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 Post subject: Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole is threatned! - updated
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:07 pm 
LTTE threatens newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna

@ - Asian Tribune
Date : 2006-03-13


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Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole has been an outspoken academic. He was Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Harvey Mudd College, California.

Colombo, 13 March, (Asiantribune.com): The newly appointed Vice-chancellor of the University of Jaffna, Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, is expected to run into serious difficulties with the LTTE passing death threats if he dares to step into the campus to take up office. He was appointed the Vice-Chancellor by President Mahinda Rajapakse last Thursday.

Prof. Hoole's phone is off the hook because of the continuous stream of the death threats received by him. He has, however, expressed his determination to accept the position offered to him by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Recently, the LTTE did not hesitate to gun down principals of schools in front of school children for not toeing the LTTE line. Academics fear that the students, manipulated by the LTTE, will make the campus unworkable for Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole if he takes up the appointment.

He is expected to maintain high academic standards at the Jaffna University which has been infiltrated heavily by the LTTE. In his book The Exile Returned: A self-portrait of the Tamil Vellahlas of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, he has cited instances of academics rejecting theses of students for not conforming to the prevailing political culture.

He is due to succeed Prof. S. Mohanathas whose term ends in March. Initially Prof. Hoole was not keen on accepting the appointment as pro-LTTE students of Jaffna University had protested against the appointment. But the Hoole brothers have been fiercely independent refusing to bow their heads to the guns of the LTTE.

His brother, Prof. Rajan Hoole, the first Professor of Mathematics of the Jaffna University, was forced to flee the campus and hide in the south, when the LTTE gunmen were out to get him. Prof. Rajan Hoole co-authored the book, Broken Palmyrah -- the first ever book to document the crimes of the LTTE. His co-author, Dr. (Mrs) Rajini Thiranagama, a senior lecturer at the Medical Faculty, Jaffna, was shot by the LTTE gunmen when she was cycling home from the University.

Prof. Rajan Hoole, is the head of the University Teachers' for Human Rights, Jaffna (UTHR). This NGO has consistently and daringly exposed the atrocities of the LTTE. Its independent reports are highly valued for its objectivity and accuracy.

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole has been an outspoken academic. He was Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Harvey Mudd College, California. On his return to Sri Lanka he held Engineering chair at Peradeniya University and was also a member of UGC. He is the first engineering graduate from Sri Lanka to be awarded the D. Sc. (Eng), London University.

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole is married Dushyanthi. They have three daughters and a son.


- Asian Tribune


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 Post subject: Jaffna Varsity Vice Chancellor flees Sri Lanka with family
 Post Posted: Fri May 05, 2006 9:52 pm 
Jaffna Varsity Vice Chancellor flees Sri Lanka with family

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj / May 4, 2006
@transCurrents.com


The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have through terror tactics caused a prominent Tamil academic and Jaffna University Vice - Chancellor Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole to flee Sri Lanka with his family members. Dr. Hoole’s decision to seek refuge in a foreign country was due to a consistent campaign of threats and intimidation by agents of the LTTE.

The LTTE began targetting him through front organizations and tiger - controlled student bodies after the academic was appointed as Jaffna University vice chancellor by President Mahinda Rajapakse. The LTTE wanted another person to be nominated as Jaffna V- C and not Dr. Hoole. The “other” person was a weak man who was willing to dance to the tiger tune.

Ratnajeevan though academically brilliant and a dynamic go - getter was not in the LTTE’s good books for two reasons. One was due to his sturdy independence and personal integrity. He was a man who fought injustice and foul play wherever he found them In recent times Dr. Hoole has crossed swords with many prominent personalities in several Lankan universities, University Grants Commission, Professional associations and the protestant church. He was in his own way a cantankerous litigant in pursuance of what he deemed justice and fairplay.This type of honest, uprightness was anathema to the LTTE which wants weak, pliable minions to be at the helm of affairs in the North - East.

