Police have launched an intense manhunt in the Northern province to arrest the killer of Police Sgt Sarath Hemachandra (PS 24330) on Saturday July 22nd 2017 in Nallur,Jaffna. 51 year old Hemachandra hailing from Chilaw was on duty providing security escort on a motor cycle to Jaffna High court judge Manickavasagam Illancheliyan when he was shot at about 5 pm on Temple Road and sustained serious injuries in the stomach. He was rushed to the Jaffna teaching hospital and provided emergency treatment but succumbed to his injuries on Sunday July 23rd. Hemachandra was posthumously promted as sub – inspector of police by IGP Pujitha Jayasundara. He was the father of two children.
A widespread search operation is currently underway within the Jaffna peninsula and certain areas of the Northern mainland to arrest the suspected “cop killer” who has been identified as 39 year old Selvarasa Jeyanthan is currently a resident of Nallur though his permanent address is in the 4th ward of Pungudutheevu island.. Police have taken into custody the suspect’s brother and brother in law for questioning. Both Jeyanthan’s brother and brother in law were with him when the shooting incident occurred on Temple road. Both however were not involved in the shooting.
According to information gathered by the Police about the wanted suspect, Selvarasa Jeyanthan had been a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization for about three years. He had relocated from the Peninsula to the mainland after the army seized control of Jaffna in 1996 through “Operation Rivi Resa”. Thereafter he had joined the LTTE and received arms training. After being with the LTTE for three years, Jeyanthan had left the LTTE in 1999 and returned to civilian life.
Jeyanthan had married a woman from Vannivilaankulam in the northern mainland and engaged in agriculture and trade for livelihood. In 2003 he had relocated to the Jaffna peninsula and was engaged in business retailing ice cream in a van. Later he had been an ice cream. Later he was engaged as driver in a passenger van operating between Jaffna town and Kurikkattuvaan pier in Pungudutheevu.
According to information provided by family members Jeyanthan had got involved with another woman from Mankumbaan and had set up home with her in the 4th ward of Pungudutheevu. His wife from Vannivilaankulam had leant about this and took legal action. Thereafter Jeyanthan was ordered by courts to pay maintenance to his former wife and children. Apparently Jeyanthan has four children by his Vannivilaankulam wife and three children by his Mankumbaan spouse.
Furthermore Selvarasa Jeyanthan had been arrested by the Kopay police in 2012 in connection with the murder of a person named “Praba” in Thirunelvely. He had been remanded for several months and had been subsequently released on bail after being produced at the Jaffna courts.
On Saturday July 22nd Jeyanthan along with his brother and brother in law had had a long session consuming liquor at an illicit bar in Nallur for several hours. They had been angrily discussing a problem concerning Jeyanthan’s brother. According to family members , Jeyanthan’s brother had been trying to get a license for a parking spot near Nallur Kandasamy temple to do his three -wheeler business. The municipal and divisional secretariat personnel had been rejecting the bid.
While walking on Temple road the trio had seen some of the officials refusing a parking spot license and had raised the issue. Jeyanthan was very drunk and in a violent mood.
There had been a loud argument and a huge crowd had gathered blocking traffic on the road.
At this point of tome High court judge Illancheliyan’s vehicle had come along Temple road and was unable to proceed because of the crowd on the road. Sgt Hemachandra was riding an escort motor cycle ahead of the Judge’s car while another bodyguard Sgt.Wimalasiri was in the vehicle along with the driver.
Seeing the group of arguing persons blocking the road, Sgt.Hemachandra got off the motor cycle and went towards the group asking them to clear the way for the Judge’s vehicle to pass. A heated exchange of words occurred between Sgt.Hemachandra and the drunken Jeyanthan. At one point Sgt.Hemachandra laid his hand on the pistol in his holster in a bid to scare Jeyanthan but did not pull it out. An enraged jeyanthan engaged in a scuffle with the Policeman who then pulled out the gun. But Jeyanthan suddenly gripped the pistol and tried to seize it.
The High court judge Illanchelliyan saw what was happening and got out of the vehicle shouting at Jeyanthan “Vidadaa Pistol ai, Vidadaa pistol ai” ( Let go of the pistol) in Tamil. The other policeman sgt Wimalasiri got out of the vehicle and pushed Judge Illancheliyan back into the vehicle.
Jeyanthan however seized the pistol and fired on Sgt Hemachandra at point blank range. Seeing Hemachandra being shot, 54 year old Sgt Wimalasiri opened fire at jeyanthan who in turn shot back.Sgt Wimalawwera was also injured. According to eyewitnesses the way in which Jeyanthan handled the pistol indicated that he was well experienced in the use of firearms.
After injuring Hemachandra and Wimalasiri Jeyanthan did not fire at Judge Illancheliyan or his vehicle. Insteaad he Thereafter he fired shots in the air and ran away. Jeyanthan stopped a motor cyclist brandishing his gun. Thereafter he got on the motor cysle and rode away. He has been missing since.Later the Police found the gun thrown into a ditch. The motor cyce had also been abandoned and found by the Police.
Meanwhile Judge Illancheliyan with the help of his driver and bystanders carried the injured police sergeants into the vehicle and rushed to the Jaffna hospital. Emergency treatment was provided but Sgt. Hemachandra who had suffered a lot of bleeding succumbed to his injuries. The hospitalised Sgt Wimalasiri is recovering and has been pronounced out of danger.
Police later arrested and interrogated the brother and brother in law of Jeyanthan. Statements were also recirded from Judge Ilancheliyan, his driver, Sgt Wimalasiri and several eye-witnesses. Currently an intensive manhunt is being conducted to capture the absconding Selvarasa Jeyanthan.