Abductees released

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Two supporters of Mr. N. R. Ramamoorthy and N. R. Rameswaran, MPs for the Jaffna District, who were allegedly abducted by the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) on Friday, were released yesterday, said sources in Jaffna.

Ponraj and Selvam, who had been severely assaulted and kept in confinement for more than 48 hours, obtained medical reports about their condition from the Jaffna Hospital before lodging complaints with the police yesterday.

On Friday, Ponraj and Selvam were abducted from Ponraj's home near Navalar Road, in Jaffna Town around 1:30 p.m., by a group of about 20 persons allegedly belonging to the EPDP.

It was earlier reported that the supporters were abducted while they were having their lunch at the MP's residence at Navalar road.

The two had been beaten up before being shoved into a blue van and taken away, said Ponraj's wife who had witnessed the abduction.

N. R. Rameswaran, a former member of the EPDP who was sacked from the group and who now stands as an independent, informed the police of the incident.

The police however refused to entertain the complaint.

Mr. Rameswaran followed this by complaining to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna.

When even this failed to secure the release of the prisoners, a complaint was made to Brigadier Susantha Mendis, the Jaffna Brigade Commander.

On Saturday, Brig. Mendis was told that the two abductees were with the EPDP, but could not be released till permission was obtained from K. V. K. Jegan, EPDP's Chief Organiser for the Jaffna District.

The two persons were eventually released yesterday morning.

Following this, Mr. Rameswaran thanked the Sri Lanka Army, police and the media in securing the release of Ponraj and Selvam.

N. R. Rameswaran and N. R. Ramamoorthy, brothers, were earlier with the EPDP, but fell afoul of the party due to differences with its leader Douglas Devananda.

However a faction within the EPDP is known to be sympathetic to them, thereby undermining Mr. Devananda's authority in the party.

The dissidents are known to be backed by the Democratic People's Liberation Front (DPLF), the EPDP's sworn enemy in the Jaffna District.


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