President Maithripala Sirisena will be the first high profile dignitary to visit Jaffna Hindu College after late Indian President and renowned nuclear scientist A. P. J. Abdul Kalam visited the prestigious educational institution in January 2012.
Jaffna Hindu College, the Alma Mater of two Chief Justices the late Justice S.Sharvananda and of Justice K.Sripavan, the school will be the venue for the National Tamil Day festival to be held today (14) with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Jaffna Hindu College is proud of having hosted three international dignitaries in the past. In the 19th century, Swami Vivekananda on his return from Chicago, while visiting Sri Lanka, had travelled to Jaffna and delivered a speech at Jaffna Hindu College.
In the early part of the 20th Century , Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Sri Lanka had toured Jaffna and paid a visit to Jaffna Hindu College.
It was in January 2012 the late Indian President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, during his visit to Sri Lanka travelled to Jaffna and visited Jaffna Hindu College where he delivered an impressive speech titled ‘In my life I will keep flying’.
So, President Maithripala Sirisena will be the first Lankan Head of State to visit Jaffna Hindu College, he does so in the backdrop of families of the Tamil political prisoners dashing coconuts on Wednesday (11) at the Nallur Kanthaswamy Temple premises seeking the divine blessing for the early release of the Tamil political prisoners who have been detained without any legal action for several years. 130 Tamil political prisoners have been detained in ten prisons around the country for their alleged involvement in extremist activities.
A mass protest was also held in Jaffna a few days ago organized by the Movement for the Release of Tamil Political Prisoners.
Several Tamil political figures addressing the mass protest, even warned the Government leaders that in future they would not be allowed to step into Jaffna without solving the Tamil political prisoners issue.
So, with Northern Province agitated over the Tamil political prisoners issue the President is attending the National Tamil Day festival which has been organized in a grand scale to felicitate island wide Tamil students, who had excelled in their language skills.
President is also expected to declare open a new building at the Jaffna Hindu College today.
Soon after the end of the separatist war, during the Rajapaksa period, protests had been the order of the day in the North and East demanding the release of the land from the possession of the Armed Forces. The Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians along with several civil society organisations took part in the protests in support of the Internally Displaced Persons.
However, the split within the Tamil National Alliance was evident during the protest which was staged in Jaffna, a few days ago, calling for the release of Tamil prisoners.
There were even comments expressed against the TNA leadership for not giving due consideration on the issue of Tamil political prisoners.
A large number of Tamil People’s Council (TPC) members were seen at the protest with certain Northern Provincial Councillors. According to former TNA Parliamentarian Suresh K. Premachandran, the general amnesty for the Tamil militants was first announced with the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord.
Therefore the general amnesty had paved way for former hardcore militants such Suresh Premachandran, EPDP’s leader Douglas Devananda and a large number of Tamil militants from several militant outfits to enter the political mainstream denouncing the arms struggle.
So, compared to the militant activities carried out by the former bigwigs of various militant outfits, who are presently holding key positions in the political scene, majority of the 130 Tamil political prisoners presently detained without any legal action were found to be engaged in lesser activities at the time of their arrest.
Even scores of hardcore LTTE cadres who fought the Armed Forces faced to face at the final phase of the separatist war and later either captured or surrendered were rehabilitated and integrated with their families in the past few years.
Cabinet spokesperson and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne who is a confidante of President Maithripala Sirisena commenting on the Tamil political prisoners issue had stated that there was no reason to detain anyone for longer periods without any legal action.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne also mentioned that even after the separatist war coming to an end, eight years ago, detaining political prisoners without any legal action was unacceptable and the Minister categorically says that he was even for the release of the Tamil political prisoners.
So the recent non violent protests by the families of the involuntarily disappeared persons and the families of the Tamil political prisoners have clearly indicated that due to the negligence on the part of the Government in resolving the humanitarian issues Northern Province is rapidly turning into a ‘hotbed’ of agitations.