2ND LEAD (Update, adds video)

Protests gain momentum as hunger-striking political prisoners’ health deteriorates

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 October 2017, 22:09 GMT]
Three Tamil political prisoners waging fast-unto-death in Anuradhapura prison were admitted to the public hospital in Anuradhapura on Sunday as their health deteriorated at the prison hospital. Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senthirajah, who went to meet the prisoners at Anuradhapura, received flak as parliamentarians representing his party have been collaborating with the unitary State of genocidal Sri Lanka. One of the protesters, 30-year-old Sulaxan Mathiyarasan, was transferred back to prison after treatment. Protests were staged at several places in Jaffna peninsula and in the Vanni mainland in support of Tamil political prisoners who are on a fast unto death opposing their cases being transferred away from Vavuniyaa High Court.

“Out of 67 witnesses prepared against my brother, all the 64 are SL military. Only three are former liberation fighters. If there is a security issue for any of them to appear in the court of Vavuniyaa, what about us, who have to go to the Sinhala area in Anuradhapura,” asked Krishanthy Mathiyarasan, the sister of Sulaxan in an interview to TamilNet. Ms Krishanthy, one of the three sisters of Sulaxan, said her father had passed away in 2015 after struggling to get his son released for several years as his case was postponed every month.

Krishanthy, a student at the University of Jaffna, urged media to highlight the issue and bring global pressure on the SL State for the release of her brother as well as all of the Tamil Prisoners of War.

Jaffna University Student Union, Non-Academic staff, Community based organisations in Jaffna, trade union groups and religious organisations and political parties such as the Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF), Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and New Democratic Marixist-Leninist Party (NDMLP) took part in a protest which was staged in front of Jaffna bus stand on Monday morning.

The mobilisation in Jaffna was coordinated by the National Movement for Political Prisoners, which is led by veteran human rights activist Fr M Sakthivel. The protesters marched along the Hospital Road after rallying in front of the bus stand. The traffic stood at standstill during the march.

Meanwhile, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Sivasakthi Anandan led the protest in front of Vavuniyaa bus stand.

SL President Maithiripala Sirisena had earlier given assurances to TNA Parliamentarian Sivasakthi Anandan that the case of Sulaxan Mathiyarasan would not be transferred away from Vavuniyaa. But, SL Attorney General's Department proceeded with its plan of transferring the cases. This has raised serious questions on the integrity of Mr Sirisena, Mr Sivasakthi Anandan said.

The families of Tamils subjected to enforced disappearances, who are engaged in continuous protests, also took to the street on Monday in support of the Tamil prisoners of war.

Genocidal Sri Lanka that talks of ‘good governance’ and ‘reconciliation’ and the so-called International Community promoting Colombo-centric paradigm have not even prepared to recognise the status of the Tamil POWs as political prisoners.

The SL State categorises the Tamil POWs as ‘Terrorists’ under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations while UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Prince Zeid, alleged of serving the interests of the same agenda-setters, has gone on record insulting the Tamil POWs as ‘security detainees’.

Meanwhile, ITAK Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, who has been deployed by the agenda setters to hijack the Tamil polity, was telling Tamils through media that the SL Attorney General's Department was not prepared to change its position. The case would not be heard at Vavuniyaa as there were concerns of security of the witnesses, the SL AG Department was arguing.

Tamil political prisoners who confronted ITAK Leader Mr Senathiraja also blamed the party for its quisling politics, the families of the protesting prisoners said.



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