Jaffna University war memorial (Photo Credit: Twitter/ Mk Stalin)
Jaffna University war memorial (Photo Credit: Twitter/ Mk Stalin)

Sri Lanka's Jaffna University war memorial removed, Tamil Nadu CM condemns move

ANI | Updated: Jan 10, 2021 14:21 IST

Jaffna [Sri lanka], January 10 (ANI): The decision to remove the Mullivaikkal War Memorial at the Jaffna University campus in Sri Lanka was taken by the Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University Professor Satkunarajah, said University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Sampath Amaratunga on Saturday.

The move was "strongly condemned" by Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami. 

Sri Lanka UGC Chairman said that the decision to remove the Mullivaikkal War Memorial was taken by Vice-Chancellor, as it can be an obstruction to unity between the North and South and reconciliation, Daily Mirror reported.

The memorial in Jaffna University was built in 2018 in memory of the people and students who died in the Mullivaikkal war in 2009 between the Tamil extremist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lanka government forces.

Meanwhile, CM of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami took to Twitter to strongly condemn the demolition and said, "The news that a monument erected at the Jaffna University campus in memory of university students and the general public who were mercilessly killed in the final phase of the war in Mullivaikkal, Sri Lanka, has been demolished overnight is shocking."

"I strongly condemn this monthly act of the Government of Sri Lanka which has caused great pain to the Tamils of the world and to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jaffna who accompanied it," Palaniswami said in another tweet. 

The Jaffna area has a majority ethnic Tamil population. The area witnessed a brutal civil war between the LTTE and Sri Lankan forces that continued for several years and led to the loss of lives of thousands of people.   

Meanwhile, Daily Mirror quoted the UGC Chairman as saying, “The Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University Professor Srisatkunarajah is an eminent scientist in Sri Lanka. He is also an excellent administrator. He had decided that the memorial statue does not suit the present or the future, so he instructed the statue to be removed from the university premises.” 

“Our students who are presently in the university system would have been 9, 10, and 11 years old when the war ended. Regardless of their race or religion, Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim, they are all our children. I’m happy to say that some 1,500 Sinhala students study at the Jaffna university today. Similarly, at least 600 to 700 Tamil students, especially from the North and East are studying in universities of the South. There are no problems among these students, and that is most important,” he said.

Professor Amaratunga said that the only factor that can ensure a repetition of the problems of the past, is the unity of these students. “They reside in common hostel facilities. They participate in common lectures, common sports events, and other activities. As a country we are fortunate that these students have been responsible to experience no issues at these universities,” he added.

“The Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University has decided to remove the memorial from the university last night. I think it’s a timely decision. What we need is memorials of peace, not war. We should engage in these requirements together with our students,” he stated. (ANI)