The Jaffna University Students' Union has called for a boycott on Sri Lanka's Independence Day and to declare it as a 'black day' in protest over unmet demands of the Tamil community, including a permanent political solution.
“We request everyone to halt all commercial activities and declare February 4th as a black day,” a representative of the union said at a media conference held on campus.
“We saw with the passage of the Online Safety Bill, the type of laws this country is bringing forward. This not just applies to the Tamil community but the Sinhalese as well.”
“The Tamil people of this country have been engaged in the struggle to ensure their rights are protected but to-date no solution has been put forward by this government on various matters. Reconciliation is only a figure of speech.”
The Union also called on the students of the Eastern Univerity, activists, religious leaders, and trade unions to support the call for a boycott.
“This government is taking away the freedom of speech and restricting even the expression of opinion, a right of every citizen in this country. We understand that the government is working with a far-sighted aim of stifling dissent, clamping down on protesters, and ensuring there are laws to arrest those who defy the law,” they said.
“They are never going to give a political solution, neither are they going to release Tamil political prisoners, address the issue of forcibly disappeared persons and destruction in the North-East. We must continue to struggle until we find a solution.”
The Student Union also expressed that they will not accept the 13th Amendment to the Constituton as a permanent political solution.
The Student Union also firmly stated that the 13th Amendment is neither a starting nor ending point for a permanent political solution. The 13th Amendment was established in 1987 as part of the Indo-Lanka accord and created the system of Provincial Council, promising greater devolution of land and police powers to a merged North-East. However, Sri Lanka has failed to implement the accord. Tamils have long protested against the 13th Amendment.
Each year, Tamils across the North-East hold black flag protests to reject Sri Lanka's Independence Day as they continue to be oppressed by the state and denied basic rights.