RajaniThiranagama Commemoration, 20-21 September
2014 in Jaffna
Dr. RajaniThiranagama, a prominent human rights activist and
author, a medical doctor, and head of the Department of Anatomy at the University
of Jaffna, was assassinated near her home in 1989 at the age of thirty-five.
Her death was an immense tragedy for the community and was symbolic of a climate
of terror and human disregard that ultimately left hundreds of thousands dead
throughout the country. Rajani’s death represented a moral crisis within the
community, and a crisis of governance and education that continues to mar our
Tamil from northern Sri Lanka, she married a Sinhala political activist from
the south, and despite being aware of the dangerous consequences of speaking
out, chose to remain in the north with her people. She was one of the founding
members of the renowned human rights group UTHR-J (University Teachers for
Human Rights Jaffna) and the co-author of their book The Broken Palmyrah, which exposed the
atrocities committed by all parties to the conflict, including the Sri Lankan
armed forces, the Indian Peace keeping Force and armed groups such as the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other militant movements. Rajani was also at the forefront of establishing Poorani, a home for women in Jaffna, who were rendered
destitute by the threatening and constraining conditions of war in the north of
Sri Lanka. As a feminist and social activist, Rajani
strove hard to create spaces for women’s collective action. After Rajani’s assassination, two of her co-authors, RajanHoole and Kopalasingam Sritharan, and fellow members of the UTHR-J,
have continued to report on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, inspired
by Rajani’s memory and determination. Forced to
remain underground since Rajani’s death, UTHR-J are
one of the few non-partisan voices in Sri Lanka. In 2007 they were awarded the
prestigious Martin Ennals Human Rights Award.
Democratic societies, democratic practices, an equal and
Rajani remains an inspiration and symbol of hope to
many in Sri Lanka who desire a just peace with democracy and dignity for all. We hope
to explore spaces for a democratic practice in which people are able to
participate. The post- war period offers us space to focus on the needs,
aspirations and self-expression of people who have been dispossessed during the
long period of war and in the current context of development and post-war
reconstruction. We wish to
honour Rajani’s memory with a series of events on the
20th and 21st of September. We earnestly request your
presence at these events as both a show of solidarity with the people of Jaffna
and all those gathered in the name of democracy at this crucial juncture of our
for peace, democracy and the marginalized!
political and social practices for a new society!
20th September, 9:30am
–RajaniThiranagama Commemoration Meeting at the Medical
Faculty, University of Jaffna.
20th September, 2pm – A procession for peace, democracy
and social justice. (Starting at the Thinnavely Junction and will proceed to Veerasingham Hall for
a rallyvia Ariyakulam
21st September, 9am – A seminar on “A more just and
democratic society”, at Kailasapathy Hall,
University of Jaffna.