Arrest Of Jaffna Mayor Manivannan

Attorney At Law

by  C.V. Wigneswaran, Colombo Telegraph, April 10, 2021 –

C.V. Wigneswaran

The arrest of Mayor Viswalingam Manivannan gives food for thought. Few days ago a “B” Report is said to have been filed in the Chief Magistrate’s Court against me. I still do not know what the contents of the B report are. An arrest is possible. Then there were the questioning of Tamil Journalists. In Parliament whenever Tamil perceptions are aired by Tamil Representatives immediately there are vicious and loud protests from Government ranks and sometimes from the Opposition ranks too. Tamil Members of Parliament are always ridiculed and disturbed when they refer to Tamil perceptions or Tamils’ sufferings or governmental excesses. Today a young Tamil Parliamentarian took up a privilege issue in Parliament against a Sinhala Parliamentarian who had said that the former must be interrogated by Police for declaring certain Tamil sentiments in Parliament! Now Mayor Manivannan, a popularly elected Mayor, who is a successful lawyer by profession, has been taken into custody for embellishing some Municipal Employees with uniforms which to the authorities resemble Tiger Uniforms!

All these are centered around some purported connection to the LTTE. LTTE was officially destroyed in 2009. Even those who surrendered to the Military in the presence of witnesses simply disappeared! So they do not exist or their whereabouts are known only to the government forces. The government has said many times that there is no evidence at all of the LTTE regrouping. If so why this irrational distrust of the Tamils or paranoia about LTTE and Tiger uniforms? Are the ghosts of brutally killed Tamils disturbing our powers that be?

Mayor Manivanan when he officially functioned as a Mayor and took certain steps in the course of his duties he is being subjected to questioning by the TID. What Mr. Manivannan did was very similar to what the Colombo Municipal Council did.

We are told that the uniform given to the Municipal Workers in Jaffna resemble the uniform used by the LTTE police force. But in fact it resembles the uniform given to similar workers in the Colombo Municipal Council.

If there is similarity between the uniform of the LTTE and the uniform given to the Jaffna Municipal workers and if the powers that be in Colombo are mentally disturbed about it, then the proper thing to do would have been for the mentally disturbed authorities to advise the Mayor to withdraw those uniforms and replace them with uniforms more plausible to their tastes. Making such a fuss about uniforms used 12 years ago shows the extent to which the Government has become paranoid with regard to the LTTE.

Such light blue uniforms are common among security organizations in many countries. If there be any differences between the CMC uniforms and MC uniforms the powers that be could resort to a “standardization” process among the uniforms and set the specimen uniform for use by all Provinces.

The arrest of Mayor Manivannan may have other implications. Sometime ago the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka visited Jaffna. He met  Mayor Manivannan and discussed power sharing and other similar matters.

Are there hidden agenda being worked out by the Government after its poor performance in Geneva? Let us wait and see. The TID arresting under the PTA the Mayor and questioning him, a Lawyer, for over six hours, spells doom for the Government. It was I who alluded to the Ides of March quite some time ago. They have come and gone. The Government is no more in good terms with the Free World. Let the Government rethink about its activities and mend its ways. Economically it is in dire state. May be that fact needs to be covered by gimmicks of this nature from reaching the People!

If the Government thinks that such questioning and incarceration of Tamils in important positions in society would prevent Tamils from asking for their lost rights it would be sadly mistaken. Already the repression by various Sri Lankan Governments against its minorities is quite well known internationally. In 1983 Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon returned from the Middle East and said Sri Lanka has become a pariah State. He had witnessed many incidents that took place in Sri Lanka on TV live. These recent activities will corroborate the facts already known the world over. The more the repression the determination of the Tamils will grow ten-fold.

*Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, M.P.

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