Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe on Friday ordered the Military Police to probe Thursday’s attack by a group of persons dressed in Army uniform on a meeting that was being held among Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members in Alaveddy, Jaffna,.
Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe told the Sunday Times that soon after the incident was reported to him he had dispatched Major General Janaka Walgama, a Divisional Commander to the scene to meet with the TNA members.
“It is unlikely that the Army was involved in the incident, but I have ordered the Military Police in Jaffna to find out who was responsible,” he said.
However, the TNA on Friday insisted that a group of 30 soldiers attacked the party members after entering a hall where they were conducting a meeting to discuss arrangements for the upcoming local elections.
TNA MP E.Saravanabhawan told the Sunday Times that he was addressing the gathering when the soldiers led by an officer entered the hall and said that no permission had been obtained for the meeting.
“MP M.Sumanthiran explained that it was an internal meeting and that no permission was required. He said that if that was the case it was a matter for the police. But the soldiers armed with poles started attacking the participants,” he charged.
“The officer grabbed the microphone from me and hurled it at me, but it missed me. My ministerial security bodyguard protected me from being assaulted,” Mr. Saravanabhawan said.
TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said the Police officers (MSD body guards of the MPs) had formed a ring to protect the MPs, but they too were assaulted. He said Mavai Senadhiraja’s MSD guard too was beaten up.
The TNA meanwhile has sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa protesting about the incident.
The letter had explained the sequence of events and noted that on Mr. Senadhiraja telephoning Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe he had sent Major General Walgama to inquire into the incident.
“It is clear that this assault was premeditated and carried out with impunity by the Army openly in uniform. The motive was clearly political and intended to intimidate the voting public, the candidates, members of Parliament and prevent a free and fair election,” the letter further said.
On Friday the Police filed a report in the Mallakam Magistrate’s Court stating that an ‘unknown group’ had forcibly entered the hall and carried out an attack on the gathering.The Magistrate had ordered the police to file a further report on July 11.
Meanwhile, TULF leader V.Anandasangree, in a statement said his party strongly condemned the Army for infringing the fundamental rights of civilians.
“These high-handed actions of the Army should stop. In any case this is not a matter for the Army to interfere when there are police stations all over the place, including the place where this incident took place,” the statement said.