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Under cover of curfew, North overrun with Sri Lankan state violence

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On Friday night, Sri Lankan army personnel assaulted women and children at the home of a former LTTE cadre, hospitalising an elderly woman. The army had rounded the house in Nagarkovil, Jaffna, in search of the householder Aingaran, purportedly in connection with an attack on a soldier on January 15. In the last four months, several Tamils have been arrested and bailed for the incident, which involved the soldier being confronted by locals for speeding and narrowly missing hitting a child with his motorcycle. Aingaran’s wife said on learning that he was not inside, the army proceeded to assault the women and children that were present. They left, dropping army insignia including a hat with a logo and a mobile phone, only to return in three vehicles bearing groups armed with swords and poles. The returning group smashed two motorcycles parked at the property, as well as furniture and other possessions.


In Mullivaikkal, Mullaitivu, three Tamil men are seeking justice for a random and unprovoked attack by intoxicated Sri Lankan police officers, for which the local police station has refused to register a complaint. The police officers broke into the houses of each victim and demanded the residents produce a named individual, and then brutally assaulted each householder. Despite all three victims needing hospital treatment, Mullaitivu police has refused to register complaints against the officers. One victim alleged that he was discharged from hospital as a result of police influence, despite requiring further treatment. While the three men – 31-year-old Inbanathan Sutharsan; 23-year-old Ganesh Thusjanthan; and 53-year-old Vijayaratnam Thiyagarasa – have registered a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) in Vavuniya, the police station’s refusal to acknowledge the assault has left locals fearing further unprovoked attacks.

Senseless police violence in Sandilipay, Jaffna, has left a Tamil youth injured, and a police officer has also reportedly been injured. On Saturday night two police officers in plain clothes broke into a house and assaulted the youth. As the other residents in the house made noise, neighbours and relatives nearby arrived and hit back at the two plain-clothed officers, not knowing that they were police. The two officers escaped and called for back-up, with more officers returning to the beat the group that had gathered, while also damaging the home of the youth in an act of retribution. Five of the local youths were arrested on charges of attacking police officers. Family members say the police also turned back an ambulance which had been called for the injured youth. The violence was reportedly instigated by the officer in charge of Manipay police, at the behest of a friend who objected to the victim’s relationship with his daughter.

Amidst the army and police brutality during curfew regulations, residents of Uduvil, Jaffna, have meanwhile been angered by Sri Lankan police’s mishandling of a violent robbery case. Two individuals were seen loitering in the area on the evening of Wednesday, May 6, while curfew was in place – the day after a violent robbery had seen an elderly man assaulted. After the elderly victim identified one of the men as his assailant, locals handed over both to Chunnakam police, who also seized some cannabis from the assailant. However it transpired that the following day, the suspect was presented to the Mallakam judge virtually, only on a minor charge of cannabis possession, and released on bail. Residents of Uduvil involved in apprehending the suspect have since been receiving threats of violence from the individual. The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) for the district has reportedly ordered an investigation into the failure to charge the suspect appropriately.

See also:

Sri Lankan police arrest those posting about lack of food for displaced Tamils

Two women arrested as they deliver food to hospitalised Tamils

Sri Lankan police leave three Tamil women hospitalised in brutal assault


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