Thursday, January 6, 2011
Oriravu (One Night) : PART 2 - by S. Sivasegaram
Read PART 1
After discussing the matter with me, he suggested that the Vice Chancellor Leslie Panditharathna may be the one for me to talk to, and let me use the HO Hall telephone to call Leslie, who was always friendly towards me despite my political leanings. He was awake at the time although it was well past midnight, and asked me to come over to his residence (a hundred metres from my house) by the university security vehicle along with Balasooriyan.
When I reached his residence, there were a few others at his house, all university academics and one administrator, and they were probably discussing the developments since Wednesday evening.
I said to Leslie that I did not think that Balasooriyan had any ‘terrorist’ links, although I could not guarantee anything, and that a decision to hand over Balasooriyan should be based on a university inquiry.
I also explained that handing over a young man to the police as a suspected terrorist in the middle of the night could have bad consequences.
He agreed that he will arrange for an inquiry as fast as possible and take the matter from there, and said that he will instruct the security officer concerned to keep Balasooriyan in the care of the university security. He also authorised me to stay with Balasooriyan at the security post. I spoke to my mother, and she was most supportive and asked me to attend to whatever was necessary.
I stayed with Balasooriyan, who was rather exhausted by his ordeal, and asked him to have a bit of sleep. Early in the morning, like around 6.30 a.m. or slightly later, Kasy came over to relieve me.
I went home, had my wash and breakfast and went to the Engineering Faculty. Kasy came to the Faculty to meet me and told me that the police went to the security post while the inquiry was under way and took Balasooriyan away. He was also unhappy that, although he was a member of the staff holding an important post relating to student welfare, he was not allowed to intervene during the inquiry which was conducted by a university officer with Yusoof (a university marshal who was allegedly killed by the JVP insurgents fifteen years later) acting as interpreter.
In Kasy’s view, Yusoof’s translations of Balasooriyan’s answers were seriously flawed and could incriminate Balasooriyan. He was hurt that he could do nothing about it.
(By S Sivasegaram)
NEXT - PART 3