4 December, 2020

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Jaffna Campus Rumpus Requires Our Serious Attention

By Harini Amarasuriya

Dr. Harini Amarasuriya

Dr. Harini Amarasuriya

A few days ago, there was a clash between Tamil and Sinhala students at the Freshers’ Party, at the Science Faculty of the University of Jaffna. There has been an avalanche of responses to this event. Most have expressed self-righteous outrage, some are gloating in a kind of ‘we told you so – Tamil Tigers are alive and well’ way and a few (too few) have reflected on the seriousness of this event and what it means in terms of reconciliation and community relations.

Nationalisms of all shapes and sizes give rise to ugliness – not just in our society but everywhere. Should the Sinhala students have been allowed to include the Kandyan dancers in the staff procession? Of course, yes. Should the university authorities have made more attempts to anticipate such tensions and put in place mechanisms to build bridges? Also, yes. Let us not ignore the fact that the Jaffna University Science Faculty has 60% Sinhala students – living in a predominantly Tamil society just emerging from 30 years of violent conflict surrounded by constant reminders of being the ‘losers’ in the war; not least the many monuments celebrating war victory, continuing presence of the military and an ever increasing presence of symbols of Sinhala Buddhist culture.

While discussing this incident with friends and colleagues from Jaffna, I was struck by their frustration. Frustration that this incident was now being treated (predictably by some political groups) to claim that Tamil nationalism and therefore naturally, Tamil terrorism was alive and well. Frustration at being branded racists despite the years of quiet work that has gone into managing multiple difficult situations that have naturally arisen as a result of a sudden expansion of the student community at the university after years of isolation. Frustration that once again the Tamil community is expected in a sense to ‘prove’ that they are ‘good’, law abiding, patriotic citizens of this country, who have ‘learned the mistakes of the past’ and are prepared to move forward in a united and peaceful Sri Lanka. Frustration at the consternation at the realisation that moving forward and belonging is not easily achieved and that Tamil society may not even be ready for it at this moment in time and may indeed have their own views on how this should happen.

Of course, there is no doubt that Tamil nationalism is alive and well in the University of Jaffna. Of course it is disappointing that there isn’t more tolerance of difference and dissent within the university. I experienced this first hand when in 2014, I was at the University of Jaffna for the launch of Dr Rajan Hoole’s book, Palmyra Fallen and university administrators initially refused to allow the book launch to be held inside the university. But let’s not pretend that the excess of nationalism or the intolerance of difference and dissent is unique to Jaffna. It was hardly a week ago that students reacted angrily and yes, violently, to a play performed at the famous Sarathchandra Open Air Theatre at Peradeniya, because they apparently felt that the drama was culturally and morally inappropriate. In universities all over the country a dress code is imposed on first year students by their seniors as part of the ‘rag’ in what one assumes is an effort to teach students the importance of conformity to group values. Our universities have a long way to go in terms of becoming places of tolerance, sharing and freedom – and even maturity. Our society has a long way to go before we can claim such values. It wasn’t so long ago that there was huge outrage that the National Anthem had been sung (heaven forbid) in Tamil! It was not long ago that the BBS threatened a repeat of the Aluthgama riots. So let’s get a bit of perspective and tone down the sense of righteousness with which we are condemning the Jaffna university incident.

Nevertheless, this incident requires our serious attention: because it reminds us of how difficult the path of healing and reconciliation is. We are a society emerging from over 3 decades of war. Terrible things have happened in our communities. We have done unspeakable things to each other. These things are not easy to forget nor is it easy to simply move on. The previous government imagined that infrastructure development will lead to reconciliation and the current government seems to think that economic development will lead to reconciliation. Reconciliation is hard work. Neither is it all about celebrating our differences and sharing our commonalities. It involves looking deep within ourselves also at the things that we dislike about each other; the aspects of our communities and cultures that we find difficult to accept and yet agreeing to let and let live. It involves recognising that there may be layers of anger and resentment between communities. Reconciliation is not going to come easy; trust is not easily won.

So how we respond to this incident is actually quite crucial: this could be an important turning point in post-war ethnic relations. Are we simply (as groups are already doing) going to use it to reassert tired old slogans of terrorism, separation and betrayal or are we going to use it to reassess what we have actually been doing to heal the years of violence and war from which we emerged less than 10 years ago?

