The Tamil politician M K Sivajilingam was pursued and harassed throughout the day by Sri Lankan military and police on May 18, as he attempted to hold vigil and mark Tamil Genocide Day privately at different significant sites.
After defying the Sri Lankan state’s crackdown on Mullivaikkal commemoration in Mullaitivu, by holding a small vigil at the Nandikadal lagoon with other politicians, Sivajilingam was stopped and threatened with arrest by police near Jaffna town.
Seizing the politician’s memorial banner, police attempted to arrest Sivajilingam stating he had violated the identity card procedure in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Sivajilingam told police he had already gone to court and obtained the relevant permissions.
After this incident, Sivajilingam was stopped and harassed by the Sri Lankan army as he tried to light candles at the World Tamil Conference Massacre monument. Soldiers attempted to snatch the candles and kick over the memorial set up.
Sri Lankan soldiers attempted to prevent former NPC member M K Sivajilingam from holding a vigil at the World Tamil Conference massacre memorial in Jaffna, snatching lamps and manhandling the politician. #Mullivaikkal pic.twitter.com/z8kDrFWprs
— Tamil Guardian (@TamilGuardian) May 18, 2021
Passers-by also noted with distress that the soldiers had entered the memorial with their boots on, defying the local custom of removing footwear to convey respect and for cleanliness.
Police again arrived at the scene and threatened to arrest Sivajilingam for allegedly violating health restrictions.
As he carried out a final vigil at his office in Valvettithurai in the evening, several soldiers and police surrounded the building.