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* Sri Lanka Army withdraws personnel from areas near Jaffna University
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 11:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 07, Jaffna: Sri Lanka Army has withdrawn its personnel serving the areas near the Jaffna University in response to a request made by the Vice Chancellor of the University.

The Vice Chancellor had made the request during a meeting with the Commander, Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe on Tuesday (04).

According to the Army a group of university administrators has met with the Jaffna Commander to discuss the security arrangements following the recent spate of politically-motivated violence inside and around the university which was directed against the Police.

The police arrested four university students on suspicion of fire-bombing an office of a Tamil political party and organizing events to commemorate the banned terrorist group's Martyrs' Day in late November which is illegal under country's Terrorism Prevention laws.

Following the arrest with the support from some politicians the students and lectures have boycotted classes and staged protests demanding the release of the students. A spate of clashes ensued on November 27 and 28 between the students and the police and the Army has increased security to prevent further violence.

The police and students blame each other for instigating the clashes that injured several students.

One student was released later and the other three still remain in custody.

The Army during the meeting with the university administrators pointed out that Army had to mobilize the troops after the clashes with police and stressed that students need to follow the law as nobody is above the law.

"Army has no interest in getting involved in University affairs, but nobody can take the law into their hands and create unrest. Students should be concerned about their education and avoid bringing politics into the University which disrupts their education," Major General Hathurusinghe has told the University administrators.

The University administrators have asked the security forces to occasionally patrol the roads in the distance around the campus but not in the close perimeter.

The Commander of Jaffna has asked the Vice Chancellor not to allow any outsiders, other than undergraduates and academic and non-academic staff into the university premises without prior permission, either from the VC or the Registrar.

Major General Hathurusinghe has promised to do his utmost to get the three students released from the Police custody as soon as possible.



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