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  • 12
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    Dr.Harini Amarasuriya,

    Reconciliation involves creating a society that is tolerant of others who are different in their midst,but does not tolerate violence in word and deed in pursuit of intolerance.

    Unless firm and severe punitive action is taken against persons who engage in violence in pursuit of intolerance, reconciliation will only be a futile dream. Promoting hate and indulging in hate crimes is not a democratic right!

    Where is the hate crime bill that was supposed to be presented to parliament?

    Dr,Rajasingham Narendran

  • 4
    1

    Absolutely no doubt that reconciliation and adopting an attitude of tolerance and a policy of live and let live is the best way forward for humanity to thrive in Sri Lanka. But time and again we find ways and means and justification to re-enter the threshold of inhumanity. We certainly are a sick society, not physically but mentally.

    If the educated youth of Sri Lanka, who are supposed to have broader minds, far thinking, amenable to change, able to move on from arcane cultural prisons, are unable to sort out their differences in a civilized way but choose to resort to the barbarian solution, what hope in hell do we have for a better Sri Lanka.

  • 1
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    Superbly written

  • 10
    6

    Yes the Jaffna incident needs attention. But so do the hundreds of other incidents across the island where tamils have been attacked by Sinhalese. In Trinco only a couple of months ago, some Tamil medical students were assaulted by a Sinhala mob. Same thing happened in Batticaloa where even an official was injured after the national anthem was sung in Tamil. There was also another incident in the Badulla area where some Tamil students were racially abused by some Sinhalese. Nobody has been held accountable for these incidents. These incidents dont even reach the mainstream.

    • 5
      11

      you dont know there are more to the list, tamils were abused in colombo , in dehiwala, bla bla bla and abused everyehere..

      I am beginning to wonder whether we have even media because every comment section regarding this jaffna incident is filled with incidents not reported in media where tamils were abused almost everywhere and that too last month ago
      ….

      The problem is this

      /While discussing this incident with friends and colleagues from Jaffna, I was struck by their frustration. Frustration that this incident was now being treated (predictably by some political groups) to claim that Tamil nationalism and therefore naturally, Tamil terrorism was alive and well. Frustration at being branded racists despite the years of quiet work that has gone into managing multiple difficult situations that have naturally arisen as a result of a sudden expansion of the student community at the university after years of isolation. Frustration that once again the Tamil community is expected in a sense to ‘prove’ that they are ‘good’, law abiding, patriotic citizens of this country, who have ‘learned the mistakes of the past’ and are prepared to move forward in a united and peaceful Sri Lanka. Frustration at the consternation at the realisation that moving forward and belonging is not easily achieved and that Tamil society may not even be ready for it at this moment in time and may indeed have their own views on how this should happen.//

      The tamil society as a whole thinks they are perfect and it is the sinhala leaders, sinhala people who are hundred percent wrong. WE tamils did NOTHING wrong..that is the mentality of tamils..

      And tamils do not think of themselves as losers, they think they are getting eelam using US and west and any concession or reconciliation effort done by SLG is because SLG fears IC reaction.

      The problem is in tamils’ mentality. I curse the god who left us with these mentally sick fanatics in an island

      • 5
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        Siva, Sach….

        When travelling recently I heard from Sinhalese and Tamil students in the states, and in East London, who complained of being racially abused. Not a Kandyan dancer or Tamil Drums and Music were involved. The Sinhalese and Tamils took the abuse and crawled away. When they finish their course they will ask for PR to settle down to a happy existence in those countries.

        All the kolaala only in Sri Lanka.

        To think that not more than 30 hotheads who probably couldn’t sing or dance or play instruments are going to screw-up all OUR attempts at reconciliation.

  • 6
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    Whenever there was a reference to Tamil Association in Peradeniya, Colombo or Moratuwa, there would be strong questions why there should be a Tamil Sangam as well are Sri Lankans.

    There is a strong Sinhala Students Association Jaffna University now. Silence of those commentators is deafening now.

  • 4
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    Respected MP Sumanthiran suggest that there were some interested parties behind this issue. He wonders whether Mahinda Samagama played a role there.

    After setting up the Agenda for the day, a small group of Sinhala students wanted to bring the Dancers, and they did against the instructions. I hope the inquiry will bring the troublemakers to the spotlight.

