SRI LANKA: Killing beggars under the pretext of eliminating terrorists? 

A news report published on June 11th from Colombo stated, “Members of the vanquished Tamil Tiger terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are posing as beggars in the cities throughout the country to gather information, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said today. Addressing a ceremony held in his office this morning to launch welfare loan schemes for the families of war heroes, the Premier said the government intelligence services have identified that these beggars having been trained and deployed by the LTTE. The Prime Minister stressed that the intelligence units should be constantly vigilant on such movements.”

This week a disabled person who moved on a wheelchair was found dead in Colombo with severe head injuries. 5 other similar killings of beggars have been reported recently.

Is this the way intelligence units carrying out the Premiers instructions to be “constantly vigilant”?

What was the need for the Premier to make such a statement? Has there been such overwhelming information about terrorism by beggars? If not, why does he place such information before parliament?
On the occasion of the IIFA also, the government created propaganda about beautifying the city by removing beggars.

It is difficult not to link such statements and the sudden occurrence of a series of killings of beggars in Colombo.

It is not necessary for any thief to kill a disabled man in a wheelchair in order to steal whatever he may be possessing. Regarding the other five killings of beggars, it is hard to imagine anybody wanting to steal anything from beggars as, by their very nature, they are the ones who have the least. As no accidental circumstances have surfaced, these killings are not accidents. Besides, the injury on the heads of the disabled lottery ticket seller was a severe injury, most probably caused by hitting with a heavy stone. The circumstances suggest deliberate intention to kill.

It was not long ago that those who were alleged to be criminals were killed at police stations. That, too, was a program. The Sri Lankan society seems to have gotten used to the idea of killings as the solution to everything.

When the Prime Minister of the country himself creates the psychological impetus for intelligence agencies to act against the poorest sections of society, the beggars, is there any point in calling for inquiries and crying out for justice? When the government itself creates the climate for killing, where is the possibility for inquiries and justice?

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-136-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings, Rule of law, Terrorism & human rights, Torture,