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Bid to Assassinate Ananthi Elilan Aimed at Eliminating War Crime Witness

Bid to Assassinate Ananthi Elilan Aimed at Eliminating War Crime Witness

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Published by: Thavam on Sep 22, 2013
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BY RAMANAN VEERASINGHAM-22 SEPTEMBER 2013Keeping the country largely on a war footing with heavy military presencein the former war-zones of Jaffna and Wanni districts, the incumbent government ofPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa has held the maiden election for the Northern provincialcouncil mainly to deceive the outside world that democracy and rule of law have beenrestored in all parts of the island nation.The prompt statement by UN Secretary GeneralBan Ki-moon hailing the government’seffort to hold the election in the North is certainly a diplomatic propaganda victory forthe government.Election is only an aspect of democracy and cannot stand as its substitute.The government tried its level best to capture the provincial administration, making fulluse of the state resources and its proxy paramilitary outfits while adopting militaryterror tactics against the opponents and the voters. It could not still prevent the TamilNational Alliance (TNA) from registering a landslide victory and securing the maidenadministration of the province.
This is a clear message to the Rajapaksa regime that the Tamil people are not mereeconomic animals and the state military might cannot simply take away their justpolitical aspirations.Nevertheless, the government appears to be precise about its priorities. The hawkishregime has been flatly rejecting the increasing international call for internationalindependent probe into the credible allegations of war crimes and crimes againsthumanity committed by its armed forces during the final months of the war. Ironically, itadopts an offensive diplomatic approach in this regard, in many occasions, against thevery same countries that have knowingly aided and abetted such crimes beingcommitted in the name of war on terror.If it vehemently claims at international forums that its troops have carefully adopted azero-civilian-casualty policy throughout the war, on the ground it meticulously clearsthe evidences and eliminates the witnesses of war crime, using the very militaryresources.Why targeting Ananthi?It is in this backdrop that the politico-military authorities appeared to have decided toassign teams to assassinate Mrs Ananthi Sasitharan, the wife of former LTTE’spolitical wing head for Trincomalee Elilan, using the northern provincial election.The ground realities show that thecommando style attackon the home of number onecandidate of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) shortly after midnight on Thursday, isnot just a “politically motivated election related isolated incident”.Commenting on the attack, a senior Tamil journalist in Colombo said that thegovernment “would have faced the problem of plenty, had it wanted to kill any topcandidates of the TNA for political reasons. Even the chief ministerial candidate andretired judge C.V.Wigneswaran would have been a sitting duck”.
But why they were after Ananthi Sasitharan’s life is something that should be lookedbeyond provincial council elections,” he told JDS, adding that the politico-militaryhigher-ups in Colombo have taken a great deal of pain and effort to assign teams ofheavily armed military personnel in uniform and paramilitary operatives in civvies tocarry out this attack on the 42-year old wife of Elilan.A retired university academic said that Ananthi was constantly under threat andintimidation especially after she appearedbefore the Lesson Learnt ReconciliationCommission (LLRC)in September 2010.
Failing to reach her on two previous occasions during the month-long hectic electioncampaign, during which she organised and addressed several election rallies, pocketmeetings and house-to-house campaigns, the authorities this time targeted her the dayafter the election campaigns ended, so that they can cover it up just as a poll relatedviolence,” he said.Least knowing that she has swiftly moved with her three children to a neighbouringhouse for safety reasons minutes after noticing the suspicious movements of strangersoutside her house, the men with guns, swords and heavy poles stormed her home atChuzhipuram in Jaffna.Angered by her escape, they mercilessly beat up nine of her supporters and a localelection monitor with assault riffles and heavy poles and left them to bleed during the45-minute carnage. The attackers did not forget to take away all the mobile phonesfrom the victims before leaving the scene, fearing that the live video clips of themcarrying out the attack could soon reach the television channels outside the island.Jaffna judicial medical officer has confirmed that ten people were admitted to thehospital, many of whom with serious wounds resulting from boots and pole attack. “Butthey have all got themselves discharged from the hospital against strong medicaladvice, due to fear of further attacks,” the Jaffna doctor said.This again shows how the military conducts its affairs in the North with absoluteimpunity.Talking to media a few personnel who were there to cover the election, Ananthi saidthis attack was “clearly an attempt to kill me”.
There is no doubt about it. Fortunately, I kept my three children away following aseries of threats and intimidations. The attack has affected me psychologically. I knowthat weakening my psychological strength was one of their major motives,” Ananthisaid immediately after the attack.A living witness
She is one of the few living witnesses of the surrendering of the LTTE leaders andcadres to the army. Among those who surrendered to the army in Mullivaikkal and hasgone unheard of since then, was her husband, Elilan, the LTTE’s political commissarfor Trincomalee. This is therefore a well-planned systematic attack on her by themilitary not just for contesting on the major Tamil party’s ticket, but mainly for being

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