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Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
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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....

INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing

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

  • Professor S. Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka abducted by Sri Lanka para military, 15 December 2006

Eastern University Vice Chancellor reported missing, 15 December 2006
Norwegian University appeals for the release of Vice Chancellor Raveendranath, 18 December 2007
67 Academics Worldwide Appeal for release of Vice Chancellor Raveendranath, 19 December 2006
Amnesty Appeal for Release, 20 December 2006
Abducted VC's mother appeals for son's release, 21 December 2006
Wife appeals for release of Eastern University VC, 16 January 2007
Sri Lanka's abduction industry has top academic in its grip, 18 January 2007
Scholars at Risk Appeals for Release of Professor Raveendranath, 7 February 2007
Missing Vice Chancellor's Family Appeal to UN Secretary General, 15 February 2007
Appeal to Sri Lanka Bishop Rt. Rev Oswald Gomis 22 February 2007

[see also Music and Memories: A Dedication to Prof.S.Raveendranath by Sachi Sri Kantha]

 

Eastern University Vice Chancellor reported missing
[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 December 2006, 05:41 GMT]

S. Raveendranath, the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL), who was forced to resign his post recently following threats from paramilitary Karuna Group that abducted a Deen of the EUSL demanding the resignation of the Vice Chancellor, was reported missing since 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dehiwale Police in Colombo said. The VC was reported missing in High Security area in the Bauddhaloka Mawatta.

Mr. Raveendranath, who was working at University Grants Commission (UGC) where he had submitted his resignation, was on his way to attend a meeting of Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) at Vidya Mawatta near Bauddhaloka mawatta where he was last seen by his driver at 12:30 a.m. The Vice Chancellor had instructed his driver to come back at 2:00 p.m. when the meeting is over. The driver contacted the family as he could not get in touch with Mr. Raveendranath, family members have told media. A complaint was registered at the Police around 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Raveendranath, 55, and father of two girls, was living in Colombo as his resignation was not accepted by the UGC. Raveendranath began his career in 1978 in Karadiyanarau at the Institute of Agriculture, and he was a founder-member of the EUSL, founded in 1980.

On 30 September, unidentified gunmen, widely believed to be from Karuna group, came in a white van, kidnapped the Dean of Arts faculty at the EUSL, Dr. Bala Sugumar while he was at his Uppodai home in Batticaloa. The kidnappers had demanded the immediate resignation of the Vice Chancellor of EUSL, Dr. S. Ravindranath, before releasing Bala Sugumar. A senior lecturer of the Eastern University, Mr. Kumaravel Thambaiah, was shot and killed by the paramilitary group on 24 May 2004.


Norwegian University appeals for the release of Vice Chancellor Raveendranath, 18 December 2007
[TamilNet, Monday, 18 December 2006, 09:53 GMT]

Norwegian University of Life Sciences has appealed to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to take urgent action to find the whereabouts of the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University, Professor S. Raveendranath, and ensure his safe return. The Vice Chancellor, who was reported missing while he was on duty in Colombo last Frdiay, was engaged in a sustained effort of building the academic capacities of the EUSL and was working with the Norwegian University in developing a master's degree programme i peacebuilding and development, said Professor Ruth Haug, Department Head of International Environment & Development Studies, Noragric Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Full text of the letter, released to media by the University, follows:

President Mahinda Rajapakse
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

Re. Professor S. Raveendranath, Eastern University, Sri Lanka, who has been missing since Friday the 15th of December 2006

We at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences are deeply concerned about reports that Prof. S. Raveendranath of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka (EUSL) has been missing since Friday the 15th of December. I have personally known Prof. Raveendranath in his capacity as the Vice Chancellor of EUSL, which is one of our institutional partners in Sri Lanka. My colleagues and I are well aware of his sustained efforts over the years to build the academic capacities of the Eastern University amid difficult circumstances. More recently he was involved in developing a proposal for a master's degree programme in peace building and development to be conducted jointly by Tribhuvan University, Ruhuna University, EUSL and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Earlier this year he represented his institution in a workshop on this programme hosted by our Department and together with his colleagues from Ruhuna made valuable contributions. The news that he has not been seen since Friday afternoon, when he was on official duty in Colombo, has caused us great anxiety about his safety.

