'Students day' marked by condemnation of Sri Lanka

Place: Vanni | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 19970606

Tamil Eelam's entire student population today roundly condemned Sri Lanka's "War for Peace" and hostile occupation of their homeland. A detailed statement issued by the Confederation of Tamil Students - on what is this year's 'Students' Day' - says Tamil students' lives have been disrupted beyond imagination by the Sinhala forces occupying parts of the northeast.

The UN Charter enshrines the right of students to be adequately protected but the Sri Lankan military does not bother at all about the needs of the students, says the statement. Education has been pushed to the sidelines in all occupied Tamil areas. In Jaffna, the statement continues, life for Tamil students is intolerable - they are frequently rounded up and searched, arrested (without recourse to any legal justice or compensation) and hundreds have already gone missing. Tamils are literally at the mercy of the armed forces. Jaffna's main university campus meanwhile resembles a high-security prison, with the entire medical faculty non-operational due to the lack of staff. All these problems stem directly from the Sri Lankan military occupation, the statement notes. Meanwhile, many schools in military-occupied parts have been totally shut down to house the Sinhala army. Students are subsequently not offered new facilities but left to fend for themselves. The Sinhala military regime, in this manner, is slowly eroding Tamils' educational life. The students' annual statement also acknowledges that Sri Lanka's military adventures on Tamil soil have a specific target - to harm civilian life as thoroughly as possible. During these incursions, the student population has often been direct targets of military strikes, like at Nagarkoil where 40 school children were deliberately bombed by the Sri Lankan airforce. What is more, the statement says, fear has gripped students. Army checkpoints littering the Tamil homeland engender panic in the young who face the prospect of being picked off and taken away in army vehicles. Young Tamil female students on their way to school have fallen regular victim to this practice. In Puthukudiyiruppu today a huge procession of parents, teachers and students will march to the Malathi memorial grounds to mark the occasion (Students' day).