Fresh Controversy Over 'Poson Commemorations' At University Of Jaffna

Photo Courtesy: Sihan Farook Photo Courtesy: Sihan Farook

A section of university teachers of the Jaffna university have opposed the manner in which Poson commemorations were being held at the university yesterday.

They said the military was excessively involved in the commemoration, hurting the sentiments of Tamil students in the university. They said this came in a context where the university was prohibited from commemorating the dead on May 18.

The university was decorated with Buddhist flags and lanterns to mark 'Poson' - the day on which Sri Lankans commemorate the arrival of Arahat Mahinda to the country. 

"At the Law Department among my students I have many Sinhala students and i do honestly enjoy teaching a multi-ethnic classroom. I have no objections to Poya being commemorated at Jaffna University given that there are a significant number of Buddhist students studying at the university. What i find troubling is the presence (and possible support/sponsorship) of the SL Army in the commemoration. What business do they have in a university?," Guruparan Kumaravadivel, a lecturer of Law at the University of Jaffna, had said in a social media post. 

"This is the same SL Army which blocked Tamil students from remembering the dead, closed down the university and continue to militarise the running of the university in so many ways. I also have problems with the manner and display of the Buddhist flag and the the political message being suggested through such exaggerated display of symbols. In previous years Poya has indeed been commemorated but nothing like this year. Clearly this is part of the larger creeping Sinhala Buddhisisation project that is currently underway. For those who prefer to use the language of reconciliation - here it is - this is the 'real' face of reconciliation practiced in Sri Lanka," he further said in the post.  

When contacted by Asian Mirror, Sri Lanka Army distanced themselves from the claims that they were hugely involved in organizing commemorations. They said some of the members of the security forces participated in the celebration to extend their support to the students who wanted to commemorate Poson. 

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