Regarding the blast right outside the Eastern University in Batticaloa Vantharumoolai at around 11.30am yesterday, about 15 km north of Batticaloa town, the information I have heard is that there were around 200 students inside the University when the blast occurred. The rest of the students, around 1100 had returned to their home districts such as Jaffna, Vavuniya and other areas after exams. The blast killed 11 including 1 student, while 4 students were injured.
Sometimes the army opens fire into surrounding areas in such instances. One reason is that they want to secure the area for those who are involved in rescue and attending to wounded and defend against the enemy. Sometimes the LTTE can detonate one claymore and then wait and detonate a second one to target rescue groups. Occasionally some soldiers might also fire with revenge in mind. No one was injured in shooting yesterday.
I have not received any information to the effect that there was shooting from inside the university, but behind the university there is a army point close by river coast of LTTE controlled area where the army may have opened fire. I spoke to 1 university student who was there during the blast, another university student who was not at the incident, and 3 other ex-university students for the information above.
Students had come back to the university after a call from the Univeristy Grants Commission to stop strikes over the abduction of the vice-chancellor last year. The university was opened yesterday.
The main road was closed till 6pm in the evening stopping traffic to Batticaloa from Valaichchenai. The army searched people in the area and inside the university, around 200, commonly referred to as a roundup by people, and they made inquiries. Security stayed with most of them in the hostel until today morning to provide them security and to make further inquiries. 14 were arrested and released yesterday.
A rumor spread that students inside the university were massacared, but it didn’t happen.