New secret unit among four SL military and police squads competing to arrest Tamil youth in North

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 July 2020, 13:22 GMT]
Four SL military and police squads, including a new secret unit led by a Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) based in Colombo, have been detaining Tamils under the allegation of attempting to regroup armed struggle. Apart from the notorious ‘Terrorist Investigation Division,’ based in Colombo, the new unit led by another DIG is also operating from Colombo with field trips to all the five districts of North, informed sources in Jaffna said. Four different “networks” of Tamil youth have been detained in Magazine New Remand Prison in Colombo in the recent months, the sources further said. In the meantime, Coordinator of SL Human Rights Commission in Jaffna, Thangavel Kanagaraj, has admitted that his office had received an increased number of complaints in June. At least one of those detained were below the age of 18.

The families of thirteen of sixteen reported cases of arrest have filed complaints with the SL Human Rights Commission, according to Mr Kanagaraj.

The figures do not include those released after a few days of detention within the period concerned, o1 January to 30 June 2020.

One of those detained is a 17-year-old boy who had gone to a cashew farm in Poonakari. The curious youth had collected some empty bullet casings, and he was arrested on the allegation of attempting to regroup the LTTE. He must have been at least 6-years-old during the genocidal war in 2009, a rights activist in Ki'linochchi commented.

Thirteen complaints were registered in June and four between January and May to the Jaffna office of the SL Human Rights Commission, which addresses the issues in Jaffna and Ki'linochchi districts.

But, there were also arrests in Mullaiththeevu and other districts, according to rights activists in Vanni.

One of the four squads has detained 25-year-old Navaratnam Nilakshan, who was involved in the peaceful protest for land release at Keappaa-pulavu. The arrest took place Tuesday night. He was only 14-year-old in 2009.

The military and police squads have stepped up the arrests, and the units seem to be competing with each other in detaining Tamils, the activists said.

Out of the 22 arrested persons since January 2020, one was from Jaffna and 13 from Ki'linochchi. Eight persons belong to the other three districts in Vanni, the sources said.


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