17 October, 2018

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Do We Need Police Who Instigate Violence In Jaffna?

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

7:00 pm, 3 June 2018, Jaffna

I am at home quite flustered. About 45 minutes ago, there was a huge bang on our metallic fence and the sound of a disturbance. I went out to see what was going on. 

Pipes are being laid down our road, Chemmany Road. There are mixed feelings in the community as the pipes need to go through our compounds. Engineer Barathithasan of the Water Board spoke to me and I persuaded some doubtful neighbours that it was for the good of us all. Apparently, because MP Sritharan of Kilinochchi does not want water there to be diverted to Jaffna, we will get expensive desalinated water  from Thavadi. We were assured that the ADB would bear the cost for 7 years and even after that we would be charged the same per unit rate as everyone else in Sri Lanka. We agreed to the pipe-laying through our yards. 

 The work was begun. The pipelines came closer and tonight it was to pass through our compound. Then the bang.

Two JCB machines capable of a multiplicity of tasks like digging and carrying were at work. The entire crew was Sinhalese speaking and though courteous, could not communicate with us over things like whether we needed to take our van out as they planned to dig in front of our gate tonight.

It was a recipe for disaster. A tractor passing by was blocked by the JCB as it backed out to unload something. In the mind of the young men on the tractor, the JCB took too long to clear their way and it was Sinhalese thuggery. They returned within 5 minutes with a gang of ten or more men armed with poles – probably the people seen drinking at Kittu Park beginning early evening every day from the Jamunari area. Two female witnesses say they saw swords being carried by the men at the back.

A fight ensued. The tractor number plate was wrapped in cloth. They were totally drunk or under the influence of some drug. All were under 30, perhaps well under thirty. They smashed up the glass panes of both JCBs. The other was reversing on Chemmany Road towards Chemmany trying to hit the gang with the digging part that was swinging up and down as the machine reversed. The Sinhalese crew was sheltering behind this JCB as rocks were thrown at it and blows dealt to it with poles. 

Our Vicar, The Rev. Fr. Steven Jebachelvan and Wardens were at a meeting.  They came out. Father had already called the police. Suhanthan a former warden had his phone in his hand. I also had come out with mine. Thy swung a thick poleat Father, missed and then whacked Suhanthan on his arm. My wife was in a panic and pulled at me to get back inside, thereby spoiling my photos.

The rowdies went away and I too called the police. Line 119 was busy. On previous occasions, I had called them over regular accidents at our bend without result. I called again. The man was not sure if I was in the Jaffna Police area. He had not heard of Chemmany Road. I have previously complained about this to the SSP. As I told the SSP, there was a seemingly dead or drunk man on the middle of  Kachcheri Nallur Road late at night one day. I kept calling 119 for a good ten minutes without being answered. I drove away fearing it might be a trick to rob me. .  Nothing had changed. When I finally got through, I emphasized the importance of their coming quickly. They hung up on me.

Project Site Safety Officer Warakaula came by on his motorbike and called the police. He spoke in Sinhalese and got a good reception. It was a shock to hear the policeman at the other end telling him that they should have smashed them up since Warakaula had enough men. Warakaula, a decent chap, replied that it would create a communal issue but the policeman kept advising him on the wisdom of smashing up those who dared attack them. Father Jebachelvam also overheard this conversation with great clarity, his Sinhalese being good.

This really is the problem. The government is clumsy. It tries to give us water and then spoils it all by sending decent Sinhalese workers who cannot communicate with us. It passes rules on Tamil as the official language here, but the police cannot communicate with those whom they are here to protect. It makes an alliance with the TNA and then humiliates Mr. Sampanthan when it fails to deliver the promises made to him. I fear that just as Mr. A. Amirthalingam took risks based on promises by J.R. Jayawardene who cheated him and thereby undid Mr. Amirthalingam’s standing among Tamils who failed to understand, Mr. Sampanthan too is facing the same serious risk of being taken for a ride for nothing and losing his standing. 

I hunted out a Tamil policeman and told him what I overheard. He was embarrassed and wanted to hear no more. “Go to the police station and make a complaint,” he said. “But I have already told you,” I told him. I suspect that if he had communicated that which I had asked him to report about Warakaula’s conversation, he would have been in trouble. “I am from another station,” he told me rather weakly and moved away.

Suhanthan and a Water Board worker were taken to hospital. Suhanthan has been discharged but the worker is warded.

