War-affected Women Development Society leader threatened in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 August 2015, 23:43 GMT]
47-year-old Thavapalan Piriayatharsini, who is the head of Women Development Society at Theaththaa-vaadi, a village situated near Iluppaik-kadavai in Maanthai West division of Mannnaar district, says she and her three daughters have been subjected to death threats by an unknown squad. The family has been subjected to death threats since 11 August. A group of unknown men, who came in a white van entered her house that day and warned ‘rape and death’ if she continued to give social leadership to the villagers. They were particularly angry about Piriyatharsini making demands from political parties. The threatening presence of a white van squad is still continuing, she told TamilNet on Thursday.

Ms Piriyatharsini is a survivor of the 2009 genocidal onslaught on Vanni.

Her husband, Balasubramaniyam Thavabalan, was a press worker at the Eezhanaatham daily in LTTE administered Jaffna before the mass exodus of Tamils from the peninsula to Vanni in 1995. The Sri Lankan military arrested him in 1999 during the military operation named Rana Gosha. Since then, there was no news of the whereabouts of her husband.

During the final stages of the war in Vanni, her two sons recruited to fight against the advancing SL military had sacrificed their lives. One of her daughters, wounded in the shelling, has become disabled. Her family is dependent on agriculture in the resettled village. It is under these circumstances, Piriyatharsini, a former law student, who also has experience from NGO work in Vanni, came forward to give leadership to the resettled villagers of Theaththaa-vaadi.

Piriyatharsini and her villagers, comprising around 23 families and 100 voters, have been demanding the political parties coming to the village seeking votes to prove their credibility by helping them to drill a bore well as the resettled families have been struggling to access potable water.

The politicians, including those belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), who come to the village seeking votes during the times of the elections, forget their promises after the elections, the villagers under the leadership of Piriyatharsini were firm in passing their message. Their were firm in telling the politicians to prove their credibility by digging a borewell.

Priyatharsini, her family and the villagers in Theaththaa-vaadi, who were once part of the de-facto Tamil administration with a noble cause and sacrifices are now reduced to the level of fighting for a borewell from the parties locked in the race for SL elections.

TamilNet releases a video clip of Piriyatharsini, recorded before she was subjected to death threat by the unknown squad. In the interview, she describes the pathetic state of affairs in the village.

“The resettled families have no access to potable water. The only tank to channel water to their paddy fields is still in damaged state and their agriculture is dependent on seasonal rains. The village is also exploited as it is subjected to sand scooping. The village is not receiving anything from the income generated through sand scooping. There are 20 school going children in the village. The school is located 6 km away from the village. They have to take bus to the school. But, even the bus ignores to pick them up some times. Only 8 of 23 families have managed to get electrify supply so far. The villagers have no protection against the assaults by the wild elephants and leopards. The entire village has become dependent on daily wage work to sustain the livelihood. At the occasion of every election, politicians come to us. They receive our votes giving false promises to us. This time, we are firm in telling them that we would vote only for those who come forward to dig the much-needed borewell,” she told TamilNet before she was subjected to death threat.


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