    • 1
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      You say that’ a small group of Sinhala students wanted to gring dancers agaist instructions’.
      10
      1) Against whose instructions? Please do not try to subvert the truth by lies.
      2) we saw on TV footage who was asauting whom.
      We saw the Sinhala students running for cover. All the injured were Sinhalese.
      3)
      Who burned the possessions including books and notes of the sinhala students after forcibly enetring the vacated rooms?
      Silva or Siva?

  • 2
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    Dr. Harini Amarasuriya

    RE:Jaffna Campus Rumpus Requires Our Serious Attention

    “So how we respond to this incident is actually quite crucial: this could be an important turning point in post-war ethnic relations. Are we simply (as groups are already doing) going to use it to reassert tired old slogans of terrorism, separation and betrayal or are we going to use it to reassess what we have actually been doing to heal the years of violence and war from which we emerged less than 10 years ago?”

    Yes. It requires serious attention, the stupidity of the Para-Tamils and Para-Sinhala, going after each other in the land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    There were several articles on the Jaffna Rumpus by the Paras. Still more are written. Many agree that the Para-Tamils and of course the Para-Sinhala are idiots.

    Now they have mixed up Buddhism into the mix. What did Buddha teach?

    What does the Para-Sinhala”Buddhist” Cult and the Para-Tamil “Hindu” Cult practice? See the Jaffna Campus Rumpus!

  • 6
    4

    Harini A.
    Serious attention is needed to find the fundamental causes. Remember the problem was in the science faculty students. Both Tamil and Sinhala students. Among the many causes there is one that needs the serious attention of the President and PM.
    In 2011 and I think 2012 (I stand corrected on the Dates. May be the VC or the UCG can correct it) there were approx 150 vacancy in the Science Faculty. No candidate from the Northern schools qualified for entry to Science faculty. There were Sinhala students who qualified for entry but did not have the zScore high enough to enter any other universities. UCG offered them the place in the science Faculty of univ of Jaffna.

    The question that we ask is what made such a condition to arise. War caused multiple displacement. There was an embargo of the North whic included paper. Blackboard paint chemicals and science instrument computers duplicating and photocopy machine etc etc. science and mathematics education in which Tamils excelled in the past suffered. After the war not much was done to improve the situation.

    The situation continues. The war caused such a situation. In 1972 the Tamil students suffered by the Srimavo govt educ admission policies. We tragically know how Tamil students did.

    The GoSL should not look to punish the students who in their own way sent a message. Let us remedy the causes and the fundamental causes of the conflict instead of finding scape goats or keep our geads in the sand and think of reconciliation. Prosecute the war criminals before prosecuting the students who sent a cheap message of their discontent. These students are the tip of the iceberg.

    • 2
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      N.E.

      “Prosecute the war criminals before prosecuting the students who sent a cheap message of their discontent.”

      Those hard core terrorists who were released by Rajapaksha must be rearrested and brought to court.

      Soma

    • 3
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      The tamils want the Sinhalese to look at the tamils who attacked Sinhalese and supported LTTE terrorism with sympathy and magnanimity. Magnanimity towards even enemy is a very Sinhalese thing and that is why we released 13000+ LTTE cadres. But what is laughable is they do not want to reciprocate it..everything should come from sinhalese..what a selfish and a racist tribal set of people. Tamils are a shame of humanity

    • 1
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      n. ethirveerasingam

      “The GoSL should not look to punish the students who in their own way sent a message”
      Though many sinhala boys were injured, your sympathies are with your tamil students and you will do anything to save them.

      This is exactly how the Sinhalese feel, about the so called war criminals. They are our heroes, who rid the country of a huge menace.We will do everything to save them. I can assure you neither the president nor the prime minister will conduct a serious investigation. This process will be delayed as long as possible, so that finally there will not be any evidence. Lets see who wins

  • 7
    7

    I lost all hopes the day Vingeswaran declared that Prabakaran was a hero. Then he followed it up with his ‘genocide’ agenda. The devilish intention was clear – to drive a permanent wedge between the Sinhala and Tamil generations to come. (Even Sampanthan and Sumathitharan appeared to be fighting shy with the word.) No doubt the Sinhala students living in Jafna may be sensing the undercurrents.

    TNA led Tamil political class and the Western funded NGO cabal is very vocal and emphatic on ‘accountability’ on the Sinhala side. Government is making all kinds of incoherent statements on foreign involvement, understandably to keep the armed forces and the majority Sinhalese restrained for the moment. One must pause for a moment to think why the Govt has resorted to behaving this way.

