A father, mother and two of their three children were mercilessly attacked by police who went to inquire about a Muslim man’s land lease and the dispute arising with a Tamil man named Vasanthakumar over that. The two children, Vasanthakumar Kirubaharan aged 16 years and Vasanthakumar Kiriya aged 13 years have been admitted to the Mankulam hospital this evening (9 Sept.).
The mother, Vasanthakumar Sharmila, stated that “the land in Kanakarayankulam where the Dhas hotel stands belongs to us. And of the two acres we gave only an acre on lease for two years in 2010 to a Muslim man. The lease has been renewed again and came to an end in August 2017. Even though we have given in writing for lessee to leave the place he is running a shop there against the law and is supported by the police.”
Continuing, she told this reporter, “We have complained many times to the Kanakarayankulam police but to no avail. In this situation, we started planting coconut trees in the remaining one acre for our livelihood. This morning while we were watering the trees the shop owner deliberately came to fight with us. The police came, had a look and went away but did not tell us anything. Then this evening, with the police hiding in the shop, the shop owner called us to come out. When my husband went there the Officer-in-Charge of the Kanakarayankulam Police severely attacked him. When I saw that, I ran to the place to help my husband. But the OIC attacked me too severely in spite of my being a woman, and also pulled my dress till the two sides tore. I was standing thus in the middle of the road. When my 16 year-old son saw that, he tugged me away from the OIC and shouted ‘Let my mother go.’ Upon this the OIC twisted his neck so hard. That he was badly injured and had to be admitted to the hospital with a swollen neck.”
Amid tears streaming down her face, she went on, “At the same time the OIC punched my thirteen year old daughter hard in the stomach without any mercy. She is badly hurt and she too has been hospitalized. We have been threatened saying that my husband was once a member of the militancy. Unlike the shop owner, we have no money to heavily bribe the police with.”.
Five separate witnesses confirmed that it was the OIC who perpetrated the assault.
A resident interviewed for this story said, “The police can be bought. Kanakarayankulam is just North of Puliyankulam. The state is trying to settle the place with Sinhalese. The Police are the driving force against Tamils. The Omanthai Police Station is now called Omantha Police Station. Every police station in a Tamil place named after a Kulam (pond) is now the Police Station of such and such Kulama. The state’s colonization project is going on at full speed even under our new government. Even Jaffna has not been spared. Kantharodai has been successfully renamed Kadurugoda.”
A Jaffna-based academic asked “How can such a police force offer us protection?” He continued, “I expected a lot more after the Police Commission was established. But the Commission is quite public in saying they cannot rein in the IGP. The IGP himself has been videoed assaulting a staff member for not attending a religious service he had arranged. The Police Commission did nothing. I venture that they are powerless to save this Kanakarayankulam family.”
Added another person in Jaffna who has worked for reconciliation, “We are all supposed to talk peace. However, I get the feeling that doing that just buys time for these rogues to do more of their dirty work without being restrained. For example, when our TNA talks peace, it is unable to raise the heinous crime of renaming Kantharodai as Kadurugoda. I say heinous because uprooting us from our culture, destroying our culture, is one dimension of Genocide. Isn’t it so? Here we have the sad, even terrorizing spectacle of the police trying to make a Tamil family lose its land and move out to depopulate the place of Tamils. I challenge the Police Commission to make real peace by acting decisively against this OIC. It is then that Tamils can be expected to talk peace.” (Reporting by N. Logathayalan from Jaffna)