TNA demands international commission to probe Sivaram murder

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 May 2005, 10:16 GMT]
Mr.R.Sampanthan, parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Friday demanded in Sri Lanka's parliament that the government should take steps to constitute an international commission of inquiry comprising of impartial and qualified persons from the countries in the SAARC region, like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and from the Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and canto to investigate all aspects of the murder of journalist Mr.D.Sivaram.

Mr.Sampanthan opened the special debate on the murder of Mr.D.Sivaram by moving an adjournment motion in the parliament Friday.

The adjournment motion is given below:

"1.Mr.Dharmaretnam Sivaram, a reputed journalist was abducted and brutally murdered on 28th April 2005.

"2. He was abducted on the Galle Road in front of Bambalapitya Police Station, forced into a luxury vehicle and taken away. His body was recovered some hours later close to the Parliamentary complex with in a high security zone.

Mr.Sampanthan"3. Mr.Sivaram left behind a young widow and three teen aged children to whom the abduction and killing has come as a rude shock.

"4. Mr.Sivaram's abduction and murder is brutal assault on the right to freedom of thought and the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The motive of the murder was to silence the pen of Mr.Sivaram. The crime has fascist orientations and needs to be roundly condemned.

”5. The crime is also a threat top free and fearless journalism in this country.

"6. It is imperative that the crime should be fully and properly investigated and the truth ascertained.

"7. Condemnation by government personalities and statements that proper investigations would be conducted provide no guarantee whatsoever that justice would be done.

"8. Our experience in the past has been that such assurances of free and fair investigations have not been honoured.

"9. We therefore ask the Government to take steps to constitute an international commission of inquiry comprising of independent impartial and qualified persons to investigate all aspects of the crime and submit its finding. We call upon all right thinking people in the country to support the call for the constitution of an independent impartial international commission of inquiry.

"This is the substance of my motion and may I say a few words in support of it," said Mr.Sampanthan.

Mr.Sampanthan said: -

"Mr.Sivaram popularly known by his nom de plume Taraki was an outstanding journalist. He was respected by the journalistic community and reading public for his brilliance as a political and military analyst of events and situations. His language was precise and there was clarity in what he wrote. He was no mere storyteller.

"Mr.Sivaram's abduction and murder is a brutal assault on the right to freedom of thought, expression and opinion the most valued human and fundamental rights in a free and democratic society.

"Mr.Sivaram was not an armed person. He did not carry a weapon even for his self-defence. He was not a member of an armed organisation. He was not intelligence operative. He was a dedicated journalist engaged in deep thought about what he wrote, engaged in forming opinions based up on his deep thought and analysis and engaged in giving expression to his opinion and findings, buttressed by facts and other relevant material. Any article he wrote was excellent reading for it's sheer intelligence and masterly presentation. The motive of the murder was to silence the pen of Mr.Sivaram. Sivaram's killing has fascist-orientations. As I have said in my motion this crime is a threat to free and fearless journalism in this country. If this trend continues free and fearless journalism could be come the victim of the jackboot of fascism. If this trend were not stopped democracy would soon be dead in this country.

"The circumstances pertaining to the abduction and killing of Sivaram are most disturbing and alarming. He was abducted on the Galle Road in front of Bambalapitya police station, a heavily manned and comparatively big police station within the city of Colombo, by several persons who felt free to act without any restriction to their movement. He was forced into a luxury vehicle and taken away. His body was recovered some hours later close to Parliamentary complex in a high security zone. These abductors and killers have acted with impunity. They have acted with the confidence that long-arm of the law cannot and will not reach them. They seem to have been quite sure of that. This conclusion is irresistible in the context of Sivaram having been abducted by several persons in front of the a heavily manned and comparatively big police station with the city of Colombo and his body having been recovered shortly thereafter within a high security zone close to parliamentary complex. The perpetrators were able to execute this foul deed without any hindrance at all, within the radius of a few miles of the city of Colombo. That is why we ask for an independent, impartial, international Commission of Inquiry comprising of qualified persons. Such persons can be appointed from the countries in the SAARC region like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and from the Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

"Sivaram's stature as a journalist and the manner of his killing makes it imperative that the Sri Lankan State should leave no stone unturned in ascertaining the truth. I am sorry to state that the steps thus for taken do not inspire confidence. Sivaram has left behind a young widow and three teen-aged children who are entitled to justice. It would be grave mistake by the Sri Lankan State to deny justice to that young family. The Sri Lankan State owes a duty to Sri Lankan society to ensure that the culprits are brought before the law. I am sorry to state that the action that the Sri Lankan State has taken thus far do not event inspire the impression that the Sri Lankan State is attempting to do so.

"There is a need for the persons responsible for the maintenance of law and order in this country to answer before an independent, impartial Commission of Inquiry for Sivaram's death and all the circumstances relating thereto. The Government should not fail in its duty.

"Before I conclude there is an appeal to all members of this House. Please keep this Debate at clean level. Please be aware of the grave tragedy that had been caused by the killing of a very intelligent very capable, very dedicated and very competent journalist. Please be aware that he has left behind a young family. We have a duty by them. We are debating matters relating to the death of a dedicated reputed and respected journalist. It is true that in this country many people have died since Independence. I think, from 1956, which was the year of the first ethnic riots in this country many leaders have been killed in this country by different forces at different times. We are all ware of that. There are many sordid stories that every one can relate. But let us confine ourselves to Mr.Sivaram, the journalist and manner in which he was killed and the duty that this House owes to Mr.Sivaram, his family and our society".

 

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