Today (24 June) a protest was held in Colombo against the military’s attack on elected parliamentary representatives of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the North.
On 16th of June, the TNA held a private party meeting in Alavedhdhi, a northern town. Soon after they started, nearly 40 armed soldiers entered the house and disrupted the meeting. They claimed that in Jaffna no one is allowed to have a meeting without the permission of the Army.
Five TNA MPs present at this meeting tried to explain to the army that there wasn’t any need for army permission as this meeting was held indoors and only TNA members took part in it. But the military refused to listen to them and forced themselves into the house where, attacking the participants including the MPs and their official police bodyguards. Many were injured.
The TNA complained about this incident to the police and to the Jaffna army Major General in charge. While saying that this incident took place without their knowledge, the army tops and the police are still refusing to take any action. The Rajapaksa government is keeping completely silent about this disgraceful attack on elected members of the country’s parliament. They claim that they are waiting for a report.
This is a clear violation of democratic rights and totally unacceptable. The fact that an attack of this nature could happen to elected parliamentarians indicates the conditions faced by working and poor people in the North and East. Large numbers of army personal are deployed all over Jaffna in numerous camps. They are present on every street corner. There is no hope of establishing civilian rule with such a massive military presence and with the army controlling every aspect of life.
A picket/protest took part in Colombo in front of Fort Railway station. It was jointly organised with representatives of the United Socialist party (USP), the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP), Democratic People’s Front (DPF) all present along with the TNA. Taking part, amongst others, were Mavai Senadhirajah(TNA), Siritunga Jayasuriya (USP), A Vinayagamoorhty MP(TNA) and Sumanthiran MP(TNA), Vickramabahu Karunarathna (NSSP) and Mano Ganeshan (DPF).