On May 12th, four individuals were arrested in the Sampur area of Trincomalee district for allegedly distributing porridge in remembrance of their deceased relatives. The arrests, carried out by the Sampur police, included Kamleswaran Vijitha (40), Kamaleswaran Themila (22), Selva Vinod Kumar Sujani (40), and Navaratna Raja Harihara Kumar (43). Reports indicate that the police forcibly took the individuals from their homes, with media highlighting the harsh treatment of some women during the process.

The police had obtained a court order prohibiting the distribution of porridge to prevent commemorations. This incident occurs despite the 2016 recommendation by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission to ensure the ‘right to commemorate.’ The police have justified the detentions by referencing the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), stating an investigation is underway.

The Young Journalists Association of Sri Lanka has called for an immediate investigation into the incident and actions against the involved officers. The Association stresses that preventing commemorations in the North and East, while similar activities proceed in the South, highlights a disregard for justice, reconciliation, and the rights of victims. This incident underscores the ongoing challenges and the need for a respectful approach to reconciliation in Sri Lanka’s post-conflict era.

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