I earnestly appeal to your Excellency to take urgent action to find the whereabouts of Prof. Raveendranath and ensure his safe return to his family.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Ruth Haug
Head, Department of International Environment & Development Studies, Noragric Norwegian University of Life Sciences


67 Academics Worldwide Appeal for release of Vice Chancellor Raveendranath
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 15:11 GMT]

67 academics, colleagues, and partners of Eastern University, across country borders, Tuesday jointly urged for the safe release of Professor S. Raveendranath, the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University, who was reported missing Friday in Colombo's High Security area. In September, an unidentified armed group kidnapped the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Eastern University, demanding Professor Ravindranath's resignation in return for the Dean's release. The joint appeal said: "Professor Ravindranath has played a central part in the work of the University from its foundation in 1981, and his tenure as Vice-Chancellor has coincided with major developments like the opening of the first medical school in the East of Sri Lanka."

Full text of the appeal follows:

Statement of Concern Regarding Missing Vice-Chancellor of Eastern University, Sri Lanka

We wish to express our deep concern about the apparent abduction of Professor S. Ravindranath, Vice-Chancellor of Eastern University in Sri Lanka. On Friday 15th December, he left a meeting of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in central Colombo, and has not been seen since. His family have reported his disappearance to the police.

In September an unidentified armed group kidnapped the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Eastern University, demanding Professor Ravindranath's resignation in return for the Dean's release. The Vice-Chancellor has not been able to return to the University since that incident and had been carrying out his duties from Colombo.

Our colleagues in universities across Sri Lanka have struggled heroically in the face of war and natural disaster in recent years. Eastern University is located in one of the areas most devastated by the civil war and by the Tsunami of 2004.

That it is still capable of producing world-class researchers is testimony to the quality and dedication of its academic staff. Professor Ravindranath has played a central part in the work of the University from its foundation in 1981, and his tenure as Vice-Chancellor has coincided with major developments like the opening of the first medical school in the East of Sri Lanka.

As colleagues, friends, and, in some cases, academic partners of Eastern University we urgently appeal for the swift and safe release of Professor Ravindranath, and for the protection and safety of all our colleagues in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Michael Woost, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Hartwick College,USA
Prof. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Dr. David Washbrook, St Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK
Dr. Nicholas Van Hear, Senior Researcher, The Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford, UK
Dr. Terrance J. Taylor, Research Associate, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA
Prof. Donald K. Swearer, Director, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, USA
Dr. Alison Strang, Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK
Prof. Kristian Stokke, University of Oslo, Norway
Associate Prof. Birgitte Refslund Sřrensen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, Professor of the Anthropology of South Asia, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh
Associate Prof. Hans Skotte, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Dr. Bob Simpson, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Health, University of Durham, UK

