Armed squads of the occupying Sri Lanka’s Sinhala commandos of the notorious Special Task Force (STF) in Mannaar have been sexually harassing the coastal people of Peasaalai in the country of Eezham Tamils, on a daily basis for more than a week now, residents complain. The STF has virtually banned the movement of men of all ages after 6:00 p.m. in Peasaalai so that its abuses would go unnoticed.
Three STF squads, each comprising around 10 personnel, come to Peasaalai from their camp located at 2nd Mile Post within Mannaar Urban Council boundary, 15 km away from Peasaalai and seek certain houses with the intent of sexual abuse. The STF personnel ‘explain’ that their night occupation of key junctions of Peasaalai was to maintain their ‘law and order’ and that peace in the coastal village has been disturbed by ‘drunk men’ who return home from taverns.
Tamil women have complained to Rev Awithappar, the parish priest of Peasaalai, that they are frightened due to the presence of the STF commandos wandering around their houses. Many fishermen use to go fishing in the seas during the nights and the peace in the village is disturbed by the STF squads.
The STF squads were increasingly seen deployed at Murukan Temple Junction along Peasaalai Thalai-mannaar Road and near Victory Housing Scheme.
While there is a SL Police station in Peasaalai to take care of the ‘law and order’ issues, why the armed STF commandos need to put the entire village under war footing, the villagers ask.
Peasaalai is a large village, situated 15 km north west of Mannaar city in the island of Mannaar, with a population of 8,000 Eezham Tamils and 90% of the population are Catholic fisher folk while the remaining are Hindu and Muslim fisher folk.
The Sri Lankan military is alleged of scheming Sinhalicisation of Thalaimannaar Pier, which is the closest point in Mannaar to the coast of Tamil Nadu in India.