Tamil Diplomat

Mayor of Jaffna arrested and detained by TID: Tamil political leaders demand his release

Jaffna Municipal Council Mayor Attorney at law Viswalingam Manivannan was arrested Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) at around 2.30am on Friday morning and  taken to Vavuniya for further inquiries.

The uniform of the Health Monitoring Committee set up under the name of Jaffna Municipal Enforcement Division resembled the light blue dress of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Police. He was arrested on charges that the setting up this Enforcement Division with the blue colour uniform was an attempt to revive the banned LTTE in Sri Lanka.

Jaffna Municipal Council Mayor  V. Manivannan and Jaffna Municipal Council member V. Parthiban were summoned to the Jaffna Police Station yesterday evening to give a statement.

The two were told by police that the matter would no longer be handled by the counter-terrorism unit.  Confessions were obtained from them at 8 p.m. thereafter, the TID arrested  Manivannan around 2.30 am.

Following this, Manivannan handed over the documents and his vehicle  key to Parthipan, and he was immediately taken to Vavuniya by the TID.

Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said the Mayor was arrested in connection with offences of the Prevention under Terrorism Act  (PTA), according to the gazette notification published on August 11, 2011.

Five men attached to the Jaffna Municipal Council, were deployed in Jaffna town to perform police duties, he said.

“The Jaffna police were alerted about the five men and their outfit. The Jaffna Police and Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) conducted investigations into this and it was disclosed that the uniforms worn by the five men were similar to the ones worn by the de facto LTTE cops during the war,” he said.

Tamil political parties have strongly condemned the arrest of Manivannan.

Parliamentarian and the spokesperson for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) M.A Sumanthiran said that the government wanted to keep the Tamil people in constant fear and that the arrest of  Manivannan was an expression of this act.

” Obstacles are caused when the Jaffna Municipal Council, like other Municipal Councils in this country, seeks to make full use of the powers of the Municipal Councils” Sumanthiran further said.

“The @TnpfOrg  unreservedly condemns the arrest of Manivannan by the TID and calls for his immediate release. The severe racial and political insecurities of this regime have reached such heights that a steady path towards fascism is inevitable”. Parliamentarian and TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said in a twitter post. 

Parliamentarian and former Minister Mano Ganesan said Manivannan’s arrest had caused anger and frustration.

Meanwhile, the arrest of Manivannan has been strongly condemned on social media. Many denounce this as an act of psychological intimidation of the Tamil people and the government’s unwillingness to grant the Tamil people even the right to manage a small town.