    We are back to square A? Perhaps a hasty conclusion. Who knows ‘reconciliation’ may not be too far away. Let us just be patient till this war crimes court trials are over and the culprits are taken to Hague. I can imagine the Tamils and Sinhalese embracing each other in joy as the next day dawns – much hoped for ‘reconciliation’ has finally arrived thanks to the genius of Tamil Diaspora, USA and the UN.

    Soma

    • 4
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      soma:

      “I lost all hopes the day Vingeswaran declared that Prabakaran was a hero. Then he followed it up with his ‘genocide’ agenda.”

      In what way your loss of hope or otherwise in anyway affect the Tamils, whichever it will be? It was fair enough that the army went after Prabhakaran and the LTTE but it murdered thousands of civilians. In such an aftermath who really bothers about your stupid crocodile tears or phony hope?

      I sometimes cannot fathom the utter stupidity and ignorance guys like you show. When SWRD introduced the Sinhala Only Act, he drove a wedge between the two races. When his wife Srimavo introduced the republican const she drove a wedge between the two races. When the 1983 pogrom was carried out at the behest of the Sinhala leadership and politicians that drove a wedge between the two races and when the Jaffna Library was burnt down by sinhala extremists that drove a wedge between the two races. These were all possible and were done right under your noses because your grey matter was seduced by racism and they knew how stupid you people were who would swallow lock stock and barrel that they told you. A pathetic display of your blissful ignorance is laughable. Were you born in 2010 or what?

      • 1
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        Mr Jenesse

        Where do you want to head from this point onwards?

        Soma

        • 2
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          soma:

          Don’t worry over that. We will get to where we want to – in due course.

          • 1
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            Good luck. Will be there to welcome you.

            Soma

            • 1
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              soma:

              Did I say that I want you to welcome me or will I even bother to look at your face even if you are there? Go and get on with your work unless you are so idle to sweep the roads.

          • 1
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            n. ethirveerasingam

            “The GoSL should not look to punish the students who in their own way sent a message”
            Though many sinhala boys were injured, your sympathies are with your tamil students and you will do anything to save them.

            This is exactly how the Sinhalese feel, about the so called war criminals. They are our heroes, who rid the country of a huge menace.We will do everything to save them. I can assure you neither the president nor the prime minister will conduct a serious investigation. This process will be delayed as long as possible, so that finally there will not be any evidence. Lets see who wins

            • 2
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              ravi perera

              “This process will be delayed as long as possible, so that finally there will not be any evidence.”

              The more it delays, more and more evidences are coming up. Very recently they found cluster bombs being used and the UNHR chief has commented about it.

              When their (Sinhala govt.) tail is on fire they are talking of ‘Reconciliation’ to fool the world. The President and prime minister can deny the facts to fool the Sinhalese but they cannot fool the UN, US, UK, EU and Tamils. Let’s wait and see the fun, who wins at last is pretty obvious.

            • 1
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              ravi:

              Only donkeys don’t know the difference between hurt, wilful hurt and murder. Twisted minds.

              • 0
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                Janesee,

                “Only donkeys don’t know the difference between hurt, wilful hurt and murder. Twisted minds.”

                Monkeys like you know

                • 0
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                  ravi:

                  Have you heard of any of the LTTEs under Prabhakaran raped any women or girls? Figure out who are the sadistic animals here. The label is well entrenched.

          • 0
            2

            janesee,

            “Don’t worry over that. We will get to where we want to – in due course.”

            You buggers are so capable..

      • 1
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        Nicely said Jansee!

        Soma must too young to remember the immediate post-independence jostle between SWRD and JR to win the hearts and votes of the Bauddha-Sinhala electorate, and after that to pander to them to keep them onside.

        Even JR was shocked when he came up against the anti-Tamil factions of his own government. He froze when faced with the evil Cyril Mathew whose party trick was to tour the environs of Colombo in that Black July of ’83 torching Tamil properties (May the bastard rot in hell).

        What most decent Tamils and Sinhalese know is that what is common to us all is more than the inconsequential differences that divide us. Our present challenge is to increase the numbers of those believe that together we are capable of building a new Sri Lanka where WE ALL will be stronger, more prosperous and happier.

        IF Soma is worried that his favourite Liberator and henchman are going to swing in the Hague, fear not. NOBODY will stand trial. (NOT even Gota’s kuk’ka-puppy).