Now, 8:30 pm, the intelligence services are here. They have spoken to Fr. Jebachelvan. He is highly worried. Will the police trouble the entire neighbourhood tomorrow? Will the gang come back to attack us for speaking to the police? “Stay indoors,” he advised me.

People like Father Jebachelvan, my wife and our domestic aid are in a panic. Do we need this kind of police? I suggest that the government make the police all Tamil in the North-East, armed with nothing more than batons. The excuse that Tamils do not apply to join the police is just that, an excuse. When Tamil recruitment is mainly of constables, such recruits will be like the constable who was embarrassed to hear my complaint about what the 119 operator advised Mr. Warakaula – a mere showcase puppet.

Recruit Tamils to the upper echelons of the police. If you think they will work for separation – a canard on Tamils – use the Army to keep us in check, but confine the army to barracks with minimum presence outside – occupying no more land than is needed.

In the meantime, I need to face tomorrow with the land in front of our gates being burrowed for the pipes instead of having finished the job tonight as planned.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    A DISGUSTING drama in Jaffna that which is comparable to the “Drama” in Kandy. In Kandy a lorry driver did not allow a Three Wheeler to overtake and the lorry driver a “Sinhalese” while the Three Wheeler occupants were “Muslims”. So that was the “Recipe for Disaster” in Kandy. Now in Jaffna, the story as told by Dear Prof Hoole : ” A Tractor passing by was blocked by the JCB as it backed to unload something. In the mind of the young men on the tractor, the JCB took too long to clear and it was Sinhalese thuggery.” Please note: “JCB was operated by Sinhalese” while the “Tractor was operated by young men”; but our Prof. did not mention they were Tamils. However, with the narrative ” In the mind of the young on the tractor……it was Sinhalese thuggery” it is reasonable to surmise that tractor was occupied by Tamil youth. Here the “Recipe for Disaster” was the delay taken by the Sinhalese JCB operators to clear the road for the tractor to move. What do the two incidents tell us? It is nothing but the HARVEST of the “SEEDS OF HATRED” sown by the power hungry “Leaders” of all shades of politics, religions, civil society organizations etc. Do these “Leaders” accept that “responsibility”? NO. Instead they CONTINUE not only to SOW THE SEED but in all vigor and enthusiasm MANURE it to REAP the HARVEST; nothing but POWER. At this rate do we or will we have any hope of a peaceful life ? Our Dear Prof. too has missed that important MISSION ; but taken lot of pain to direct an attack on the Law Enforcement. In a way, with some “Luck” the Law Enforcement did not arrive there in time, as otherwise, it would have turned out to be a “WAR” in waiting. Dear Prof. – Please see in whose hands the “DAGGER of HATRED” has been left to wield its power.

    • 3
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      This Ratnajeevan hoole was prepared to spread his hole to pottu anna to get selected as jaffna uni VC. Thalaivar knew the fraud better and kick his dirty ass out of Tamil Eelam. Now Thalaivar is no more, old fart is writing filth about Eelam Tamils in Jaffna.

      • 2
        2

        Indians are telling never ever trust TAMILS and Indian Proverb also “If you see TAMIL and COBRA, kill TAMIL first and Sri Lankans are telling “don’t trust TAMIL in front of the mirror, TAMIL who going to born and TAMIL who dead. Tamils in JAFFNA do not allow low cast TAMILS to enter to the Hindu Kovil and they are even not allowed to take water from High Cast TAMILS wells also. PEELAM FOR LOW CAST AND ELAM FOR HIGH CAST. Tamil leader R. Sambandan is a TERRORISTS ORIENTED MAN, even his name also well suitable for him. “RAA-JA-VIRODHI” Sambandan. He always telling NATIONAL PROBLEM. Sri Lanka never ever having NATIONAL PROBLEM, we had Terrorists Problem. Sri Lanka ex-government completely wiped out LTTE terrorists and completely destroyed LTTE leadership also. People are happy now, they can move to any part of the Island. We all know Sri Lanka’s wealth robbed by TAMILS, this is well-known secret also. Live and let live same as Malaysian Tamils, Singapore Tamils, Canadian Tamils, France Tamils and Australian Tamils.

  • 3
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    Moral of the story : Desalianated water is going to be more expensive than originally estimated.
    Soma

    • 1
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      somass

      “Moral of the story : Desalianated water is going to be more expensive than originally estimated.”

      If that is the case let us import free water from the moon.
      Dr Gota is the only person who could do it.

