28 October, 2020

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Midnight Terror For Ananthi

By Dharisha Bastians

Dharisha Bastians

Historic elections in the Northern Province took a vicious turn 24 hours after campaigning ended, when the Jaffna home of the Tamil National Alliance candidate Ananthi Sasitharan was besieged and her supporters and a local election monitor assaulted early last morning.

Sasithran had noticed uniformed personnel outside her home out of her window and made several phone calls in quick succession. The first was to Police Emergency, 119 who she says told her they do not respond to such political calls. She then informed TNA MPs Marvai Senathirajah and Saravana Bhavan and also immediately informed the election monitors. The assailants had been looking for her, says Sasitharan and shouted threats from outside the house. “They slashed the tyres of my vehicle and then they moved out,” she recalls, back at her residence by mid morning yesterday.

Twin attacks on Sasitharan’s Chullipuram residence occurred at least 15 minutes apart, with the lapse between the two raids giving her supporters time to remove the candidate and her three daughters to safety. At least eight of Ananthi’s supporters were injured in the attacks. In an ironic twist, a PAFFREL polls monitor was also caught in the midnight violence that all the victims claim were perpetrated by men in military uniform men carrying assault weapons and heavy poles.

Kanakaratnam Sugash, lawyer for the Peoples’ Alliance for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), a local polls monitoring group, says he hopped on his motorbike shortly after midnight and rushed to Chullipuram, off Vaddukoddai to check on a complaint of violence he had received.  The complaint said 50 military personnel had surrounded a TNA candidate’s home. As he approached her residence, Sugash claims he noticed four Indian manufactured Mahendra jeeps speeding away from the house. Once inside the residence, the election monitor spoke with supporters of the candidate and asked for particulars. But what had started off as a routine monitoring job ended in nightmarish scenes when a second group of uniformed assailants surrounded the candidate’s home 15 minutes after the PAFFREL monitor had arrived.

Fifteen to 20 uniformed personnel entered the house, according to the PAFFREL monitor. Moments later, they were attacking Sasitharan’s supporters, Sugash says. “I knew there would be trouble the moment they surrounded the house, but the boys inside begged me not to leave them, they thought I would be some kind of protection against greater violence,” he tells Daily FT, seated at the Accident Ward of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital yesterday. He had not been spared either.

“I kept showing them my lawyer’s ID and my PAFFREL ID – they took no notice,” says the lawyer.

“So you want to create Tamil Eelam, so you want to rule the Northern Province?” the assailants allegedly shouted brandishing large poles. Sugash says he and several other young boys were asked to kneel and place their hands behind their backs and assaulted. “My sole intention at that time was to protect my head. So I never saw if they were hitting us with poles or the butts of their rifles,” the PAFFREL Monitor said.

Sugash says the assailants told him they were “dangerous fellows” who would kill him if he reported the incident.

“They told me not to leave the house for four days and slashed the tires of my motorbike as they left the scene,” says the PAFFREL official. He says the assailants spoke ‘pochchai’ or broken Tamil.

Most injuries from the attack have been relatively minor with a few exceptions.

One Sasitharan campaign worker who was injured said some of the assailants were wearing military uniforms over collared shirts, which he said seemed odd. Ananthi Sasitharan confirms this story, saying she recognised at least three EPDP supporters in the crowd that had surrounded her home. “They wore their uniforms over shirts,” she explains.

The presence of international election observers and a good part of the global media in the Northern Province to cover today’s key poll, made the deployment of large numbers of troops to attack the home of a Government dissident almost incredulous. Suspicion has also fallen on the TNA’s main rival in the race for the Northern Council, the Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Party that is contesting on the UPFA ticket.

Sugash who is still receiving treatment for his injuries which he says are mostly internal from the use of sticks, says PAFFREL recorded 25 reports of violence by security forces personnel on Thursday (19). “We confirmed 12 of those incidents,” he said. Another election monitoring group, the independent Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said they had been prevented from rushing to Sasitharan’s home when they heard reports of the attack by the army. “Even before the CaFFE observers reached the site of the incident, the military presence in uniforms was highly visible throughout the area.  The military deployed in numbers just as the incident took place in uniforms The soldiers also blocked the independent election monitors from reaching the area” CaFFE National Coordinator Ahamad Manas  who was in Jaffna yesterday said.

The EPDP Vadukoddai office is not far from Sasitharan’s residence but the party’s Chief Ministerial Candidate S. Thavarajah has vehemently denied his party’s involvement.

Speaking to Daily FT, Thavarajah says he has repeatedly requested candidates contesting under his party to refrain from resorting to violent activity. “They have adhered to that – and I categorically deny any violence with regard to this election campaign by the EPDP,” he charged.

