Colombo arrests visiting Tamil poet, bans gatherings ahead of Heroes Day
The operatives of the occupying Sri Lankan military on Friday arrested VIS Jayapalan, a well-known Eezham Tamil poet and an award-winning actor in Indian Tamil cinema, while the Norwegian passport holder was visiting the island on a tourist visa. The arrest took place in abduction-style. By arresting Jayapalan, Colombo was sending a message to Eezham Tamil diaspora that Tamils visiting the island should not address any meeting or gathering. Colombo’s TID operatives could claim any meeting as a ‘gathering causing communal unrest,’ academic circles in Jaffna said. In the meantime, the SL Police in Ki’linochchi, on Friday told 40 people it detained that all gatherings and meetings have been banned until further notice in the district.
The occupying Sri Lankan military on Friday intercepted a group of 40 people, who attended an agricultural training workshop held by ZOA, an international NGO, at Vaddak-kachchi in Ki’linochchi and instructed the SL police to arrest and investigate them, blaming them as organising ‘tree planting’ ahead of Tamil Heroes Day on November 27.
The attendees of the workshop had purchased tree saplings for their use at the workshop. The people, who were detained by the SL police at Ki’linochchi Police Station for more than one hour, were told that they could not attend any gatherings or meetings until further notice.
In the meantime, sources in Vanni said that the SL military intelligence operatives, who were monitoring Mr Jayapalan since his arrival to the island, ‘arrested’ him when he was visiting his mother’s gravesite at Maangku’lam in Vanni, a week after his visit to the North.
On Saturday, a Sri Lankan Police spokesman, Ajith Rohana, confirmed the arrest of Mr Jayapalan.
The SL police spokesman has accused the Tamil poet of violating Colombo’s tourist visa. Lately, the SL military establishment has been citing this unknown visa regulation to expel foreign journalists, politicians and human rights activists.
Mr Jayapalan took part in a book release event in Colombo. He has also addressed journalists and media students in North at a workshop held at Jaffna Press Club.
Jayapalan managed to pass the information of his ‘arrest’ to some of his friends while unknown persons were taking him away.
He is being taken to Colombo for ‘further investigations’ sources in Vavuniyaa said.
Jayapalan’s poetry and short novels are among prescribed textbooks in the universities and colleges of Tamil Nadu. He received the best immigrant writer award from the Norwegian Writers Association in 1995 for a short novel written by him. His poetry, translated into English, was part of a recent publication from the Toronto University of Canada too.
In May 2011, he received Special Jury Award (national level) at the 58th National Film Awards of India for his performance in the Tamil film Aaduka’lam.
Jayapalan was student union president of the University of Jaffna in 1977.