        Soma, just to recap, NO ONE doing SL government ‘business’ has ever been found guilty and put in the clink. NOT in 1958, NOT in 1971, NOT in 1977, NOT in 1983, …….NOT even after BINDUNUWEWA!!!! (Remember the theme song? The hills are alive to the sound of killing, the shouts and the screams of the Tamil youth,………)

        Soma, you are not alone. There are many adamant that everything is the fault of our Tamil brethren. But let us be fair, our national goose was well and truly cooked the day we let devious politicians manipulate WE the PEOPLE to achieve their goal of Divide and Rule.

    • 2
      3

      LOL….reconciliation after war crimes ? LOL

      we can never have reconciliation with tamils. This is purely a problem on history. Lets handle this with the Portgugese, dutch and the british and ask them to take back their labour to where ever they want

      • 2
        1

        sach

        “Portgugese, dutch and the british and ask them to take back their labour to where ever they want”

        If the Portgugese and the dutch take back their labour to where ever they want, then overnight, the Sinhalese will turn into a minority in Sri Lanka and the Tamils may become a majority.

        Tens of thousands of Dalits (untouchables) from South India were settled in the Southern parts of Sri Lanka for Cinnamon, Coconut and other plantations. They all got converted to Buddhists and Catholics to avoid the Hindu caste discrimination and eventually/finally became Sinhalese. Some of them adopted Portuguese surnames such as Fernando, Silva, Perera and so on to hide their original South Indian names while others made minor changes to their original names to make them sound Sinhala, example: Marappan became Marapana, Naanaya Kaaran became Nanayakara and so on. Professor K.M. de Silva very clearly says they are all South Indians who got converted to Buddhism and became Sinhalese.

        (Refer “History of Sri Lanka” by K.M.de Silva, University of California Press, 1981 page 81, it refers to the migration of the Karawe, Salagama, and Durawe castes from Southern India to Sri Lanka between the 14th and 17th centuries AD).

        Btw sach, can you please tell us from which South Indian tribal area (Dalit/untouchable) your ancestors came to SL and got converted into Sinhala-Buddhists?

        • 0
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          Celeo thanbi,

          “If the Portgugese and the dutch take back their labour to where ever they want, then overnight, the Sinhalese will turn into a minority in Sri Lanka and the Tamils may become a majority. “

          &
          “(Refer “History of Sri Lanka” by K.M.de Silva, University of California Press, 1981 page 81, it refers to the migration of the Karawe, Salagama, and Durawe castes from Southern India to Sri Lanka between the 14th and 17th centuries AD).”

          while being important members of the sinhala community,Karawa, Salagama and Durawa make up only 8% of the sinhala population. Take 8 % away from the sinhala population, I suppose the Tammas become a majority then. Yet another imagination of you demalas.

          Besides the original coastal belt sinhalese are suppose to be from Kerala, this is shown by their rabid anti tamil stance.

          Are you a refugee in Toronto ?

  • 1
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    trying to be fair by both the sides of a conflict is a good journalistic practice, no doubt.

    but, in the course of that saying “Of course, there is no doubt that Tamil nationalism is alive and well in the University of Jaffna. Of course it is disappointing that there isn’t more tolerance of difference and dissent within the university. I experienced this first hand when in 2014, I was at the University of Jaffna for the launch of Dr Rajan Hoole’s book, Palmyra Fallen and university administrators initially refused to allow the book launch to be held inside the university” is to generalise losing the critical edge.

    for example, when we say, university of Jaffna, then do we equate that with the university administration? who were the people in the administration that took the decision refusing the launch of Hoole’s book?

    i think, the crucial point here about promoting reconciliation is that everyone should pause for a moment to reflect on the mindset of Jaffna youth at this juncture. Whose decision was it to increase the intake of Sinhala students to the Science faculty, with what purpose in mind? Were they thinking that this would bring reconciliation? If that was the case, it’s an utterly foolish idea.

    The reality of what conditions the mindset of Jaffna youth is closer to what HA describes as follows: “living in a ..society just emerging from 30 years of violent conflict surrounded by constant reminders of being the ‘losers’ in the war; not least the many monuments celebrating war victory, continuing presence of the military and an ever increasing presence of symbols of Sinhala Buddhist culture.” Military promoting Buddhist symbolism in Jaffna is definitely a reminder to Tamils, of the dominance of their society by the Sinhala Buddhsit state.

