Friday, January 7, 2011
Oriravu (One Night) : PART 3 - by S. Sivasegaram
PART 3 - CONCLUSION
We met the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Thurairajah to seek his help to ensure that Balasooriyan was not ill treated at the Police Station. He had a good friend in the late Mr W Dahanayake, a senior technician with helpful friends in Kandy, including the police.
I think that Daha spoke to a senior police officer, and I doubt if Balasoorian was beaten up. He was taken to Colombo the next day, and if I recollect correctly what Balasooriyan told me on his return to Peradeniya several days later, he was slapped just once in Colombo during questioning, but they treated him fairly well, subsequently.
Given the fact that the UNP was the ruling party and given its domination of university life in Peradeniya, the UNP has much to answer for in the events of 11th evening. But I do not think that the SLFP or JVP activists did much to protect the Tamil students. It was much after the events that some students with JVP sympathies spoke to Tamil students to dissuade them from leaving the university.
Several students in their individual capacity risked the wrath of the viciously anti-Tamil mob. I remember Asanka Perera and Darshi de Sarem among a good number of others from the Engineering Faculty who in the days after 11th May campaigned actively against anti-Tamil threats and gave protection to Tamil students from other faculties as well. That was despite the Engineering Faculty itself having its fair share of Sinhala chauvinists and Tamil narrow nationalists.
The traditional left had no significant following among students and among academics those with strong left sympathies spoke up strongly against the attacks, as did some with UNP and SLFP sympathies.
I also remember that Thulsie Wickremasinghe, whose name fares prominently in the UTHR(J) documents, was found guilty of organising violence of 11th May by a university committee of inquiry but not long after was appointed Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Science by the late Professor George Dissanayake, very much to the surprise if not shock of several good Christians in the academic staff.
(Written by: S Sivasegaram)
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