Sri Lankan Tamil activist hospitalized after attack by assailants

Sunday 12 October 2014

Date: 9 October 2014

Type: News

Source: UCA NEWS

Keywords: Tamil, human rights

A Tamil human rights advocate says he was attacked and beaten with iron rods following a meeting with other activists in Vavuniya.

Krishnapillai Thevarasa, president of the Vavuniya Citizens Committee, says he was beaten Wednesday evening after planning a demonstration with other rights activists.

“On my way home … while I was riding my motorcycle, I was assaulted by four men with iron rods,” Thevarasa told by telephone from a hospital where he is recovering.

Earlier in the day, Thevarasa had met with activists to plan a peaceful demonstration, scheduled for October 10, to demand the release of prominent Tamil activist Jeyakumari Belandran.

Belandran, who had campaigned for people who disappeared during Sri Lanka’s civil war, was arrested and detained by authorities in March.

Thevarasa says his assailants, who he described as non-Tamil speaking, threatened him with death, warning him not to stage the protest.

“While they were attacking, they said that there should not be a demonstration,” he said. “The attackers closed my mouth and dragged me to an isolated paddy field near the main road and the intention was to kill me.”

Thevarasa underwent surgery to repair damage to his left hand; he said he also sustained injuries to his shoulders, arms and legs.

Chaminda Rathnakumar, the officer in charge of the local police force, said that police have launched an investigation into the beating.

“Nobody has been arrested yet,” he said.

Thevarasa’s colleagues say the attack is another example of how activists are threatened and attacked with impunity in Sri Lanka. Few attackers are ever arrested, said E.C. Achuthanaayar, the Vavuniya Citizens Committee’s media coordinator.

“We will organize a series of demonstrations all over the country until Jeyakumari and other political prisoners will be released,” he said.###

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