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Blow to Sri Lankan police as 3 Jaffna courts dismiss petitions to ban Maaveerar Naal

The Chavakachcheri, Mallakam and Point Pedro Magistrates Courts have dismissed applications filed by Sri Lankan police seeking bans on the Maaveerar Naal events within their respective jurisdictions.

Police attempted to use both the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and current Covid-19 regulations to clamp down on commemorations of Maaveerar Naal in the Jaffna district.

The applications were submitted by the officers in charge of 2 police stations within the boundaries of Chavakachcheri Magistrate Court, 8 stations within the boundaries of Mallakam Magistrate Court and 3 stations within the boundaries of Point Pedro Magistrate Court.

As well as seeking a ban on mass events, the applications named several individuals for injunctions spanning representatives of political parties, members of parliament, members of local councils and other members of civil society.

Leading senior lawyers appeared on behalf of the defendants, arguing that the police's applications were unfounded, and urged the courts to dismiss the petitions.

While the magistrate’s judges emphasised that police held the authority to take action if violations of the criminal code or Covid-19 procedures were to occur, all three courts rejected the premise that injunctions should be served because there was a possibility that crimes could be committed, and dismissed the applications.

The dismissals came as a blow to the police stations concerned, as several court injunctions against Maaveerar Naal commemorations have been served across the Tamil homeland.

More to follow.

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