educational flame in the North
Not many, even among the older
generation of Lankans, are likely to easily recall, C. E. Anandarajah,
the Principal of St. John's College, Jaffna, who was brutally
gunned-down by the LTTE on June 26, 1985.
This cold-blooded murder of an educationist of repute who only meant
well by organising a cricket match between members of the Sri Lanka Army
in Jaffna and Northern youngsters, marked the first occasion the LTTE
cruelly snuffed out the life of a Northern intellectual.
Another Northern intellectual of great repute who met with a similar
fate was Dr. Rajini Thiranagama, who worked courageously and
enthusiastically for the rights of the Tamil people.
It is encouraging to learn that 20 years after his untimely death,
some of C. E. Anandarajah's former pupils and one-time close associates
have initiated moves to perpetuate his edifying memory. One such
commemorative event has already taken place in Toronto, Canada, and on
the opposite page we carry a detailed report of this event.
As some observers have rightly pointed out, these horrific killings,
besides stunning the more conscience-endowed and articulate sections of
the Tamil community into silence, have led to a steady exodus of
educated Tamils from the North-East to the West, thereby leading to a
relentless impoverishment of the Tamil community in intellectual and
Besides, such mindless terror has led to the crippling of some of the
most well-known educational institutions of the North-East. Those
colleges of the North of venerable antiquity, such as St. John's
College, St. Patrick's College and Hartley College, for example, are
capable of contributing much more to the educational and cultural life
of this country but are stymied by the bloody hand of the LTTE.
These developments prove quite adequately the LTTE's zest for power
and power only. It would even compromise the well-being of the Tamil
people in this hungry quest for power.
This is a great pity because the North-East has possessed and still
possesses educational institutions which are second to none in this
country. In times past, students from even Southern Sri Lanka flocked to
these centres of learning on account of their rare repute. Some of these
students went on to occupy high public office in the land and the name
of the former Speaker of Parliament K. B. Ratnayake and that of former
Minister, Maithripala Senanayake, come easily to mind.
The North-East suffered even more grievously when the 1983 race riots
broke out and just prior to this catastrophe, the hallowed Jaffna Public
Library was put to the torch by vandals let loose by the then UNP
administration. Thus even at that time the UNP seemed to be making
common cause with the LTTE.
The educational setbacks thus suffered by the Tamil people are
enormous and it is up to the Lankan State to set things right in this
sphere. We call on the authorities to lay the basis for an educational
rejuvenation in the North-East. May the people's peace hopes come true.
The UNP should lend a helping hand in this endeavour by collaborating
with the State, rather than engaging in vulgar street shows which will
take Lanka nowhere.