Anandasangaree urges President to release innocent detainees

  • 9 May 2006 07:23:29 GMT

    Why a.sangaree worried about innocent detainees?

    Total Tamils are detainees in NE high security zones.

  • 9 May 2006 08:45:42 GMT

    Innocent Tamil civilians continue to be caught up in the vicious cycle of violence that grips Jaffna and other Tamil areas of the North - Eastern province. The latest incident in this seemingly endless saga was at Manthuvil in the Thenmaratchy sector of Jaffna peninsula.

    Eight Tamils involved with festivities at a local temple went ?missing? overnight leaving traces of blood behind. Sections of the Sri Lankan army were suspected of having murdered them.Reports of some bodies being sighted in adjacent shrub jungle led to public outcry.

    A curfew was clamped down and public movement restricted. Scandinavian monitors were ?late? in visiting the spot and conducted an unsatisfactory search which failed to discover any body. It is now feared that the missing persons were killed by the army and the bodies disposed of while the SLMM stands accused of failing to conduct an intensive search.

    Manthuvil is a rural village that is less developed than many other Jaffna villages. It is in the Thenmaratchy sector and about 7-8 km away from Chavakachcheri town. Liberation Tigers of Tamil eelam (LTTE) political commissar for Jaffna district Ilamparithy is a son of Manthuvil soil.

    The Kelakkai Seerani Amman temple known generally as Kerathamman temple of Manthuvil is situated in Manthuvil East on the Manthuvil - Varany road. Further away in Varany is a large army camp. Other smaller camps are in the area too. People were living in areas north of this temple while areas to the South had paddy fields, palmyra groves and shrub jungle etc.

    Some renovation and repainting had been done in the temple after more than a decade. A ?kumbhabishegham? or ?kudamulukku? ceremony held every twelve or fourteen years was to be held on Sunday May 7th.In keeping with custom festivities had begun five days prior to the main ceremony on the sixth final day.

    A large crowd was cleaning up temple premises On Saturday May 6th evening when a routine army patrol came up. The soldiers did not enter temple premises , spoke to the people about the festival and left. This was a regular practice. The time was about 7 pm.

    Since the ?Amman? deity had been bedecked with gold jewellery for the occasion and decorations, loudspeaker systems etc had been set up it was decided that some youths should keep watch at the temple premises during night to prevent theft or robbery.

    Eight persons led by a schoolteacher stayed on at the temple that night. They were -

    1.Rasanyagampillai Sivananthamoorthy, 35, the General Secretary of the Temple Management Board and a teacher at Karambaikurichi American mission Tamil mixed school.

    2. Markandu Pushpakanthan, 26, a temple management board member

    3. Kandasamy Parimelalakan, 29

    4.Ramachandran Rasakumar, 22

    5.Ponnambalam Parthipan, 18

    6.Vaikundavasan Vaikundakumar, 17

    7.Selvaratnam Sivananthan, 17

    8.Ratnam Thayaroopan, 21.

    Parthiban, Vaikunthakumar, Sivananthan, Thayaroopan were students.

    An army patrol returning to Varany at about 10 pm stopped at the temple and inquired from the people about the festival and left.At about 1.00 am residents saw an army jeep and truck stopping near the temple.

    Some Manthuvil people reportedly heard many gunshots at about 1. 10 - 1. 15 am. Some screams were also heard. Being terrified none of the residents ventured out .

    At about 4 am two jeeps and an armoured personnel carrier stopped at the temple. The vehicles remained there for nearly 45 minutes.

    By this time the villagers were particularly family members of those who slept at the temple were worried. Speaking to each other clandestinely and quietly the people felt something was wrong at the temple. This unusual army activity left them concerned.

    At daybreak on Sunday 8th Manthuvil residents comprising mainly of family members went to the temple in search of their relatives staying there. They were shocked to find them missing. A search of temple premises made them even more upset. Bloodstains were found on the wall near the chariot stall. There were signs of blood being covered up with gravel in the area in front of the chariot.

    Pieces of clothing, six empty ,bullet cases, three national identity cards etc were also found within temple premises. Bloodstains were seen on the road outside. Both the inner and outer temple precincts had many bootprints like the ones usually made by soldiers.It appeared that the youths had been killed at the temple and taken elsewhere with attempts to cover traces.

    Agitated relatives ran to the Varany army camp and inquired about the missing persons.They were told that the army had no knowledge of them. The relatives then went to the Chavakachcheri Police station and lodged a complaint. They also got in touch with Tamil National Alliance MP?s Selvarajah Gajendran and Nadaraja Raviraj. The Monitoring mission was also informed.

