From a Free Media Movement statement released last night:
Pakkiyanathan Vijayashanthan alias Vijayan, who had been a journalist and actor was reported missing today, 18th may 2007. He worked for a Tamil daily as a Trincomalee correspondent and later edited Samaadana Nokku, Tamil edition of Peace Monitor, a publication of the Centre for Policy Alternatives up to 2004. He was a part time actor, played a lead role in Tamil political drama. He left the country because of threatening environment and came back few months ago.
Vijayan (32) is married and father of two children.
FMM is shocked and dismayed that Vijayan who is a peaceful citizen, who was never involved in politics of violence, has been abducted in the broad daylight in the heart of Colombo city.
He was last seen by a friend at Borella (Colombo 08) near YMBA bookstore. He told the friend he would go to YMBA then return to Law and Society Trust, which is on Kynsey Terrace off of Kynsey Road Colombo 08, 25-50 meters away. They parted ways, but she then received a text from him at 12:37pm saying that he was out of credit and could not call, and that a man on a motorbike had stopped to ask for directions to SEDEC, another NGO located close by.
His wife Tanuja tried calling him repeatedly after this, but kept receiving a recorded message that his phone was not available. She made a formal complaint at Borella Police Station this afternoon. The Human Rights Commission has also been notified.
The family of Vijayan makes an urgent plea to anyone who may have seen something suspicious this afternoon between 12:30pm and 1:30 in the vicinity of Austin Place between Borella and Kynsey Road.
Free Media Movement requests whoever abducted him to release him without doing any harm. In FMM opinion it is the duty of the government to ensure that rule of law prevails in the country, and citizens’ rights are protected.
FMM requests the government to act immediately to investigate the abduction of Pakkiyanathan Vijayashanthan in an open and transparent manner.
Editors note: Vijayan was a former colleague at CPA. Both of us worked closely with Kethesh Loganathan, at the time the Head of the Peace and Conflict Analysis Unit and a Director of CPA, who in August 2006 was brutally killed in his home in Dehiwela. His killers are still at large. Now Vijayan is missing. When people you know and have worked with suddenly disappear or are killed, it brings home the the grim reality of the real tragedy behind the numbers of those abducted and missing in Sri Lanka, which according to the Civil Monitoring Committee, stands at over a hundred to date and is, incredibly, growing apace.