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Last updated: 23 November, 2009 - Published 14:58 GMT
 
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JVP student leader admits war silence
 
A police blockade against students protest (file photo by Elmo Fernando)
IUSF admits that it did not protest when human rights violations were committed against Tamil students but stresses it is 'not racist'

The leading student body in Sri Lanka has admitted that it did not protest when human rights violations were committed against Tamil students during the long conflict between the security forces and the LTTE.

The pro JVP Convenor of the Inter University Student Union (IUSF) told journalist KS Udayakumar that the biggest student union in Sri Lanka had to "keep quite" while students were abducted and killed in a period of war against "separatist terrorism".

However, he stressed that the student movement in Sri Lanka was "never racist".

"The situation was different then and today. There might have been human rights violations during the war and of course we had to keep silent at a time of war against a separatist terrorism. But the student movement never worked on a racist agenda," he said.

In TID custody

In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the IUSF for the first time has urged the government to release a Tamil university student and other students detained in refugee camps.

 The situation was different then and today. There might have been human rights violations during the war and of course we had to keep silent at a time of war against a separatist terrorism. But the student movement never worked on a racist agenda
 
IUSF convenor, Udul Premaratne

It seeks immediate release of Rasaiah Dvaraka, an undergraduate at Peradeniya University.

The IUSF is widely regarded as being controlled by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Many former IUSF leaders have later become JVP parliamentarians and activists.

The IUSF also calls on the authorities to release all other school and university students currently in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs).

Addressing journalists in Colombo, the IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne said the continuous detention of Tamil students might result in Tamils being pushed towards separatism once again.

Udul Premaratne stressed that the IUSF will continue protests until Ms. Dvaraka, currently detained by police Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), released.

 
 
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