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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Relatives have complained to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that security
force personnel in a white van arrested Selvarasa Ravichandran on 8 February and
took him towards Amparai. An arrest receipt was not issued and his whereabouts
are unknown. The STF arrested four fishermen, including M Sutharsan, 17, and two
drivers in late February in Akkaraipatru and Kalmunai.
In Batticaloa District, the HRC received 214 complaints relating to disappearances in 2000. HRC say there is no information about 13 people. In Amparai District, 263 complaints were received and ten civilians have disappeared. Batticaloa residents R Uthayaraja and his mother A Uthayarani who went to Colombo to obtain passports are missing. In a clash at Soorankal in Trincomalee in mid-February, two soldiers and three Tigers were killed.
In Vavuniya District, the court has ordered an investigation into the death of
Jeyanthy Veerasingham, 25, who arrived from the Vanni on 16 February and was
ordered to report at the Sanasa Army camp the next day. She reported at the camp
and was taken to the 21 Brigade Army headquarters. On 18 February, the Army
handed over her body to the Vavuniya hospital, claiming that she committed
suicide by taking cyanide. Reports say S Sivalingam, 24, who went to Sanasa camp
on 14 January on the orders of the Army has disappeared.
In Mannar District, the Army arrested firewood seller K Uthayakumar, 42, at his residence on on Mannar Island on 28 February. His dead body was handed over to the Mannar hospital later. Mr Uthayakumar was a refugee from Jaffna. In the first five days of February, the Army arrested 25 refugees on Mannar Island. Their whereabouts are unknown. They were all refugees from Vidataltivu area on the mainland. Further south in Puttalam District, 400 Tamils were rounded-up in a search operation on 1 February and 40 were detained at the Chilaw police station.
T Suhendran was arrested by the Army on 19 February while working in a shop at Anaikottai. Relatives say that the Army did not issue an arrest receipt. The Human Rights Commission has received complaints that Suthumalai bakery worker K Gajendran, 17, was taken to Manipai military camp in early February and brutally assaulted. Three youths who had obtained security force passes to travel to southern Sri Lanka were arrested when they went to the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority in Jaffna town to obtain travel tickets.
Prolonged detentions without charge or trial continue to cause concern. Jaffna
resident Sivarajah Sutharsan was released by court in late February. He had been
detained at Kalutara prison for two years without trial. Meanwhile, press
reports say that 75 Tamil detainees in Kalutara prison were transferred to
Boossa detention centre in Galle District, 40 miles further south, allegedly for
security reasons. The Boossa detention centre has been notorious in the past for
torture and ill-treatment of Tamil detainees and was closed after protests.
Thambirajah Yogarajah who was arrested at Anuradhapura while travelling from Colombo to Vavuniya has disappeared. The police have denied his arrest. Reports say that 128 Tamils, arrested under the Immigrants and Emigrants Act for attempting to leave the country illegally are currently in Negombo prison and Colombo’s Welikada prison without bail. Under the law, the Magistrates Court has no jurisdiction to grant bail while the case continues. In mid-February, 62 detainees applied to the Colombo High Court for bail. (British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, February 2001)