Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said today that the University of Kelaniya has begun a new disciplinary inquiry against the organization’s Executive Director, Keerthi Tennakoon.
CaFFE’s Director Legal, Harindra Banagala said that the new disciplinary inquiry was initiated to remove Tennakoon from his position and to intimidate civil society activists from the academia. He said the move to remove Tennakoon from his position came after he made statements to the effect that the recently concluded Northern elections were corrupt.
He said that the university’s Vice Chancellor, Sarath Amunugama had sent a letter to Tennakoon five days after the end of the Local Government Elections. According to him the letter stated “a new disciplinary inquiry will be held against Tennakoon for action conducted as the media coordinator for CaFFE.”
Tennakoon was stripped of his post at the university on October 2008 for exposing election law violations and other irregularities which occurred during the Eastern Provincial Council elections. Banagala said the first officer in charge of the disciplinary inquiry resigned on the day he was to conclude the inquiry. Tennakoon was released during the second inquiry. The university administration refused to accept this decision and has decided to begin a new inquiry 33 months after the CaFFE Director was stripped of his post, he said.
“Tennakoon’s case is not an isolated incident. Many reports, including the US State Department and several reports by human rights organizations state that academic freedom is rapidly being restricted in Sri Lanka,” Banagala said.
CaFFE published six separate reports on the recently held Local Government Elections which specifically focused on the intimidation, abuse of state resources, and the mass scale poll card snatching in Kilinochchi.
(By Olindhi Jayasundere)