Following the Sri Lanka Army attack on Tamil National Alliance (TNA) meeting last month and the systematic harassment on building owners not to provide their halls to TNA for campaign meetings, the residences of various candidates of the TNA, including the former parliamentarian M.K. Sivajilingam, have been targeted by SLA-operated squads that are engaged in threatening the candidates
. In the early hours of Saturday, a gang that came in two white-coloured Hiace vehicles threw dirt baskets at the residence of Mr. Sivajilingam. On the same day, the residence of Mr. Subramaniyam, another candidate of the TNA in Maanippaay constituency in Jaffna, came under attack by an alleged SLA operated squad. Earlier, similar acts of intimidation were reported in Cha’ndilippaay in Jaffna. In the meantime, the residences of various TNA candidates have been stoned in Thenmaraardchi.
At Ki’linochchi, Mariyappan Sukanthan, a TNA candidate, has complained that he was threatened by the soldiers of the SL Army while he was engaged on a door-to-door election campaign at 156th Mile Post.
The local elections are scheduled to take place on July 23, the day when Eezham Tamils all over the world mark the Black July, remembering the SL state-sponsored pogrom of 1983 against them.
The SLFP of the ruling Rajapaksa regime has been staging meetings for government employees from various divisions and was using such meetings as a platform for its campaign against the TNA in the local elections in Jaffna and Ki’linochchi districts.
Susil Premajayantha, a minister in Rajapaksa’s cabinet visited Jaffna staging a such meeting at Point Pedro Piratheasa Chapai (PS) building, violating the rules of electioneering, the TNA has complained. SL Presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa is directing the campaign.
The attacks and harassments take place amidst severe criticism coming from civil society organisations in the South. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Colombo-based peace group National Peace Council (NPC) and Centre for Human Rights (CHR) have voiced against the various threats and harassments by the SL military against the right to engage in political activity as well as against the freedom of peaceful assembly in Jaffna and Ki’linochchi.
The Left Front led by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) of Mano Ganesan and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have also protested in Colombo against the attack on TNA election meeting at A’laveddi in Jaffna.