Justice all what they want now | Daily News

Justice all what they want now

The arrest of the two media personnel operating the Tube Tamil YouTube channel and Facebook page has left their families in disarray. While diaspora groups exploit the youth in the North to promote the LTTE ideologies, in many instances, these vulnerable youngsters fall prey to their sinister plots. It has also been found that many diaspora groups identify avenues where they can donate funds for either building of homes for the needy or other community programmes, but sneakily encourage these vulnerable youngsters to promote the LTTE.

However, in this instance, pro-LTTE material had been posted on the Tube Tamil website which was hacked, according to Tube Tamil channel owner, Ravishankar Sugathevan. In an exclusive telephone interview from Denmark with the Daily News, he said that the Tube Tamil web domain had been hacked and taken over by a person from Tamil Nadu, India.

“We have made several complaints regarding this and currently, we only operate the YouTube channel and the Facebook page. I have been living in Denmark for over 25 years and I started this website around 14 years ago. My website Tube Tamil.com was hacked and taken over by someone from Tamil Nadu, India. This person contacted me and demanded Rs. one crore (Indian currency) (approximately US$ 140,095) to give it back. During this period he has misused my website and posted all pro-LTTE material. But, this website is not under my control,” he explained.

Ravishankar claims that he has nothing to do with the LTTE and in fact, is against them as they had targeted him as well. He had also written a book which is against the LTTE. However, he extended an apology for any issues that have arisen as a result of pro-LTTE material that has been posted on his website, for which he has no control over. On the contrary, unlike the Tamil politicians who try to use the plight of the Tamil people and try to gain their support by promoting the separatist ideologies, Ravishankar has been engaged in promoting racial harmony among all people of this country.

Vimalraj's wife Asha and their son

He said his news channel translates news from international channels such as BBC into Tamil and publishes them for the benefit of Tamils overseas. Through his Tube Tamil channel, he also provides food and other essentials to around 600 needy families on a daily basis. He said that he spends around Rs. 3.5 million on a monthly basis to support and feed these families, with monies donated by people and proceeds of his channel.

“In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, my staff worked 16 hours per day to provide food to the low-income families in the North. I also donated 10 washing machines to hospitals treating Corona patients and these were handed over to Army Commander General Shavendra Silva. A minister from Badulla also contacted me and wanted equipment for schoolchildren in the area which I obliged. I have also donated school essentials and assisted around 6,000 schoolchildren not only in the North but also in the estate areas. In addition, we are supporting around 340 children monthly with their educational expenses. We have also built houses for low-income families in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Killinochchi and Mannar,” he added, emphasizing that he has no intention of promoting or supporting the LTTE.

He noted that in fact, when he had wanted to make a movie during the LTTE period, they had blocked it and refused to allow him any access to invest in Sri Lanka. Hence, he said he even wrote a book against the LTTE and had no connection with them. The LTTE supporters in Denmark are also trying to influence the Tamil Diaspora community to follow their ideology.

Ravishankar said that he initially started this channel as a hobby and when he realised he would be able to support many needy communities through this venture, he had expanded its operations. He said that even for the opening of the Tube Tamil office in Jaffna, a Denmark Minister had accompanied him to Sri Lanka to participate in the ceremony. He said that his sole aim is to use his connections and privileges in order to help those in need in his home country. However, despite not being responsible for the material published on his hacked website, he extended his apologies to the authorities and people of Sri Lanka for the issue that has arisen.

Ravishankar assured that his employees were in no way affiliated or supportive of the LTTE in any way and that this whole fiasco is a huge misunderstanding due to his website being hacked. Hence, he appealed to the Sri Lankan authorities to properly investigate this issue and release his employees who have done nothing illegal and had in no way promoted any LTTE ideologies.

While Mugunthan Divania Nilushini Mann and Vimalraj Juvanish are currently in custody, their families, especially their children are the ones who are affected the most.

Divania’s eight-year-old daughter Aarani is autistic and cannot understand why her mother is missing from home. The child’s father had left Divania and the child and does not support either her or the child. Aarani walks aimlessly and tries to embrace any lady that resembles her mother’s appearance. She cannot speak or understand and she is currently being cared for by Divania’s parents - Seevaratnam Victor Loganathan Mann and Krishnaveni Victor Mann.

Divania was a talented athlete and she had even received an award of Rs. 3.5 million under the Sisu Udanaya programme and was training to compete at the Olympics in Marathon event under Asian games gold medallist Edirveerasingham. Her father Seevaratnam Victor Loganathan said that his daughter had met her husband during the training and had married him ruining her future in sports.

Appealing to the authorities, Divania’s father said, “My daughter got involved in this mess not out of her fault. But I appeal to the authorities to please consider the plight of my granddaughter Aarani and please release her from detention. This is a mistake and my daughter had no involvement in any LTTE activities. The LTTE did nothing for the people but only created misery for the people. Divania’s only intention was to serve the people due to her ambition to get involved in politics like her mother. I apologize to the authorities and to anyone concerned if any misunderstanding had taken place, but I assure everyone that my daughter had no LTTE affiliation nor did she believe in any LTTE ideology. Hence, please consider the plight of her small child who does not understand anything and release my daughter. My granddaughter has no father and please don’t separate the child from her mother too.” Divania is currently being detained in Tangalle.

Speaking to the Daily News, Vimalraj Asha, the wife of Vimalraj Juvanish who was also arrested for his involvement with the ‘Tamilkodi’ channel said that Vimalraj’s son is just five years old. Vimalraj was the breadwinner of their family and his wife is unemployed making it very difficult for them to survive. Vimalraj too has no connection with the LTTE and has been engaged in broadcasting social issues and facilitating community activities through the channel ensuring that monies sent by members of the Tamil Diaspora for the needy are channelled to the right projects.

As for Vimalraj’s son, his mother says that the five-year-old child does not eat properly and cries for his father especially at bedtime.

Meanwhile, moved by the plight of Divania’s autistic daughter Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekara had made arrangements for Divania to see her daughter and pacify the child. Through his mediation, permission was granted for the two detainees to see their children for a few minutes. It is commendable that even under the current situation, the law enforcement officials had shown compassion and allowed these children to see their parents.

On the other hand, now with the closing down of the Tube Tamil and TamilKodi channels, 29 employees have lost their jobs and many others indirectly involved have also lost their means of income. In addition, around 600 people are without the meals that were provided by these channels. The families of these two detainees said that the sad part is that had these two persons been involved in any LTTE activities, their arrests and detention would have been justified. But, under the present situation, where it is very clear that these channels have only been engaged in helping the people, and that whatever pro-LTTE material that had been posted on their website was not with their involvement, it would be ideal if these two detainees would be released at least on bail, given the current COVID situation in the country, while investigations continue.

The families of Divania and Vimalraj are optimistic that the authorities will realise that they had absolutely no connection with any LTTE front and free them from detention soon as May is the month of Vesak where compassion and empathy hold strong.

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal” – Steve Maraboli.

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