Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Sri Lanka's Shadow War '02 to '07: Introduction & Index > the Record Speaks....

The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing

Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
...in the Shadow of the Ceasefire: 2002 - 2007

  • Sri Lanka troops open fire on demonstration in Jaffna

Sri Lanka troops shot in the air & Tamils on the ground suffered gun shot injuries - 20 December 2005
University fiasco has brought Jaffna to brink of war - D.B.S.Jeyaraj in the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Leader, 25 December 2005
NTT Video News of  Demonstration at University of Jaffna, Tamil Eelam

Sri Lanka troops shot in the air & Tamils on the ground suffered gun shot injuries
- News Watch, 20 December 2005

Reuters Report - Simon Gardner, 19 December 2005 -

"Sri Lankan troops and protesters clashed in the minority Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula on Monday, with one person shot and wounded and each side accusing the other of trying to provoke further violence. The army said it had fired into the air after protesters incited by Tamil Tiger rebels attacked checkpoints with stones. Protesters said troops attacked a peaceful demonstration against army brutality and had beaten lecturers and students.

"They shot at us," University of Jaffna management student Senthil Ratneswaran told Reuters in an overcrowded local hospital, a suspected bullet fragment still in his back. "Some fell onto the road to save themselves and they were kicked. They are trying to... instigate the LTTE to move towards war."

Hospital staff said it was the worst incident of its kind since a 2002 ceasefire halted two decades of conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

One protester had been confirmed shot and wounded and 14 others were also injured, they said. The injured included senior university staff who said they had been beaten with sticks and rifle butts....  On streets bearing the scars of past bombs and shells, soldiers stood with assault rifles and sticks, some obscuring their faces with black bandannas..."

TamilNet, Report  19 December  2005

Sri Lanka Army troopers opened fire at a peaceful demonstration march by Jaffna University students and staff, wounding at least seven demonstrators including Prof. N. Perinpanathan, a Senior Lecturer, and a student leader of the medical faculty T. Kandeepan. Professor C. Mohanadas, the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University, Prof. R. Sivchandran, Dean of Arts, and S. Kajendran, Jaffna MP were severely beaten by the soliders.

The demonstration march from Jaffna University towards the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) did not proceed beyond Parameswara Junction where the troopers began firing at the demonstrators around 11:00 a.m. Monday. Tension prevails in the area. At least seven people were injured and rushed to Jaffna Hospital.

The demonstrators were scheduled to hand over an appeal to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission protesting the increased harassment by the Sri Lanka Army soldiers on the student community in Jaffna and the alleged involvement of Sri Lanka Navy men in the killing of a young woman in Punguduthivu on Saturday.  Journalists covering the students demonstration were also attacked by the soldiers at Parameswara junction. Thinakural staff reporter Mr. N. Sabeswaran, Uthayan reporter N. Pradeepan, Thinakaran (Lake House) reporter Wintson Jeyan and Namathu Eelanadu reporter Mr. I. Jerad were beaten up by the troopers. The soldiers also smashed their digital camera equipments, media sources said. Professor N. Perinpanathan  was admitted to the Jaffna Hospital with gunshot wounds to the thigh.

Comment by Newswatch

Sri Lanka troops shot in the air and Tamils on the ground suffered gun shot injuries. Two decades ago in 1984, Sri Lanka troops shot at roof tops and the bullets hit Tamils on the ground. On that occasion, Sri Lanka National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali claimed that the bullets had ricocheted - and 'stray' bullets had hit Tamils on the ground. On this occasion it appears that some of the troops were "obscuring their faces with black bandannas..." - perhaps, their vision was obstructed and they did not know where they were shooting.


  • University fiasco that has brought Jaffna to the brink of war
    D.B.S.Jeyaraj in the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Leader, 25 December 2005

Front Note by R.Cholan:  The fact that the Sunday Leader published this article doesn�t mean that this paper is on the Tamil side, or is even neutral. The Sunday Leader has its own agenda, which are, among other things: 1. Make life difficult for Mahinda. 2. Make Ranil appear better, and, 3. more importantly, like all Sinhala owned newspapers, The Sunday Leader also wants Sri Lanka to look as if it is a �democratic country� with �press-freedoms� and �tolerance for the opposite views�, etc. What the Sunday Leader has done to undermine the Tamil cause on its own, will take another page. However this particular article, regardless of DBSJ�s occasional barbs at the LTTE, is worth reading.