    Condemning efforts to arouse racism through this incident hides the fears of Tamil youth, of Sinhala Buddhist state encroaching upon their freedom which needs to be addressed if genuine reconciliation to take place. Treating this incident as a mere law and order issue may not resolve underlying uses in the long run.

  • 2
    1

    A tolerance society is far cry in Sri Lanka although majority of us called we are Buddhists. Without stopping there, we keep on saying that are a great nation, we make no mistakes and nothing to learn from how other non-Buddhist countries handle multi-cultural issues. We already paid a huge price for grandiose sentiments.

  • 3
    1

    Good article. I think the politicians SHOULD blame for all these problems/issues. To keep their vote bases happy and to prove that they are alive and for their survival, the easiest thing that they can present to the public is racism. Unfortunately we still believe them.

    Law and order must be restored in this country. If Tamil students have attacked Sinhalese students, why are the Police waiting for politicians to tell them to arrest the culprits? If Sinhalese students have done it, please arrest them.

  • 2
    3

    I agree with Dr.Rajasingham Narendran that hate crimes should be punished. As the author says to just reset and move on. It cannot happen if issue is one sided – only the ‘majority’ is accountable.
    Problem is for some Tamils racism = Sinhalese as seen in the attempts to list incidents against Tamils, real or fabricated. Deftness of Tamils when confronted with racism of their own community is stunning!
    Worst of all Tamils expect that North and East be free of any traces of Sinhalese or Muslims. And rest of the island, everyone bends over backwards to please them. Tamil presence, Tamil culture must be venerated OR Tamils will blackmail the rest of the community with threats from their proxy – NGOs and ‘International Community’.
    Time for Tamils to look within and see that their demands are unfair and not leading towards reconciliation.

  • 4
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    The “rumpus” was a good start.

    For the very first time, the idea of welcoming freshers as co-students, instead of ragging them, has dawned in the minds of undergrads.

    This will be a good beginning and hopefully will be adopted in all other universities.

    In future, all outsiders should be prevented from entry to all university premises, to enable this to take place peacefully.

    • 1
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      In all other universities the freshers are welcome with a grand party and grand welcome

      • 1
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        In the Jaffna University the freshers are always welcome with a grand party and a grand cultural show.

        Things went wrong when the Kandyan dance which was not a part of the program agenda was imposed in an arrogant manner by the Sinhala students to show their highhandedness and the power they possess (due to their close association with the occupied Sinhala military which is always there to support them).

  • 0
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    Harini Amarasuriya…………. just bear up and wait untill Ranil returns to the Country to get answers BECAUSE our Minister of Higher Education Lakshman Kiriwalla @ Perera is a bit lost without the party leader.

  • 1
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    My Chinese, Muslim and Christian student friends at the Jaffna University were also annoyed they were not represented at the refreshers party. They would have appreciated Chinese Dragons, Islamic verses and Christian sermons. Obviously there probably was no room to represent all religions and the Administrators should have first put it to a vote by the students as to which one community was to be represented and the students abide by that decision. That is democracy. If as Harini Amarasuriya says 60% of the students were Sinhalese-Buddhist, they would have won.

  • 2
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    You can say whatever you want regarding an incident, but the problem is very deep rooted. The only way is proper reconciliation. First step towards proper reconciliation is recognize the differences as real and accept that, there is no monolithic race called ‘Sri Lankan’, Sri Lankans are Sri Lankans only because they happen to live in an island called Sri Lanka and nothing more. Cultural, religious and ethnic identities are much more deeper than the identity bestowed by the geographic necessity.

    The differences between the races needs to be respected through structural political change. People who think superficially will advocate symmetric devolution, which empowers people who do not have a problem and results in wastage of resources and abuse of power (like the provincial councils).

    If you are really keen on solving this issue and bring about real reconciliation there has to be asymmetric devolution where the power has to be devolved to ensure the acceptance of differences. This could have been easily done by MR soon after the war.

    We live in a majoritarian democracy, you cannot expect justice , what majority thinks is what is correct. After all democracy itself thrives by dividing people. Multi party system in Sri Lanka was born on ethnic issue. How can you expect true reconciliation in a system which propagates and thrives on ethnic issue?

    • 0
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      Roger

      ” People who think superficially will advocate symmetric devolution, which empowers people who do not have a problem and results in wastage of resources and abuse of power (like the provincial councils).”

      Majority of Tamils(Tamil speaking people) live OUTSIDE North and East. In your clarification they are people who have a problem or do not have a problem?

