At the backdrop of mourning for the hospital staff who were shot down during the IPKF rule some 29 years ago, this month of October on 21st, allegedly by the IPKF, and religious rituals for the slain Tamil journalist Nimalarajan, who was killed 16 years ago this week, two more youth met the same fate, reportedly gunned down by the police in Jaffna near Kokkuvil, Friday at about 11.55pm.
The apparent shooting was not confirmed to any till the postmortem report was released midst fear and tension.
Some noted that there were incidents where two gangs brandishing swords had clashed in daylight in Jaffna town a few days ago over, where the deployment of more police patrols were needed to further tighten security.
The two Jaffna University Students Pavunraj Sulakshan (24) and Nadarasa Gajan (23) of Chunnagam and Kilinochchi respectively, had crashed on the nearby wall, when one received a gunshot.
The JMO Dr. Majutharan said there were no traces that they had consumed alcohol. He also said that he heard they had not stopped the bike when ordered to stop.
It was Thursday (20) at about 9.45 the two friends left from Chunnagam to Jaffna. On the way they visited a friend in Kandarodai and was proceeding to their private hostel. When they passed the checkpoint at Kokuvil, Kulappidy junction in Jaffna, around 11.50pm, the next minute they were found in the pool of blood and the motorbike rammed into the wall.
The matter of having a gunshot injury was confirmed by the Jaffna Court Magistrate at about 9am. However, local media received a fax at 1pm on Friday 21 that the two died in a road mishap and pronounced dead on admission.
It is alleged the police took the two seriously injured students to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital and they were pronounced dead on admission.
The news spread and tension mounted as the people living in the Kandarodai area heard gunshots. This transpired and the fellow university students rushed to the hospital to find out whether they were shot down.
The message also reached the TNA Leader R. Sampanthan who at about 3.am rang the President who was in Trincomalee for a Buddhist ceremony at a famous temple.
Despite the news spreading in Jaffna that one had received a gunshot that caused the motorcycle to crash on the wall. President who rang the IGP Pujith Jayasundara received confirmation early in the morning it was an accident.
This was also reported to Sampanthan. However pressure mounted on the TNA and everyone rang him and confirmed it was a gunshot that had lead to death.
When this matter was reported to the President, he once again phoned IGP Jayasundara. The gun shot message was confirmed by the JMO by then.
The agitated President then urged the IGP to hold impartial investigation.
The students who gathered around the hospital mortuary were not willing to accept that it was an accident that caused the deaths.
The IGP who deployed a team of police arrived over the President’s order which added to the mounting tension at the hospital premises.
Students did not want the police, the very same body that was accused of the murder to enter the mortuary.
However, the fellow university students were requested to be calm if they wanted a proper investigation to be conducted.
The Court Magistrate and the Police had then called upon the deceased students’ parents (fathers) and informed what had caused the death while others were watching what was going on.
The secretly shared message was that the boys were shot down and there was a gun shot wound in the rider’s chest.
They assured the fathers that the matter will be dealt seriously and to calmly take the bodies of their sons to their respective homes.
Having heard the assurance also given by the police that were deployed, the parents had then taken the bodies to Chunnagam and Kilinochchi.
Agitated students were ‘controlled’ and ‘restricted’ not to riot over the issue, by Tamil authorities.
The University students had been gathering and holding meetings till late Saturday how to plan an awareness protest over the displeasure they had over the incident.
With regard to the incident five police officers were taken into remand custody including some Tamil police officers.
The next hearing on the shooting incident will be held on Monday at the Jaffna Magistrate Court. (Myrna L.)