Additional Comment by News Watch:  As  Ranil Wickremasinghe (&UNP) supporting Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Leader battles with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse as to who is best suited to (and knows how best to)  impose alien Sinhala rule on the people of Tamil Eelam, the truth sometimes peeps out. D.B.S.Jeyaraj's  concern about  the counter productive nature of  Sri Lanka military's actions under President Rajapakse, is a helpful example.

The Jaffna University or Yarlpanap Palgalaikkazhagham has become a volatile flashpoint of tension in the ongoing conflict between security personnel of the state and the younger generation of the district.

While intifada type attacks continue to be directed against police and armed forces in the peninsula, the university precincts and environs in Thirunelvely became the battle ground for direct clashes. With even the vice chancellor and members of the academic staff becoming victims the university authorities have decided to close down the campus till January 2, next year.

The Jaffna University has played a prominent role in the politics of the region since its inception in 1974. Various undergraduate generations have come and gone in the past. Each generation has had its own brand of politics fashioned according to prevalent conditions.

In the late �70s Jaffna University students played a pivotal role in the emergence of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and its1977 electoral victory on a platform seeking a mandate for Tamil Eelam. Yet in the early �80s, Jaffna undergraduates were in the forefront of those revolting against the perceived betrayal of the TULF in accepting the compromise of district development councils.

Safe house for the LTTE

The late �70s and early �80s also saw the Jaffna campus being a virtual safe house for some leading members of the LTTE. The LTTE then was in its embryonic stage of development.

The very same Jaffna campus exploded in protests against LTTE hegemonism in the mid �80s over incidents like the Vijitharan killing, Rajaharan abduction, etc. This was when Jaffna was being controlled by Sathasivampillai Krishnakumar alias �Col.� Kittu.

The late �80s saw the Jaffna campus transforming once again into a clandestine support base for the Tigers during the Indian army occupation of Jaffna.

The �90s saw the Jaffna University developing pockets of resistance to the Tigers who were controlling all aspects of civilian life then in Jaffna. The LTTE cracked down on a number of undergrads and young graduates in an attempt to stifle all dissent and suppress all protest. It would have been difficult to predict the future had that course of events continued.

There was however a dramatic reversal of the situation in 1995 when the LTTE withdrew to the Wanni and the Sri Lanka Army took over the Jaffna District. Once again rebellion began within university ranks to the dominant forces in power.

The army presence was resented. Jaffna University students played a crucial role in the Tamil resurgence movement and staging of Pongu Thamizh (Tamil upsurge) demonstrations.

Though Jaffna undergraduate politics has undergone different changes at different times, there have been three constant, underlying threads. Firstly, a fearless spirit of defiant opposition to the powerful forces dominating Jaffna. Secondly, an inherent consciousness of opposing or rebelling against perceived oppression and injustice. Thirdly, a consistent pattern of being in the vanguard against threats or potential threats to the well-being of the Tamil people. It is against this backdrop that one has to view all �tensions� within and outside the Jaffna campus.

Two significant developments began after the election of Mahinda Rajapakse as President and appointment of Sarath Fonseka as military commander. One was the launching of a Palestine-style intifada protest campaign by Jaffna students against the intrusive presence of the armed forces.

The second was the escalation of the shadow war in Jaffna where a series of grenade, hand bomb and landmine attacks against police and military personnel in Jaffna. Though the LTTE did not play any overt role the Tigers were suspected of providing covert logistical and moral support to the attacks and protests.


The landmine attacks on army patrols saw the security forces deploying additional personnel in key roads, junctions and zones. The university and its environs became strategically important. The university was seen as a hotbed of intrigue and revolt against the pervasive army presence.

Besides the administrative office of the International Tamil Student Federation was in the vicinity. The federation was controlled by Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian, Selvakumar Gajendran alias �Kuthirai� Gajendran. This organisation is regarded as a Tiger front and being the live-wire behind student and youth protests in Jaffna.

The increase of search posts, sentry posts and the deployment of additional soldiers in the university zone led predictably to confrontation and tension. With most soldiers being young men and the undergraduates also being young men, tempers frayed on both sides.

