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Sri Lankan Army – Jaffna University students’ clash (Update)

Colombo, Dec 1 (): Students of Jaffna University are on a two-day boycott of classes following violent clashes with the Sri Lankan Army on Wednesday,Nov 28.

Termed as the worst-ever clash that happened in Sri Lanka since the end of the ethnic conflict in 2009,the Sri Lankan Army engaged in a violent clash when the students were planning to celebrate Heroes’ Day in commemoration of fallen Tiger rebels. The Sri Lankan army went violent and beat up students. Twenty of them were wounded out of which seven students had to be hospitalized. Reports said that media persons were also targeted in the clash.

Following Army’s intrusion in the university premises on November 27, Heroes’ Day, students came out of the campus on Wednesday and took out a protest at the university where soldiers lined up alongside police. The military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya told AFP that the army was asked to stand by to assist the police in crowd control but there was no need for the army to deploy, it being a small crowd.

The Jaffna University students are of the opinion that they are not safe enough in their own premises and hence are staying away from classes.

Meantime, students affiliated with the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) of Ruhuna University in Matara and Peradeniya University in Kandy staged protests against inhuman attacks by the security forces during the clash.

On November 29, Sri Lanka University students also protested Wednesday’s clashes between the students of the Jaffna University and the security forces.

More protests were planned on November 30 at other universities, the student union said.

The Ceylon Teachers’ Union denounced the attack on the students and said the police had disrupted a peaceful protest.

Sri Lanka’s key Tamil party, The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Lawmaker for the Jaffna district on Thursday blamed the security forces for disrupting students’ peaceful plans and creating turmoil in the region. It has also pressed for the withdrawal of army troops from the northern region of Sri Lanka. This comes amidst international calls to demilitarize Jaffna and ease restrictions on civilians.

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