Murder inquiry over the death of a Tamil man

News & Thoughts
by Poddi Malli and Sinna Thamby

(February 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)
Death of Selvaratnam Mahendran on 25 January 2008 after admittance to the Northwick Park Hospital in London in August 2007 following serious facial and head injuries is leading to a murder inquiry by the Metropolitan Police. Selvaratnam Mahendran is said to fifty years old, He is an unmarried man and is said to be from a place called Ariyalai in the northern Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka.

He was a victim of the war in Sri Lanka. He had taken refuge in France first and migrated to the UK some five years ago. He had done some menial work for few years in London. He progressed to become a full time alcoholic. He and some of his friends will roam around in the Wembley area. Their place of residence is a church cemetery yard on the main High Road in Wembley. They will sleep on the tomb stones even in the bitter cold weather. Any amount of persuasion to live proper accommodation and provision of service to arrest their dependency on alcohol did not produce any results.

These men beg from people on the streets and stand in front of the Alperton underground station and plead for copper and silver coins. This is their source of income to spend the day with the cans of lagers. They are to themselves and harmless chaps indeed! Alcohol dependency had made them physically and mentally weaker persons. One could without any difficulties come to the judgement about these chaps that they are full time alcoholics, as their facial appearances and the alcohol odour from few feet away will confirm everything about them.

The reasons behind Selvaratnam Mahendran’s serious head injuries are still not known. But what is admirable is the efforts of the state police service to get to the bottom of the incident to know everything that caused his death. His death is treated as murder and a full scale investigation is underway.

In a country like Britain even a pauper will get justice irrespective his cast, creed or values and Mahendran’s death is not exempt from this. When will this happen in Sri Lanka? Murder investigations and punishment through legal system have deterrent effects on people taking law into their own hands. In Sri Lanka the police sleep over the murder files and they themselves commit violent deaths whilst politicians peddle over any judicious process.

We Sri Lankans settled in Britain must say many thanks to security establishment for helping us to keep our limbs together in this country. If a police force like the Sri Lankan one is prevailed here what would have been our fate?