Undergraduates resented this enhanced security intrusion into their daily life. There were many arguments. The soldiers reacted with assaults and tearing up of identity cards. Undergraduates began demonstrating. Kokkuvil Technical College students also began demonstrating.


The undergraduates in association with the secondary school student consortium called for a widespread Hartal in Jaffna. One of the demands was that security posts in the university area should be shut down and additional soldiers withdrawn. The protest demonstration created much tension and a few incidents of stone-throwing. Soldiers fired in the air. The situation did not deteriorate further at that point of time.

The prevailing �standoff� situation underwent a drastic change on account of the rape and murder incident at Pungudutheevu. A 20-year-old Tamil woman, Eliyathamby Dharmini from the seventh ward area was sexually violated, murdered and thrown into an abandoned well close to a navy camp. It was widely alleged she had been raped and murdered by naval personnel. When protest demonstrations demanding justice were held, the navy responded with force, tear gassing and beating up demonstrators. A few were arrested. The navy at Pungudutheevu also prevented people from attending the funeral.

It was in this atmosphere that a group of undergraduates in three vehicles started off from the campus at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 18 to Pungudutheevu. MP Gajendran also accompanied them. They were stopped near the Parameshwara Junction by soldiers who refused to let them proceed further.

The students refused to turn back and a heated argument ensued. At this point of time stones were thrown at the soldiers from a spot behind an ice cream parlour nearby.

The soldiers then began assaulting the students. They also fired at the ice cream parlor building. The students also retaliated and soon there was a violent melee on. With more undergraduates streaming out from campus precincts, the soldiers began calling for reinforcements. Soon a large contingent of soldiers in armoured cars, armoured personnel carriers, jeeps, trucks and motor cycles arrived at the scene.

Assaulting students

Unarmed students were brutally assaulted with clubs, rods, batons and rifle butts. Firing was done towards the ground and into the air. The students retreated into the campus. At least 25 of them were injured. An ice cream parlour employee was also severely injured.

The soldiers then took full control of the area outside campus. One consequence of increased security deployment in the campus environs was the �unofficial� sealing off the one km stretch of the Jaffna-Palaly road between Thirunelvely and Kantharmadam junctions. No one was allowed to travel along the road stretch.

As a result students and residents were put to much hardship, being unable to go out. People could not return to their homes. A number of civilians were also assaulted. Soldiers blocked all access roads to the campus area.

The International Students Federation office in the vicinity was also affected. Soldiers entered the premises and wrecked the interior. The �Godfather� Gajendran in typical Tiger fashion was nowhere to be seen as students bore the brunt of the attack. Army men also fired towards the entrance of the university campus. Movement to and from the campus was severely curtailed. It was almost as if the university people were under house arrest.

Academics including Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohanthas and many students could not get out from campus. The Vice Chancellor was on the phone speaking to army authorities explaining the predicament. Finally at about 8 p.m. the soldiers began moving away from the campus environs and Parameshwara Junction to Aalady Junction and Post Box Junction. The university students and staff moved out from campus at about 9 p.m.

Nonviolent protest

On the following day TNA Parliamentarian Gajendran urged university authorities and student representatives to go out in procession to protest against the previous day�s assault and to submit a petition to the monitoring mission at Nallur.

The academic staff was initially reluctant but Gajendran succeeded in �persuading� them to do so with all the power of his arguments. Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohanthas informed the SLMM and army authorities of their intention. He informed them clearly that it was a strictly nonviolent exercise.

Over 2,500 students and academic staff led by the Vice Chancellor started out in procession at 10:45 a.m. Gajendran also participated. The procession commenced from the campus precincts towards the Parameshwara or university junction and then proceeded along Palaly road.

When it reached the Central Nursing Home Junction the procession was forced to stop because the road was blocked. A massive army contingent including armoured cars and tanks with field artillery was stationed there. The processionists were asked to turn back.

The Vice Chancellor and senior academics went up to the officers and informed them of their intentions. They pointed out that it was a nonviolent protest and that suppressing it through force could prove counterproductive. The security men would have none of it and insisted they turn back. The university people stood their ground and kept on pleading that the army should allow them to proceed.

A group of soldiers then came forward menacingly and began firing on the ground. Pieces of chipped tar and stones began flying about due to the hail of gunfire. The academics including the Vice Chancellor were lying on the ground to protect themselves. The soldiers also began firing in the air. The students at this point began chanting slogans against the army. The soldiers however let loose a torrent of assaults.

