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NewsWorrying ground situation in Jaffna

Worrying ground situation in Jaffna

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The next day (last) Sunday morning, his blood-drenched body was hanging from a goal post in a playground in Putur, just two kilometres from his home. It bore torture marks. The nails of fingers in both hands had been plucked out, Jaffna Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), Dr. S. Sivaruban, testified at the post-mortem inquiry. He said there were no suicide signs on the body that hung from a nylon cord.

Balachandran Sathkunanthan (30) set out from his house in the farming town of Avarankal in the Jaffna peninsula the previous Saturday evening for a leisurely ride on his motorcycle.
The next day (last) Sunday morning, his blood-drenched body was hanging from a goal post in a playground in Putur, just two kilometres from his home. It bore torture marks. The nails of fingers in both hands had been plucked out, Jaffna Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), Dr. S. Sivaruban, testified at the post-mortem inquiry. He said there were no suicide signs on the body that hung from a nylon cord. The inquest is still pending.
On the good side, it is now possible for citizens of Jaffna, to decide at the spur of the moment to move to any corner in the peninsula without fear. They are no longer under the watchful eyes of Tiger guerrilla cadres who would have punished them if there was no convincing reason for doing so. On the bad side is a disturbing reality. In the northern Jaffna peninsula where some 50,000 troops and policemen are deployed, recurring incidents are posing a serious question — whether total normalcy is yet to return to the once-beleaguered peninsula with the defeat of the Tiger guerrillas more than two years ago.
During the past six months, the Sunday Times learnt, at least 30 killings have taken place. They include the death of four soldiers. That such incidents recur when the government says it wants to restore democracy in the north raises more questions for it than to others. Polls to local councils are due this month. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that elections to the Northern Provincial Council would be held “early next year.” That violence is increasing in the peninsula could only drive more fear into the people and thus create instability is no secret. It also throws in bad light the on-going post war reconstruction efforts.
Worrying ground situation in Jaffna
For many reasons, it would be unwise to speculate on the causes for the death of Sathkunanathan. More so when Police in the peninsula have been directed not to speak to the media over the incident. However, the causes for the murder apart, the eerie message that mounting violence in the peninsula delivers appears lost in Colombo. Despite a heavy security presence and the absence of terrorist threats, unsavoury incidents do take place. They do not seem to be doing any good to the government. Worse enough, the authorities have found it difficult to curb the incidents.
It was only on June 17 some unidentified men broke into a meeting conducted by parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — the only Tamil party continuing a dialogue with the government to chalk out measures to address Tamil grievances. An MP complained to the Tellipalai Police that persons wearing uniforms similar to those of the Army broke into their premises in Alaveddy and assaulted, among others, members of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) assigned for their personal protection.
According to the MP, one of those in the group had asked how such meetings could be held without permission. The incident caused uproar with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa accusing the TNA of running to the United States Embassy in Colombo first instead of the local Police. An official inquiry has now come out with its findings. They say the incident was the result of a scuffle between some Army personnel and those of the MSD. Thus, it is claimed that the attack had nothing to do with the TNA meeting.

 ST

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