    Meanwhile Manthuvil people began a search for the people on their own. Soon news began spreading like wildfire that bodies of the missing persons had been sighted in the shrub jungles. The shrub jungle area straddling Manthuvil in Thenmaratchy and Kappoothu in Vadamaratchy sector is about 4-5 square km in area. It is called Kombmunaik kandal or Kombimunaik Kaadu.. It was here in a spot that was geographically in Kappoothu that the bodies were allegedly cited.

    Agitated and enraged people ran to the army camps and began complaining. They wanted the army to come with them and recover the bodies.Though cowed by the army under normal circumstances the alleged sighting of bodies seem to have angered the people and given them courage to confront the army.

    With the possibility of a mob situation emerging the army panicked. The people gathering at the army camp were asked to disperse or face action. The family members of the missing persons arguing with the army were taken forcibly to their homes and ordered not to venture out.

    An unoofficial curfew for Manthuvil was declared. Roadblocks were set up at the Manthuvil junction, Kanaganpuliaddy junction and Vembirai junction and transport stopped. Transport was also stopped at the Varani - Mulli junction and Kaligai junction where the Point Pedro - Chavakachcheri road and Kodikamam - Nelliaddy roads intersected.

    Manthuvil was now effectively sealed as far as road transport was concerned. Using hailers the army asked the people to remain indoors despite an official curfew not being declared. People were asked to remain calm. They were told that the army would cooperate with Police and the ceasefire monitors in searching for the bodies alegedly in Kappoothu. The Army was not allowed to act on their own in this matter it was said.

    With the eight youths missing and resultant developments the ?kumbhabishegam? ceremony and related festivity became non - events. The villagers saddened by the deaths were in no mood for the festival. Besides the suspected shooting of youths within temple premises decreed special poojas to alleviate the ?theettu?. The people now waited for the monitors.There was concern that the curfew would be used to make the sighted bodies vanish.

    But the monitors did not come that day. After dusk the army announced through hailers that a curfew was in force till 4 pm the following day. Announcements were also made by 9 pm that the curfew was imposed for the entire peninsula. It would be effective from 12 midnight to 4 pm the following afternoon it was said.

    The monitors had been informed by the army that the Manthuvil situation was volatile. This prevented them from coming to Manthuvil immediately. The monitors arrived on Monday nearly 30 hours after the first complaint was made it is alleged. According to Manthuvil residents speaking on the telephone the SLMM conduct left much to be desired.

    The people wanted to go with the SLMM in search of the bodies allegedly belonging to the missing youths. The SLMM refused to take any one on the search mission. With people agitating they agreed to take a solitary peoples representative. The Manthuvil residents refused because the lone civilian would have been marked by the army for future revenge. The people?s strength in situations like this was to go in large numbers.

    The SLMM then went on the search mission. According to Manthuvil residents the monitors did not venture directly into the Kombimunai shrub jungle area. The monitors never left the road but paced up and down peering into Kombimunai areas with binoculars. After a fruitless search the monitors officially announced that they could not discover any bodies.

    It is not known whether the army suspected of killing the eight youths used the curfew to take away or destroy the sighted bodies without leaving any traces. It could also be a case of SLMM inefficiency where the monitors by not taking people who knew the area with them or by not venturing directly into Kombimunau failed to discover the bodies.

    There is lot of resentment in Manthuvil about SLMM delay in responding and the manner in which they handled the situation. In fairness to the SLMM they may have been forced to conduct themselves in that way due to security pressures.

    One point however is that this writer could not discover the identity of the person or persons who allegedly sighted the bodies in Kombimunai. Those Manthuvil residents I spoke to over the telephone had not seen the bodies but only heard that they had been seen. They did not divulge the names of the people who allegedly saw the bodies. This could be either due to the ?discovery ? being mere hearsay or to protect the people who actually saw the bodies.

    I am inclined to believe that this was to protect the people. This is quite natural in the prevalent context where the army is right there and is suspected of killing innocent civilians. It is very difficult to get people to talk over the phone in situations like this. A journalist who interviewed a close relative of one of the missing persons found the man very nervous. After the interview was over he changed his mind and wanted the journalist not to quote him at all.

    Another puzzling thing about the Manthuvil incident is the lack of provocation. In other incidents in the North - East members of the security forces have either directly or indirectly through paramilitaries and homeguards targetted civilians as part of their retailiation theory. If and when the LTTE attacks through proxies the security forces respond immediately with reprisals against Tamil civilians.

    Manthuvil is a departure from this norm as there is no evidence of any provocative act done against the army.Innocent civilians involved with temple activity have been the victims.