Professor John Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Prof. N. Shanmugaratnam, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Norway
Prof. Saskia Sassen, University of Chicago, USA and Centennial Visiting Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Prof. S W R de A Samarasinghe, Tulane University, USA & Executive Director, ICES, Sri Lanka
Dr. John D. Rogers, Bibliography of Asian Studies, USA
Dr. Susan A. Reed, Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender and Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies and Anthropology, Bucknell University, USA
Prof. Velcheru Narayana Rao, Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Dr Caroline Paskell, London, UK
Prof. Jonathan P. Parry, Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Dr. Camilla Orjuela, Göteborg University, Sweden
Dr. Ranjini Obeyesekere, Lecturer Emerita, Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, USA
Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, USA
Prof. Hisashi Nakamura, Department of Economy, Ryukoku University, Japan
Dr. Martha Mundy, Reader in Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Elizabeth Monson, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin- Madison, USA
Dr. Jody Miller, Associate Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA
Prof. Eric Meyer, Vice-President, National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations, University of Paris, France
Prof. Barbara McPake, Director, Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK
Prof. Susan McGrath, Director, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada
Dr. Caitrin Lynch, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, Olin College of Engineering, USA
Prof. Ragnhild Lund, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Dr.Wasantha A. Liyanage, Lecturer in Sinhala Language, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University, USA
Prof. Jonathan Lewis, Institute for the Study of Global Issues, Hitotsubashi University, Japan
Assistant Prof. Benedikt Korf, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Dr. Steven Kemper, Asian Studies, Bates College, USA
Dr. Alf Morten Jerve, Assistant Director, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
Dr. Tariq Jazeel, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, UK
Associate Prof. Jennifer Hyndman, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Dr. Kristine Hoglund, Uppsala University, Sweden
Prof. Ruth Haug, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Norway
Prof. John Harriss, Professor of International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Prof. Olivia Harris, Professor of Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Associate Prof. Charles Hallisey, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Prof. Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard University, USA
Dr. Arjun Guneratne, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Macalester College, U.S.A
Prof. Anthony Good, Head of School, School of Social & Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
Prof. Wenona Giles, Atkinson College, York University, Canada.
Prof. James W. Gair, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, Cornell University
Prof. Řivind Fuglerud, University of Oslo, Norway
Amani El-Jack, School of Women's Studies, York University, Canada
Shukria Dini, School of Women's Studies, York University, Canada.
Prof. C. R. De Silva, Dean, College of Arts and Letters, Old Dominion University, USA
Assistant Prof. Donald Davis, Department of Languages & Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Christina P. Davis, Anthropology Department, University of Michigan, USA
Dr. Michael Cullinane, Associate Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Prof. A.P. Cohen, FRSE, Principal & Vice-Patron, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK
Assistant Prof. Bambi L. Chapin, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Maryland, USA
Prof. Ian Bryceson, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Norway
Associate Prof. Cathrine Brun, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Dr. Robert Boyce, Department of International History, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK
Dr. Anne M. Blackburn, Associate Professor of South Asia & Buddhist Studies, Cornell University, USA
Dr. Zoltán Biedermann, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Assistant Prof. Bernard Bate, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, USA
Dr. Daniel Bass, Adjunct Professor, Religious Studies & Fellow of The Honors College, Florida International University, USA
Prof. Yoshiko Ashiwa, Institute for the Study of Global Issues, Hitotsubashi University, Japan


Amnesty Appeal for Release, 20 December 2006
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA370352006?open&of=ENG-376 

20 December 2006

UA 336/06

''Disappearance''/fear of torture or ill-treatment/health concern

SRI LANKA

Professor Sivasubramanium Raveendranath (m), aged 55, Vice-Chancellor, Eastern University, Batticaloa

Professor Sivasubramanium Raveendranath, the Vice-Chancellor of Eastern University, was reportedly abducted while at a conference in the capital, Colombo, on 15 December. Since he was in an area tightly controlled by the military, it seems likely that his captors are an armed group operating with the tacit support of the security forces. He is at risk of torture. He suffers from heart disease, putting his life in greater danger.

Sivasubramanium Raveendranath had been attending a conference of the Sri Lankan Association for the Advancement of Science and was reportedly last seen by colleagues during the tea break between sessions.

On 20 September, gunmen abducted his colleague, the Dean of the Arts Faculty of the Eastern University, Dr Bala Sugamar.

It is widely reported that the kidnappers had demanded the immediate resignation of Sivasubramanium Raveendranath in return for Dr Bala Sugamar's release. Sivasubramanium Raveendranath handed in his resignation and Dr Bala Sugamar was released soon after. The University did not accept his resignation, on the grounds that it was a presidential appointment, but he had not yet felt it was safe enough for him to return to the university, and had been carrying out his duties from Colombo. His family have said that Sivasubramanium Raveendranath had received several threats, though it is not clear from whom.