The second reason for LTTE resentment was Ratnajeevan’s political beliefs. He stood for a united, undivided Sri Lanka where the Sri Lankan Tamils could live with honour, justice ,peace and equality under a federal system. The LTTE wants a separate state. Also Jeevan’s elder brother Rajan Hoole is a prominent member of the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) a well - respected Human Rights Organization that has been strongly critical of the LTTE. Though Jeevan had nothing to do with the UTHR (J) the LTTE held him guilty by association and regarded him as hostile.

LTTE political commissar Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan condemned Hoole publicly and told the media that they did not want him in Jaffna because he was against “Tamil nationalism”. Student organizations whipped up protests and hung Dr. Hoole’s effigy. They threatened him with assaut if he stepped into Jaffna. Later on various threats including death threats were made against him and family members. Several tiger propagandists also began attacking Hoole. The religious cry was also raised and objections were made that a Christian should not be Jaffna Varsity Vice - Chancellor

Many Tamils felt that Dr. Hoole was the ideal candidate for three reasons. One was his qualifications, Two his visionary plans for developing Jaffna university. Three his dynamic ability to interact with and Confront Colombo if necessary to get the best for Jaffna. Ratnajeevan who had been a Professor At Harvey Mudd College In California for many years returned to Sri Lanka to serve his Country , region and people. He also wanted his children to grow up in a Sri Lankan environment and milieu. The Jaffna VC post was eminently suitable for him to realise his vision and uplift the institution.

But the tigers and their minions would have none of it. Tamil National Alliance MP MK Eelaventhan who like Hoole is an Old Johnian accepted that Ratnajeevan was the best candidate but refused to acknowledge him as Vice - Chancellor. Incidently Hoole is the first Sri Lankan to get a double doctorate in engineering from the London University.

Despite the opposition Hoole remained quiet and tried to convince the LTTE of his bona fides in wanting to improve the Jaffna varsity during his tenure. Several intermediaries tried to influence Kilinochchi but the LTTE was adamany. The level of threats against Hoole and family members also increased. So grave was the situation that the Amnesty International organization issued a statement fearing for his safety.The statement released on April 12th stated as follows.

” A group believed to be a front organisation for the armed opposition group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has threatened to kill an academic who has links to an anti-LTTE group. Amnesty International believes his life is in grave danger.

People claiming to represent a group called the People’s Uprising Force (Makkal Eluchip Padai) telephoned Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole’s home, in the town of Peradeniya, several times on 11 March, warning that if he stepped onto the campus of Jaffna University, where he had just been appointed Vice Chancellor (VC), he would return home “headless in a box”. The following day the leader of the Jaffna University Students’ Union (Yaal Palkalaikalaha Maanavar Ondriyam) has threatened to assault him if he steps onto the campus.

In February a group from the Students’ Union sent a letter to the President of the University Council, which was also published in Tamil newspapers the same day, demanding that “only someone loyal to the Tamil people should be appointed to the post of VC” and that “one against the Tamil race ought not to be appointed”. Soon after Professor Hoole’s appointment posters appeared on the university campus, alleging that he was anti-Hindu (he is a Christian), which would imply that he is also anti-Tamil.

On 12 March a website said to be operated by the LTTE, nitharsanam.com, posted a photo of Professor Hoole captioned “Who is this fool” together with an article entitled “Army Spy Appointed VC”. The article referred to Professor Hoole’s alleged involvement in the 1990 publication of a book called The Broken Palmyra which was highly critical of the LTTE’s suppression of alternative voices within the Tamil community. The article alleged that a shipment of the book, printed in the USA, had been found to contain weapons intended for a group critical of the LTTE, which the publishers categorically deny.

On 18 March the website published a second article entitled “Who is this fool Part 2″, which among other things accused Professor Hoole of being connected to the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) (UTHR-J), one of few civil society groups documenting abuses by the LTTE. Professor Hoole’s brother, Rajan Hoole, is a leading UTHR-J activist, but the professor himself has never been involved in writing the organisation’s reports.

On 22 March Professor Hoole’s daughter Anbini received an anonymous call with a threat to “kill her younger brother and chop him into pieces” if their father were to take up the Vice Chancellor post at the university. The family received further threatening calls from the People’s Uprising Force.

