SRI LANKA: Attack which killed two attending JVP meeting is a forewarning of another round of terror

Two persons were killed and several others were injured attending a JVP meeting on 15th June. This has once again reminded the country of the system of political terror which has undermined the political and legal system. The killing was the result of shots fired by motorcyclists, who fled after the incident and according to the JVP, the shooting was carried out by an underground elements. The JVP believes that it was a political assault for which the government is responsible.

What has created the suspicion about the government’s involvement is the media version given by some channels immediately after the attack which said that it may have been caused by break away rival groups of the JVP itself. The spokesmen for the police also tried to give this interpretation, even though there was no evidence at all to back it up.

Whenever the government is involved in a political attack it is a common feature to attempt to attribute such attacks to some other sources. In a country where political terror is so deeply entrenched, committing and attributing the blame on various groups and elements is now the norm.

The JVP has stated in public that they have provided sufficient information which should enable the arrest of the culprits. However, the police claim that there is not enough evidence to rely on and that they are investigating the matter through several investigating teams.

Making claims about ongoing investigations is also a common feature in Sri Lanka after political attacks. However those investigations hardly ever lead to any genuine arrests. Indeed, there are so many cases where for years the investigations are said to be on going but no findings have been made. The cases of Lasantha Wickramatunga, Pradeep Eknaligoda and many others relating to journalists and people representing opposing views to the government are quite well known.

On the other hand, when it comes to the people who are friends of the government, such as Duminda Silva, the police investigators do everything they can do to ensure the protection of these culprits. President Mahinda Rajapaksha and the defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksha should take the blame for the state of the prevalence of state of the terror in the country and for the failures of the police investigations.

This killing of people who are faithfully participating in a small political gathering in a peaceful manner is a warning of another round of terror that is being ushered in. That the JVP is the target being relentlessly pursued by the government is no secret.  These attacks have happened over and over again and it is quite likely that there will be many more of them.

In such circumstances, to remain silent is to encourage the recurrence of another round of violence. The protest against such violence should above all come from those who have supported the government. Surely many of those who have supported that government have not done so just to see the recurrence of a period of terror.

The opposition parties and civil society organizations should rise against this resurgence of terror attacks irrespective of whatever their may be views about JVP’s political ideas. If they remain silent, such terror will soon be directed against all opposition parties and the civil society organizations.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-123-2012
Countries : Sri Lanka,