According to the head of a local NGO, Eastern University has a reputation for violent internal politics, mostly about control of the university. Many faculty members have resigned, gone missing or have been killed in the past. Some  people within the university have claimed that Professor Raveendranath is a supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but his family maintain that he is entirely apolitical.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated dramatically in recent months. Fighting between the security forces and the LTTE has increased since April, and this has led to scores of civilians being killed or injured, and forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes. Neither the security forces nor the LTTE appear to be taking adequate precautions to ensure that civilian are not killed or injured by military actions. Despite the escalating violence, both sides maintain that they are committed to a 2002 ceasefire agreement. Over two decades of conflict in Sri Lanka have claimed the lives of more than 65,000 people, the majority of them civilians.

In recent months in areas in the northeast of Sri Lanka, there have been reports of a number of people ''disappearing'' or being abducted by the security forces or armed groups. Such people are often called or taken in ''for questioning'' and held incommunicado. No receipts or records of their detention are made available, and the official mechanisms for reporting such events, such as through the National Human Rights Commission, are often unable to find where the missing people are. Anyone held this way is in clear danger of torture or ill treatment.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:

calling on the authorities to immediately do everything necessary to locate Sivasubramanium Raveendranath, who was allegedly abducted on 15 December;

calling on the authorities to ensure that Sivasubramanium Raveendranath is not tortured or ill-treated, and that he is allowed immediate and unfettered access to his family, a lawyer of his choice and any medical treatment he may require;

urging the authorities to conduct a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the abduction of Sivasubramanium Raveendranath, to make the findings public and to promptly bring those responsible to justice in a free and fair trial;

if Sivasubramanium Raveendranath is found to be in custody, calling on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally unless he is to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence.

APPEALS TO:
President Mahinda Rajapakse
Presidential Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Fax: 011 94 11 2446657/ 94 11 2472100
Salutation: Dear President Rajapakse

Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka
Army Commander, Army Headquarters,
Flagstaff Street, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Fax: 011 94 11 2855 018/ 94 11 2434 862/
94 11 2338 653/ 94 11 2421 374
Salutation: Dear Lt General

Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Secretary, Ministry of Defense,
15/5 Baladaksha Mawatha, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
Fax: 011 94 11 2446 300/ 94 11 2541 529
Salutation: Dear Secretary of Defense

Mahinda Samarasinghe
Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights,
383, Department of Meteorology,
Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
Fax: 011 94 11 2681978/ 94 11 2881982
Salutation: Dear Minister

COPIES TO:

Ambassador Bernard A.B. Goonetilleke
Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
2148 Wyoming Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 232 7181

Email: [email protected]
 


Amnesty International
Rue d'Arlon 39-41 Brussels
B-1000, Belgium

December 22, 2006

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: The abduction of Vice Chancellor, Prof. S Raveendranath by the Sri Lankan forces and its goons

The Vice Chancellor of Eastern University, Prof S Raveendranath, was abducted in Colombo on December 15th, 2006 by the Sri Lankan armed forces in collaboration with its paramilitary goons.

I am extremely concerned and fearful for the safety of Vice Chancellor Prof S Raveendranath. He was intimidated in the Eastern University by the armed paramilitary goons on numerous occasions within recent times. A couple of months ago, he was asked to resign from the post of Vice Chancellor of the University by the government-aligned armed goons who abducted the Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty, Dr Bala Sugumar.

Since the abduction of Prof. S. Raveendranath almost a week ago, there has been no trace of his whereabouts and his wellbeing. My sincere prayers and thoughts are with him and his family.

Prof. Raveendranath is one of the many Tamil scholars who selflessly and tirelessly worked in the difficult and dangerous terrain only to help the less fortunate Tamil students in Sri Lanka. The humanitarian organizations like Amnesty International, CARE, OXFARM, RED CROSS, WORLD VISION, UNICEF, etc. should do everything possible within their capacity to have him released immediately and unharmed.

Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission has said more than 1000 Tamil people have disappeared from the northeast of Sri Lanka since the current hawkish president Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected back in December 2005. The Asian Human Rights Commission, a private group based in Hong Kong, UNICEF, the ICRC and the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission have all accused the Sri Lankan government and its forces of unlawful abductions and disappearances in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka.

