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Sri Lankan police disrupt remembrance of Othiyamalai massacre in Mullaitivu

Oddusuddan police disrupted an event to remember the 32 Tamils that were massacred in Othiyamalai, Mullaitivu by the Sri Lankan army in 1984. 

As Tamils gathered by a memorial for the victims to mark 39 years since the massacre, the Officer in Charge (OIC) of Oddusuddan police station, interrupted the event claiming that the organisers did not have a permit to use a loudspeaker. OIC Ranjith Bamunusinghe demanded that the event is halted and to show that they had a permit for the loudspeaker. 

The organisers argued that this event has been held annually for the last 14 years without any problems, however, today this police officer was creating a disturbance. 

Bamunusinghe gave the organisers ten minutes to conclude the event, forcing the remembrance event to end earlier than planned. 

On December 2, 1984, men in the village were rounded up by Sri Lankan soldiers, dragged to the village community centre where they were stripped naked and tied up by their clothes. 

Twenty-seven of the men were shot and killed on the spot. A further five were detained and are believed to have been murdered at a later date. 

Flowers and candles were laid at a memorial dedicated to the victims despite the heavy presence of Sri Lankan intelligence officers who took photographs of the participants. 

A monument built in memory of the victims of Othiyamalai is reported to have been destroyed in the final stages of the armed conflict. A new memorial was unveiled in 2018. 

Since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, the Sri Lankan state has attempted to repress Tamil memorialisation activities in the North-East, through court orders or by intimidating and harassing Tamil people participating in remembrance events. 

The state has escalated their crackdown on remembrance events in recent weeks as the Tamil nation marked Maaveerar Naal. This week, as many as 11 Tamils, have now been arrested by Sri Lankan authorities under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), after Maaveerar Naal commemorations. 






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