Jaffna missing persons' parents continue protest
[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 November 2001, 08:14 GMT]
"Arrests, deaths and destruction will continue in our land until our struggle succeeds. To put an end to such tragedies we have to succeed in our people's struggle. If we speak out for our nation then we shall win our struggle for which blood is being spilled," said Rev. Fr. T. Jeyakumar, the head of the Human Development Centre (HUDEC), addressing a demonstration and protest sit in near the Muniappar temple in Jaffna town Saturday by more than 200 parents and relatives of persons who went missing after being arrested by the Sri Lanka army in 1996-97 in the northern peninsula. The protest was organised by the Missing Persons' Guardian Association (MPGA) and the Jaffna Mothers' Front. "We will continue the protest tomorrow as well," the secretary of the MPGA told Tamilnet.
The Jaffna University Students' Council President, the President of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, Mr. Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, and the leader of the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front and several community leaders were present at the protest.
More than 600 civilians, mostly young men and women, who were arrested by the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna during 1996-97, are missing. All are believed to have been murdered. Despite many appeals and protests by the MPGA and other community organisations in Jaffna for more than four years, the Sri Lankan government is yet to expedite investigations on evidence found so far.
Evidence emerged in 1998 that many of the missing persons were buried in mass graves in Chemmani near Jaffna town following revelations by a SLA corporal convicted of gang raping and murdering the schoolgirl Chryshanthi Kumarasamy.
Human skeletal remains and other material evidence were found in several sites dug and investigated by forensic experts under court order.
But further investigations appear to have been shelved by the Sri Lankan government, say the parents and relatives of the missing youth.