Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sri Lanka: Greasifying state terror

JDS Features

Introducing a new military phenomenon to instil a chilling fear psychosis among the Tamil and Muslim communities living in and around their traditional homelands of North and East, Sri Lanka’s politico-military leadership has unleashed full-scale State-terror to curtail their collective rights.

Concentrating only on further consolidating a militaristic terror state, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary has apparently reactivated the killing squads of the military and para-military units to further terrorise these war-ravaged people using not so mysterious “grease devils”.

These so-called ‘grease devils’ go out in nights to harass and torture women sexually at home at random.

Terror in Jaffna

If the Muslim people in Puttlam have clashed with the police for harbouring a well identified ‘grease devil’, the military personnel attached to Navanthurai military detachment in the Jaffna peninsula have beaten up virtually the entire village in a pre-dawn attack, for protesting against the military for giving a safe heaven for the “grease devils” who the villagers caught red-handedly.

Angered and humiliated that the tightly-kept military mystery has been badly exposed, the army personnel entered Navanthurai village around 1.15 am on August 23 and dragged out men from the beds and brutally beat them up before detaining over 100 of them.

Despite their serious injuries, these men were held without treatment for several hours until the District Court Judge ordered them to be admitted to the hospital. Jaffna Teaching Hospital sources said that several of them have had suffered fractured bones in their arms and legs, some had head injuries due to torture and severe beating.

This is for the first time after the end of the war in May 2009, that the military has been deployed in a full-scale military operation against the local Tamil populace. Similar incidents have happened in other parts of the Jaffna peninsula, Wanni Puttlam, Amparai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts.

Muslims warned

Openly defending the exposed “grease devils, President’s powerful sibling and Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on August 23, summoned Muslim religious leaders in Amparai, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Puttlam districts to his ministry and gave them a severe warning that the public who choose to protest against the actions of the military would be severely dealt with.

Rubbishing the claims of the presence of “grease devils”, he said that they are nothing but rumours spread by “some terrorist elements to tarnish the image of the government and the military”.

“Surrounding camps of security forces is an act of terrorism. Therefore, please tell your people not to engage in such things and believe rumours,” the Defence Secretary has told the Muslim leaders, warning them not to play with the military.

Predicting the anarchy that is in store to be unleashed, he has warned that he would even deploy the elite police and military commandos to achieve what he wanted.

Commander of the North, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has also issued similar warning in the peninsula. Sending reinforcements, the government has been quick to establish more military detachments and camps in Kinniya, Puttlam and Mannar areas.

As the Defence Secretary rightly said there was no ‘grease devils’ existing, for all he knows they are none other than the members of the military intelligence and para-military units.

It is rather unfortunate to note that many Colombo-based media also fell to the grease term just like it blindly followed the "terrorist" terminology without being objective.

Having lost their loved ones in thousands during three-decade long war and struggling to cope with the situation in the aftermath of the war, these communities have only a little to lose. Facing a full-scale State military terror is far too much for these helpless people to face, especially with the international community either supporting the hawkish Colombo government or reluctant to ensure justice to the affected people.

Current posture of the international community, including the United Nations, of not pressing for international war crime probe despite the surfacing of credible evidences for war crimes committed during the final months of the war that ended in May 2009, has embolden the Rajapaksa government to do whatever it wants and get away.

Joint military exercises

Instead of bringing in tangible pressure on Sri Lanka until it allows an independent and impartial war-crime probe, the powerful members of the international community seek to hold joint military exercises with the troops who have credibly accused of committing serious war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The intention of the latest modus operandi of the military authority is not just simply arresting and scaring off people using all sorts of devils – but to create and maintain the conditions to justify the State military terror unleashed on the Tamils and Muslims -- and thereby to convince the rest of the population that such a policy is an absolute ‘necessity’.

Although President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proclaimed the non requirement of the extension of Emergency Regulation, the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is still very much in place which provides sweeping powers to the military in the name of dealing with terrorism.


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