Arrested student leader said being tortured

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 July 2001, 02:06 GMT]
(News Feature) Krishnasamy Thivyan, the former secretary of the Jaffna University Students Union who was arrested by the Sri Lanka Army has been tortured in military custody, fellow students said Wednesday. In a statement published in Jaffna's Tamil Daily, the Uthayan, the students also said that Thivyan, who is being held by the SLA at its Kankesanthurai, had survived earlier attempts on his life by the security forces.

"It is now known that [Thivyan] had told journalists he trusted that he had been targeted by the army's 'pistol group' twice while on his way home," the Students Union said.

"It was the same personnel from the government forces who had tried to kill or arrest him that finally did detain him in the Inuvil area while Thivyan was making his way back home after visiting a relative."

"He was first badly assaulted on the spot and then taken to the camp and put under detention. Our representatives who visited the Kankesanthurai base noted that Thivyan had been subjected to torture and that he was unable to lift his arms to remove the shirt he was wearing."

"The government forces, in attempt to justify his arrest and to tarnish the work done by our university community, have been spreading false rumours that he was armed when arrested."

"The government forces have claimed to have recovered a vehicle from Thivyan as well as a photocopier, generator, computer and printer. The truth is that these were confiscated by the army from a telecommunications firm run by a local man after he was tipped off to the army as a Tamil Tiger by a malicious individual. The army has twisted the facts to frame Thivyan."

Other extracts from the Students' Union statement include:

"At a time when our people are being systematically destroyed and being decimated in a war on a monstrous scale that was sown by chauvinists, we are not without self dignity that we keep silent and get on with our individual lives."

"The Tamil people have always fought by peaceful means against the these kinds of violations of human rights and attempts to completely destroy their dignified and distinct race. Such people, who spoke up against atrocities, have been branded as [Tamil] Tigers and tortured and killed. Many others are shedding tears in jails."

"Though such bitter memories litter our recent past, the Jaffna University society wishes to explain to our beloved people our reasons for today's stance against breaches of human rights."

"There were days when the [Jaffna] peninsula was not in the control of the Sri Lanka army ­ a time when the people, victims of the cruel economic embargo and military assaults, were leading difficult lives. Yet, there was no shortage in the freedom and security we enjoyed, both for our lives and the sanctity of our sisters."

"It was at this time the eyes of the Army turned towards the peninsula. The Tamil people, already wounded by the government's actions were shocked by the invasion unleashed on them. At a time when many people in the country went without a daily meal, the Sri Lankan government spent several million rupees to bomb Tamil homes."

"This atrocity was conducted under the guise of bringing peace and tranquillity to the Tamil people. Many people, distraught by the assault, were deceived by the government's claims and moved back to their homes, and into the virtual cage which the enemy formed."

"Our people were compelled to live under the control of the government that had terrorised them. After a batch of civilians had settled back in Jaffna, more than 600 youth were arrested from various locations, tortured and buried, sometimes dead sometimes alive, in the mass graves at Chemmani."

"Young Tamil women were assaulted and raped by sex-craved beasts. The rapes have continued from the time of Krishanthy Kumarasamy's case, right up to today in the horror that took place at Allarai. The number of stories of those who were arrested, with age no barrier, and subsequently disappeared into thin air is in the thousands."

"No self-respecting, humane Tamil can be patient while our race is being subjected to destruction on a monstrous scale. The chauvinists demand that the responsible students of the university turn a blind eye to the evils unleashed on their people."

"The Sri Lankan government wished to turn the peninsula into a dark prison by issuing death threats against the responsible actions of the students and by branding them Tigers."

"Even in this difficult situation the university community continues to protest against the breaches of human rights unleashed on our people. It is well known that many students involved in such activities have been warned and some refused security clearance to travel outside the Jaffna peninsula."

"Thivyan, currently under arrest, played an important and fearless role in the university community's job of bringing to light the arrests, murders, torture and rapes unleashed against the Tamil people by the Sri Lanka government."

"He was a leading activist in events organised by the university community to rescue civilians trapped in Palai, and protests at the killing of Kumar Ponnambalam, the killing of journalist Nimalrajan, the murder of the Jaffna Hindu College student Sanjeevan and the massacre of innocent Tamil youth at the Bindunuwewa camp."

"The government forces, irritated and angered by his activities, threatened and even attempted to kill him on several occasions."

"The university was closed by the students since last Wednesday demanding the freedom of our fellow student who gave his voice to the suffering of our people and is in jail as a result."

"The education ministry had today once again 'closed' it. The vice-chancellor has said that the university will be allowed to function again if we stop our strike."

"The Jaffna University Students Unions is an organisation that has spoken up in defence of human rights of the Tamil people and in its limited capacity, protected their welfare. That we should retreat from the strike action in support of a student who gave his voice for human rights is an impossibility."

"We do not wish to abandon our fight and put in jeopardy the lives of our beloved people of the Jaffna peninsula, the lives of the youth, the dignity of women and the overall status of the Tamil people."

"Therefore, if they wish to live freely and peacefully, the community of Jaffna should join us. We appeal for support by continual strike of schools and offices."

"If we fail to do so, we will revert to the desperate situation where not only Thivyan, but thousands of other youth are tortured and killed. Then lamenting the lost lives of loved ones and the lost dignities of our womenfolk will be fruitless."


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