Parents visit Sinhala soldiers in LTTE custody

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 March 2007, 23:06 GMT]
The parents and relatives of five soldiers of Sri Lanka armed forces currently in custody of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) visited the soldiers in Kilinochchi Wednesday, LTTE sources in Kilinochchi said. The Red Cross facilitated the visit. The group arrived in Kilinochchi from Vavuniya and met the soldiers at a remand prison of the Thamileelam Police around 11:00 a.m. in the presence of V. Aravindan, Probation Officer of Thamileelam Police , Kumarasamy Kanagalingam, the Chief Inspector of Thamileelam Police and Selvaretnam Jeyapalan, the Chief Prison Guard.

Parents and visitors had meal together and and stayed until 2:30 p.m, according to the officials at Thamileelam Police.

Samantha Weerasinghe of Gemunu Watch was arrested with serious injuries when the LTTE repulsed the Sri Lanka Army's (SLA) advance at Muhamalai Forward Defense Lines (FDL). Tamil Eelam Sea Tigers at Point Pedro Sea captured the other four sailors, P. Samiththa Kumarasevake, M. A. M. Kumarasri, Indika Dishanth Pitiyakumbara and Anil Priyanke Madatheniya in a battle with the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN).

Mrs. Ariyadasa Surendrapadmini, the mother of Madatheniya, spoke to the media after the visit.

"My son joined the service not with the intention of fight the Tamils. Our family is very poor. This poverty compelled him to join the Navy. Though I have heard that my son participated in a sea battle, I was not aware what had happened to him. When I went to the Naval office and enquired about my son, they told me that my son went missing following the battle with LTTE. Later we found out from newspapers that he was captured by the LTTE.

"Today, I am relieved to see my son alive. My son said that he is being looked after well and not to worry about him. I wish there is an end to this conflict, and Tamil and Sinhala people live together in peace.

Parents visited Sinhala soldiers
Mr. Kumarasevake, a sailor, said, "My wife is living alone at home. We are a very poor and my family depends only on my income. I have been in the Navy for the last 8 years.

"During the sea battle the Tigers attacked our Dvora and the ship started to sink. We jumped into the sea to save our lives. However, we were unable to swim and the Tigers saved us. The LTTE is treating us as one of their own people not as prisoners of war. The government should take actions to obtain our release," he added.

P. Weerasinghe, the father of the soldier Samantha Weerasinghe, said: "My son was arrested by LTTE when he was engaged in a military operation in the Tamil area. Many of my son's comrades died in the fighting. I am happy my son is alive, even though he is in the custody of LTTE. I have talked to the Army about the release of my son. However, they are not interested in obtaining his release and tell us that the ICRC is talking to the Tigers.

Parents visited Sinhala soldiers
"The Sri Lanka government should release the Tamil prisoners in the prisons in South and obtain the release of my son. I will never allow any of my other sons to join the armed forces. When I visited the first time, I was very happy to see my son receiving the needed treatment in the hospital. I went home and told everybody about this.

"None of the media in South is helping us to obtain the release of my son. Although I am worried, I am happy on the other hand that the Tigers are looking after him well," he added.

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