Students at the University of Jaffna bypassed a heavy army and police presence around the campus to light a flame at the Mullivaikkal monument and mark Tamil Genocide Day today.
Dozens of police officers and army soldiers, accompanied by several intelligence officers, had been deployed in the locality of the campus since last night, in order to prevent any gathering to commemorate the massacres in Mullivaikkal.
This morning, more soldiers were brought in to the area on buses. The army and police engaged in stopping and questioning passers-by and locals in the area.
Two journalists who were stopped and questioned during this process were threatened with arrest for photographing and taking video footage of the area. Police confiscated the journalists’ motorcycle keys while demanding they delete all photographs and footage from their cameras.
A small group of students defied the intense surveillance and intimidation to place a poster and light a commemorative flame at the recently-opened Mullivaikkal monument on campus.
However, shortly after this vigil, a campus security guard stamped out the flame and kicked the commemorative items away from the monument.
"This was a disgusting act of disrespect to our massacred loved ones," one student said.
Two further security staff were arrested and taken to Koppay police station for questioning regarding the students' entry onto campus and ability to light a flame despite the surveillance put in place.