Saturday, January 1, 2011
JUST BEFORE THE STORM - PART 3: Student Clashes - by E/81/214
PART 1: First in the batch...!!!
PART 2: Everything was going on so well…
Everything was going on so well…, until early December 1982, when the rivalry between JVP and UNP student factions culminated in a bloody clash between them and the closure of the University.
That was the starting breeze of a great storm that ravaged the whole country a few years later.
University life never returned to normalcy after that clash. The University suspended several students and while the fight to get them back continued, the most unfortunate incidents in the history of the University happened on 11 May 1983.
A few student thugs started beating some fellow Tamil students and most of the Tamil students of the University had to return home for their safety.
The Engineering Student Union (ESU) under the intelligent leadership of Asanka Perera, decided to boycott classes until it was safe for all students to resume studies. However, after the black July incidents, the Engineering faculty lost some of these students permanently.
Based on the clash in December 1982, the University suspended several students including two from the faculty. Student agitation against this decision continued until second week of July 1983, when a fast-unto-death hunger strike was organised by the Peradeniya Students’ Union (PSU). The infamous Dias incident and the closer of the university followed. With the University deciding to go for final examinations directly without completing the rest of the academic year, those poor second year engineering students who were still doing their CRO-3 experiments were given a second life!
The rebirth of the great boycott never materialised because engineering students betrayed their fellow university students. The third academic year started in the first week of January 1984 with a fresh look. We were missing a few fellow students who had decided to keep away from the country due to safety reasons, and of course those student union members suspended by the university. To compensate for the loss, we had a police station opened in the university just adjoin to post office.
With the whole of former student representation either under suspension or under the continued treat of long term suspension there was hardly any agitation against those lost privileges.
We had a lottery to allocate rooms for the third year and everyone (who won) was happy again!
TO BE CONTINUED with PART 4