It is the moral duty of the International Community and all those working for the less fortunate people to use their good offices to secure the release of Vice Chancellor Prof S Raveendranath of Eastern University immediately and safely.

I thank you for taking time to read this letter and do hope you respond promptly to this urgent matter.

Respectfully yours,

E. S.


Abducted VC's mother appeals for son's release
[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 December 2006, 19:55 GMT]

Mrs. Saraswathy Sivasubramaniam, 75, the mother of abducted Vice Chancellor of Eastern University appealed to the abductors to release his son without harm when TamilNet talked to her and her extended family in South London Thursday. "For the last 28 years my son and his family have been living in Batticaloa, the foremost thing in his mind was the development of Batticaloa, especially modernizing the agriculture in Batticaloa," she said. Prof. Raveendranath is 55.

"From the time he worked as an Agriculture officer in Karadiyanaaru for three years from 1978, till his tenure as VC from January 2005 until recently, my son worked for the improvement of economic conditions and academic skills of the Batticaloa residents. He is softspoken, and is a man of integrity, and family members looked up to him for advice and support. We are all devastated by his disappearance, and appeal to those who are holding him to let him free," she said.

Eldest of eight siblings, three boys and five girls, Professor Raveendranath, affectionately called by his family and friends as "Indran," is from Kokuvil Jaffna, and is married to Ms Jagatheeswary from Kondavil. The couple moved to Batticaloa immediately after their marriage in 1978, and have two girls, Thushyanthi, 26, and Abirami, 23, both born and schooled in Batticaloa.

Prof. Raveendranath spent 4 years from 1983 for his doctoral studies at the Science Faculty of Imperial College located in Ascot in London, and later spent a sabbatical year 1994 at National Research Institute in Kent also in UK.

"He always wanted to go back to Batticaloa to serve the people there," his mother said. "Neighbors, and people he worked and grew-up with, always have a great respect for his simplicity and his concern towards their welfare," she added.


Wife appeals for release of Eastern University VC, 16 January 2007
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 19:43 GMT]

R.Jegatheswary, wife of Professor Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath, the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL), issued an appeal on Tuesday to the media seeking their help in obtaining the release of her husband abducted on Dec 15th in Colombo in High Security area in Bauddhaloka Mawatte.  In the appeal Mrs.Jegatheswary said: "We have with great pain of mind and body approached very high authorities with political powers to intervene in this matter and facilitate the release of his captivity. But, it is of no avail. There is ominous silence from all quarters. The police department is also not aware of his whereabouts."

Full text of the Press Release issued by Mrs.Jegatheswary Raveendranath follows:

16/01/2007
The Editors ,
Mass Media.
Dear Sir / Madam,

Vice Chancellor’s Abduction

Professor Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of Eastern University

I, the undersigned Mrs.R.Jegatheswary wife of Prof.S.Raveendranath (Vice Chancellor Eastern University) most humbly and earnestly write this appeal to you to state that my husband was abducted on 15/12/2006 after attending a forum on science at Colombo 7. Since then he is missing. Wide publicity has been given in all mass media regarding the abduction of my husband. But, no amount of mass media bashing, mirroring this in-humanitarian event seems helpful. It’s already a month now since his disappearance. We have with great pain of mind and body approached very high authorities with political powers to intervene in this matter and facilitate the release of his captivity. But, it is of no avail. There is ominous silence from all quarters. The police department is also not aware of his whereabouts.

It is our firm belief that my husband, as a Vice Chancellor or as a citizen of Sri Lanka has not knowingly done any wrong or offence to anyone. On the other hand he had only been devoting himself to uplift and ameliorate the education of the students at the Eastern University. This fact is very obvious upon the overwhelming support that still he has from the university students, the staff and his superior officers.

I, our children, and all his friends and relations are in anguish, not knowing what to do. How long can we bear up this heart­rending situation? The whole family is in bad shape.

I therefore, most humbly request you on humanitarian grounds to consider this humanitarian issue and help us by offering us your maximum help and effort to secure his release immediately.

