SLA, Police complicit in white van abductions- SL Minister

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 May 2008, 02:18 GMT]
"I have received information that Sri Lanka Police personnel and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were involved in several white van abductions. Reluctance of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other law enforcement officials to take timely steps to investigate these crimes is clear evidence of widespread violations of human rights and breakdown of law and order," said Sri Lankan Deputy Minister for Vocational Training and Industrial Education, P. Rathakrishnan, during a meeting with the relatives of the disappeared held late last week at the Colombo 14 offices of the Upcountry People's Front (UPF), Tamil daily Thinakkural reported in the Sunday edition.

“Tamil people are facing daunting challenges, complex existential difficulties, and mental trauma due to escalating abductions, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests. The number of detainees held in the jails, Boosa detention camp, and in the 401 Police stations across Sri Lanka by the Terrorism Investigating Divisions (TID), Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and the Police are creating conditions leading to egregious human rights violations,” said the Minister.

"Neither our alliance with the Government nor the fear of losing our positions of power will force us to remain silent when Tamils rights are violated by the Security Forces.

"More than 30 upcountry youths have been arbitrarily arrested in Piliyandala and Weliveriya areas. Every Tamil must be fully cognizant of the attempt by some politicians to paint upcountry Tamils as supporters of Liberation Tigers," Rathakrishnan said.

The relatives complained to the Sri Lanka Minister that serious human rights violations are taking place in Boosa and other TID detention centers, and that the officials are refusing to allow the relatives to take much needed medications to the detainees in held in these camps, the paper said. Boosa officials are creating obstacles to their visitations by demanding the relatives to produce unnecessary documentation, and deliberately waste time in checking the elderly parents who had come to see their sons and daughters amid severe travel difficulties, the relatives further told the Minister.

The Minister said that he has received complaints of 93 abductions between January 16 and May 15. In this list the following 12 were identified to be in detention with Sri Lanka Police:
  • Markandu Suman
  • Pathmanathan Jeyes
  • Chitravel Sivanandan
  • Karthigesu Sivaji
  • Velamuththu Rosemary
  • Velamuththu Nithyayini
  • Pachchaikkani Shanmuganathan
  • Thambapillai Gajan
  • Ganesan Selvarajan
  • Sivalingam Aruran
  • Rafal Bernard, and
  • Thomas Anton George
Further 22 identified persons in the list have been released after severe torture. Details of the remaining 59 persons are not known, Mr Rathakrishnan said.

Added to those disappeared, the Minister said, a total of 290 Tamils are still being detained which included:
  • 192 Tamils including 9 women, under detention in Boosa, and
  • 98 Tamils including 13 women detained by the TID
Mr Radhakrishnan assured the relatives that he is assiduously working towards stepping up pressure on Colombo by publishing a detail list of the disappeared and filing fundamental rights cases on a set of detainees.

He also said he has scheduled meetings with Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse, Minister of Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, and the IGP.

Mr Radhakrishnan added that he will not hesitate to take courageous political action to ensure that Colombo attends to resolving the serious matter related to detainees and disappearances that affect mainly Tamils.


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