In a letter dated 21 March 2006 Professor Hoole raised his concerns about threats against him and his family with the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), a body comprising five Nordic countries established to monitor the ceasefire.

Professor Hoole has since received messages through MPs of the LTTE-affiliated Tamil National Alliance, and others claiming to be from the LTTE, that he must resign from the post of Vice Chancellor. ”

Ratnajeevan being a determined character was inclined to stay put without buckling under LTTE pressure. Though he could not go to Jaffna he tried through other university officials to get things going in Thirunelvely. But the University staff though willing to cooperate were terrorised into staying put. Finally Hoole realised that he was never going to be allowed to ddo work in Jaffna. More importantly he and his family members were going to be at perpetual risk from the LTTE. It was this concern for the safety of his wife (herself an academic) and children that made Ratnajeevan to throw in the towel.

He left Sri Lanka quietly on April 20th with his family to an undisclosed destination. The Amnesty International on April 25th issued another statement announcing Dr. Hoole’s departure. It read as follows

” Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole and his family left Sri Lanka on 20 April and are now safe in another country. He thanked Amnesty International members for sending appeals on their behalf. The day after he left Sri Lanka, Professor Hoole received an email entitled “Warning ” from a man called Ratnarajah Thivakaran, whom he does not know, saying “we are making arrangements to kill you, if you interest in your spirit, try to leave the country as early as possible”

The AI has called off the concern for safety campaign for Ratnajeevan Hoole and asked people to stop sending letters to the LTTE urging safety of Hoole and his family.

Thus ended Ratnajeevans valiant attempt to serve his Country, region and people. The tigers have notched up another hollow victory. One more black mark to its long list of dictatorial assaults on democracy and human rights. The LTTE has also demonstrated that its followers could raise the religious cry whenever it suited them.

Ratnajeevan Hoole being forced to flee with his family is no disgrace or loss to him. The loss however is to the Tamil people in particular and Sri Lanka in general. Even more is the loss to the LTTE’s image as the so called saviours of the Tamil people.
[transCurrents.com]


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 Post subject: University professor forced to flee native country due to th
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:24 pm 
University professor forced to flee native country due to threats

By Aditi Dubey
© Copyright 2006 The Triangle / 17 Nov 2006


Ratnajeevan Hoole, auxillary professor of electrical and computer engineering, has fled his native country, Sri Lanka, following weeks of death threats against him by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

LTTE is one of the prime militant groups in Sri Lanka. Since the 1970s, LTTE has been waging a secessionist campaign against the Sri Lankan government in order to secure a separate state for the Tamil majority regions in the north and east of Sri Lanka. LTTE is headed by its founder, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Hoole is a Tamil who was born and raised in Jaffna, the capital and largest city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka, and also one of the regions that LTTE is after. He was educated at the University of Jaffna and was recommended by his supervisor to complete his higher education in the United States. Currently, he is teaching power systems, statistical analysis of engineering systems and differential equations at the University.

Hoole was in the U.S for three years, 1984-'86, to pursue his Ph.D in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He was also an assistant professor at the University during this period. Hoole returned to Sri Lanka once he received his doctorate and had been serving as a professor at the University of Jaffna up to now.

On March 9, Hoole was appointed the vice chancellor of the university; that, he said, was when the trouble began.

"As long as I was the professor, they never really cared about what I thought," Hoole said. "When I was offered the position of the vice chancellor at the University of Jaffna, then the problems started."

"The council of the university selects three people for this position, and I was one of the three."

LTTE wanted Hoole to resign. According to Hoole, Tamil Web sites carried stories with headlines such as "Army Spy Appointed VC" when his appointment was announced to the public.

"I am a Tamil, and Tamils have severe problems in Sri Lanka," Hoole said. "We are badly discriminated against; we're being butchered."

"There was always militancy against the Tamils; LTTE only accelerated it."

Hoole blames religious discrimination in Sri Lanka for this situation. According to him, LTTE believes that they are the sole representatives of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. He also feels that the fact that he is a Christian, rather than a Hindu, works against him.

