Home Expression Sri Lankan Police Crack Down on Mullivaikkal Commemorations

Sri Lankan Police Crack Down on Mullivaikkal Commemorations

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Sri Lankan Police Crack Down on Mullivaikkal Commemorations
(Tharidu Jayawardhana)
The Sri Lanka Police are intensifying efforts to halt Mullivaikkal commemorations in the North-East. According to reports, there have been more than four incidents of interference or attempted interference with these commemorations.
Incident in Kalmunai: Porridge Sharing Prohibited
The first incident occurred in Sampur, followed by another reported in the Kalmunai area. At around 7:30 this morning (15), a group of police officers visited the home of activist Thamodaram Pradeepan, instructing them not to hold Mullivaikkal memorials on May 18, citing a court order.
Similarly, police visited the residence of Mrs. Thambirasa Selvarani, president of the Ampara Missing Persons’ Family Association, this morning, delivering the same directive. They also mentioned a restraining order obtained to halt the commemorations. Additionally, police allegedly interrupted a gathering where individuals were sharing porridge at a temple the previous day (14), with reports of attempted arrests.
Furthermore, on Tuesday (14), police and public health inspectors interrupted a porridge-sharing event organized in Batticaloa.
Mullivaikkal Porridge: Not Linked to LTTE Promotion
Despite attempts by the Sri Lankan Police to frame the distribution of Mullivaikkal porridge and the commemorations as LTTE promotion, there is no such association. ‘Maha Viru Samaruwa’ and Mullivaikkal Commemoration are distinct events.
The Mullivaikkal memorial honors those who died during the final stages of the war. During that period, civilians faced severe food shortages, surviving on rice porridge, with some succumbing to starvation. Porridge distribution serves as a commemoration of Mullivaikkal. Nonetheless, the Sri Lankan Police’s portrayal of it as LTTE promotion seems aimed at pressuring the Tamil community.
Commemorating the Deceased is a Right
In 2017, the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission reminded the government, amidst ongoing police obstruction of Tamil commemoration events, that families have the right to honor their deceased, regardless of their affiliation with the LTTE.
The Commission informed President Maithripala Sirisena that denying families the right to remember their loved ones based on political beliefs or affiliations is unjust.
In response to complaints from Father Elil Rajendran regarding alleged harassment by security forces following a commemorative event in Mullaitivu, the Human Rights Commission urged the President to affirm the right of families to engage in commemorative activities without fear.
Violation of Court Orders
The police plan to arrest individuals involved in the Sampur incident primarily for violating court orders. Sampur Police Station Chief Inspector Thushara’s B report states that the group failed to comply with a court order.
Contempt of Court: Misuse of Power
Under the Contempt of Court, Tribunal, or Institution Act No. 08 of 2024, disobeying a court order is an offense. However, this act does not empower the police to arrest individuals defying court orders without a warrant. If contempt of court occurs, procedures outlined in the act should be followed. The police have no power to arrest people for violating court orders under said act.
The current police approach involves obtaining court orders based on false information to portray lawful activities as illegal. Subsequently, the police illegally and abuse of power arrest people who are acting peacefully.
Conclusion
The abuse of law by the police to suppress civil rights must be unequivocally condemned. Officers engaging in such misconduct should face disciplinary and legal action. Instead of fostering harmony and promoting responsibility, the actions of the Sri Lanka Police exacerbate racial tensions, undermining confidence in the security forces. Failure to address this issue could prolong the crisis in the country.

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