The Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) Batticaloa district organiser Kanapthipillai Gukakumarajah and his son have been released on bail after they were arrested for trying to commemorate Maaveerar Naal.
Batticaloa Magistrate Court ordered their release today after Gukakumarajah and his son Janojan were detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) when they on their way to Thandiyadi Thuyilum Illam on November 27, 2023 to commemorate the Tamils who have sacrificed their lives in the struggle for liberation.
Last year, as many as 9 Tamils were detained under the PTA over remembrance events for Maaveerar Naal. The arrests, which came mainly in the East, were carried out as Tamils carried red and yellow flags or speakers, to take to Maaveerar Naal commemorations, which remember those who died fighting for the liberation of Tamil Eelam. Others were arrested for hiring out vehicles or power generators, or at commemorations themselves which were stormed by Sri Lankan security officers.
The PTA has been used for decades to arbitrarily detain and torture Tamils and Muslims. Although Sri Lanka has made numerous pledges to the international community to repeal the notorious legislation, the PTA continues to be used to this day.
Sri Lanka has routinely cracked down on Tamil memorialisation in the North-East, particularly over commemorations in the lead up to and on Maaveerar Naal. Sri Lankan police try to file petitions to the courts to ban events from going ahead or to prevent individuals from organising and participating in memorial events.