Jan 09, Colombo: The decision to remove the Mullivaikkal War Memorial at the Jaffna University was taken by Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University Professor Sri Satkunarajah, as it can be an obstruction to unity between the North and South and reconciliation, University Grants Commission Chairman Prof. Sampath Amaratunge said.
Issuing a statement Prof. Amaratunga said several groups in the Jaffna University attempted to construct a war monument within the university premises around the year 2018. “It appears that this memorial statue was developed over the years. But in fact the monument can be an obstruction to the unity between the North and the South,” he said.
The war memorial that was being built at the Jaffna University was demolished last evening by the authorities.
The construction of the memorial by the students union of the Jaffna University at the premises of the institution in remembrance of the people and students who had died in the Mullivaikkal area at the end of the war commenced in 2018.
“The Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University Professor Sri Satkunarajah is an eminent scientist in Sri Lanka. At the same time an extremely efficient administrator. One of the best Vice Chancellors I have seen in recent times. He has decided to remove the monument from the Jaffna University as it is not suitable for today or tomorrow,” the UGC Chairman said.
“The children who are presently studying 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 in the South. Most important thing we have is there are no problems among these students,” he noted.
“Therefore, the only proof we have that those experiences that we had before will not be seen in the future is the unity and peace that exist among these children,” the UGC chairman pointed out.
“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.”
Prof. Munasinghe said the Vice Chancellor of the University made the decision to remove the war monument from the University premises and it is a timely decision.
“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 added.