SL Tamils: TN Colleges Shutdown Over Students Protests

SL Tamils: TN Colleges Shutdown Over Students Protests

As students protest over Sri Lankan Tamils issue gained momentum with a massive agitation involving one crore students proposed for next week, colleges in Tamil Nadu were directed to remain closed from today till further orders.

Though there was no written communication in this regard to educational institutions or the media, government sources said oral instructions had been issued asking colleges, mainly arts and science, to close down till further orders.

Various student groups have been holding a series of protests including hunger strike pressing for demands including an independent probe against Colombo for alleged war crimes.

Intensifying their protests, a student body yesterday announced a relay slogan raising protest involving about one crore students had been planned for March 20.

Dinesh, Coordinator of Federation of Students for Liberation of Tamil Eelam, said students will boycott classes that day and that they planned to rope in their counterparts from schools also.

In Coimbatore, Bharathiar University was indefinitely closed from today in the wake of growing participation of students in the anti-Sri Lanka protests.

The administration asked its students to vacate hostel rooms, university sources said.

Over 300 students, including some law students, were on a fast here for the past three days even as the number across the state has been swelling over the past one week.

About 100 activists were arrested for trying to stage an agitation near the General Post Office here. They burnt effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and others, police said.

Meanwhile, the wholesale vegetable supplier to Chennai, the Koyambedu Market, will down shutters on March 19 in solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils.

In another related protest, a group of students in Coimbatore locked themselves inside a room of senior official of the Income Tax department in the city, demanding that the Centre make its stand clear on US resolution at UNHRC.

The students, numbering about 40, mainly from Government Law college, entered the office of Joint Commissioner and latched from inside, stating that the Centre should announce its stand on the issue, which was under discussion in the UN meeting, police said.

Despite appeals made by officials and police, the students stayed inside for more than one hour.

After much persuation by senior income tax officials, they opened the door and dispersed, but not before burning the national flag of Sri Lanka, police said.

Fortynine prisoners, including 24 undertrials, lodged in the Central prison in Coimbatore, observed a one-day fast expressing solidarity with the students.

The prisoners refused to take food in the morning and afternoon, police said.

Meanwhile, 18 students of a private college were arrested, when they attempted to stage a picketing over the issue, police said.

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