Torture victim pursued into church
[TamilNet, Monday, 31 August 1998, 17:54 GMT]
A severely tortured Tamil youth who sought asylum in the Rambaikulam St. Anthony's church in Vavuniya while a mass was in progress was taken away by the Sri Lankan Police who were threatened by his captors - a Tamil paramilitary group operating with the SLA. Rambaikulam is a suburb of Vavuniya town.
Police sources in Vavuniya said that the youth had run into the church this morning, with chains on his feet and broken handcuffs from which the chains had come off, pursued by armed cadres of the PLOTE.
The youth had clung to the feet of the priest who was conducting the mass and had begged him to save his life from his captors who had meanwhile cocked their guns to kill him (the youth).
Parishioners at today's mass said that they had pleaded with the PLOTE cadres not to spill blood in the holy precincts and spare the youth.
The youth, according to them, had pleaded with the priest to save him from the PLOTE and hand him over to the Sri Lankan Police.
A Police party from a nearby sentry post that had come to the spot upon hearing the commotion and had taken the youth to Vavuniya despite being threatened by the PLOTE with dire consequences.
The Rambaikulam parishioners who witnessed the incident today said that neither the identity of the youth nor the circumstances of his capture and torture by the PLOTE are known.
Vavuniya Police said that investigations are under way.