Political activists and leaders of the People’s Struggle Movement in Sri Lanka, Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam[1] and Ms. Dimithu Attygalle[2] disappeared on 6th April 2012.  Prior to their disappearance both activists had been preparing for the first convention of the Frontline Socialist Party, a party formed by a dissident group from the opposition party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP – meaning People’s Liberation FRont). FSP party members had received credible information that both activists were under intense Government surveillance, shortly before their disappearance. There is currently no information regarding their fate or whereabouts.

Mr. Gunaratnam was a key leader of the People’s Struggle Movement (PSM) and Ms. Attygalle was the Secretary for Women’s and International affairs of the organization, which was a forerunner to the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP).

Mr. Gunaratnam had been  instrumental in forming the FSP which was due to be launched officially on 9th April 2012 and he was expected to be appointed as its head.  The PSM has campaigned actively since its formation against the systemic violation of human rights by this Government including, disappearances, extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions and militarization in the North.

Details of Disappearance

Mr. Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted from his temporary residence at No.29/1, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda (Gampaha district), on 6th April.  He was last seen by a party member who dropped Mr. Gunaratnam at his residence in Kiribathgoda at around 5 pm on 6th April following a party meeting.  At around 11 pm that day, Mr. Gunaratnam spoke to the same party member and asked to be picked up from his residence at 5 am the following day (7th April).  Mr. Gunaratnam has not been seen or heard from since.

The party member who arrived at Mr. Gunaratnam’s residence at around 4.30 am the following day (7th April),   found that the air had been let out of all four tyres in Mr. Gunaratnam’s vehicle (No. NWKE 9457). On further examination he found that the door locks had been broken. Mr. Gunaratnam could not be found and was not contactable on his mobile phone. A neighbor had told police that 4 or 5 armed men had come to the house at around 4.30am on the morning of 7th April and instructed her to shut off lights and stay indoors. When she had looked out around 5.15am, she had seen nothing unusual.

According to party members, Mr. Gunaratnam’s mobile number (+94-71-3519722) was ringing till around 8 am on 7th April but was not answered.  The phone is currently disconnected or unreachable.  The GPS coordinates of Mr. Gunaratnam’s mobile phone indicate that the phone was in the Thalawathugoda area on 7th April morning. However there is no further evidence regarding his whereabouts.

Ms. Attygalle was last seen by a party leader who dropped her at the Kottawa bus stand (Colombo District) at around 6pm on 6th April. Ms. Attygalle confirmed that she was going to her residence at 32/14/7, High level road, Henawatte, Meegoda (Colombo district).  However Ms. Attygalle did not answer her mobile phone (+94-77-0325567) the following morning though it had been ringing till about 11am. It had been confirmed that Mr. Attygalle had not arrived home on 6th April.

Police complaints/action taken

On 7th April 2012, Mr. Ajith Kumara, Member of Parliament, filed a complaint with the Police Head Quarters in Colombo regarding Mr. Gunaratnam’s disappearance, recorded under CIB I 105/19. MP Ajith Kumara also filed a separate complaint with the police head quarters regarding Ms. Attygalle’s disappearance recorded under CIB I 105/20, on 7th April.

Mr. Gunaratnam’s sister-in-law, Dr. Nandani Somaratne, also filed a complaint with the Pilliyandala Police (Colombo district) on 7th April, recorded under CIB 306/133.

Mr. Duminda Nagamuwa, a party leader, filed complaint number CIB I 11/135 with the  Kottawa Police on 7th April regarding the disappearance of Ms. Attygalle.

The Australian High Commission in Colombo has been informed of the disappearance as Mr. Gunaratnam is an Australian citizen. The media, diplomatic community and human rights groups have been informed about the disappearances.

Police spokesperson told media said neither of the two had been taken in for questioning or arrested by the Police.

Prior to their abduction, Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle were engaged in intense negotiations in preparation for the first party convention on 9th April 2012. Party members had received credible information that Mr. Gunaratnam was under intense surveillance by the Government during this period. As a safety precaution Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle always informed party members of their whereabouts and never switched off their mobile phones.

FSP party members believe that Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle have been abducted by forces linked with the Government since the party has campaigned actively against human rights abuses by the Government, particularly against the Tamil minority in the North.

PSM activists have suffered threats, attacks, intimidation and surveillance due to their work.  PSM activists Lalith Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan were abducted on 9th December 2011 in Jaffna and have not been seen or heard from since[3].  Lalith Weeraraj was repeatedly threatened by police and military prior to his abduction and ordered to stop his work in the North. There has been no information or credible investigation into their disappearance despite widespread protests, local and international campaigns and a habeas corpus petition before the Court of Appeal in Sri Lanka. The families of both men have also suffered threats, harassment and surveillance following their abduction.

Media reports indicate that there have been twenty nine disappearances in Sri Lanka between February and March 2012 and a total of fifty six disappearances over the past six months[4]. There have been repeated incidents of threats, harassment, attacks and intimidation against HRDs and activists travelling to/working in the North apart from the systematic attacks against national level HRDs and journalists during the Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva in March 2012.


[1] Mr. Gunaratnam had studied at Kegalle St. Mary’s College, Pinnawala central College and Peradeniya University. His brother, Ranjitham Gunaratnam, who was a Poliburo member of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP – the party from which the new party Frontline Socialist Party broke away) and was assassinated by the government in 1989. After the repression of the JVP in late 1980s, Mr. Gunaratnam played a key role in reforming an reviving the party.

