As protests continue outside the University of Jaffna over the destruction of a remembrance monument, the Vice-Chancellor responded by claiming the memorials must be taken down and slammed the demonstrations at the gates.
"They have come because they are over-enthusiastic," said Vice-Chancellor S Srisatkunarajah, as protests took place outside the campus gates. "It is illegal for them to threaten us. If they do not go by themselves we will deal with them.”
The monument was first unveiled in 2019, on the 10 year anniversary of the Mullivaikkal massacres.
He maintains that the administration was instructed by the government to remove anything illegal and emphasised that the memorial could not be kept.
Jaffna University's former Head of Law, Dr K. Guruparan has expressed concern over these developments explaining that the previous VC was fired from his position for his refusal to destroy the monument.
The previous VC was sacked because he didn't demolish the monument. I have concrete reasons to believe that one of the pre-conditions for appointment of the new VC by the incumbent President was demolition of this monument.
— K. Guruparan (@rkguruparan) January 8, 2021
A photograph circulating on social media from last month purportedly shows the Vice-Chancellor showing Sri Lanka's army one of the many monuments inside the campus.
Students have reported that this occurred a few prior to today events.
The Vice-Chancellor has warned that if protesters continued their demonstration that they would be "dealt with".
Thus far two student protesters have been arrested.
Read the Vice Chancellor's full statement below:
“We cannot keep these. Even if we want to lay a small foundation stone we must obtain permission from the relevant ministry. So we were told that things that were built illegally must be removed and that they must be informed of it after. They said that they found this out through investigation and that we cannot keep this at the University. I had sent this letter to the appropriate maintenance/ engineer officers and they have just responded to this, that’s all. Some are seeking political gain here; however, this is something that had to be removed somehow. We cannot keep it. There are small threats, but we will deal with them later. They have come because they are over-enthusiastic. It is illegal for them to threaten us. If they do not go by themselves we will deal with them.”