A high level team of senior law officials from Colombo flying to Jaffna, to ban ongoing memorial events for a Tamil Tiger leader who died 36 years ago in a non-violent struggle, have returned empty handed.
On 22nd September 2023 the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court reaffirmed its decision not to issue an injunction prohibiting the memorialisation of Thiyagi Thileepan.
Rasaiah Parthipan, widely known as Thileepan protesting the occupying Indian army, died in a 11 days long fast-unto-death on 26 Sept 1987. A memorial motorcade in his memory that set off from the eastern coast of Pottuvil is continuing its journey amid earning tributes from the public.
Two days ago, the Jaffna Magistrate had dismissed a petition for an injunction order under section 106 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act filed by the Jaffna Police on 19 September 2023 to prohibit the memorialisation of Thileepan, on the ground that Thiyagi Thileepan is held in high esteem in Tamil people’s hearts and it is within their right to memorialise him in peaceful ways.
In response, a team including the director of police legal division, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalinga Jayasinghe and Senior State Counsel Saminda Wickrama of the Attorney General’s Department, flew to Jaffna from Colombo on a helicopter to file another petition urgently.
The petition claimed that the memorialisation needed to be banned as it was morphing into and taking a violent overtone. Citing an incident involving the destruction of footage on a phone taken by a CID officer in Vavuniya, they claimed that the prohibition was required to curb the spread of violence.
Rejecting these claims as baseless, the court ordered that a blanket prohibition on memorialisation is unwarranted as it would interfere with individual rights and liberties and that if any violence or crime were to occur as the Police claim, they could take action against the offenders accordingly.