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Mannar court upholds and extends ban on Maaveerar Naal commemorations

The Mannar Magistrate Court extended its order to ban the commemoration of Maaveerar Naal in its jurisdiction yesterday. 

The court had earlier forbidden the remembrance of fallen soldiers citing coronavirus restrictions. 

Appealing against the order, former secretary of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) youth wing and activist, V.S. Sivakaran, filed a motion through attorneys on 23rd November with the court. 

Representing the case of Tamils who demanded an injunction against the ban, a group of attorneys, headed by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran, appeared in court. 

Sumanthiran and other attorneys contended the case that the court had no jurisdiction to issue a ban on Maaveerar Naal. 

"Nonetheless, even though the court has no power to impose a ban, as responsible people we won’t violate any laws and we would observe all health and safety measures," said Sumanthiran. 

"We would secure the permission of health officers if we conduct a public event," he added. 

However, despite the assurances, the court headed by Magistrate M.Ganesaraja, refused to lift the ban on the commemoration and instead extended it. 

The extension was made on the basis that, the magistrate explained, the Tamil Tigers is a proscribed organisation within and outside Sri Lanka and that there is a possibility of COVID-19 spreading if people gather in large numbers in public. 

Earlier this week, Mullaitivu Magistrates Court extended its ban against 46 persons in holding commemoration events until November 30. An injunction against the ban was dismissed and the decision to prohibit commemoration events in the district was upheld. 

The coronavirus has been used as a tool to stifle Tamil Civil Society and to deprive Tamils of their right to mourn the dead. Crackdown against Maaveerar Naal has intensified across the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan government with support from the military and the backing of the judiciary. 

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