The Sinhala occupation army in Jaffna is once again on the
rampage. Reports coming from the peninsula for the last 2 weeks
speak of SLA soldiers systematically sweeping areas of potential
unrest and conducting cordon and search in the Jaffna peninsula.
Several villages that include Kachchai area in Thenmaradchy,
Ariyalai in Jaffna, Myilankadu in Valikamam North, Erlalai North
and Mandan in Vadamaradchy area have been subject to cordon off
and search operations.
On December 16, SLA troops cordoned off and conducted house to
house search in Mulli, a village in Ariyalai, Jaffna and
demanded national identity cards from the inmates.
Many of the villagers are poor and live in thatched huts like
those re-settlers from Poompuhar and Maniyam Thottam area in
Colombothurai, Jaffna. These coastal villages have been emptied
to make way for HSZs surrounded by wired- fence that runs more
than 100 metres deep inside.
Tension prevailed in these villages as many were subjected to
slurs and warned of dire consequences for any behavior inimical
to SLA interests.
The offices of the International Thamileelam Student Union are
reported to be under siege by the SLA soldiers. Students have
been at the receiving end of indiscriminate assaults by army
Reports say several youths have been detained following these
cordon off and search operations “for further investigations.”
Sriharan Rajagajan (24), a Tamil youth who was arrested by the
SLA in Kondavil Tuesday and later released on bail by Jaffna
magistrate, had asked for protection from the Jaffna office of
the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission. Rajagajan said in his
complaint that SLA arrested him in revenge and that he has
received death threats from the army after his release.
Two families resettled in Ariyalai after moving from Vanni have
also lodged complaints with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission
(SLMM) of harassment and intimidation by the SLA troops.
On December 18, drivers of auto-rickshaws at Irupalai junction
located on Jaffna-Point Pedro road, 5 km North east of Jaffna
town, were attacked again by the SLA troops. This attack came as
retaliation for complaints lodged with SLMM on December 17, when
SLA soldiers had attacked them and forced them away from the
SLA opened fire at the auto-stand to disperse auto-drivers from
using the junction to conduct their business. One auto-rickshaw
and another motorbike of a civilian left abandoned at the
junction were moved to the nearby SLA camp.
According to reports all businesses in Irupalai were closed and
the junction was deserted from midday Sunday. Tension spread to
nearby Kalviyankadu and Kopay areas where normal life came to a
standstill following the Irupalai attacks.
The SLA troops involved in the incident are from the same camp
from where six soldiers and an SLA official were killed in a
claymore attack on the December 4, 2005.
Same day (December 18) Rasaratnam Puhalasri (33) from Navaly
South, an employee at an ice cream parlor at the Parameswara
junction was severely injured when SLA troops attacked civilians
around the Jaffna campus areas following an altercation between
Jaffna campus students at the International Thamileelam Student
Union offices. Puhalasiri was admitted to the Jaffna Teaching
Hospital and underwent surgery. Residents said that troops
forced entry into Student Union offices to prevent a group of
campus students from travelling to Punguduthivu, triggering
SLA has completely blocked civilian use of the 1 km stretch of
Palaly road between Kantharmadam and Thirunelveli. Residents in
these areas are confined to their houses and others who had
ventured out earlier were unable to return to their residences
in the affected areas. They were forced to seek refuge at places
of their relatives, sources said.
Members of SLMM met with student officials at about 6.30 p.m.
when student leaders accused the SLMM of the lack of effort in
preventing SLA from attacking students exercising their right to
travel and protest against army harassment. SLA resumed
attacking students after the SLMM left the Student Union
offices, sources said.
While Jaffna peninsula was turned into a boiling cauldron,
protests erupted at Punkudutheevu on Sunday following the
discovery of the body of Ilayathambi Tharsini (20) from an
abandoned well near SLN camp the previous day. Punkudutheevu is
situated 24 km from Jaffna. Protesters alleged that the Sri
Lanka Navy personnel have abducted Tharsini, who was on her way
to her aunt's house Friday, raped her and then dumped her body
into the abandoned well.
The body was discovered by civilians who set out on search
inside the no-go HSZ area Saturday and reported troops’
shoe-prints around the well.
A civilian identified as P. Varatharajah, 55, from 7th division
of Punguduthivu was wounded when Naval personnel opened fire at
The protesters did not allow the troops or the police to reach
the well until acting judges from Kayts Mrs. Linga Thurairajah
and M. Thirunavukarasu, acting judges from Kayts visited the
spot and assured the protestors that the body will be safely
transport to Jaffna Hospital mortuary for post-mortem
It will be recalled that Sarathambal ( 29), daughter of local
Brahmin priest and mother of a three years old child, was
forcibly dragged out from her home in Punkudutivu by gunmen and
gang-raped and murdered in cold-blood.. on December 28, 1999
during curfew time. Her body was dumped under the bushes near
Kannaki Amman Temple situated just 20 metres away from her
Simultaneously cordon off and search operation code named
‘Strangers Night’ was launched in capital Colombo where
thousands of Thamils were pulled from their sleep. Many Thamils
were taken into custody in Wellawatta, Narahenpita, Kirulapone
and Bambalapitiya police areas.
