Sri Lanka: Tamils protest police murder

24-year-old Yogarajah Thinesh.

Tamils from the village of Thunnaalai on the Jaffna Peninsula of northern Sri Lanka took part in angry protests after the murder of a Tamil worker by police on July 9.

Tamilnet said: “A police post was smashed by angry villagers on Sunday and there were also incidents in which SL police vehicles were stoned by the public in the area. Traffic remained blocked as the protesting villagers had put tires ablaze across the roads.”

The murdered worker, 24-year-old Yogarajah Thinesh, was killed when police fired on a vehicle carrying sand. He was employed by a contractor illegally taking sand from the beach.

Villagers claim that Sinhalese businesses illegally taking sand from the beach operate with military and police protection, irreversibly destroying the environment. But when Tamils do the same they are targeted.

Tamilnet said: “Tamil activists confronting the sand scooping through peaceful means have been assassinated, threatened and harassed by the occupying Sinhala military and paramilitary groups after 2009.”

In 2009, the struggle for an independent Tamil homeland, led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, was crushed in a genocidal massacre. After this defeat, Tamil areas have remained under military occupation. 

The Sri Lankan armed forces have taken over large areas of land for military bases and Sinhalese settlements, and protect Sinhalese business interests, such as those taking sand from the beaches.