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Jaffna police officers attack elderly employee at restaurant owned by former LTTE cadre and harass owner

A former LTTE cadre and restaurant owner in Jaffna has filed a complaint with the Sri Lankan human rights commission after being harassed by police officers who also attacked an elderly employee at his business last week.

On Tuesday, five police officers from the Chavakachcheri police station entered the restaurant in civil clothing and asked for alcohol.

When 70 year old R. Shanmuganathan told the officers that the restaurant did not sell drinks for takeaway, the officers attacked him and then took him to the police station, as well as looting the restaurant’s storage room of alcohol.

The restaurant owner, S. Nithikesan, a former LTTE cadre who has been through the Sri Lankan government’s ‘rehabilitation’ process, went to the police station with a lawyer and was able to obtain bail for the elderly employee.

Mr Shanmuganthan was then admitted to Chavakachcheri hospital for swelling in his neck area.

The owner filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission Sri Lanka’s regional branch in Jaffna the following day.

Mr Nithikesan said that he and his business were being harassed because he is a former cadre. Police had threatened him on two previous occasions and were making it difficult for him to operate a business.

The restaurant owner told journalists that later in the day, he was approached by police who demanded he withdraw his complaint from the human rights commission.