Tamil diaspora institutions, including United States Tamil Action Group (USTAG) and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) have condemned the arrest of Jaffna's Mayor and called for an "unequivocal message" from the international community to signal that his arrest is "an unacceptable abuse of power".
Viswalingam Manivannan was arrested by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) on Friday morning on charges of attempting to resurrect the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and was taken to Vavuniya for 'further investigation'. Sri Lankan police alleged that the uniforms worn by a Jaffna Municipal Council environmental task force, under Manivannan’s authority, resembled those formerly worn by the LTTE's police force.
USTAG called for the urgent attention of the international community regarding the threat the arrest poses to all Tamils on the island. It tweeted,
#USTAG Condemn the arrest of #Jaffna #Mayor_Manivannan by #SriLanka's terrorism investigation dept. If this is the plight of the 1st citizen of a major #Tamil city, what protection #Tamils in the island have? #R2P @mbachelet @UN_HRC @StateDept @USAmbSLM @itjpsl @PMOIndia @hrw https://t.co/M3yhWFIKuK
— USTAG (formerly USTPAC) (@UstpacAdvocacy) April 9, 2021
PEARL also demanded action from the international community and urged for the Mayor’s immediate release.
PEARL condemns the arrest of the Mayor of Jaffna, Viswalingam Manivannan, by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division and calls for his immediate release. The international community must send an unequivocal message that arresting Manivannan is an unacceptable abuse of power. https://t.co/Gb7DoKqEfw
— PEARL Action (@PEARL_Action) April 9, 2021
The National Council of Canadian Tamils further condemned the arrest stating:
The arrest of #JaffnaMayor #VManivannan by SL Gov seems to be a revenge plot against #UNHRC for setting up an #InternationalInvestigation against SL! SL Gov needs to #ReleaseJaffnaMayor and #ReleaseTamilPoliticalPrisoners and work with #UNHRC to find justice for #TamilGenocide
— NCCT (@ncctonline) April 9, 2021
Their statement has been joined by a number of prominent Canadian politicians.
The Tamil Youth Organisation, France, has similarly condemned the arrest stating on Twitter:
"It is appalling that Tamils cannot even freely choose the colours of a uniform The Eelam Tamil Genocide continues in every way possible! Sri Lankan occupation of Tamil Eelam must end!"
Il est révoltant que les Tamouls ne puissent même pas choisir librement les couleurs d'un uniforme
Le génocide des Tamouls de l'Eelam se poursuit de toutes les manières possibles ! L'occupation sri-lankaise du Tamil Eelam doit prendre fin !#GenocideSriLanka
— TYO France (@tyo_france) April 9, 2021
The People's Council of Eelam Tamils, an organisation based in Germany, stated:
We r shocked 2 hear the democratically elected Mayor of Jaffna #Manivannan being arrested by the "terrorist investigation department". no safety for elected Tamil representatives in #SriLanka. We strongly condemn this & demand the immediate release of the Mayor.@AuswaertigesAmt
— VETD (@VETD_official) April 9, 2021
The arrest also continues to receive outrage from both, Tamil politicians and those from the international community. Manivannan was released on bail on Friday evening. He has insisted that he will pursue legal action against the police for his arbitrary detention. The case has been adjourned until 26th June 2021.