‘Unmask political forces behind staged abduction’- Nehru

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 October 2002, 16:22 GMT]
The Amparai district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Mr. A. Chandra Nehru asked the secretary to Sri Lanka’s Interior Ministry to take all possible steps unravel the mystery and identify the political forces behind the alleged ‘abduction’ of the Muslim youth who was found in his home Friday.

A hartal was called in the southeastern town of Akkaraipattu by supporters of the local Sri Lanka Muslim Congress MP, Mr. A. L. M Athaullah who claimed the Liberation Tigers had abducted the Muslim youth, Abdul Wajid on Tuesday.

Abdul Wajid is the brother of the paramilitary group cadre S. M Azmeer. Police sources in Akkaraipattu said that a group of paramilitary cadres had arrived in the town last weekend and had conferred with the supporters of Mr. Athaullah the night before the abduction of Wajid.

Both Mr.Athaullah, MP, and the leader of the paramilitary group, the EPDP, Mr. Douglas Devenanda issued statements on Wednesday condemning the LTTE for the abduction.

United National Party sources in the eastern town allege that the abduction of Wajid was staged to create a communal clash with the aim of destabilizing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government. Nine members of the SLMC, led by Athaullah boycotted Parliament recently demanding that the Muslims should have an autonomous region in the southeast, comprising the electorates of Pottuvil, Kalmunai and Sammanthurai. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance expressed support for the demand of the nine SLMC MPs.

Supporters of the SLMC leader Mr. Rauf Hakeem in the east allege that the dissidents are using the troubles instigated in Akkaraipattu to strike a deal with the PA and bring down the United National Front government.

At a conference held at the Akkaraipattu police station Friday morning, Mr. Chandra Nehru requested the Police not to release the Muslim youth till investigations are over.

Police sources in the eastern town said Friday that Wajid had come home in the early hours of the morning from Irakkamam, a Muslim village 12 kilometers west of Akkaraipattu. They had arrested the youth upon receipt of information from neighbours.

On the instruction of the Prime Minister, Interior Ministry Secretary Mr. M. N. Junaid with several top officials held a conference at the Akkaraipattu police station Friday morning.

"If necessary take him to Colombo and interrogate to find out the truth behind this staged abduction," Mr. Chandra Nehru told a group of top police officials who are investigating the matter.

The Sri Lanka Army has described the alleged abduction as an attempt by interested parties to derail the peace process, quoting security sources the State run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) reported in its noon news bulletin Friday.

"Finding of the youth at his home has confirmed that an attempt had been made to disrupt the peace process," said a statement issued by the Prime Minister's office Friday.

The members of the Sri Lanka Army and the Police Thursday night launched a massive cordon and search operation in Akkaraipattu and other suburbs to find out the hideout where the abducted youth had been kept. Security and police personnel were also brought down from outside the district also participated in the search operation. On Friday morning the abducted youth was found in his home," said the PM's office statement.

The police have already recorded a statement from the said Muslim youth. Officials of the Criminal Investigation Department who came from Colombo are now interrogating the youth at the Akkaraipattu police station, sources said.

In the meantime, another conference in this regard is to be held Friday evening around 4.30 at the Akkaraipattu police station, Amparai district MP Mr. Chandra Nehru said.


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