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Sri Lanka remands four Tamils until May 27 for distributing kanji

Four Tamils including three women who were violently dragged away from their homes in Sampur by Sri Lankan police for distributing Mullivaikkal Kanji were produced before the Muttur Magistrate Courts today. They were ordered to be placed in remand custody until May 27. 

The individuals arrested include Kamaleswaran Vijitha (40), Kamaleswaran Themila (22), Selvavinothkumar Sujani (40), and Navaretnaraja Hariharakumar (43). Themila, a student at Eastern University, was reportedly arrested for obstructing the arrest of her 40-year-old mother.

Although the initial arrest and court order cited public health, the four arrested were reportedly charged under section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act. Section 3 of the act states "no person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence". 

Kanji - a porridge of rice and water - was the only food available to Tamils trapped in the Sri Lankan government-declared 'No Fire Zones' as food, medicines, and other necessities were heavily restricted from entering the Vanni during the final phase of the armed conflict. 

The Sri Lankan government denied the delivery of food into conflict zones, to use starvation as a weapon of war. Even as Tamils stood in long queues to get a bowl of kanji, the Sri Lankan military continued their daily bombardment, slaughtering many. 

The distribution of kanji has been continued as part of commemorative events.

Video footage shows two Sri Lankan police officers dragging two of the women across the floor. The arrests and court orders come as the Tamil homeland commenced Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week today. Across the North-East, commemorative activities are taking place to remember the tens of thousands of Tamils who were slaughtered in Sri Lanka's genocidal offensive in 2009.

Read more here.

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