MPGA meeting with president inconclusive
[TamilNet, Monday, 29 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
A delegation from Jaffna which met the SriLankan President today told her that torture and disappearances continue in the Waligamam sector of the peninsula and that some of the youths reported missing are being held in army camps as informants.
The seventeen member delegation from the Jaffna Missing Persons Guardian Association (MPGA) which was taken by Douglas Devananda, leader of the EPDP, to meet the Sri Lankan President at 10.30 a.m. this morning had an audience with her eventually after waiting for five hours at 3.30 p.m. in the afternoon.
Douglas Devananda was accompanied by EPDP MPs S. Sivathasan, M.Chandrakumar, the group's advisors Dr. K. Vigneswaran and S. Thavarajah and Ms. Maheswari Velayutham, a human rights lawyer who is close to the EPDP leader and who is also the co-ordinator of the MPGA.
The meeting, according to Ms.Velayutham went on until 6 p.m. this evening.
The President told the delegation that the board of investigation of the MoD appointed to look into incidents of disappearances in Jaffna has come up with a report, according to which 854 complaints were recorded by the MoD committee, 150 missing persons have been traced by it, nine are confirmed killed and 695 are still to be accounted for.
The delegation asked her to provide them the report so that they could compare the MoD's list of missing and dead persons with that compiled MPGA.
The President, however, told them that she could not do so at the moment and that at least six months would be required to find the right answers.
She told them she will appoint an independent commission comprising lawyers, community leaders, priests etc.,
Kanesha Sarma, the Kaithady Kandasamy Kovil priest, who was on the delegation described how he had organised a ceremony to welcome the army to his area along with his son and many others and how that his son later went missing- his fate still unknown.
Kanesha Sarma and others alleged that the soldiers and officers who were stationed in Kaithady including those who were involved in the Krishanthy Kumaraswamy case were responsible for the other disappearances in the area.
Ms. Velayutham pointed out that more incidents were reported in Chavakachcheri sector. The President of the MPGA, Mr. Paramanatha Selvarajah and secretary Aiyampillai Sivarajah were also on the delegation.
28.11.97 Jaffna 'disappeared' are dead: Amnesty