by Veerasingham Anandasangaree
Text of a letter sent by TULF Secretary-General and former Parliamentarian Veerasingham Anandasangaree to Pressident Mahind Rajapaksa over the recent mass arrests in Trincomalee district
I refer to the recent incident in Trincomalee in which youth, young girls and elders were arbitrarily and unjustly arrested and a good number of them detained.
Mr. V. Anandasangaree at the Dinner in honour of the Indian Parliamentary delegation, April 17, 2012-pic by: High Commission of India, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Such arrests have been taking place on a smaller scale in other areas as well. Unfortunately, the events that brought misery to our people, especially the youth, are showing signs of a revival of the past.
There is no guarantee that what took place in Trincomalee will not be repeated there again or spread to other areas. This is causing much fear and tension among the people. The only option that will be available to them is to send their children to various other places, including foreign countries, or as the only alternative, compel the youths to go into hiding. It is very unfortunate that you as the President of the country have failed to take action at the protests by the Member of Parliament for the Trincomalee district R. Sampanthan.
This type of arrests and detentions are nothing new to the North and the East. We have had many bitter experiences in the past. What happens during cordon and search operations are very obvious. What will happen now is that the youths will flee their homes, due to fear of arrest.
The forces will give chase, based on the suspicion that they are involved in anti-state activities. At this rate, the country will go back to the good old days, when Tamil youth dared not come on to the street to attend to their needs.
The people in the North and the East have started to think that their wretched lives that lasted almost 30 years, is making a come back.
I am convinced that these searches and arrests are done only to terrorize the poor village folk.
The whole exercise will prove counterproductive and bring shame and discredit to the already ailing nation.
Your Excellency, whatever action you take to retain the Army in the North and the East in large numbers, you can never justify that. We now have only about 15 days to go for it to be three three years since the war came to an end. I will not even call it a war. This is just an uprising which the government had suppressed with the support of several countries which will never support an uprising. No one wants the government to encourage an uprising.
I appeal to you to take a sympathetic view of the problems of the Tamil people. At least in two out of the eight Tamil majority districts and in parts of the other six districts, people lost everything that was in their homes. Our children suffered enough mentally and physically for about 30 years. Your government is very strong now, much better than what it was at the end of the war.
I admire countries that help us in development. Knowing fully well of the sufferings of our people during the past 30 years, no sensible government would have offered assistance to build Army camps all over the North and the East. I strongly condemn the countries which offered such assistants, after the war ended.
The Tamil people are timid and weak, with no strength and courage to confront the army. The only option available to them is to show passive resistance to oppose unreasonable acts by the armed forces. The people who are committed to non-violence can oppose the Army’s illegal acts detentions and such others only by non-violent means. Therefore, please order the government forces to stop forthwith the harassment of ordinary people.
If this situation continues to prevail, we will be compelled to muster the support of the people and engage in passive resistance.
Once again, I plead with you to respect the sentiments of the people and order the armed forces to stop their atrocious activities against the people.
Tamil United Liberation Front