Reports from Jaffna say that two out of the four Jaffna University students, who were in the custody of the Terrorism Investigations Department (TID) on a directive by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and later transferred to the Welikanda military camp for rehabilitation, have been released.
Bhavanathan and S. Solomon have been released. However, Jaffna University Students’ Union Secretary P. Dharshanath and President of the Arts Faculty, K. Jenamaijayanthan are still in the Welikanda military camp.
However, despite the release of the two students, the military pressure on the university administration and students are reportedly continuing.
Rehabilitation in remand?
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake has told the media on the 19th, “We will not allow any one to commemorate Prabhakaran when they try to light candles and commemorate him inside the university premises. The army went into the university and arrested the persons who were trying to light candles inside the university for Prabhakaran. They are now remanded and investigations are being conducted. They will be rehabilitated if they are truly having links with the LTTE Diaspora or else they will be released.”
Dissanayake’s comment indicates the plan of holding these students custody for a long time. A legal expert told us that if as stated by the Minister, the students are remanded and being subject to an investigation, it is illegal to direct them for rehabilitation.
The students have to be presented to court to be remanded, but these students were not presented before any court. The Jaffna University students were taken into custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and were detained on a detention order issued by the Defence Secretary.
Higher Education Minister Secretary Sunil Navaratne earlier said the students will be released before the Thaipongal festival on the 14th.
The Jaffna University re-opened on the 8th due to pressure from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Jaffna Commanding Officer Major General Mahinda Haturusinghe and Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake. The university administration has been ordered to put pressure on the students to stop boycotting classes.
Intellectuals in Jaffna say that the university administration and the Defence Ministry have reached a secret pact.
Report from Jaffna state that there are still a few security points around the university and that students were under a close watch.