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Harassment of civil society activist over Mullivaikkal remembrance continues


The civil society activist who was harassed by the police for his involvement in the organisation of a memorial event today has now been summoned for questioning by police.

Father Elil Rajendram received a visit from two Sri Lankan police officers at around 8pm local time, who carried a letter from the Assistant Superintendent of Police from Vavuniya, summoning him for questioning on the instruction of the Inspector General of Police - the head of the Sri Lankan police force.

However as the letter was in Sinhala only, the priest rejected the letter, demanding a Tamil version, which was delivered soon after. Neither of the two letters, both versions of which were seen by the Tamil Guardian, provide a reason for the summons.

After speaking to the police Father EIlil was told that the summoning to Vavuniya was for an internal police investigation into the way that the Mullaithivu police station handled their case. A young man who assisted in creating the memorial stones for the event was also summoned to the police station.

Although the two were told the questioning in Vavuniya was for an internal investigation, they were subsequently questioned on Friday about the list of names of the people that were carved on to the memorial stones.

Adayaalam Centre for Policy and Research (ACPR) has also learnt  that Father Elil’s parents, who live on their own, were questioned by their local police forces despite having no knowledge of Father Elil’s involvement in the memorial event.

At the end of the police summoning on Vavuniya on Friday morning, Father Elil and the young man were asked to sign a statement in Sinhala which was verbally translated to the pair in Tamil.

Earlier on May 18, a motion was filed at the Mullaitivu magistrate's court to challenge the order banning this particular commemoration, which included a display of rocks with names of victims carved into them. Mullaitivu police had argued that the memorial threatened national security as the names of people engraved could be fallen LTTE cadres, however were unable to name any individuals of concern. The judge agreed to vary the order, deciding that the commemoration with the rocks would still not be allowed, but could happen in the adjacent church.

See Kumaravadivel Guruparan, the lawyer who filed the motion, explain the court's order: