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Statement by injured election monitor on Ananthy Sasitharan attack

Sugash Kanagaratnam, an election monitor with the Colombo based monitoring group, People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), made a statement this morning, regarding the incident last night when the Sri Lankan army and paramilitary beseiged the house of the TNA candidate and activist, Ananthy Sasitharan, and attacked TNA supporters and election monitoring staff who had gathered there.

Twenty-eight old Kanagaratnam, who is currently admitted Jaffna Teaching Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for his injuries, is also an Attorney-at-Law.

Speaking this morning from his hospital bed, Kanagaratnam said:

"I received a call from one of Ananthy Sasitharan's (TNA Candidate for Northern Provincial Council and Convenor of the Disappeared families Forum) staff late in the night on the 19th of Sepetmber 2013 seeking to make a complaint that her house was being surrounded by Sri Lankan Army and paramilitary personnel.

I left with a friend to Ananthy's house in Tholpuram, Sulipuram and found out that Ananthy had been moved to a different place because of the threat of violence.

At around 12.40 about 12-15 army personnel in uniform and two in civil [uniform] entered Ananthy's house with weapons. They broke open the doors and got about five of us to come out of the house and forced us to kneel down in a nearby field used for banana cultivation. The army personnel pointed guns from the behind and even loaded them.

I instantly remembered the scenes from the Channel 4 'Killing Fields' documentary and thought that we all were going to be murdered. They wanted to give us the worst possible fear of death.

For some reason they dropped that idea and started assaulting us. All this while I clearly told them in very simple English that I was a lawyer doing election work for a local election monitoring group (PAFFREL).

They kept beating us repeatedly with wooden poles saying "You all speak Tamil Nationalism? You all want the Northern Provincial Council. Take this" in broken Tamil.

One was heard to say "Tamils can live in Wellawatte and Kirulapone [in Colombo] but why cannot the Army stay in Jaffna". I was also warned not to report about the attack and that if I did that I will be shot.

After continuous beating for more than 10 minutes they abandoned the place."