[2] Ms. Attygalle had studied at Bandarawela Central College and at Teachers Training College. She has been an activist of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP ) since 1988 and became the National Organizer of the Socialist Women’s Union.

[3] http://groundviews.org/2011/12/19/disappearance-of-human-rights-defenders-political-activists-lalith-kumar-weeraraj-and-kugan-murugan-on-9th-december-2011/

[4] http://groundviews.org/2012/04/05/horrible-rise-of-disappearances-in-post-war-sri-lanka-continues-unabated/

  • justitia

    What do the 71 members of the SL Delegation to Geneva, feel about these ‘disappearances’ – 59 during past six months?
    Do they now feel that the US sponsored resolution is/was justified?

    • Not-A-Rajapaksa

      The abductions are being conducted by the International Community in order to undermine the Miracle of Asia. The only ones who will continue to support the Rajapaksa God are the Chinese and the Russians who are in the process of importing white vans and their operators from Sri Lanka to help their own “peace drives,” and might even loan some of these vehicles and their operators to their Syrian friend, Assad, so that he can expedite his peace initiative in Homs by getting rid of anyone who doesn’t agree with him (or the Russians and Chinese)

  • yapa

    It is the government’s responsibility to find them even if ghosts abducted them, its the government’s duty to protect and safeguard its people and their property. It is not happening.

    I think this government is becoming a rouge government. Rouge governments have no right to be in power. I think people soon will realize this and act upon to throw the rouges into dustbins. People should never let anybody to hoodwink their rights. People should rise and teach a lesson to these bastards. They seem to think the country was given to them permanently as their own property. This bullshit must have an end.

    A pack of fools know nothing. I think Luxman Kiriella was right to say “any fool can wage a war”. Fools waged the war and know nothing beyond that. Bloody fools!

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    • @Yapa

      For once,I agree with every single word you said. 😀

    • luxmy

      A few days ago Daily Mirror editorial said 30 years of Satyagraha were followed by 30 years of war.

    • luxmy

      Structural violence is war on people with unjust laws, not with swords and guns.

  • @justitia

    They do not feel a thing! According to this government and their sycophants, abductions like this and the vandalising of statues in the east are the work of “International Conspirators” who want to tarnish the image of the government. 😀

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    It is obvious that law and order are non-existant in our country for the powerful. No body cares about it. The opposition, relegious leaders, intellecutuals, public, no body.

    Abductors, who were army soliders, were caught trying to abduct a government politician. What happened?

    While a government minister’s brother-in-law was being abducted a call came to the abductors forcing them to release him. The minister was able to do that after contacting most powerful in the government and not the police. What does it say?

    Another minister publicly claimed that he was responsible for sending a journalist abroad seeking political asylum. He also said that he would break limbs of the human rights activists who would come back to sri Lanka after canvessing for human rights in Geneva. What happend to the minister?

    A minister in north-central province is using his double cab without a number plate for years. What would happen to him?

    These are the cases where the culprits are obvious for the police to act. If they can not and will not do anything about them forget about the more obscure cases.

    The lesson the public has learned from all these things is that as long as they stick to their private affairs they are safe. Let the government and its politicos do as they please. You should get up in the moring, go to work, come back home, look after your children, eat, watch tv, have sex, beleive whatever the goverment says, etc. They you go! No problem.

    All those people who had problems with government, had dissapeared, been harrased, labeled traitors, tortured, arrested, etc are ones, who can not live without poking their noses in to other people’s affairs.

    The lesson of the day is ‘Mind your buisness. Nothing bad would happen to you or your family’.

    • billy

      Rogue government and head of police would know where Premakumar is
      Any body with high morals deserves to be heard and helped to the maximum
      Those who sit and do nothing will let evil triumph

  • cyberviews

    @PitathsaraPuthraya

    I am sorry, even minding your business wont help. They will eventually come for you too. The hundreds of people being killed on a daily basis by the military in Syria are ordinary people who, as you say, “get up in the morning, go to work, come back home, look after their children, eat, watch tv, have sex, beleive whatever the goverment says, etc.” You could walk into a hotel with your wife and a political goon with close connections to the top walks in. He finds your wife attractive, and tries to be funny. You react. A gun is pulled out and the next moment you are dead. On the other hand you could be a simple farmer from a remote village, living on a land close to a newly sprung up highway. A politician from the ruling cabal wishes to grab this land and the land surrounding it. You resist. You are at home, watching TV and minding your business and they come for you. You could even be an elderly old lady, driving your little old car at a peaceful pace on a busy suburban road. A ministerial escort is driving down on you in an almighty hurry, white gloves waving menacingly for you to get out of the way. Your reflexes not being as quick as they used to be, you cannot do so in time. The defender bumps into you, smashing the rear of your car. You are shaken and disoriented. The goons get out of their vehicles in numbers, intimidatingly. They tell you it’s your fault and that the person in the car with tinted windows is a minister. They berate you, get into their vehicles and speed off. You are helpless, the bystanders who were witness to the incident are helpless too. You are another victim of the impunity and lawlessness. The incidents I have mentioned are not my imagination running riot, but occurrences you see, read and hear about on a regular basis.

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Dear Cyberviews,

    Thanks for the comment.

    How can you explain the apathy of the general public towards all these and the way that they are prepared to flock to the polling boothes to cast vote for the Rajapakshas as soon as they get a chance?

    The simple answer is ‘they do not care’. They do not go to hotels where sons of politcos attend. They do not drive vehicles to be crashed by escorts of politicos. They do not have sexy wives politicos desire. The chances of political interference to their immediate private affairs are minimal. