Catholic priest reported missing in Allaipiddy, Jaffna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 13:17 GMT]
Rev.Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown, Age 34, Parish Priest Allaippiddy, Jaffna is reported missing since 20 August 2006, according to a news release issued by the NorthEast Secretariat of Human Rights.

Full text of the news release issued by NESoHR follows:

Missing Catholic priest, Allaippiddy-Jaffna since 20 August 2006

Rev.Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown, Age 34, Parish Priest Allaippiddy, Jaffna is reported missing since 20 August 2006. A lay person, Mr.Wenceslaus Vincent Vimalan, age 38 who accompanied the priest is also missing.

Fr.Jim Brown was taking care of his Allaippiddy parish people, about 800 in number now staying as refugees at St Marys Church in Kayts and went to say mass in Mandaitivu around 12.30 hrs. Permission was denied by the military to go to Mandaitivu and he proceeded to Jaffna from where he returned towards the islands along with Rev.Fr.Peter Thurairatnam, Parish Priest, Naranthanai-Kayts. Fr.Thurairatnam testifies to the fact that Fr.Jim Brown and the lay- person stopped at the Allaippiddy military check-point seeking permission to enter Allaippiddy to say Sunday Mass. Fr.Thurairatnam had seen the two entering Allaippiddy after being permitted by the military around 14.00 hrs. All this happened during the time curfew was relaxed. When it was found that these two persons have not returned to Kayts or Jaffna, another priest went to the check-point at Allaippiddy and made enquiries relating Fr.Jim Brown and Mr.Wenceslaus’s whereabouts and was reportedly told that both returned from Allaippiddy. But these two have still not shown up in any of the possible locations.

This mysterious disappearance has caused serious alarm among the clergy and the parishioners. It is appropriate to mention here that Fr.Jim Brown was appointed to the Allaippiddy parish only a month ago to succeed the earlier priest who was a witness to the Allaippiddy massacre and consequently faced threats to his life and therefore transferred out to Punakari outside military occupation. Incidentally, Fr.Jim Brown was the priest at Allaippiddy when the latest massacre took place and was the one who was responsible for the transport of the injured and was instrumental in arranging a judicial inquiry. It is feared therefore that Fr.Jim Brown and his companion may have been made to disappear by interested parties.

NESoHR, as the watch -dog of Tamil peoples’ human rights appeal to all concerned with human rights and the right to life to make urgent and effective intervention in this matter and ascertain the whereabouts of this young priest and the layman.

Rev.Fr.M.X.Karunaratnam
Chairperson,
NESoHR


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