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Court refuse police demand to ban Thileepan memorial motorcade

A court in Sri Lanka’s northern province rejected a petition for an injunction order filed by the Mullaitivu Police requesting prohibition on peaceful motorcades and parades arranged to memorialise the sacrifice of Thileepan. The Police filed the petition under section 106 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, contending that the said motorcade posed a threat to peace, promoted discord amongst ethnicities and that the encouragement of such memorialisation would create an atmosphere conducive to LTTE’s resuscitation.

Rejecting all the Police’s contentions, On 19 September 2023, the Mullaitivu Magistrate said that it was well-known that Thileepan was someone who fasted unto death, a form of peaceful protest, and that the Police had failed to prove how memorialising him in peaceful ways would impede peace and reconciliation.

Going further, the court acknowledged that since Thileepan has a special place in Tamil’s hearts and is considered a martyr, it is within their right to commemorate him. Conversely, it is the prohibition of such memorialisation that would, in reality, lead to a breach of peace amongst the public, and would also be tantamount to a denial of individual rights and freedom.

To the claims that such memorialization amounted to a crime under sections 120 and 185 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, Police Ordinance, sections 3 (1) and (2) of the ICCPR Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act and Motor Traffic Act, the court retorted that all these enactments have their own provisions if those that involved in memorialisation committed a breach; therefore a blanket injunction order is unnecessary and unwarranted.

The court finally reaffirmed the right of the Tamils to memorialise Thileepan and dismissed the petition.

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