Colombo offensive claims civil victims- Washington Post
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 April 2008, 11:50 GMT]
"...[U]nder a recent military offensive to wipe out those rebels [from LTTE], government forces have abducted hundreds of members of the Tamil minority group, including civilians, according to human rights groups. Many of the "disappeared" never turn up again," Washington Post said in an article in the Tuesday edition, adding, "Abductions are carried out in various ways, according to activists and relatives of those who have disappeared. Sometimes Tamil men of fighting age are rounded up at checkpoints, hurried into white vans and never heard from again. Sometimes they are arrested with little explanation in house-to-house raids at night."
Tamil mother wailing (courtesy: Washington Post)
"The government denies that abductions have become widespread and says heightened vigilance at checkpoints is necessary -- even if Tamils complain of ethnic profiling. Authorities cite the danger of suicide bombings, like one that killed more than a dozen people, including members of a high school baseball team, in February," the paper said.
The article quoted rights activists as saying, "President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his lieutenants are intent on eliminating the separatist insurgency known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, no matter the cost. They also say Sri Lanka's growing ties with Iran, China and Russia have emboldened the government to ignore criticism from the United States and other Western powers."
"The government arrests Tamils for being Tamil," the paper said quoting Mano Ganesan, parliamentarian and leader of the Civil Monitoring Commission in Colombo. "And they ask questions later. I hate terrorism. I don't want bombs to go off. But that doesn't mean the government should conduct mass arrests without even giving proof or updates to the families," the paper added.