having close association with the Defence Ministry, be rescinded. This  mentality  has  led to a country that spends far more on spying and attempting to control students than on educating them. We see that the  regime  considers  the  youth  as  a  force  to  be  feared  rather  than  nurtured  for  the  future  of  this country.

The young must be given leeway to express their feelings, opinions and visions within the limits of the law. The first condition for this is that the State must be law abiding with a serious commitment to uphold the law. We cannot agree more with our colleagues in Jaffna that “Default on the part of the  Government  through  continued  presence  of  the  military  without  tangible  moves  towards  a political settlement, has helped the mobilization of youthful feelings to turn [27 th November] into a day of defiance, where its original association becomes less important.”

No  laws  were  broken  in  lighting  flames on that occasion and  the army intrusion into halls of residence and separating Tamils from Sinhalese students to subject the  former to threat and abuse, is very much to be regretted. The following day’s police attack on a student demonstration carrying placards  demanding  respect  for  democratic  rights  was  further  exacerbating  the  first  blunder.  The arrest  of  students  subsequently  under  the  PTA  seems  an  attempt  to  find  excuses  for  the Government’s misconduct.

The FUTA fully supports the wish of our colleagues to have in Jaffna University an institution that fosters pluralism, in which it is prepared to help, although the Government’s action was contrary to this aim.

FUTA condemns the use of the PTA to deal with a problem requiring political effort and a political settlement. To set an example in the observance of the rule of law  the Government should first set up  an  inquiry  into  why  the  Police  brutally  assaulted  students  who  were  not  responsible  for  any breach of the law.  As  the  Jaffna  University community has said  in  its  letter, these arrests were purely vindictive. The fact that a  magistrate’s inquiry has not been held into the assault raises questions about the role of the bypassed and intimidated Judiciary in law enforcement.

Against the harshness of the  action, we have seen no evidence of anti-state terrorism  in  Jaffna. Of the nine students detained six  have  been released. The three students who remain  in  custody  from  10th  December, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are P. Tharshananth, K. Jenemejayan and S. Solomon. Take the case of Tharshananth. He was assaulted with metal rods by  persons  believed  to  have  security  connections  on  18th   May  2012  and  was  admitted  to  hospital and treated for head injuries. The occasion was when students planned to observe the anniversary of civilian deaths in Mullivaykkal. Tharshananth was secretary to the University Students’ Union.

If  the  Government  had  evidence  that  Tharshananth  was  involved  in  terrorist  activities,  the  right thing to do was to arrest him and charge him in court rather than injure him. Further, to suggest that this  closely  watched,  frightened  person  was  involved  in  terrorist  activity  between  the  time  he  was beaten  up  and  the  27th   of  November  is  hard  to  believe.  His  arrest  only  underscores  the  vindictive character of the State. We are bound to regard the students arrested as innocent of any crime.

Once more we agree with our colleagues in Jaffna that ‘dragging  innocent students through police stations  and  police  cells,  as  happened  in  the  1970s  and  1980s,  is  frightening  at  the  start  and  then hardens  them  and  breeds  contempt  for  the  law  and  for  the  officers  entrusted  to  uphold  it.’ The country has seen the effects of breeding contempt for the law in several devastating insurgencies in the  North  as  well  as  the  South.  Justice  must  not  only  be  done,  but  must  be  seen  to  be  done.  A government that deviates from this maxim condemns us all to a bleak future.

We demand that the Government must either charge the students detained  in court or release them forthwith.

Dr. Mahim Mendis

Media Spokesman- FUTA

12th  December 2012

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Latest comments

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    Rule of Law which is seen to be superficially observed in the south,is completely absent in the north. The nothern citizen is living in a state of fear of brutalities by the army and police which complement each other in maintaining a state of oppression and repression, against tamils.Now,students are being brutalised.
    Southern citizens are not much bothered.
    Law enforcement should be done by the police and NOT by the army.
    Arrested persons must be produced in court within 48 hours,instead they are taken and held incommunicado in secret locations.
    Paramilitaries of a political party assist.
    The military governer is not bothered.
    This is State terrorism.

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    PTA is under the direct purview of the Minister who is none other than the Minister of Defence, HE the president and his brother the Secretary of Defence. They are directly respoinsible for this brutal crackdown.

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    This looks a beginning of another ‘cycle of violence’. The Southern politicians ought to learn that the political aspirations of any community cannot be suppressed by force. The tactic of delaying a political solution would not stop the youth from their struggle. The structural violence if continued will force the victims to take up to violence again. Who should be held responsible except the political authorities if such a unfortunate situation emerges.

