In April this year, when Rajani’s colleague Rajan Hoole was about to launch his book ‘Palmyra Fallen: From Rajani to war’s end’ and tried holding a discussion around it, a similar response came from the University of Jaffna, where Rajani was heading the Anatomy department until she was gunned down, yet again bringing to focus the concern many share about the lack of space in the University.
On 24th April 2015, the Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association (JUSTA) arranged a discussion of the book Palmyra Fallen: From Rajani to War’s End, written by its member Rajan Hoole, in the Library Auditorium. The Vice Chancellor (VC) with the backing of some senior academics banned the discussion. JUSTA was left with no honourable alternative but to defy this blatant attack on academic freedom.
“Rajan Hoole’s Palmyra Fallen – a twofold critical investigation into (a) the immediate political context in which the Rajani Thiranagama assassination took place in September 1989 and (b) the run up to the military crushing of the LTTE and the aftermath of the state “war victory” of May 2009 – is published at a crucial time. In the book, Hoole suggests that the text serves as a twenty fifth year death anniversary commemoration to the slain academic-rights activist Rajani Thiranagama, but, more crucially, Palmyra Fallen provides a very insightful (in-sightful) engagement with the “War Crimes” debate – a forum that has been a pivot of the Lankan fate in both national and global politics over the past six years or so.”