  • 2
    2

    Dr. Hoole
    “It makes an alliance with the TNA and then humiliates Mr. Sampanthan when it fails to deliver the promises made to him.”
    Who promised what with what authority and whose consent?
    We the majority of the country are unaware of any such thing.
    Is it too much to ask for a bit of further elaboration?
    Soma

    • 4
      1

      Many of us in Jaffna sensed that this project of water for Jaffna is going to be a tragi-comedy. The Water Board folk, I understand, are not interested in water conservation to make optimal use of our rain water with which we have managed for centuries. In the 1980s the population of the peninsula was significantly greater and there was no talk of water from Iranamadu or desalinated water. Organisations like Ootru were involved in rehabilitating ponds and advocating other means of conserving water. Jaffna is by no stretch of the imagination a desert.
      The problem is that we have a new generation of professionals and politicians who are interested in projects only when huge loans are on offer, which come with vehicles, trips and commissions.
      We are in a national and global culture that thrives on White Elephant projects that leave huge debts and environmental disaster in their wake. The ground will be dug and messed up to lay pipes, and after a few years the water will cease to flow. The cost of desalinated water will be too high for the general public to bear. Most of us will stick to our wells, until more environmental outrages make them unusable. Forget our politicians and professionals. They will make their money and move away to greener pastures.

    • 1
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      somass

      You have been behaving like a teenager almost since you started typing in this forum therefore I have decided treat you like one.
      I think I should avoid a few things in order to keep you calm and rational for example I want to stop our fellow commentators arguing with you, being angry with you, being defensive, lecturing you, nagging you, being sarcastic to you, …………..

      • 0
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        NV
        I know simple questions are the most difficult. They suspect that I can see through their goat skin. You have this knack for taking any subject completely off the track so that you never have to confront them.
        Soma

        • 1
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          somass

          All what I do is encourage people to look deep into themselves, get a global idea of issues, …. expose their statement and restatement of their versions of selective history, events, their racist ideology, morality, ………………a parochially constructed believe system, …………….reminding them of their hypocrisy, I also want to stop them hitting the bottom, ……………….. along with fellow good people salvage Buddhism from Sinhala/Buddhism (whatever that maybe) ………….liberate Buddhists from Sinhala/Buddhists and their fascist vanguards.

  • 1
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    No we don’t need police to initiate violence in the North. All we need are some Tamil Tigers to create mayhem in the South.

  • 2
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    Poo K. Nool

    This avatar belongs to Percy the pathetic the great brain dead.
    How dare you use it ?

    I vehemently protest against your deception and am sure my fellow liberal commentators will join me in condemning you.

    You are an identity fraud.

    • 1
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      Stupid Tamil Vedda
      Your objections are overruled. OK? Any further protests, and I will have to order you to the corner of your cage, look at the wall and abuse yourself!

  • 0
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    Dera Sir
    I read your title of the script asks two or more questions….Do we need police? Who investigates violence in Jaffna?
    Then the incident itself…. “the team of workers were attacked by a bunch of thugs on a tractor calling them names “Sinhalese” because they were annoyed with the JCB not giving way within a reasonable time”. The bunch of thugs were drunk and came back well prepared to cause harm. Following your call to the Police no response however the workers team leader had a response from the police tell him why were they unable to defend themselves or rather beat up the thugs etc? correct. Thugs attacked and the workers were hurt and in hospital too.
    Then I read the issues you raised – Lack of Tamil policemen, workers not able to communicate in Tamil, Police do not speak Tamil nor respond to anything in Jaffna with regard to crime solving and protecting civilians etc, some Tamil police officers are appointed as constables but for show only, army could keep an eye on the system while more Tamil officers at higher level can be available to do the job more effectively delivering the much needed service people need, the Tamil leaders being let down by the government, Desalinated water, cost of the project and the fact another province Killinochi will not allow their water to be piped to Jaffan etc.
    All I can say is we were million times better off pre 1977 elections and need to look at what we need to do differently to remove this “unfortunate situation” for now and for a brighter future? I would even say all is the outcome of the “self imposed situation” by the NPC and the GOSL response currently or you thing more to this than the eye can see?

  • 3
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    Jeevan,

    Excellent conclusive summary — “In the meantime, I need to face tomorrow with the land in front of our gates being burrowed for the pipes instead of having finished the job tonight as planned.”

    Oh – poor you! Cannot take your van out for one day, and your life is now on shambles. We all share your pain!! Tch… tch…

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