The TNA on Friday warned of `dire consequences` if President Mahinda Rajapakse did not reverse his decision to appoint Prof. S. Ratnajeevan N. Hoole as Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University.
`This is unacceptable,` Jaffna district MP M. K. Elelaventhan told the Sunday Island, demanding immediate cancellation of the appointment scheduled to take effect today. Nidarsanan, a website believed to be linked with the LTTE, BBC Thamil Oasai and MTV Tamil news bulletins reported TNA opposition to Hoole`s appointment. Thinakural, too, reported such opposition.
Hoole said, `I am making inquiries to see whether they have any valid reasons` adding he is talking to various people regarding this. Working with the Sri Lankan university system since 1996, he is senior professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Peradeniya.
Possessing a higher doctorate (DSc), Hoole had been in the US for 17 years before his return to Sri Lanka in 1996.
`I am only trying to serve my people,` he said, adding that he was recommended by the Jaffna University Council.
Elelaventhan emphasised that Hoole would not be welcomed in Jaffna. Speaking on behalf of the TNA, he acknowledged that they don`t dispute Hoole`s academic qualifications. `He is academically qualified. No one will challenge that,` he said, but accused him of being blind to the suffering of the Tamil people.
Both Hoole and his brother are intellectual `sell-outs,` he said, dismissing them as collaborators whose thinking is not in tune with the Tamils.
The MP said the University Grants Commission recommended Dr. K. Kumaravadivel, a senior professor of physics to head the highest education institution in the northern region. Kumaravadivel and K. Kandasamy, another professor of physics, both based in Jaffna are better suited to take over the post, he said. The President should not have ignored the recommendation of the UGC, the MP said, insisting the appointment is a recipe for disaster.
UGC sources said that the respective university councils recommend names of three candidates to the UGC and the UGC recommend one of them to the President.
The MP claimed there was virtual unanimous agreement in Jaffna academic circles that Kumaravadivel was the ideal candidate. `Let me make it clear. This appointment would not go unchallenged,` the 75-year-old politician warned, claiming the appointment was part of the political-military strategy to undermine the Tamil people`s struggle.
Asked whether the LTTE would oppose the appointment, he said, `definitely`. `They are anti-Tamil, anti-LTTE,` he said, expressing the belief that the President would not aggravate the Jaffna situation by sending a collaborator there.
This comes in the backdrop of Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major. General G. A. Chandrasiri seeking to crush legitimate student protests in the peninsula, he alleged.