Viral footage has shown Sri Lanka police dragging Jaffna Tamils away and forcing them to quarantine. In a special operation carried out today by Jaffna police under the instruction of Chief Inspector, Prasad Fernando, at least 20 Tamils in Jaffna were arrested for allegedly not wearing masks or following social distancing measures.
This footage comes as the Sri Lanka military has intensified its crackdown on the North-East with a series of arrests under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. There have been a number of Tamils and Muslims arrested under the PTA including high profile political figures such as Jaffna's Mayor, Viswalingam Manivannan, as well as former Sri Lankan minister and leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), MP Rishad Bathiudeen.
Video showing Police allegedly nabbing individuals who didn't wear mask & not properly wearing it in #Jaffna is going viral. #SriLanka pic.twitter.com/Rn2FRyxNea
— Kavinthan (@Kavinthans) May 5, 2021
Sri Lanka’s military response towards the coronavirus pandemic has garnered criticism with Boram Jang, Legal Advisor at the International Commission of Jurists Asia & the Pacific Programme, stating that;
“The manner in which the Sri Lankan Government and the military have handled the recent outbreak among the workers has been deeply troubling… [the] absence of judicial oversight is in clear violation of basic COVID-19 regulations adhered by the Government. At the heart of all these problems lies a heavily militarised and politicised COVID-19 response”
Sri Lanka’s coronavirus response is led by accused war criminal, and head of the Sri Lankan army, Shavendra Silva. Silva served as the commander of the 58th division during Sri Lanka’s military offensive in 2009 which stands accused of executing surrendering Tamils, sexual violence and the deliberate shelling of hospitals.
We need your support
Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.
Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view
We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.
For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.