Colombo DIG Pujitha Jayasundara said the surprise house-to-house
operation was carried out jointly by the Police, Army, Navy and
the Air Force to track down illegal activities and suspected
He said during the operation which started at 11 pm on Saturday
and ended at 5 am yesterday, 107 people were taken into custody
on suspicion while five of them had been detained.
During the operation a Senior Tamil Journalist B. Parththipan
employed by Thamil language daily Thinakural was arrested by the
Kirulapana police while returning home after night duty in his
company vehicle. Parththipan was arrested around 11.30 along
with two other Thinakural staff members attached to the computer
division. When he was first detained by police he had produced
his media accreditation card issued by the government
Information Department. However, police has informed Parththipan
that they didn't care about the identity card. They were also
denied any phone call and detained at the Kirulapana police
station till 3am. Next morning the three were produced in front
of CID officers who recorded personal details and also took
finger prints and photographs. After the interrogation they were
brought back to the Kirulapana police station and put back in
the cell. They were released on bail at 11am twelve hours later
The Police did not take any steps to inform the arrest of these
persons to the newspaper company where they are employed or to
The Hill Country Thamils, who are next in line, will be targeted
and terrorized by the armed forces under the guise of looking
for “terrorists.” To the armed forces all Thamils are
It is no exaggeration to say that SLA is the only military force
in the world to ask fellow citizens the question “Oya Demela
da?” (Are you a Thamil?)
On December 16, Thamil daily Namathu Eelanaadu’ in Jaffna was
raided by the army.
“Namadu Eelanaadu is one of the four daily newspapers published
in the capital of war ravaged Northern Province. All four
dailies in Jaffna take an editorial line that supports Tamil
nationalism, which is the ideological basis of the separatist’s
armed struggle in the north and east of Sri Lanka,” states an
FMM press release.
The FMM said it views this situation as being a direct result of
the escalation of violence in the Jaffna peninsula during the
past few weeks in which a number of soldiers, militants and
civilians had died as a result of these unfortunate
The FMM says it fears the media in Jaffna may become a target of
escalating violence again, as happened on earlier occasions.
The statement warned that “in a situation such as prevails in
Jaffna today, searching of newspaper offices by the military
could send a signal that the media is under military scrutiny,
which could impede the freedom of expression and information.
Media and journalists in Jaffna face challenging situations in
gathering and dissemination of information as war clouds
The SLTMA is of the view that the arbitrary arrest of Tamil
journalist and newspaper employees is a serious threat and
intimidation to the Thamil journalists in general. Security
forces in Jaffna district last week entered the office of
"Namathu Eezhanadu" a Tamil daily newspaper and conducted search
operation and subjected journalists in the office to severe
interrogation. Now a Tamil journalist in Colombo had been
subjected to arrest and detention without any reason.
All these high-handed and arbitrary acts by the SLA are meant
apparently as a ploy to intimidate the people into submission!
The SLA is smarting under the recent poster campaign by several
civil organizations in Jaffna asking the armed forces to quit
Jaffna! The army thinks the time has come to teach a lesson to
the restless public who have dared to challenge them!
The change of guards has given a false sense of courage to the
besieged troops occupying Jaffna to go on the offensive using
emergency powers. The prospects of Jaffna once again relapsing
into a killing field for the armed forces is very real.
Newly appointed hawkish Army Commander, Lieutenant General
Sarath Fonseka on assuming duties has declared that the security
forces are fully geared to fight a fresh war.
"Although both sides are prepared, the LTTE cannot face a civil
war as there are many parties opposing the Tigers. Even if a war
is to break out, we are confident that we can beat the LTTE"
Lieutenant Fonseka reportedly said.
He said the army would soon begin to restructure and strengthen
the forces and while new weapons would be purchased, the
security forces would be prepared to "wipe out the LTTE once and
"We have lost a lot of intelligence officers since the signing
of the CFA and we cannot afford to lose anymore. All steps will
also be taken to protect our soldiers in the north and east as
if the army does not survive then the people cannot survive,"
the Army Commander said.
"Although we are ready to face an ethnic conflict, there is room
for improvement within the army which we will begin
immediately," the Army Commander said.
Current offensive against civilians and students in Jaffna is an
ominous sign. Lieutenant General Fonseka is translating his
threats into real action! Using brutal force to put down the
civil unrest is his style of fighting the ethnic conflict.
Sri Lankan armed forces are institutionally racist! And the
ruling Sinhalese politicians have used it as an instrument of
state terror to brutalise the Thamil people.
There existed and still exists a climate of impunity that the
Sinhala army could arrest, assault, rape, torture and murder
Thamils in complete freedom!