Thanking you,
Yours truly,

Mrs.R.Jegatheswary


Sri Lanka's abduction industry has top academic in its grip, 18 January 2007http://www.indiaenews.com/srilanka/20070118/36147.htm

The distraught family of Sri Lanka's most high profile kidnap victim is begging the authorities to accept his resignation as vice-chancellor of a university, the key demand of abductors who seized him from under the very nose of the government over a month ago.

In a case that has raised international stink, S. Raveendranath, 55, who has headed the Eastern University of Sri Lanka for around three years, sensationally disappeared Dec 15 from near a conference hall in a supposedly high security area of Colombo.

Since then, the Tamil man's wife has almost stopped eating and spends her days and nights in agony on bed, their son-in-law and trainee eye surgeon Muthusamy Malaravan, 36, told IANS over telephone from their Colombo home. 'She is crying all the time. The family members are in severe mental trauma.'

Adding to the worry is Raveendranath's feeble health. He is a diabetic and suffers from hypertension, both of which necessitate regulate doses of medicines. Any slip up can lead to a stroke that can prove fatal.

Malaravan, who has stopped doing surgeries because of the tension he is in, has one humble request to the University Grants Commission (UGC): Please accept my father-in-law's resignation as vice-chancellor so that the kidnappers let him go.

The abductors, widely believed to be the breakaway Tamil Tigers faction headed by Karuna, apparently want Raveendranath, who is from the north of the island, out of the university near the eastern town of Batticaloa, in a zone they consider as their own.

The UGC has different ideas. It thinks that if it were to give into the demand of the abductors, its 'prestige' will be hit. That 'prestige' is prolonging the agony of an already distressed family - the missing man's wife, two daughters and son-in-law.

In a violence-torn country where kidnappings of Tamils, the rich as well as the not so rich, have become routine, Raveendranath has still attracted a lot of attention in Sri Lanka and abroad as one who joined the Eastern University in 1981 as an assistant lecturer and rose to become the acting vice-chancellor in 2004 before assuming full charge in 2005.

And it was in 2004 that Karuna, the once famed regional commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tami Eelam (LTTE), broke away with his supporters. He has since been locked in a bloody turf war with the dominant LTTE for control of Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic east, apparently with Colombo's backing.

'It is more than one month and nobody is telling us where my father-in-law is,' said Malaravan. 'We have no single clue, nothing. They (police) are blank. Police do meet us, but that is all. And worse, there is no eyewitness to what really happened that day.

'UGC has my father-in-law's resignation. They only need to make it public. We are requesting them to do it. We are ready to give 100 percent firm assurance that my father-in-law will have nothing to do with the university once he is freed. We will not file any case. We pray to god every day.'

The family has knocked on every single door in Colombo: President Mahinda Rajapakse, military officials, foreign embassies, Sri Lankan and global NGOs, the media and also the Colombo-based office of the Karuna group, which is laying the blame for the kidnapping on LTTE.

Raveendranath's problems came in the open when armed men abducted the dean of the arts faculty in September 2005 demanding the vice-chancellor's resignation. On Oct 2, he sent his resignation to UGC, and soon the dean was released. According to the family, the UGC asked him to work in Colombo. He complied. So he remained the vice-chancellor.

On two later occasions, Raveendranath received telephonic threats: 'You are still working. You are not obeying us. You will be in danger.' He reported the calls to UGC but his resignation was still not accepted. On Dec 15 he disappeared, becoming the most high profile of Tamils who have gone missing in Sri Lanka in recent times.

Malaravan details all that his father-in-law has done for the Eastern University and the linkages he has forged with universities around the world including India. The efforts are visible from the support generated for him in Western academic circles, including the US, Britain, France, Denmark, France, Sweden, Canada and Japan. But he remains missing.

Does the family have hope? 'We are still positive but worried,' says Malaravan. 'UGC must accept his resignation. If everyone works together, I think he can be released. He is a neutral man. Even if there is one phone call saying he is well, we shall be happy. Even that is not there.'


