Vavuniya pre-schools call for immediate release of TRO workers

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 April 2006, 12:48 GMT]
Staff, children and parents of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala Preschools in Vavuniya marched in protest to the Government Secretariat, demanding the safety and release of the seven Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) staffers who were abducted on 29-30 January and are still missing, TRO officials in Vavuniya said. They handed over a memorandum addressedto Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse to Vavuniya Government Agent (GA), T. Sinnathamby, Tuesday morning at the Vavuniya Government Secretariat.

Vavuniya demanding release of abducted TRO staffers.
Vavuniya demanding release of abducted TRO staffers.
Mr. Kasinathar Ganeshalingam, TRO's Pre School Education Development Center (PSEDC) North-East Province Secretary, is one of the missing staffers.

Excerpts from the memorandum signed by 380 preschool teachersas follows:

On the 29-30th in January 2006, the preschool staff of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and its personnel, on their way to attend courses, were abducted by unknown men near the Sri Lanka police station in Welikanda in the Polannaruwa district. Seven of the abductees have not been released yet.

Appeals made and memorandums submitted to your Excellency, by the Vavuniya district NGOs union and hundreds of NGOs, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the United Nation's development organizations demanding the release of the TRO staffers have failed to obtain release of the abductees.

These abductees are from destitute families who solely depend for existence on the income of the victims. The members of these families are suffering from mental anguish and loss of income.

One of the seven abductees, Mr. K. Ganeshalingam, TRO's Pre School Education Development Center (PSEDC) North-East Province Coordinator, was a key force in the development activities of preschools in the north and east and in creating healthy mental an physical conditions in children.

The Union of the Vavuniya District Non-government Organizations is concerned that persons involved in humanitarian service are allowed to suffer in captivity.

The attempt at painting an NGO in political hues has alarmed all organizations engaged in humanitarian work.

The United Nations Head Office too had issued a statement on the 1st of February 2006, requesting the release of the abductees.

TRO is an organization with International branches, which serves people of all districts in Sri Lanka, Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims. Besides, it is a registered humanitarian organization with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Union of Colombo Humanitarian Organizations.

TRO works with hundreds of preschools in Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim districts, adhering to the preschool policies of the GoSL.

In addition, TRO has rendered unparalleled service during tsunami disaster for all the victims, irrespective of their ethnicity or religion.

Child orphanages for the war affected children, Homes for Aged, Help projects for widows, Educational assistance to deprived children, Medical Facilities for the sick, Nutrition centres for the undernourished women and children, Projects in the spheres of education, health. agriculture, trade for people deprived and disabled by war are some of the humanitarian services TRO is engaged in. It has more than a thousand personnel actively participating in these humanitarian projects.

We, the Union of Vavuniya District Non-governmental Organizations, earnestly appeal to your Excellency to take early and necessary action to have these seven abducted TRO staff to be released immediately, enabling them to join their distraught families.

We tender this appeal through the Vavuniya district Government Agent and wait for your positive response and timely action, with hope and expectation.

On behalf of the families,

(sgd) President, Secretary and members of Pre School Education Development Centre, North-East provinces.

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