Tamil political prisoners on hunger strike need immediate attention: Ananthy Sasitharan

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 23:46 GMT]
Three of more than 200 Tamil political prisoners on fast have fainted on the second day of the hunger strike demanding their release. Vijayakumar Kanthasamy, a father of two, was rushed to medical treatment after he fainted at Anuradhapura prison on Tuesday. Similarly, two prisoners fainted at Magazine prison, informed sources said. “We were expecting a positive response during the Papal visit. Nothing happened. Then came the elections and the talk of good governance. Nothing improved. Now, even after co-sponsoring the resolution in Geneva, we are yet to see any sign of evolution taking place in the mind-set of the Sri Lankan State,” a prisoner on hunger-strike said. Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthy Sasistharan has condemned TNA leader R. Sampanthan for not demanding immediate release of the Tamil political prisoners.

Ananthy Sasitharan
Ananthy Sasitharan
“Imagine the situation of the 10-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy who lost their mother Amutha in the genocidal shelling by the Sri Lankan military in March 2009 and they are yet to see their father who has been imprisoned for six years,” Ms Sasitharan told TamilNet. She was talking about the prisoner Vijayakumar, who was fainted during the hunger strike at Anuradhapura prison.

Vijayakumar was released in June 2013, but on the same day, when he was about to walk out from the Sri Lankan court, he was again arrested on another charge by the ‘terrorist investigation division’. Vijayakumar hails from Ampalavan-pokka'nai, a village in the Karaithu’raip-pattu division of Mullaiththeevu district.

“If you look at each and every Tamil political prisoner rotting in the prisons run by the genocidal system, there will be a story similar to that of Vijayakumar. They are even unable to withstand a day or two of hunger strike due to their physical and psychological conditions,” Ananthy Sasitharan, who has been in contact with the prisoners through telephone told TamilNet.

“Many of them have wounds. They have been subjected to continuous torture. On top of that they don't see any judicial process. On one case, the SL prosecutors failed to attend the court continuously for scheduled court proceedings 10 times. But, outside the prisons, there is talk of so-called reconciliation and the comedy of good governance,” she further said adding the prisoners were also suffering from malnutrition and their immune systems were severely weakened. “Therefore, we must demand immediate response before their get further affected by the hunger strike,” the NPC councillor said.

“The prisoners on hunger strike are also suffering from breathing problems as their oxygen intake was poor when their mobility is limited,” she said.

“Rajapaksa's regime has claimed that it had released more than 12,000 former LTTE members. There are more than 300 former LTTE members who are now converted as agents of the SL military. Many more are forced to work as informants. A large number of former LTTE members, especially women, are coerced into slaves at SL military run farms through the so-called Civil Security Division. Sri Lankan military intelligence is behind all these exploitation. No one is talking about them, the NPC councillor blamed the diplomats in Colombo.

“All the countries that backed the resolution in Geneva are answerable to the crimes that continue to take place against Tamils,” she said.

“NPC CM Justice Wigneswaran has demanded immediate action. Even Douglas Devananda of the EPDP demanded general amnesty and release of the Tamil political prisoners. But, sitting in the opposition leader position, our Sampanthan is yet to demand action from the Colombo government,” Ananthy Sasitharan told TamilNet.


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