Youths continue to face STF threats
[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 June 2002, 18:06 GMT]
The four Tamil youths from Karaithivu whose arrest and vicious assault by the Special Task Force last Wednesday drew criticism from ceasefire monitors are said to have received new threats from the police commandos. Fresh complaints in this regard have been lodged with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Ampara, officials said.
According to the complaints, STF troopers made several visits to the home of Paramalingam Raguthevan (26), one of the four youths, and threatened him.
The youth is in constant fear of the STF and the threats have been reported to the SLMM leader for Ampara, Commander Erkii Platan, said Mr. R. Shanmuganathan, the LTTE’s representative to the SLMM.
Mr. Raguthevan is said to own a video rental store in Karaithivu. It has been a regular habit of the STF to visit the store, borrow copies of videos and use the telephone facilities, and then leave without paying their bills. Once the ceasefire agreement came into force, the youth had started to insist that the STF members pay their bills, and in retaliation, the STF continues to harass and intimidate the youth, Mr. Shanmuganathan said.
Mr. Shanmuganathan has also received death threats from suspected members of the security forces after the SLMM intervened to obtain the release of the youth last week. A friend of . Shanmuganathan also received death threats.
Last Wednesday the four youths, who were going to catch sea crabs on the Karaithivu beach, were accosted in the village by a group of STFcommandos who had demanded to check their national identity cards and had then assaulted them. Apart from Raguthevan, the other youths were Sivapathasundaram Ravishankar (18), Ratnasingam Govindaraj (21) and Sivarajah Yogaraj (21).
"A section of the State armed forces are trying their best to create a fear psychosis among the Tamils in the east with the sole intention of sabotaging the present peace process," Mr. Shanmuganthan told reporters last week.
The harassment and intimidation of the public in the region has markedly increased since the arrival in April of the new Officer-in-Charge of the STF camp in Karaithivu, Mr. Fernando, sources said.