Elilan’s wife tears into SL over accountability issues


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Ms Ananthi Sasitharan in yellow saree addressing the UNHRC

Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan flayed the Sri Lankan government at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday (March 14) for what she called the suppression of Tamil speaking people, particularly subjecting the Northern Province to military rule, though the war had ended in May 2009.

Asked whether Sasitharan had addressed the gathering on behalf of the TNA, sources said that she had lambasted the government using the time allocated two INGOs, namely, CHAF (Collectif des Femmes Africaines du Hainaut) of Belgium and VSSU (Vivekananda Sevakendra-O-Sishu Uddyan) of India.

The Northern PC member said: "The eelam Tamil children face continued war with genocidal intent. I am here today not as a voice of an NGO but as a mother of three daughters who are still searching for their father. The occupying military carrying weapons is controlling every aspect of our civil life."

Ms. Sasitharan accused the military of directing systematic sexual violence at Tamil women and children. She further alleged: "The children are also forced to work. Military personnel are being appointed as teachers in schools. In the world of our children, the armed conflict us still there as before."

Referring to the heavy military presence in the Northern Province, she alleged that there was a soldier each for five civilians.

Responding to a query, sources said that the government was taken aback by her appearance in Geneva. In fact, some believed Ms Sasitharan wouldn’t return to Geneva after her recent spat with TNA National List MP, M. A. Sumanthiran. Ms. Sasitharan accused MP Sumanthiran of ordering her to remain silent at a crucial meeting with some members of the UNHRC in Geneva because of her past involvement with the LTTE.

Sasitharan was addressing a hastily arranged media briefing at the Jaffna press club, where she strongly criticized MP Sumanthiran’s strategy.

Commenting on the draft US resolution backed by EU countries in the 47-member UNHRC, Sasitharan emphasized that it hadn’t addressed major problems faced by Tamil speaking people. The TNA politician alleged that the resolutions moved by the US in 2012 and 201, too, had disappointed the Tamil community. She reiterated that Tamil speaking people were experiencing genocide, though armed confrontations weren’t taking place. "We call it structural genocide."

Sasitharan commended the UN for faulting the government for not conducting a proper domestic investigation. Emphasizing the need for an international war crimes probe, the Northern politician demanded immediate international intervention to save the Tamil speaking people from the government of Sri Lanka.

Government sources said that though the LTTE rump could have easily reached an understanding with the West Bengal based INGO to allocate its time for Ms. Sasitharan, the Belgian connection had come as a surprise.


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