Pro-Tamil groups target Lankan academic at Indian university seminar
March 9, 2012 09:02 am
Close on the heels of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking to discourage frequent visits of Sri Lankan delegates to Tamil Nadu, activists of various pro-Tamil movements disrupted an international conference and forced the organisers to send away a Sri Lankan academic, on Thursday.
The members of Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam, May 17 Movement, Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Federation, as well as MDMK cadres barged into the conference venue at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) and protested against the participation of Jeeva Niriella, faculty of law, lecturer, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in the three-day international conference on ‘Exploring Linkage Between Drug Usage and Criminal Victimisation’ organised by the department of criminology.
This is the second such incident of a Sri Lankan visitor facing a protest by pro-Tamil outfits. In January this year, Thirukumaran Nadesan, husband of Nirupama Rajapaksa, niece of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s suffered an even harsher treatment when slippers were hurled at him in Rameswaram where he visited to offer prayers in the temple.
This time around, the agitators, about 20 of them, entered the hall during the afternoon session of the conference posing as participants and started raising slogans against Sri Lanka. They also held placards demanding Jeeva to leave India as well as accusing Sri Lanka of genocide.
“Jeeva Niriella was visibly shocked by the sudden development. We were also taken aback. Since we though that the safety and security of the delegate was important, we took her out of the venue through another exit. We then told the protesters that she was sent and that she would not participate in any of the sessions for the rest of the conference,” said a faculty from the university. The protesters then left the spot. No police complaint has been lodged by the organisers, but disbelief and shock was writ large.
However, earlier in the day, Jeeva had addressed the participants of the conference on ‘Women and Justice’ and said that Sri Lanka was achieving a lot in women empowerment. Jeeva noted that Lanka had the first woman prime minister. She also said that the country’s present chief justice was a woman. Even during her address, she was confronted by a participant who questioned her claims of women empowerment by alleging that international NGOs have reported that crimes were perpetrated on women in large scale. While Jeeva maintained silence, another delegate came to her rescue and answered the query, Times of India reports.