The villagers, intimidated by the soldiers not to protest against the sand mining, revealed that two activists, 30-year-old Muthupillai Nadesan, the second ‘vanniyanaar’ (temple administrator) of Chiththaa’ndi Murukan temple and 28-year-old Velautham Ruban, were severely assaulted by the SLA soldiers and were issued death threats on December 18.
Mr. Nadesan and Mr. Ruban were former members of the LTTE.
Nadesan had left the LTTE earlier and Ruban was released recently from Sri Lanka Army custody.
The SLA has warned Nadesan and Ruban that since they were former LTTE members they risk meeting end of their lives if they involved in any civil protest against the sand mining of their village situated in Chantha’na-madu river bank in Ea’raavoorpattu Chengkaladi DS division of the Batticaloa district.
Nadesan and Ruban have also been threatened not to make any complaint anywhere regarding their ordeal they underwent in the SLA camp. However, they represented their grievances at the Civil Defense Committee (CDF) meeting. But the CDF had failed to take any action, the villagers say.
Despite warning by the Batticaloa District Environmental Authority and Mineral Sands Centre that sand mining along the bank of Chantha’na-madu River would affect the villages, Colombo government had given permission to a group led by EPC Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan to continue sand mining with the assistance of Sri Lankan military.
The river water could enter the village by 1 km in the near future if the sand mining is allowed to continue, concerned civil officials said.
Local government officials are also helpless to enforce rules and regulations as they are instructed by the paramilitary outfit not to involve into the matter of sand mining in Chantha’na-madu.
The SLA soldiers from the Mu’rakkoddaangn-cheanai camp and the Sri Lankan Police had jointly thwarted the protest held on December 04 by the villagers.
The protestors, led by Chiththaa’ndi Murukan Koayil Vanniyanaar, had demanded the paramilitary and its civic administration to cease the sand mining.
A similar protest in Kudaththanai in North last year had claimed the life of environmentalist Ketheeswaran Thevarajah on 31 December 2010, just a few days after EPDP paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda had threatened the villagers not to protest against the scooping of sand by politically sponsored contractors run by his paramilitary in Jaffna.
Ketheeswaran, a native of Kudaththanai East, had been living in Vanni and resettled in his village after the end of Vanni war. He was slain by a killer squad after he had released photographs through social media depicting the destruction of his village.