Chava explosives: Key suspects flee to India

MP Sumanthiran says Sivakaran, Sasitharan suspended in the run-up to last prez polls



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Investigations reveal that some of those wanted in connection with the chance detection of an explosive haul including a suicide vest at Chavakachcheri during the last week of March have fled to India.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera yesterday told The Island that a person identified as S. Sivakaran arrested in Mannar on April 27 was believed to have helped the wanted persons escape.

The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) produced Sivakaran in Chavakachcheri Magistrate’s Court. He was later bailed out. The Magistrate barred him from leaving the country for one year.

Responding to a query by The Island, ASP Gunasekera said that the Attorney General would decide whether Sivakaran could turn a state witness.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and Jaffna District MP M. A. Sumanthiran yesterday told The Island that the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) had suspended Sivakaran from the post of Secretary of the Youth Wing of the ITAK in the run-up to the last presidential election.

ITAK is the largest constituent of the four party TNA.

Attorney-at-law Sumanthiran said that the party had suspended both Sivakaran and Northern Provincial Council member Ananthi Sasitharan after they publicly denounced TNA’s decision to back Maithripala Sirisena’s candidature at the last presidential polls. Sasitharan had been the joint secretary of the ITAK’s Women’s Wing.

MP Sumanthiran said both Sivakaran and Sasitharan had been suspended pending internal inquiry.

Among those arrested in connection with the Chavakachcheri explosives haul are former Trincomalee leader of the LTTE Intelligence Wing in Tricomalee Kalai Arasan alias Arivalahan, former Special Commander of the Charles Anthony Brigade Ganapathipillai Sivamurthi alias Nagulan, former Ampara District LTTE Commander Deemalasingham Arichchandran alias Ramand and an LTTE cadre identified as Damotharan Jayakanth. The TID arrested Ram on April 24. Thalaiarasan and Nagulan were arrested on April 25 and 26, respectively.

ASP Gunasekera said key suspects had been detained under PTA pending investigations. The police spokesman said that in addition to those arrested in April, the police had arrested Edward Julian alias Ramesh on March 29 while he was fleeing following the detection of explosives.

The Washington-based PEARL (People for Equality and Relief in Lanka) in a statement demanded the immediate release of all those detained under the PTA . The organisation urged the United States to strongly and publicly urge Sri Lanka to abide by its domestic and international promises, by releasing detainees and taking immediate action to repeal the PTA in law and practice. The organisation emphasized the need to release Sivakaran immediately alleging that he was arrested soon after he criticised the arrest of Tamils under the PTA.

Asked whether he was in a position to deny police claim pertaining to Sivakaran alleged involvement with some LTTE cadres wanted in connection with Chavakachcheri explosives haul, PEARL spokesperson said: "The PTA has been internationally discredited and the Sri Lankan government itself has pledged to review and repeal it, including in the UN resolution co-sponsored by the government. To continue arresting and abducting Tamils under the act is completely unacceptable. It is the act that allows the state to hold Tamils without charging them of any crimes. Sri Lanka must act immediately to release all those detained under the act and repeal the law at once."

The police spokesperson acknowledged that the persons in custody were the senior most LTTE cadres arrested after the conclusion of the war in May, 2009.


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