Baseless allegations: Army

The Sri Lanka Army yesterday dismissed as baseless the allegations made by the TNA and some polls monitors that the Security Forces were involved in an attack on Ananthi Sasitharan’s home.  “This is a baseless allegation.  The Security Forces have no involvement in this election related violent act,” Military Spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said in a statement.  Brigadier Wanigasooriya said the Army does not condone such violence. “We regret that such preconceived allegations are made tarnishing the good image of the Security Forces that have contributed immensely to uplift the living standard of the war affected population while maintaining peace and stability in the region,” he said.

The PAFFREL Lawyer’s own statement was contradictory, Thavarajah said, since he claims he received a call about the army surrounding the house and then there was no one when he arrived at the residence. “He also claims the assailants spoke broken Tamil – a clear indication that there were no Tamil speaking people in that group,” the EPDP Chief Ministerial hopeful said. Asked who he believes perpetrated the assault, Thavarajah responds – “I am no investigator – I cannot answer that question.”

But TNA National List Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran who is in Jaffna for today’s election told Daily FT that the party was convinced the attack was perpetrated by the EPDP in collusion with security forces, a charge strongly denied as baseless by the military.

The TNA’s Chief Ministerial candidate Justice C.V. Wigneswaran also expressed similar views, explaining that Sasitharan’s background as the wife of a former LTTE member seemed to be irking the military.

Ananthi Sasitharan, the 42 year old wife of former LTTE Political Wing Leader for Trincomalee, Elilan, is the only female candidate contesting on the TNA ticket. A vocal campaigner for families of the disappeared after she claims her own husband has been missing since his surrender in 2009, Sasitharan is a high profile candidate in today’s crucial provincial election and a firm favourite with female Tamil voters. Yesterday was not the first attack against her, Sasitharan says, her vehicle was attacked one night during the campaign.

“Her position has been simple throughout this campaign. At every rally she tells the people who she is, how she surrendered her husband to the military herself and how she has heard nothing of him since,” says the former Supreme Court Judge who is taking a breather at a Jaffna Guest house on the eve of the election, following weeks of campaigning. Wigneswaran says Sasitharan believes she has done everything in her power to locate her husband and sees the political arena as her only hope for justice. “As she was fighting for her husband, she realised that there were so many other women like her who are also missing loved ones and she is attempting to have their voices heard,” he explains. “I can’t understand why they keep going after her this way,” he says.

Dharisha Bastians in Jaffna, Courtesy Daily FT

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Denial ! Denial !! Denial !!!
    By the Government, Ministers, Police and Armed Forces

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      This is harassment of (minority) women in politics and the women’s groups must take up this matter internationally and regionally in South Asia.
      There are very few women in governance in Sri Lanka because they are systematically targeted.
      The attack was clearly sanctioned by the military and carried out with the EPDP rar-military groups and Gota the white van goon has command responsibility and women’s groups MUST call for an end to his impunity and a trial. Gota MUST be sacked or forced to RESIGN.
      The bugger is not a war hero he is a war CRIMINAL who also provides immunity to killers like Devananda and karuna..

  • 0
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    As expected—always.

    • 0
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      This can’t be the wife of a terrorist who killed thousands of unarmed civilians with bombs , butchered children , murdered pilgrims …She must be from a holly back ground . Just two days before the elections god must have provoked MR to assault her , so that every body will talk about it , and vote for her ….. We have experienced good deeds of Terrorists for more than three decades and this is the first time to experience proof that they are not terrorists but innocent civilians ….Only MR is so foolish to send SL Army to assault a candidate….especially when the world is watching…

  • 0
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    She didn’t die, did she?

    How strange! She didn’t even sustain permanent injuries! :)

    A staged drama to win the sympathy vote.

    • 0
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      Leelas new identity = Fathima Fukushima

      • 0
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        Fathima Fukushima is not Leela
        Leelawardne is more civil even though one may not agree with his views.
        Fathima Fukushima is known as Lorenzo at LW. It’s rather easy to recognise his stupid comments

    • 0
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      YOU ARE STUPID LADY, NO BODY WILL DO THIS CHEAP TACTICS TO GET VOTES. MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE AND HIS SINGALESE ARMY ARE TERRORIST ARMY. MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE ARMY WANT TO CREATE PROBLEM DURING ELECTION. DEATH TO MAHINDA AND HIS TEAM. MAHINDA IS WAR CRIMINAL

      • 0
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        Shows the level of your education.

    • 0
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      Why not call yourself FUCKASHIMA

  • 0
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    Midnight delight for Ananthi!

    • 0
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      Fuckashima, nice name for a shit like you

  • 0
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    Is she yet another Tamil war widow?

    • 0
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      Moron

      • 0
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        Tamil moron.

  • 0
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    They terrorize, threaten, use weapons on protesting citizens, use extremists to do their dirty work on minorities, and have become the most corrupt regime that we have ever seen. The crime family at work.
    If only the Commonwealth countries do the right thing, and boycott the rajapaksa circus, the clowns might get that message.

