Sri Lanka launches offensive against Tamils preparing to mourn war dead

Tamils in Sri Lanka are faced with the risk of losing the opportunity of collectively mourning their loved ones who have lost their lives during the war.

The Sri Lankan government has set off an operation to utilize the judiciary to ban this year’s memorials to be held in the country’s war ravaged Tamil majority areas with over 50 restraining orders against politicians and grassroot activists.

According to police submissions to the court, the memorials in a non-violent manner are to be held to commemorate dead Tamil Tigers and their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Every year, Tamils in the north and east devote the week from 21 November to commemorate the tens of thousands of war dead.

Politicians and activists

In a bid to block the relatives share their pain in public, police have started securing court orders banning the ‘Maveerar Naal’ memorial events and their perceived organizers.

The first such orders have been issued by the Mullaitivu Magistrate R. Saravanaraja on November 17 against 35 Tamil activists including Member of Parliament Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Member of Parliament Selvarasa Gajendran, former Member of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) MK Sivajilingam, Former NPC Member Durairasa Ravikaran and Mullaitivu District Forcibly Disappeared Peoples Relatives' Association Chair Mariyasuresh Eswari.

The police have requested courts in the region to issue a ban on having the Heroes' Day commemoration events within the Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) police division, according to documents seen by the JDS.

LTTE flags

Officer in Charge of the PTK police station has informed the court that he has received information from military and police intelligence units that the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is planning to commemorate its deceased members, as directed by its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on 27 November 1989.

“The information received above further reveals that members of that proscribed organization and members of groups that support them who abide by that directive have planned to hoist flags belonging to that organisation, display photographs of dead members, sing songs of that organisation, hoist flags that carry the colours of that organisation and exhibit the Gloriosa Lily – which is the national flower of their organisation, in memory of the founder of that banned organisation Velupillai Prabhakaran and its members who have died,” says Chief Inspector Amarasinghe in his request to the Magistrate.

The police officer has named 14 men and women as those who should be restrained by the court.

In May 2009, the Sri Lankan government had announced it had totally annihilated the LTTE.





Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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