Indian High Commissioner Shri Alok Prasad, handed over books to the value of nearly Rs. 1 million on June 14 at the Indian Cultural Centre at Bambalapitiya. These books are in the Tamil and English languages and will be available at the re-constructed Jaffna Public Library.
Dean, Faculty of Medicine Jaffna University Dr. K. Sivapalan, accepting a further consignment of books on Medicine for the Medical Faculty of the University, said his faculty also felt the lack of sufficient books and educational material. He thanked the Indian government for this generous gift. Dr. Sivapalan expressed the need for a well-equipped para-medic section in the Faculty and hoped the Indian government would consider assistance in this regard.
The Indian High Commissioner said India had similarly gifted educational material to Universities in Colombo, Peradeniya, the Southern and Eastern Provinces in her policy to assist learning of the sciences in the higher learning institutions in Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner mentioned some of the rare manuscripts in the then Jaffna University which had gained scholarly fame and were so much in demand in India that scholar-students used to visit Jaffna, arranged by Swami Vipulanandan, to take manual copies of these rare literature at a time when photocopying facilities were not known.
“I recall attending earlier functions where previous Indian High Commissioners (IHC) handed over ambulances, buses, medical and surgical equipment valued at millions of dollars to the people of the Provinces of the North-East. The Base Hospitals in Jaffna and Trincomalee have been beneficiaries of substantial equipment and other assistance from India in recent times. If there still remains the misplaced conception of policy differences between India and the LTTE, as a resulted of India being somewhat indifferent to the needs and the sufferings of the Tamil people of the North-East, the above are some clear indications that this is far from the truth. India’s diplomats here hold, as always, very much close to her heart the interests of all Tamils in Sri Lanka – as indeed it does consider the welfare of all other communities in Sri Lanka – who also receive substantial assistance regularly from the Government of India as part of growing Indo-Lankan cooperation and friendship.
[The Writer is Former Secy-General Sri Lanka Indian Council]