Batticaloa civil authority pressures relatives to declare missing persons dead
[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 September 2011, 12:16 GMT]
Civil authority in Batticaloa district has been forcing kith and kin of persons missing after arrest or abduction to obtain death certificates stating that the missing victims are dead, according to the relatives. With the end of the war intelligence wing of the Sri Lanka Army, paramilitary groups of Karuna and Pilliayan had abducted and disappeared several Tamil civilians in Batticaloa district. Batticaloa District Secretariat has been now begun issuing death certificates to the abducted persons with the declaration by the aggrieved parties that the missing were dead.
More than three hundred persons had been reported disappeared between the year 2007 and 2011 in the Batticaloa district, according to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Mr.P.Selvarasa.
Relatives of 138 of the missing had made representations to Mr. Selvarasa.
The parliament had approved a legislation to issue death certificates to persons who were missing after such abduction and arrest.
Currently the district secretariats in the north and eastern provinces have been issuing death certificates on declaration by the kith and kin of the missing persons.
However, many relatives of missing persons are reluctant to submit such declaration as that no action has been taken by the authority concerned over their complaints lodged with the police stations that their kith and kin were missing after the abduction and arrest by the SLA intelligence division and para military groups after 2007.
The relatives continue to believe that missing relatives are alive somewhere in army camps and police stations. Hence they are unwilling to declare that their missing relatives are dead, affected parties say.
Several relatives of missing persons had given statements and evidence at the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) sitting held in Batticaloa appealing to locate their missing loved ones and are awaiting for the LLRC report.
Relatives said that the authorities should at least wait for the LLRC report and determine if the authors provide a clear answer to the whereabouts of their missing relatives before forcing them to declare that their relatives are indeed dead.