If this is not State sponsored terrorism,what else is?
A 26-year-old man with mental health problems drowned during an attack by three policemen in October. The scene was caught on camera; resulting in the arrest of the officers involved. But two months later, and the men are yet to be sentenced.
Police received a complaint about Balawarnam Sivakumar, a mechanic and ethnic Tamil from the town of Ratmalana, south of Colombo, on the morning of Oct. 30 2009. He was said to have been throwing stones at trains and dancing by the road, semi-naked, in a threatening manner in Bambalapitiya, a suburb of the capital.
The police say that when they tried to arrest him, he threw stones at them and then ran into the sea. The policemen were joined by two civilians in threatening Sivakumar with large sticks; one of them hitting him. Sivakumar is seen begging the officers to let him come ashore, but after continued attacks he retreats into the water and shortly afterwards is seen floating lifelessly.
The footage, filmed by an off-duty cameraman who happened to be in a building on the coastline, also shows dozens of onlookers on the shore. On Nov. 1, after the video had been handed over to the local press, the three officers involved were arrested. The identification parade which would lead to their trial however has been repeatedly postponed, most recently after the death of one of the suspects on Jan. 1.
WARNING – YOU MAY FIND THESE IMAGES UPSETTING
This story became an embarrassment for the police”
X, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a member of Europe-based activists “Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka“. He says he spent 17 years working for Sinhalese publications before being exiled, along with dozens of others, for reporting “wrongly” on the war against the Tamils.
I don’t think the police, who, incidentally, were Sinhalese [80% of police officers
in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese] knew that Sivakumar was Tamil until he started shouting in the sea. At that point, they would have realised immediately – most Tamils have strong accent when speaking Sinhalese. We can’t say that they were particularly brutal because he was Tamil. However, there are some observations which I find concerning.
Around three months ago there was another case of police brutality; two men were shot at point blank range in Colombo. When those youths, who were Sinhalese, were attacked by the police, the surrounding public responded very differently. They tried to attack the police and protect the youths. When Sivakumar was attacked however, the public not only stood and watched, but also helped the police; two of them joining the officers in the sea, and according to local news reports, others fetching the sticks with which the officers threatened him.
Even the compensation was different. The families of the Sinhalese boys shot by police received one million rupees [€6,000], whereas Sivakumar’s family received only 100,000 rupees [€600].
You’d think that the police would have realised Sivakumar was mentally unstable. Seeing as he was trying to stop the traffic by dancing in his underwear, I find it unlikely that they perceived him sane.
It’s only because of the video evidence that this story became an embarrassment for the police. Before the video emerged the local press reported that ‘a person jumped into the sea in trying to escape the police and drowned’. It would have ended there, save for the video, which couldn’t be ignored. They are going to take their time in trying the policemen. One of them died of a heart attack at the beginning of January, leaving only two remaining.
At a preliminary hearing in December only one of the four or five eye witnesses called to bear witness said they believed the police were in the wrong. The others said that they would like to see them pardoned; that Sivakumar’s death was inevitable; that the police weren’t trying to hit him, but just scare him. I’m not optimistic. History proves that when it’s the police against Tamil civilians, the police usually win. I’m pretty sure they’ll get off scott free.
Unidentified gang of eight persons severely assaulted a Tamil journalist Lenin Raja, 28 in Wattala area in Colombo when he was returning home after duty at Vetri FM electronic media operating from Colombo Tuesday night around 11:00 p.m. Lenin Rajah rushed with the injuries to Wattala Police Station made a complaint in this regard.
Lenin Rajah was later admitted to the nearby government hospital, media sources said.
He was seriously injured in an attack on the Vetri FM station by an unidentified gang in July this year.
-[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 December 2010, 22:20 GMT]
The Government of Sri Lanka is alleged to have been involved in crippling the business activities of the Tamil traders in Jaffna peninsula to make way for the Sinhalese to capture it, Jaffna traders who have been subjected to harassment by officers from Criminal Investigation Department of Colombo Police.
A team of intelligence officers from Colombo was interrogating the traders in Jaffna during the first week of December at the office of the traders association in Jaffna alleging the traders of financial dealings with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the past.
The CID has thereafter summoned 20 leading traders to Colombo for further interrogations at the Fourth Floor of the CID headquarters, traders in Jaffna said.
The CID team before leaving to Colombo had also warned the Jaffna Traders’ Association that it would return to conduct another round of interrogation.
Already a leading Tamil businessman in Jaffna was taken to Colombo and was being detained there.
Officials of the Jaffna Traders Association expressed fear that the veiled threats and harassments by the CID were tactics aimed at making inroads for southern businessmen. After military subjugation and development subjugation, Colombo was now engaged in economic subjugation of the business elite of the Tamils in key cities of the Tamil homeland, the traders said.
The three SL government-sponsored pogroms of 1958, 1977 and 1983 were mainly aimed at crippling Tamil trade in the south, especially in Colombo.