Scholars at Risk Appeals for Release of Professor Raveendranath, 7 February 2007

SRI LANKA: SAR appeals to SL President to locate disappeared Vice-chancellor Raveendranath

Scholars At Risk (SAR), an international network of universities and colleges dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion and expression -freedoms essential to any healthy society, operating from New York, has written Thursday to the President of Sri Lanka expressing concern about the disappearance of Professor S. Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of Eastern University, reported missing since Friday 15 December.

The following is the letter written to President Mahinda Rajapakse by Robert J. Quinn, the Director of Scholars At Risk, New York:

Dear President Rajapakse:

I am writing on behalf of Scholars at Risk to express urgent concern about the disappearance of Professor S. Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of Eastern University. Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of universities and colleges dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion and expression -freedoms essential to any healthy society.

Through our network, SAR arranges temporary academic positions in third countries for scholars threatened or persecuted at home. In especially urgent cases, we intervene on behalf of scholars still under threat in their home countries. According to published news reports, Professor Raveendranath disappeared Friday, December 15, after leaving a meeting in central Colombo and has not been seen since.

We are greatly concerned about his physical well being, not least because in September of this year unidentified gunmen demanding Prof. Raveendranath's resignation kidnapped the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Eastern University, Professor Bala Sugumar, and because in the months thereafter Professor Raveendranath received repeated death threats demanding he abandon his post.

We therefore respectfully urge you to exhaust every available resource to locate Dr. Raveendranath and to ensure his safe and timely return to the university. Professor Raveendranath's sudden disappearance not only raises the most urgent concerns for his physical well being, but is a significant blow to the Sri Lankan higher education sector in which he has played a leading role.

Recognizing the courage and resolve of Sri Lankan universities and education professionals in the face of war and natural disaster, we request that you use the current situation as an opportunity to improve protection for higher education institutions throughout the country-for leadership, scholars, students and staff alike-both by dedicating the necessary resources to ensure the security of campuses and personnel, and by issuing firm condemnations of attacks on higher education institutions and affirmations of the importance of academic freedom of scholarship in Sri Lankan society. We appreciate your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely, Robert J. Quinn Director SCHOLARS AT RISK N E T W O R K


Missing Vice Chancellor's Family Appeal to UN Secretary General, 15 February 2007

Hon. Ban Ki-moon,
Secretary-General.
United Nations Headquarters
Geneva.

Your Excellency

Re Professor S. Raveendranath, Former Vice Chancellor, Eastern University, Sri Lanka, who has been missing since Friday the 15th of December 2006:

We the family members are deeply concerned about Prof. S. Raveendranath of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka (EUSL) who has been missing since Friday the 15th of December.

We understand that, he was abducted on 15/12/2006 after attending a Science Forum at SLAAS, Vidya Mandiraya, Vidya Mawatha, Colombo7, a high security area in Colombo and we lost contact with him after that (nearly 2 months). A complaint was made to the Dehiwala Police on the same day (225/260/CIB2).

In September 2006 unidentified gunmen demanding Prof. Raveendranath's resignation kidnapped the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of EUSL, Dr. Bala Sugamar, and in the months thereafter Professor Raveendranath received repeated death threats demanding him to resign his post. He rendered his resignation on 2nd of October 2006 but it was accepted by the University Grants Commission on 19th January 2007.

We thought that his resignation was the prime demand of the abductors. But, still we have no news about his whereabouts. The abductors must at least inform us about his safety and health. But, his whereabouts are still cloaked in a shroud of mystery as we have tried enough through all sources. Still he remains missing. The official investigations have yet to present credible evidence as to the identity of the abductors.

Despite the efforts by us and concerned individuals to highlight this issue, and the attention paid to the case by the President, the Government, Foreign Embassies, academics, human rights organizations, Political parties in Sri Lanka, students and the media, he has yet to be released.

He is having high blood pressure and heart disease. We are undergoing untold anguish and miseries without his presence at home.

We kindly and humbly request you to take urgent action to find the whereabouts of Prof. Raveendranath and ensure that he is returned safely without any delay. We will be very grateful to you, if you do this urgent humanitarian need.

