Centre for Peace and Reconciliation attacked in Jaffna
Four armed personnel, allegedly from the occupying Sri Lankan military’s Intelligence, on Saturday attacked Tamil civilians who had gathered at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation (CPR) at Grousseault Road in Jaffna City to receive free legal assistance in their effort to locate their kith and kin whose whereabouts are not known following the undeclared arrests, abductions during the mass incarceration and white-van abductions in Jaffna peninsula and Vanni. The CPR, which is run by the Church, regularly conducts free legal aid for victims of human rights violations. The attackers beat the victims and threw dirt on them forcing them to flee the Centre. Meanwhle, SL military intelligence operatives were questioning the whereabouts of a priest of the CPR alleging that he had gone to attend the Human Rights Council sessions taking place in Geneva.
The attack took place while some legal practitioners from Colombo were present at the Centre, the victims told TamilNet Tuesday.
The alleged SL military operatives first came to the premises in more than two motorbikes and questioned what was going on at the Centre. When they were told that the victims of missing persons had come to obtain free legal aid, the men went back to their camp and came back with arms and bags full of dirt. They smashed the windows of the vehicles at the venue and began throwing dirt at the victims.
Witnessing the episode, the residents of the area complained to the SL Police. When the police came, the attackers fled the site.
Instead of providing security to the Centre and promoting the legal assistance programme, the missing peoples family members who had come from long distance were provided ‘safe exit’ from the Centre by the Sri Lankan Police.
The victims said that they were being systematically harassed by the Sri Lankan military intelligence operatives whenever they attend peaceful protests.
The CPR is a joint venture of Pax Christi Germany and Oblates of Mary Immaculate, long known for its service to the victims of human rights violations and poverty stricken sections of the population in Jaffna.
Last year, Rev. Fr. C.G. Jeyakumar, the parish priest of Kayts and former director of Human Development Centre of the Catholic Church was humiliated by a group of thugs who bucketed him with dirt at his church. The identity of the assailants was traced to a private army operated by Sri Lanka Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.