The academics and others lying prostate on the ground were kicked, trampled and assaulted. This included the Vice Chancellor. Bursts of gunfire were now directed against the unarmed processionists. The helpless students and terrified academic staff began running for safety.

Realising that none of the processionists possessed firearms or grenades the soldiers waded in �courageously�, assaulting students and staff without restraint. The procession was dispersed brutally with processionists scattering.

Assault injuries

Professor N. Perinpanathan admitted to the Jaffna Hospital with gunshot wounds to the thigh.

A senior lecturer, Perinpanathan and five students received gunshot injuries and were admitted to hospital. Perinpanathan was shot in the thigh. The Arts Faculty Dean, Prof. Sivachandran and 19 other students were admitted to hospital for assault injuries. Around 100 others received minor assault injuries and received medical treatment. This included the Vice Chancellor, some lecturers and Gajendran. The encounter took about 90 minutes.

The soldiers, like a conquering army, took control of the Palaly road stretch for hours. Tanks and armoured cars were mounted in strategic points. It was as if the army was expecting an armed invasion or issuing a challenge for a fight. But there were no takers. After several hours of posturing, the bulk of soldiers withdrew, no doubt very pleased about their performance.

The beleaguered army in Jaffna had scored a magnificent �victory� in Jaffna, unleashing violence on unarmed undergraduates and academic staff and crushing a nonviolent procession.

The following Tuesday saw the university students declaring a boycott of lectures in protest against the previous day�s incidents. Nevertheless a large number of them were present in the campus precincts. Some students were standing near the main entrance on the road when a jeep with five cops from the Kopay Police station drew up.

The policemen tried to chase students away. Infuriated students encircled the jeep and began thumping on the vehicle. Soldiers from nearby Parameshwara Junction and Kalady Junction hurried to the scene, firing in the air. The students ran into the campus while the Police jeep sped away.

A larger contingent of troops arrived shortly thereafter and entered the campus in violation of accepted norms. They began firing tear gas cannisters at the groups of students standing by. Firing also commenced. Students began running inwards for safety. Soldiers went on the rampage moving in all directions within the campus and assaulted anyone they got hold of.

Two groups of soldiers took up positions near the Kailasapathy auditorium and library premises and fired volleys. After a while they went outside the campus premises and continued firing. They challenged the students to come out and fight.

Finally they went away, leaving hundreds of empty cannisters and cartridges behind as souvenirs for the students. A lecturer, Manickavasagam Ilampiraiyan and undergraduate Gowrisenthooran were assaulted and taken away by the soldiers to the Parameshwara Junction post.

Ilampiraiyan is the brother of Vavuniya District Judge, M. Ilancheliyan. Some academic staff members went to the army officers and requested the release of the arrested persons. It was refused. Later both were handed over to the Jaffna police.

University closed

The boycott of classes by students continued. With the army entering university premises, the minor staff employees were frightened about their safety. Their union had an emergency meeting and decided to stop work until their security was ensured. The academic staff followed suit. Representations made by the Vice Chancellor to the President, University Grants Commission and Army Commander met with no proper response.

Under the circumstances a decision was taken to shut the university until January 2 in the interests of the students and university staff and employees. Efforts would be taken to procure effective guarantees of safety during this interregnum.

Meanwhile undergraduates staged a meeting in a very emotional state. It was resolved that resistance to army occupation should continue in the coming days. It was also resolved that a �request� be made to the LTTE to provide arms training to undergraduates. If there is a prompt response by the Tigers to this request the consequences could be very bad indeed.

The Jaffna University has about 6,000 students. In a possible future scenario at least 10% or 600 could get arms training and become a people�s force or civilian militia. Also, at least 60 or 10% of these could become full-fledged Tigers.

The soldiers in Jaffna are not equipped or trained to handle the new challenges arising in the region. Using brute force is not the way to deal with this problem. But then neither Mahinda Rajapakse nor Sarath Fonseka possess the mature wisdom to recognise this.

Fonseka has changed the military hierarchy in Jaffna. Responsible officers have been replaced with gung-ho type officers. With these men at the helm in the periphery and the centre the future is going to be extremely bleak.

The armed forces have played right into the hands of the Tigers through the university fiasco. The consequences will prove tragically costly.




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