"I never selectively worked against any LTTE, but they don't like people like me," Hoole said. "I say, no, you must have elections and let the people choose."

"Out of the 25 members on the council, 23 were Hindus, and they voted for me, but the LTTE still had a problem."

When he refused to resign, the LTTE made death threats to him and his family via phone.

"I didn't want to resign because I was rightfully appointed to this position and then the calls started at home, telling my wife if she did not tell me to resign, she would become a widow," Hoole said. "My daughter, my 14-year-old daughter, got calls where LTTE told her that they will chop me up if I didn't resign."

"I had to live in house arrest. I hardly went outside or did any work, but I still didn't want to resign."

Following weeks of such threats, Hoole fled the country with his family.

"I applied here, and Nihat Bilgutay, who was the head of ECE here at Drexel at the time, helped me," Hoole said. "I am very grateful to him. He quickly found me a job and fixed up this appointment for me that I am on right now."

According to Hoole, Amnesty International has recently issued an urgent action appeal on his behalf. In addition, Scholars at Risk is currently helping him out financially.

I used to be the highest-paid Sri Lankan, and my salary was $500 a month, which is nothing here," Hoole said. "So you can imagine how hard it is for me to live here."

Despite that, Hoole is not complaining. He is currently searching for a permanent job, since his position at the University is only of a visiting professor. According to him, it is good that he is allowed to work, and religious discrimination usually doesn't happen here.

"Even now, I still haven't resigned," Hoole said. "I am still the vice chancellor, and the government is not going to appoint someone else till I do."

Some of Hoole's colleagues in Sri Lanka have been abducted by the LTTE in the past because they refused to comply with their demands. His brother, Rajan, has also been vilified by the LTTE for his protest against the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka.

"My brother openly said that the LTTE was bad for the Tamils," Hoole said. "He was also a lecturer at the University of Jaffna, and he published the details of atrocities of both the government and the LTTE in the newsletter of their organization, called University Teachers for Human Rights."

Rajan Hoole, who was a professor at Jaffna in the 1980s, founded UTHR and was forced to flee the university after he openly criticized the Tamil Tigers, as well as the Sinhalese majority, for committing human-rights abuses. Hoole has denied being a member of his brother's group.

"When LTTE first wanted him, he went underground in Sri Lanka itself and continued to publish," Hoole said. "He is wanted by the LTTE and he is hiding in India right now."

"At one time, the LTTE was also looking for me for helping to publish those papers that my brother wrote."

Hoole has not applied for political asylum in U.S. because the University has sponsored him for residence rights, but he wants to go back to Sri Lanka and live among his community.

"I would go back if I think I can do something useful there," Hoole said. "I just want to live among my people."

"What I will do is live here while I am working, and when it is time for me to retire, I will go back."

Even after all these threats to his life, Hoole agreed to talk to The Triangle. He feels that the awareness of his situation will help make things better.

"I think a greater understanding of what is going on is always helpful," Hoole said.

According to him, one of the key things that people don't understand is that if there is conflict in a community and an outsider comes to settle it, the people will never like it.

"Americans may not like this, but I think racial affinity is a part of life and we have to live with it," Hoole said. "Americans want it to go away. It can never go away."

Hoole believes that the only way the current situation in Sri Lanka can be resolved is if a third party exerts external pressure on LTTE and the Sri Lankan government to come to a settlement.

"The sooner we have peace, the better, because the universities are devastated," Hoole said. "Tamils used to be known for their education, and now they are all fleeing the country."

Hoole has stayed strong through all this.

"It is very strange; I didn't feel any emotion at that time," Hoole said. "My family was really upset, but I basically kept working and I think that is what kept me going."

"My daughter stopped going to school. She thought that by hanging around me, she could protect me."

The entire family is currently in Pennsylvania and they plan to stay put.

"We all came together," Hoole said. "My children don't want to go back. They don't want me to back to Sri Lanka, but my heart is there."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© Copyright 2006 The Triangle


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