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Families of missing persons under Kumaratunga regime revive protest in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 March 2015, 23:45 GMT]
Around 800 Tamil youth were forcefully disappeared in Jaffna peninsula by the occupying Sri Lankan military under Chandrika Kumaratunga's rule between 1996 and 1998 when Tamils returned to Jaffna peninsula, which was seized by the SL military in 1995 through Operation Riviressa. The family members, who have been struggling to know the whereabouts of their kith and kin for years and were looking for answers through international investigations, have revived their protest in front of Jaffna District Secretariat on Wednesday after learning that the United Nations, under the influence of Washington and New Delhi, is now trying to promote domestic investigation mechanism of Colombo by diluting the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) process from evolving into international investigations.

Missing Peoples Guardians Association revives protest in Jaffna
Missing Peoples Guardians Association formed in 1998 revives protest in Jaffna

The protesting family members demanded a direct appointment with SL president Maithiripala Sirisena through the Sri Lankan Government Agent in Jaffna.

After standing out and protesting for 1 hour from 10:30 a.m., the protesting mothers forcefully entered the office room of the SLGA and demanded an appointment with SL president. The mothers said they had no trust in internal investigations.

One of the protesting mothers told TamilNet that the families had collected 10,000 signatures in 1998 demanding excavations of Chemma'ni mass graves. “We have done all possible protests in the past. Now, we were expecting justice through international mechanisms. We are disturbed by the fact that the UN is also diluting the delivery of international justice by trusting Colombo to conduct domestic investigations,” the mother said.

In 1998, a Sri Lankan soldier, Lance Corporal Somaratne Rajapaksa, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Tamil girl K Krishanthi, had revealed to the courts that between 300 - 400 people who disappeared after the Sri Lanka army took control of the Jaffna peninsula were buried in these graves.

On Wednesday, the protesting mothers in Jaffna said all internal investigations under Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickramasinghe had previously failed and that they had no trust in domestic mechanisms. Some of the activists who were spearheading the protest under the Missing Persons' Guardian Association (MPGA) in late 1990's have now passed away.

The protesters marched towards SL governor's office and to the office of the Chief Minister of Northern Province.

NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran met the protesting mothers and received their appeal.

The families said most of the missing in 1996-1998 were either arrested by the SL military at Naavatkuzhi entry point to Jaffna or abducted by white-van squads that were roaming the streets of occupied Jaffna.

The protesters condemned TNA politicians for failing to express solidarity with their protest despite their direct invitation to several TNA politicians in Jaffna.

NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan was the only TNA politician to be present. Ms Sasitharan said she took part in the protest as a victim and not as a politician.

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