Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home Whats New  Trans State Nation  One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search

Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State > Struggle for Tamil Eelam   >  Human Rights & the Tamil People >Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) > Assassination of a Tamil Human Rights Defender


Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) on
Assassination of a Tamil Human Rights Defender
Ref : AS022K/PR/2005 08 February 2005

Killings, Killings, Killings – Arbitrary killings, Summary executions, Massacres, Gang rapes, Disappearances, Displacement etc – this is what the people in the North East have been experiencing since the independence of the then Ceylon –when the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka began to lose their political rights.

Last night, 7 February 2005, yet another cruel and fatal assault was afflicted on those working towards humanitarian justice and a peaceful negotiated settlement in the island, by the government sponsored paramilitary forces in the East.

Mr. Ariyanayagam Chandra Nehru, founder member of North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR), Mr. E Kousalyan, political head of Batticaloa-Amparai district of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and four others were shot dead while travelling in a vehicle near Polonnaruwa.

This incident took place between Sri Lanka army camps at Welikanda and Punanai, 38 kilometres Northwest of Batticaloa. According to information received by TCHR, the unarmed victims were travelling from Kilinochchi in the North to Batticaloa in the East, after attending a meeting on extending Tsunami relief and rehabilitation programmes. On their way from Kilinochchi, they passed an Army check point at Omanthai in the North which is believed to have provided information about their journey, to the killers who were hiding and waiting near a Saiva (Hindu) temple. When the ill-fated vehicle was approaching the temple, the assassins opened intense and heavy gunfire.

Mr. Kousalyan and three others died on the spot and Mr. Chandra Nehru, ex-Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament for Amparai district was seriously wounded and admitted to a nearby hospital. He later died in hospital. Mr. Chandra Nehru was a veteran human rights activist who was at the forefront in helping to internationalise human rights violations in the East. His hometown, Thirukkovil in Amparai district, was severely affected by the gigantic Tsunami waves.

During the recent TCHR visit to Batticaloa and Trincomalee on a fact finding mission, both Mr. Chandra Nehru and Mr. Kousalyn helpfully provided valuable information. They shared their knowledge and experiences of the socio-political realities of the region with the TCHR representatives. ( http://www.tchr.net/reports_visite_2004.htm )

After these cold-blooded killings, as is the usual pattern, the military spokesman, a Brigadier, said that the killings were carried out by unidentified persons and that the Police are investigating the incident.Members of civil society from all over the world have come to know Sri Lanka because of its “unidentified killers”.

“Unknown gunmen” assassinated Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam, an eminent Human Rights Defender, in the capital Colombo in broad daylight on 5 January 2000; Mr. Mylvaganam Nirmalarajan a senior journalist was killed in Jaffna on 20 October 2000 by “unknown gunmen”; a senior University lecturer Mr. Kumaravel Thambaiah was killed on 24 May 2004 in Batticaloa by “unknown gunmen”; Mr. Aiyathurai Nadesan another senior journalist was killed by “unknown gunmen” on 31 May 2004 in broad daylight in Batticaloa and many others human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and parliamentarians have been also killed by “unknown gunmen” in Sri Lanka.

Is the International community concerned about these killings? If so, in what way does it express its concerns? By encouraging, discouraging or ignoring? Many International humanitarian NGOs working in Sri Lanka have witnessed the discrimination in supply of relief aid to the areas affected by the tsunami in the North East. Have any of these INGOs chosen to come out with an open statement about this discrimination? No, because they are worried that if they did, they would not be able to continue with even the work that they are able to do at present.

The Sri Lanka government threatens people, organisations, the INGOs - and even rejects the request of the VVIPs to visit the Tsunami affected areas in the North East. What is the reaction of the International community to all this? Is it happily watching and waiting for an opportunity to blame the innocent?

There are certain issues in Sri Lanka, when even without proper investigation, within a few hours of an incident (or even without an incident), certain G8 Human Rights Organisations have issued strong criticisms. They have even published their press releases in English and Tamil. Where did they go when the Tsunami hit the North East coastal areas? What have they done to condemn the above-mentioned killings? Can human rights be selective?

There are G8 Human Rights organisations that have given blank cheques to some of their naive representatives, who use the cheques only in favour of those who pay a good sum. Recently we experienced a report and propaganda meetings organised on such a basis in London and Toronto.

TCHR and its solidarity organisations in various countries strongly condemn the assassinations of Mr. Ariyanayagam Chandra Nehru, Mr. E Kousalyan and three other activists. TCHR notes the strain on hopes which are currently fragile for a peaceful negotiated settlement. Our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the assassinated victims.

In the mean time we request all members of Civil Society to send their requests to all G8 Human Rights Organisations, urging them to act on these killings and to be impartial regarding the human rights situation in the island of Sri Lanka.



Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home