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Sunday, 16 February 2014

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Vice Chancellors enlighten Chief Minister Wigneswaran

Vice Chancellor, Jaffna University Prof Vasanthy Arasaratnam and the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University Dr. K. Kobindarajah enlightened Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council (NPC) C.V. Wigneswaran at the National conference on Post-terrorism Socio-Economic Development of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces held at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo on Thursday.

Jaffna University Vice Chancellor,
Prof. Arasaratnam
Eastern University Vice Chancellor
Dr. Kobinda-rajah

The conference was organised by the University Grants Commission under the patronage of its Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hiriburegama.

The Vice Chancellors of the University of Jaffna and the Eastern University shot down baseless allegations made by the NPC Chief Minister who was the chief guest at the conference.

Wigneswaran, who is better known for making false allegations to please his supporters in the Tamil Diaspora, came out with his usual set of allegations but the university dons gave factual and statistical data to prove the Chief Minister's allegations are baseless.

The findings of the two Vice Chancellors is a great setback for Wigeswaran as the two eminent academics have been with the people in the North and the East and have first-hand experience in the situation whereas Wineswaran, living in posh Colombo 7, is a political parachute.

Jaffna University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Arasaratnam gave a lengthy speech on her personal experience and said that when infrastructure development is taking place, they should move forward. "We as academics will give their fullest collaboration in livelihood development of the Northern people," she said adding that she and the people in the North had suffered enough due to LTTE terrorism. "We need to move forward, try to forget the past and rebuild the North, like I have rebuilt my home

that was destroyed due to terrorism," she said.

"I have been living in Jaffna, working in the Jaffna University from 1984 till today. I have witnessed all the ups and downs and I have been carrying my bed-ridden mother during 1995 from Jaffna to Wanni. Then I brought her back in 1997. So I am somebody who has witnessed everything, who has written my PhD thesis in the kerosene lamp where we had to pay Rs. 300 for kerosene and not use the normal kerosene lamp and have used the kerosene lamp using cotton wool which has been very famous those days. So, I have been one who has been there, who have been living in Jaffna," she said.

Prof. Arasaratnam said that she still remains in Jaffna because she wanted the area to be developed. "I have no parents, no brothers or sisters. I am living alone. But still I am living in Jaffna because I want to develop my native place. I want to develop the Jaffna University for which I strive hard as the Vice Chancellor. I have no personal interest. Only interest I have is the Jaffna University has to come up. The society has to come up," she added.

The Jaffna University Vice Chancellor said that she does not want to be a politician. "But being an educationist I want to work there and I still want to work there and develop the area. In order to develop the area, we need to develop the infrastructure. It has been taking at rapid pace. We have to work together. I have done a lot of research and I have published lot of things which are really related to the development of the region. My humble request is to forget whatever that had had happened in the past. We have to think of the development, the development of the economy of our people who are waiting for us to help," she said.

The Jaffna University VC said she had lost a of things due to terrorism but will not look back. "I have lost my parents, I have lost my house, but I have rebuilt the house. So why cannot we rebuild our society? We have to think positively. All of us should work together and let us work together without petty political differences," she told the Chief Minister.

Eastern University Vice Chancellor Dr. Kobindarajah suggested forming a committee of academics to work with President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the support of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). "All parties concerned should address the real cause and genuinely work hard. I firmly believe that if you work with an open heart we could definitely sort out whatever the problems we have. We as the academics are ready to play a key role to promote ethnic harmony and reconciliation," he said.

He said that the Naval Base of the Trincomalee housed the University during difficult period. "I lived in Canada for eight years with more than 100 communities, they say "We are Canadian". Their culture is not more than 400 years old but we are more than 3,000 years old culture.

Still we have three to four communities and still we call as we are Tamil, we are Sinhalese, but we never say we are Sri Lankan," he said.

 

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