    Jaffna district parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj pinpointed this when he told BBC sinhala service ?Sandeshaya? that ?There was no violence in the area during the recent weeks,? MP Raviraj added that the local residents accused Sri Lanka military of abducting young men attending the religious ceremony.He added however that the regional commander of the Sri Lanka Army denied any involvement in the incident.

    Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe also categorically denied the accusations. ?Definitely the Army will not do a thing like that in a temple; rather the Army will never kill civilians,? he told BBC Tamil service?Thamizhosai?.

    Whatever the army may say most Manthuvil people suspect the army of having killed the youths.Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Raviraj told the BBC that ? the people in the area are living in fear due to threats and continued abductions ?.

    This then is the crux of the matter. The people of Manthuvil worry about the missing youths presumed to be killed by the army. They are sad, fearful and angry. If the current cycle of violence continues and extends itself in this way the mood of all Jaffna could very well be like that of Manthuvil in the future.

  • 9 May 2006 11:54:55 GMT

    Athos dont talk rubish,

    i have seen all these kind of things in first hand.

    i can tell you army killed those people who worked in that temple and removed the bodies from there and they disposed the body.

  • 9 May 2006 12:18:01 GMT

    Anandasangaree Sir,

    My respect for you grows with every action you take.

    In this country of fools, you seem to be one of the very few intelligent and concerned people who want to find a way out of this big mess.

    In this mad country of insanes you appear to be one of the few sane people living among us. We are so fortunate to have people like you with us.

    In this country full of terrorist and racists you gives us guidance through your non-violent Gandhian vision.

    In this country full of Motta Raalas, Buffaloas and WeeraMonkeys, you show us what a true and mature leader can do.

    I do not necessarily agree with you on your views on CFA. (which is the only point I see you take a narrow view, instead of looking at the issue from a broader angle.) However, it does not prevent me to appreciate the honest work you do towards ensuring the unity of the two communities in this land.

    Anandasangaree Sir, Hats off to you!

  • 9 May 2006 12:34:34 GMT

    My reply to Mr. Anandasangaree`s appeal to the President .

    1. Mr. Anandasangaree has appealed to Thamby Pirapakaran and he has not responded. Now he is appealing to the President of no avail. He too was part and parcel of the creation of the LTTE along with Mr. Amirthalingam. Does he regret even at this latter stage?

    2. Would he know who is innocent and who is not among the civilians. Does he know which snake lives in which hole in the North and East now?

    3. Can the Army identfy between the LTTE cadre and the civilians. Could he identify? What would he do if he is in that position?

    4. Agree. CFA was not a proper document and an impartial one. Blame Norway and then Prime Minister Wickremasinghe.Because of those fool hardy politicians like wickremasinghe, Premadasa, Amirthalingam the people of Sri Lanka is suffering.

    What is his formula. Peace talks with Pirapakaran or annihilation of the LTTE.?

    The Government and the International community should give some more years for the LTTE to respond.

    Disgusting !!!

    Sellam

  • 9 May 2006 13:04:33 GMT

    Sellam,

    It is better for people like you who knows nothing about politics, to avoid speaking about politics.

    Tell me, when did Anandasangaree created LTTE? Who told you these lies?

    You seem to know nothing about the history of the Tamil leaders. Why not keep your big mouth shut than showing your ignorance?

  • 9 May 2006 13:31:24 GMT

    Naleen....Where were you when Amirthalingham as the Opposition leader went around the world about Majority Sinhala people harrasing Minority innocent tamils...After 1983 (please dont get side tracked now...) it was the best as LTTE expected because the so called international community believed the TULF`s version which gave the support wanted by the LTTE....

    You have been taking lessons from that Herr Doktor Balasingham...They need people on their team...Go for it...Get one word and try to take over the whole conference arounf that...

  • 9 May 2006 13:40:56 GMT

    There is war going on, innocent people will be arrested just like during the `89 period when innocent sinhalese youths were arrested.

  • 9 May 2006 14:35:43 GMT

    I would be happy if Mr Anandasangaree is the President of Sri Lanka,he should not appeal to any of these people in power,may they be elected members or unelected terrorists,but to all people of Sri Lanka,we all respect him a lot.Even the extremist parties will support him as a couple of Sundays ago,we were told that Somawansa of JVP has spoken highly of him in London,though the JVP has declined his request to them,to crate a Federal structure.The Jvp think that there`s not sizable amount of Tamils living in those areas,most probably living abroad or in the south,nevertheless he has shown his respect for Mr Anandasngaree.

  • 9 May 2006 14:54:38 GMT

    Anada

    I heard some of your close relatives also caged. This is inevitable my dear alcoholic. Country first! Keep in touch with Goth. Rajapa.