      Soma

  • 3
    3

    Well, for the last 70 years or so suppressed Tamils tried several means to liberate themselves or to get the world to recognize their situation in their own Country. It is sad even after the racist Government used their struggle against them turning their struggle as Terrorism and world terrorism. Soon after the US terrorist attack of 9/11 Sri Lanka succeeded with help from countries around the world showing support to the US in fighting terrorism. Of course the so called terrorism in Sri Lanka ended in 2009. Today except Sri Lanka the rest of the Countries of the world have realized the real situation of Sri Lanka’s oppressing after the UNHRC reports and Sri Lanka’s new Government cosigning the agreement. It is very obvious Sri Lanka will not realize its situation today. What Sri Lanka does after every exposure to the abuse of violence against Tamils is to appoint commissions to inquire only to show the world they are at it. But never did anything genuinely to address issues. What is happening today is the same. Speeches are made like any other interested Administrator but intends doing nothing good. Even the Tamil representatives go along with the shaming Government just to get some temporary favors to show the poor voters they are doing something. Time goes and come the next election and all racists are returned again and vie for support from major powers even pitting one power against another.

  • 1
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    “Jaffna Campus Rumpus Requires Our Serious Attention”
    The attention created is very much inflated. Is it because it was between Tamil students and Sinhalese students in a predominantly Tamil area? Indications are it is and this is the matter that needs serious attention.

    There were several write ups in Colombo Telegraph. Few had this photograph of a person in aggressive posture holding a tree branch and staring menacingly. The safe assumption is that this person is Tamil. The photo would have caused the consternation of Lankans in general. JHU’s Nishantha Warnasinghe and Minister Champika Ranawaka buried their own differences and demanded stern action?

    Compare this photo with one in Izeth Hussain article in Colombo Telegraph of 09 July
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-holistic-approach-to-the-ethnic-problem/
    This carried a photograph of a 1983 incident. There was a naked Tamil youth being taunted by Sinhala goons. (The victim was set on fire few minutes later). This created barely a ripple compare to the tsunami caused by the Jaffa University incident. This is our problem.

    Harini points out the BBS threat of a repeat Aluthgama – implicit that BBS was behind the Aluthgama pogrom against Lankan Muslims. The Jaffna University incident pales to insignificant ranking compared to the BBS threat. Yet no one talks about this. This is our problem.

    The language-divide created in 1948 has reached the use-by date and must be discarded.

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    Dr Amarasuriya also enters the debate with half truths and innuendos.
    First of all this was not a clash. Video evidence clearly shows that a mob of Tasmil Students uttering abuse assaulting hapless Sinhala Students with poles and sticks.
    The writer should refer a dictionary if she has difficulty in finding the correct words.
    Any way,we do not expect Colombo Telegraph Columnists masquerading as educated Sinhalese not to twist the facts , and slander the innocent victims for CIA dollars.

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    It is foolish to look at the Jaffna campus problem in isolation.Conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese is deep rooted and it started from before independence and it has been so in many countries at the point of time when they gained independence.Not only that even within the same community there are conflicts mainly on cultural,literary matters as well.In late sixties when at Law college Tamil literary Association we wanted to change the usual ‘mock trial’being staged as a ‘play’, translated Anton Chekov’s ‘Bear’ and Martin Wickramasinghe’s ‘Mama’ into Tamil and tried to stage them in our annual Tamil Festival there was huge opposition from other Tamil students. They questioned us as to whether there are no Tamil plays that we could stage.One of the main opponent was our friend and former Minister Late Ashraff. Recently there had been attacks on Muslim students by Sinhala students in South East University in Oluvil(Kalmunai) and in Trinco campus of Eastern University Tamil students and Muslim students where Sinhalese students 70 percent, Tamils 20 percent and Muslims 10% in a predominantly Tamil speaking area were beaten up by the sinhalese students. Police posted around these campus are always Sinhalese just as the Armed Forces of the country are almost 100 % Snhalese. Armed forces and Police force always take the side of Sinhalese students in any conflict.These problems can not be solved in a day just as you can not draft a constitution within an year as the new government and Sampanthan and of course Sumanthiran and America and India thinks. Avoidance of conflict is the best thing to do which we failed and the majority community has to take a major portion of the blame for this. When you can not agree on basics like Secular state,United and not unitary form of government etc. how can you have a new constitution to satisfy everyone within an year and have peace in the country.

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