  • 0
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    UPFA would do anything to win an election.
    even behave like terrorists.
    that’s not surprise since UPFA are full of ex-terrorists.!

  • 0
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    The army denial. Is that something new? When they denied the holocaust of Mullivaaikkaal, this is simply nothing for them. Tamils can never hope for any progress in their lot without total de-militarisation, which the UN and other international agencies should seek as a matter of utmost priority.

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
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    Wikileaks were held back until 3 days before the Election to unlaod on Doughie ,all nasty allegations emnating from the same sources which found WMDs in Saddam’s backyard.

    LTTE proxy Sambandan and Sumanathiran tried hard to drag Hathurusinghe to pin him down with allegations of Election rigging and Intimidation.

    Now Mrs Ellilalan gets attacked just on the eve of the Election.

    Election monitors already have accused the Army, with the US HR protecting Ambassodor issuing warnings and threats to the Govt,

    What is the Govt party going to gain by attacking a candidate specially this non Vellala candidate?.
    l
    She is one of the just two non Vellalas who appeal to the great majority as their own.

    Would the UPFA which is totally dependent on the low caste votes behefit from phisically harming a non Vellala cndidate although she has been taken on board by the Vellalas?.

    You may call Southern polity stupid, but they ain’t that stupid, not to realize that the LTTE proxy TNA will stage any “show” to make a dint in the low caste non Vellala vote base of the UPFA and Douglas Devananda.

  • 0
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    If the Sri Lanka Army denies such allegations why can’t they confine themselves inside the camp. After all, the soldiers (from top to bottom) they are public servants and not to pose as a challenge to democracy. The question of a fair and free elections appears to be a questionable one. It also appears that the Sri Lankan government itself shivers on one lady, Ananthi. Ballot versus Bullet – which is powerful in democracy.

  • 0
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    Who is trying to shut her up regarding missing persons?Who has the most to fear from that?That is the question that should be asked.Gota?

  • 0
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    This is groomed to be, doomed to be a terror stricken country – the money and power has gone to the wrongs hands – this will be a country not run by moron terrorists but by the smiling terrorists!

  • 0
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    Tamil Tiger dramas are very good. Where is CH4?

    This LTTE woman and her family cannot face many people because she involved [Edited out].

    So, the army must be permanent feature in the North!

    @M.Sivananthan – Please provide proof – CT

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      CT
      you are asking feathers from a shell broken, battered tortoise.

      I assume,this Tamil name posing Malabari
      Sivananthan doing a licking job for jarapassa,gothaya clan.

      What Shame for us Sinhalese to these Malabaris using/covering Donky Skins.

  • 0
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    Perhaps the former Supreme Court Judge who made the reported comments should take some of the blame. His provocative remarks in recent speeches have angered many people who take them at face value.

  • 0
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    Now a days even small children’s knows that there is a big International conspiracy going on to tarnish the good image of the Government of Saddarmadveepa Chakrawarthi and Armed Forces. Actually Ananthi Sasidaran attacked her own supporters to get the sympathy votes to win the election as she knows most of the Tamils are with Sambudda Saasana Chakrawarthi’s UPFA.

    Everybody knows that our Armed forces are well disciplined and never involved in this kind of attacks. Katunayaka Roshen, Halawatha Anthony and Waliweriya 2 Students and 1 Civilian killed by those International Conspirators although all deshadrohi’s says otherwise.

    Actually we should be proud about our Armed forces about what they are doing keep the peace in Haiti as part of UN peace keeping forces as our Forces have very good experience of keeping peace in their own country. I don’t also believe that Our Ranaviru Armed Forces has any hand on the incident as our Army spokesman, Ruwan Wanigasooriya says as they have more important tasks to achieve by searching Journalists Houses.

    Ananthi Sasidaran also should Join Sambudda Saasana Chakrawarthi to make his arms more strong as Dayasiri did and continue to fight for freedom for Tamils under UPFA ticket. Then she also could arrange “Wesak Kalapa” with Armed Forces for Tamils in the north in next Wesak.

    In my opinion Ananthi Sasidaran should follow Kumaran Pathmanathan/KP who Provided Weapons to Tigers for 30 Years as example and see now how he is serving Tamils for their rights under the protection of Armed Forces after Rehabilitated by Grease Piya. There are plenty of Characters such as Karuna, Pilleyan, Daya Master, George Master, Thamalini who are serving betterment for Tamil people under the protection of Armed Forces as they were rehabilitated.

    Also, Ananthi Sasidaran should know that our Saddarmadveepa Chakrawarthi is afraid of women as his official astrologer, Saasthara Sumane, has predicted that 3 women’s will bring his down fall. now he cannot sleep well because of CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayaka from the South, Ananthi Sasidaran from the North and Dr. Navi Pillay from UN.

  • 0
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    Ms Darisha Bastians and Ms Elini Hoole are you sisters or blood relations. Compare the photographs

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