A military crackdown on a student protest earlier this week sparked further demonstrations yesterday over violence that left at least 50 students with injuries.
Students from the University of Jaffna had gathered on Tuesday to commemorate Martyr’s Day, which honors Tamil Tigers who died during the country’s civil war.
Soldiers reportedly attacked the students, who were wearing black fabric over their mouths and holding placards, when they tried to march along the main road in Jaffna.
Yesterday’s protests by students from Ruhuna and Peradeniya universities accused the military of injuring at least 50 fellow students and a newspaper editor in Tuesday’s clashes.
“When the protest line had only got about a few meters, the students were baton-charged and about 50 sustained injuries,” said Sanjeewa Bandara, convener of the Inter University Students’ Federation.
“It is customary for people to pay their respect to the deceased on [Martyr’s Day]. They have a right to commemorate their relatives who lost their lives in the three decades of war,” Bandara said.
“Students at Jaffna University have started a two-day boycott of classes.”
E. Saravanapavan, a Tamil parliamentarian, had his car pelted with stones when he arrived at the protest to mediate between the military and student protesters.
Local sources say the military deployed soldiers on the university grounds.
However Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, a military spokesman, said at no time were soldiers on university premises.