  • 0
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    Great Stuff FUTA – keep it coming!
    Once again FUTA as the Trade Union representing the intellectuals and thought leaders of the country will need to speak out and link the specific issues within the Higher Education Sector with issues in the wider landscape – particularly the FUTA Law Dons MUST issue a statement on the malfunction of justice and due process in the PSC Kanagroo Court’s impeachment of the Chief Justice. The denial of natural justice and DUE PROCESS to the CJ is linked to the Jaffna University Students plight, and to militarization to protect the Rajapakse dictatorship and distort education..
    Time has come to connect the dots and crosses – and FUTA as the Trade Union with most brain power must lead the way in the NEW WAR FOR LANKA AGAINST DICTATORSHIP. This will be the mother of all battles and FUTA will need to lead the Lanka Spring with good ideas!

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    Even though it is late, the role assumed by FUTA to play in the society is commendable. Though Jaffna University students are arrested, the South seems to be reacting to the gross violation of human rights in an insensitive manner. Nationalistic forces have divided the country to a greater degree and military seems to keep it as a so called unitary state. I feel an unbearable frustration and nothing more.

  • 0
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    When the Law Enforces are breaking the Laws, the Rights of the people, Is it suprising of the Uprisings that results?

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    Yes…. Sarath Iddamalgoda. You are not worthy of your cloak as you got the dagger beneath it. That is also said in the Catholic Church history.
    Yes. You Catholic Clergy was, is and will be a part of it tommorrow as well. better get ready to put up a better show.

    If Religious aspirations of the Community of Catharis were supressed violently by the Vatican Forces, so can the political aspiration of a part of the community.
    Unfit father… spell out your suggestion for a political solution.
    When you speak as a Catholic Clergy it effects me and all Catholics. You Clergy are ever ready create Martyers as did S.J.Emmanuel but none got Martyerdom.

    THOSE WHO TAKE UP VIOLENCE NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR VIOLENCE AND CLERGY LIKE YOU WHO INSTIGATE. DRAG IN SHELTON, MANATUNGA, CHIKERA, ILLANGASINGHE, FIRTH, RAYAPPU, & FUTA’S EX CLERGY NIRMAL DEVASIRI(used by the catholic church’s backing) and how about UNCANEWS as well.

    FUTA works with a hidden agenda and hand.
    Why did not FUTA speakout when non Tamils were harrased & chased out from Jaffna University. Why is JU is for Jaffna Tamils only??

  • 0
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    Commendable initiative by the FUTA. Such organisations of educated people who stand for justice and freedom of all people (sadly some do not belong to this category) should expose the corrupt, communal and violet political culture that is practised in the country for the last six decades by the power hungry politicians whose only objective is to keep the people divided so that these their corrupt politics could continue. The fate of the country and people depends on how much organisations such as the FUTA could do. It will be a tremendous task, but honest and sincere effort would produce good results.

  • 0
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    WHAT A FUNNY WAY OF RECONCILIATION WHEN YOU SLING THE YOUTH INTO CELLS FOR LIGHTING A CANDLE FOR THEIR DEAD RELATIVES. I BET THE FORCES AND THE SO CALLED LEADERS OF THE REGIME DO LIGHT A CANDLE OR SOME FORM OF LIGHT TO REMEMBER THEIR DEAD. THIS IS NOT A CRIME. OUR SO CALLED LEADERS SHOULD LEARN WHAT CRIME IS BEFORE THEY START CREATING A CRIME THEMSELVES.

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    It is important to adhere to the law. Police officer who are expected to uphold and protect the law should not act in such a manner. They should stop taking orders from biased racial individuals. If they continue to act in this manner, it would be sad to see Sri Lanka moving to its second cycle of violence. Whats even more sad is that the world is moving ahead, where morals and ethics are being discussed in depth and technological advancement is unimaginable.

    We Sri Lankan’s continue to think we are superior within the well. We accept to the ruthless behavior of the government on the face of biased party loyalties, and these loyalties are nothing other than saying “Mahinda visited my uncles or aunts house”, this minister is know to my close friend, so there actions are accepted.

    Please understand evils are those who manipulate humans for support of there wrong doing. Anyone continuing to support such action please note the devil is getting into you, and you will be the next to be ruthlessly harmed.

    Lets move away from the discussion of Race, Religion, or colour. Lets discuss as civilised humans, so that we can evolve the next generation as a better race.

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