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Sri Lankan military checkpoints in Mannar

Despite ongoing criticism of their involvement in civilian affairs in the North-East, the Sri Lankan military ramped up search operations  in Mannar with sudden vehicle searches and patrols, normalising wider patterns of militarisation of the Tamil homeland.

The army has been patrolling the Mannar Bazaar area and the Mannar High Court main road since Wednesday evening. Motorcycles, three-wheelers and other vehicles have been stopped and searched along with their passengers since Thursday morning.

The military’s intensified surveillance of the North East has steadily increased after the election of accused war criminal Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president with many human rights advocates concerned that state forces have used the coronavirus pandemic, alleged weapons discoveries and encroachment into the public sector as a guise to target, harass and surveil Tamil communities.

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