Yours truly,

M. Malaravan

Dr.M.Malaravan (son-in-law).
Mrs.R.Jegatheswary (wife).
Miss.Abiramy (daughter).
Mrs.D.Malaravan (daughter).
Miss.M.Kaniska (grand daughter).


E-mail: [email protected]

COPIES TO:

1) His Excellency, President of Sri Lanka.
2) Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (your Ref No:PM/PC/04).
3) Hon.Mahinda Samarasinge /Ministry of Human Rights.
4) The Ambassadors.
5) The Civil Monitoring Mission.
6) Sri Lanka Monitoring mission (Ref:No:37/15.2.2007).
7) ICRC (Ref: NO: LKC425174).
8) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (Ref: No: HRC/7276/06).
9) Asian Human Rights Commission (Ref: No: FS-008-2007).
10) Amnesty International's Urgent Action network (Ref: No: ASA 37/035/2006).
11) The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances , Geneva.
12) The Human Rights Watch.
13) The Minister of Higher Education.
14) UGC Chairman.
15) The CVCD.
16) The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
17) The Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka.
18) The Media.
19) European Union.
20) United Nation – Colombo: Sri Lanka.
 


Appeal to Sri Lanka Bishop Rt. Rev Oswald Gomis 22 February 2007

The Chairman:
University Grants Commission.
SriLanka.
22/02/2007.

Dear Sir,

As I have discussed to you earlier, the request letters have been sent to all religious leaders for an urgent appeal. The details are given below.

Thanking you,

Yours truly,
Dr.M.Malaravan.


Rt. Rev Oswald Gomis:
Bishop’s House, Colombo.
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

20/02/2007.

Rev. Sir;

Professor S. Raveendranath, Former Vice Chancellor, Eastern University, Sri Lanka, who has been missing since Friday the 15th of December 2006:

We the family members are deeply concerned about Prof. S. Raveendranath of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka (EUSL) who has been missing since Friday the 15th of December.

We understand that, he was abducted on 15/12/2006 after attending a Science Forum at SLAAS, Vidya Mandiraya, Vidya Mawatha, Colombo-07, a high security area in Colombo and we lost contact with him after that. It’s already two month now since his disappearance. A complaint was made to the Dehiwala Police on the same day (225/260/CIB2).

We have with great pain of mind and body approached very high authorities with political powers to intervene in this matter and facilitate the release of his captivity. But, it is of no avail. There is ominous silence from all quarters.

In September 2006 unidentified gunmen demanding Prof. Raveendranath's resignation kidnapped the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of EUSL, DR. Bala Sugamar, and in the months thereafter Professor Raveendranath received repeated death threats demanding him to resign his post. He rendered his resignation on 2nd of October 2006 but it was accepted by the University Grants Commission on 19th January 2007.

We thought that his resignation was the prime demand of the abductors. But, still we have no news about his whereabouts. The abductors must at least inform us about his safety and health. But, his whereabouts are still cloaked in a shroud of mystery as we have tried enough through all sources. Still he remains missing. The official investigations have yet to present credible evidence as to the identity of the abductors.

He had only been devoting himself to uplift and ameliorate the education of the students at the Eastern University. This fact is very obvious upon the overwhelming support that still he has from the university students, the staff and his superior officers.

Despite the efforts by us and concerned individuals to highlight this issue, and the attention paid to the case by the President, the Government, Foreign Embassies, academics, human rights organizations, Political parties in SriLanka, students and the media, he has yet to be released.

He is having high blood pressure and heart disease. We are undergoing untold anguish and miseries without his presence at home.

My lord, we kindly and humbly request you for an urgent appeal to the abductors to release my father-in-law Prof. Raveendranath and ensure that he is returned safely without any delay.

We will be very grateful to you, if you do this urgent humanitarian need.

Yours truly,

M. Malaravan

DR.M.Malaravan (son-in-law).
Mrs.R.Jegatheswary (wife).
Miss.Abiramy (daughter).
Mrs.D.Malaravan (daughter).
Miss.M.Kaniska (grand daughter).

E-mail: [email protected]

 

 

 

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