Sri Lanka continues to violate state obligations towards Tamils, say Tamil parties

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 January 2006, 00:20 GMT]
The Government of Sri Lanka not only failed to carry out proper investigations into the assasinations of reputed Tamil leaders, parliamentarians, journalists and activists, but it has also failed to take appropriate actions to prevent the recurrence of such crimes against the ordinary Tamil civilians, all four Tamil parties in the Lankan parliament charged in a joint memorandum sent to SL President Mahinda Rajapakse Friday. The joint statement was issued by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Upcountry Peoples' Front (UPF) and Western Province Peoples' Front (WPPF) that jointly staged a protest campaign within the chambers of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

Tamil party leaders
Mr.R.Sampanthan, parliamentary group leader of the TNA, Mr.Arumugan Thondaman, President and General Secretary of the CWC, Mr.P.Chandrasekaran, Leader of the UPF and Mr.Mano Ganeshan, Leader of the WPPF signed the memorandum.

Full text of the memorandum follows:

"We write to you further to the Satyagraha campaign that the members of parliament of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), CWC, UPF and WPPF carried out within the Chambers of the Parliament on January 17th, 18th and 19th and the meeting TNA parliamentarians had with you and some Ministers at your request on the evening of the 18th of January 2006.

"During this meeting the grave situation pertaining to the Tamil people in the NorthEast and in all parts of the country was discussed at length.

"We appreciate your desire to meet with us and ascertain the reasons for the Satyagraha campaign staged within the chambers of Parliament.

"We brought to your notice that none of the assurances given to us earlier on the floor of Parliament pertaining the assassination of Mr.Chandra Nehru, Mr.Koushalyan, Mr.Sivaram when you were Prime Minister, and rape and murder of Ms Eliyathamby Tharshini, had been honored or implemented.

"We strongly believe that the Government has failed to carry out any proper and meaningful investigations into these crimes and bring the offenders to justice. We also strongly believe that the Government's failure to take appropriate action to prevent the recurrence of such crimes has led to further crimes, some of which are referred to below:

"The conduct of the security forces towards Tamil civilians has been particularly aggressive in the recent past. 42 Tamil civilians have been killed within the Jaffna district, around 20 Tamil civilians have been killed in other districts in the NorthEast, and around 50 Tamil civilians have disappeared in the NorthEast. Tamil civilians are being increasingly manhandled, threatened and assaulted in the NorthEast. Theya are being deprived of the opportunities to carry on their occupation particularly farming and fishing. Many Tamil families have begun to flee to India. Many have sought refuge in LTTE controlled territory..

"We wish to refer specifically to the following crimes involving the security forces.

  1. Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, a senior Member of Parliament of the TNA was gunned down within the premises of the St.Mary's Roman Catholic Church at Batticaloa in the early hours of 25th of December 2005 on Christmas night while he was at prayer. The road leading to the church was manned by armed forces while police personnel were on duty outside the church. This is in government-controlled territory. It is clear that the assailants carried out the assassination with the involvement of some section of the security forces. Though the identity of atleast one assailant is ascertainable, no steps have been taken to apprehend anyone.
  2. Five innocent Tamil youth, all students engaged in higher education, were deliberately shot and killed in clod blood at Trincomalee by an identifiable group of the security forces sent to Trincomalee without due authority around 7.45 p.m. on 2nd January 2006. This was in government-controlled territory. On the evidence available, both direct and circumstances the offenders can be identified and brought to justice. The judicial inquest has ruled that these young men came by their death as a result of gunshot injuries and directed that the crime be investigated. More than two weeks after the crime there is hardy any credible progress in the investigative process.
  3. On the night of 16th January at Manipay, Jaffna within the government-controlled territory members of the security forces and Tamil paramilitary groups functioning together have shot five members of a family, three female members fatally, while the other two have been admitted to the Jaffna general hospital with serious injuries. The father Mr.Bojan was the President of the Northern Region Scouts Association.
  4. On the 23rd of December 2005 four Tamil civilians were shot and killed and the bodies burnt in their house by security forces at No: 44, Victoria Housing Scheme at Pesalai, in Mannar. The four persons belonged to one family, father, mother, son and daughter. This was an unwarranted attack by the security forces against the Tamil family inside the government-controlled territory.

"The above stated matters reveal that the Tamil people in the NorthEast are facing a grave and serious situation. Members of he Tamil civilian population have been indiscriminately arrested in large numbers, many females in their nightclothes without any reasonable suspicion or justifiable reason, purely on the ground of their ethnicity, photographed in their nightclothes and released after questioning at various police stations. This is a blatant violation of their fundamental human rights. This has happened in the Colombo city. Tamils in the upcountry areas have been similarly arrested.

"The presence of the armed forces in large numbers in civilian inhabited areas in the NorthEast, particularly in Jaffna and in Trincomalee, is most oppressive and humiliating to the Tamil people. In Trincomalee this situation has continued for more than eight months causing immense inconvenience and discomfort. We strongly urge that the armed forces be replaced by the police in these areas.

"These were the reasons that compelled us to perform us to perform a Satyagraha campaign within the Chambers of parliament.

"At our discussion with you on the 18th of January 2006 evening you indicated that these matters would receive your attention and that you would take appropriate action.

"We strongly urge that you take adequate action to ensure the safety to life and property of NorthEast Tamils.

"We look forward to early action on your part."

Related Articles:
18.01.06   Trinco students died due to gunshot injuries- Magistrate
16.01.06   Three women members of Maaveerar family shot dead in Manipay
12.01.06   NZ Peace Group condemns Pararajasingham killing
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