Jaffna MP and leader of the Tamil Makkal Desiya Kootani (TMTK) leader C.V Wigneswaran said the demolition of the Mullivaikkal memorial at the University of Jaffna forms part of the Sri Lankan government's wider agenda to erase memory of past injustices perpertrated against Tamils.
"Totally erasing memories of the injustices and massacres perpetrated against Tamils is the agenda of the present government. The demolition of the Mullivaikkal memorial is part of the administration's larger agenda. This is one of the most perilous items in the programme of the government. It is understood that many such plans profilerate with the administration," Wigneswaran said in a statement condemning the demolition.
Last night, dozens of Tamils protested outside the entrance of the university amidst heavy security presence as authorities bulldozed a memorial monument dedicated to the tens of thousands of Tamils massacred by the Sri Lankan state at the end of the armed conflict in May 2009.
“The Mullivaikkal memorial statue in Jaffna University is an expression of the feeling of the Tamil people to commemorate their loved ones. Demolishing it with assistance from the military is tantamount to suppressing the sentiment of the Tamil people,” the TMTK leader added.
“The Mullivaikal memorial structure was erected to commemorate former students, lecturers, office-bearers, staff and their family members who perished in Mullivaikkal. The students, lecturers and office-bearers, all came together to construct the statue. Due to great pressure from the high echelons of the government, the university administration has demolished it with support from the military.”
Wigneswaran highlighted that the heavy deployment of Sri Lankan security forces at the university was not necessary and called for them to be removed immediately.
“The deployment of the military in large numbers around the university to intimidate students and the people at point-blank range reveals the sordid face of oppression by the military. The army has to be removed from the area immediately.”
He then warned that intimidation by the army would soon spread to non-Tamil areas of the country as well. “Our Sinhalese brothers and sisters must understand that what happens here will very soon happen in the Sinhalese parts too.”
Responding to the Jaffna University's Vice Chancellor's comments about the demolition, Wigneswaran said:
“One can’t commit a grave mistake and try to justify it as an execution of an order from one’s superiors. If the top brass orders the execution of an evil act, it is one’s duty to explain its ramifications to one’s seniors.”
Wigneswaran added that previous university administrations have refrained from demolishing the Mullivaikkal memorial.
“It must be remembered that two previous administrations of the university carried out no actions to tear down the memorial structure,” Wigneswaran said.
Read the full statement in Tamil here.