SL Army brutally attacks public meeting of politicians, journalists in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 June 2011, 16:34 GMT]
In what is seen as retaliation for Channel 4 broadcast Tuesday, the genocidal SL Army occupying Jaffna brutally attacked TNA parliamentarians, journalists and public in Jaffna on Thursday, causing injuries to an unspecified number of people, according to initial reports. The blatant attack by SL Army in uniform took place when the TNA politicians held a meeting at A’laveddi in Jaffna, inaugurating their political campaign for the forthcoming civic elections. Tension prevailed as SL Army was deployed in the area and the public that came for the meeting sought refuge in the nearby houses. “British diplomats satisfied with Army’s role in Jaffna,” said a website of the occupying Army on Tuesday, after the visit of the Deputy High Commissioner of UK, announcing ‘reintegration’ of ex-LTTE combatants in detention through the occupying Army.

A'laveddi TNA meeting
One of the TNA supporters assaulted by the SLA, photographed at Thellippazhai hospital Thursday night
A'laveddi TNA meeting
Mahajana Chapai, after SLA assault
A'laveddi TNA meeting
TNA politicians photographed before the meeting at A'laveddi. Ramesh is seen between Suresh Premachandran [right] and Maavai Senathirajah. Mr. Ramesh, who was recently attacked by the SLA at Achchuveali, was again assaulted Thursday by the SLA while he was protecting the TNA parliamentarians at the stage on Thursday.
The attack took place around 6:30 p.m., when Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Mr. E. Saravanabhavan was addressing the public meeting held at Chaiva Mahajana Chapai Hall at A’laveddi.

TNA parliamentarians Maavai Senadhiraja, Suresh Premachandran, A Vinayagamoorthy, S. Sridharan and MA Sumanthiran were also present on the occasion.

Around 15 SLA soldiers in uniform entered the hall and attacked the participants with rifle butts and batons.

Photographer of Uthayan, and staff reporter of Thinakkural were among the injured, while senior staff reporter of Uthayan narrowly escaped.

Unconfirmed reports said TNA parliamentarian Sridharan was beaten by the SL soldiers, but the TNA sources declined to confirm whether any of their parliamentarians were subjected to attack at the meeting.

The assault of the SL Army took place after verbal altercations between the Army and the politicians in the stage. When the SL army attacked the parliamentarians the bodyguards of the parliamentarians intervened. The bodyguards in turn were attacked, receiving injuries in the process.

The bodyguard of Suresh Premachandran, Mr. Ramesh, who was injured in an earlier attack allegedly by the SLA, was again injured on Thursday. Mr. Premachandran alleges that the SL Army while attacking the public meeting had a special eye on his bodyguard.

The injured bodyguards are admitted in hospitals.

Many of the injured are treated in the Thellipazhai hospital.

The crowd gathered for the meeting dispersed seeking refuge in the neighbouring houses.

A large number of troops were deployed in the area to search the houses. The occupying Army, using the registry it conducted on families in Jaffna, identified the outside public that found refuge in the neighbouring houses, and took them away.

Journalists at the site, fearing reprisals, requested not to contact them over mobile phone.

Meanwhile, the TNA parliamentarians rushed to the SL Police station in Thellippazhai to lodge a complaint on the episode. They were seen picketing the police station.

The SL Police on Wednesday harassed the Chaiva Mahajana Chapai for providing the hall for the meeting.

The Commander of the occupying Army in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe denied any attack by his troops. But the TNA alleges that the SL commander carried out the attack after receiving ‘orders’ from the ‘higher ups’.

Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, the commander of the occupying SL Army in Jaffna had recently told Mr. Saravanapavan MP that he was not worried about TNA MP Suresh Premachandran's complaint at SL Parliament seeking inquiry over alleged threats by Hathurusinghe.

The SLA commander had claimed in an interview to a local media that Suresh Premachandran MP was attempting to provoke uprising among the people and had come with a veiled threat that the SLA was prepared to arrest Mr. Premachandran. Later, the assistant of Mr Premachandran, Mr. Ramesh, was attacked with sharp weapons at Achchuveli, allegedly by the SLA.

Commenting on the episode, Secretary of the North Ceylon Journalists Association, Mr. K. Ramesh said that the attack on journalists attending the public meeting shows the critical stage of the already fragile press freedom in the island.

Meanwhile, in the international front, there were veiled threats by Rajapaksa supporters that Eezham Tamils in the island would be affected by retaliation, in the event of any campaign for conducting an international investigation on war crimes in the island.

Earlier, Rajapaksa supporters in the diaspora and media reports from Colombo hinted that the imposition of Sinhala National Anthem in Jaffna was a result of the cancellation of Rajapaksa address in Oxford, due to diaspora protests.

Presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa recently indicated in Jaffna in a threatening tone that it was useless for Tamils to have hopes on war crimes investigations.

The Channel 4 broadcast on Tuesday shook the international conscience, but Sri Lanka totally denied any war crimes committed by it. Another presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Thursday said that the broadcast was fake and was made for LTTE money, reported Daily Mirror.

Genocidal Sri Lanka’s confidence comes from the double standard of the international establishments, the dualism in perception between public and defence institutions in certain countries and from the ‘friends’ of the Rajapaksa regime in certain quarters, Tamil political circles said. Some of them also recollected that attack on Tamils used to escalate after every visit of the Indian Troika.



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