Tamil women have no faith in President - MP
[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 April 2001, 11:30 GMT]
"The Tamil women of this country have no faith in the President or the government because there is no justice when wrongs are perpetrated on them by the armed forces. The recent actions of the President are encouraging the army to further indulge in sexual atrocities against Tamil women. Although she is a woman the President does not bother to take even minimal action against the perpetrators of murder and rape. The President applauds the security forces and does what she can to cover up their heinous activities against the Tamil people. Sexual atrocities have been committed on Tamil women in Mannar many times in the past. But only the 19 March incident has come to light", said Mr. Selvam Adaikkalanathan Member of Parliament for the Vanni, speaking Saturday at the protest fast at the St. MaryŐs Church in Mannar town. More than three thousand people from many parts of the Mannar district took part in the fast to protest against the brutal rape and torture of two Tamil women in custody by the Sri Lanka Navy and the Counter Subversive Unit of the Police on 19 March.
"I brought to the notice of the President that the soldier who was involved in the rape and murder of Ida Kamalitta was roaming free in Mannar and that he had murdered many people here and that many were grievously affected by his activities. But there was no response from her (the President). This soldier was arrested only when he was accused of murdering his Sinhala girlfriend. The law did not act against him when his victims were Tamil women. This shows the PresidentŐs double standard", said Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, the Bishop of Mannar addressing the protest fast Saturday morning.
"In Sri Lanka those who commit atrocities against the Tamils simply get away with their crimes by accusing their victims of being Liberation Tigers", the Bishop further observed in his address.
Hundreds of people from the villages of Thalaimannar, Pesalai, Murungan, Thalvpaadu, Vankalai etc., came for the protest fast from early morning despite difficulties in finding transport, the Mannar Tamilnet correspondent said.
Rev. S Emmelianuspillai, of the Mannar Diocese Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Rights also spoke at the fast along with representatives of the Mannar CitizensŐ Committee and other NGOs. The protest fast began at 9 a.m. with invocations by Muslim, Christian and Hindu priests.
Ida Kamalitta, 21, was raped and murdered allegedly by a captain of the Sri Lanka army stationed in Mannar on 12 July 1999. Witnesses in the case identified the soldier as one Captain Arjuna Wijesinha from the SLA detachment at Sunny Village in Mannar.
The Police however took no action against him.
On 5 July 1999, Ms. M.H Bahiya Ummah, 45, was allegedly hacked to death by Captain Wijesinha when she had tried to block him from abducting Ms. Kantharasa Jeyamalar, 20, a pregnant woman who was staying in her (Bahiya UmmahŐs) house. Mr. Mohammed Hussain, 50, Ms. UmmahŐs husband was assaulted and seriously injured by Captain Wijesinha and the soldiers who had come with him to abduct Jeyamalar. Mr. Hussain who was beaten unconscious is still in a coma. The pregnant girl, Jeyamalar and her brother Bernard Shaw Gnanasekar, 25, who was abducted by Captain Wijesinha the day before are presumed dead. Human rights activists in Mannar say that Jeyamalar was raped and murdered. Witnesses at the inquest into the murder of Ms. Bahiya Ummah named Captain Wijesinha as the person who had hacked the woman to death.
The Police, however, took no action on the matter.
Legal sources and Human rights activists in Mannar alleged that Captain Wijesinha was responsible for the murder of several youth in the months following the murders of Ida Kamalitta and Bahiya Ummah.
The Mannar Bishop urged the government on several occasions to bring to book the chief perpetrator of the rape and murder of Kamalitta.
Captain Wijesinha was arrested and remanded when he allegedly killed his girl friend who is a private in the Sri Lanka army.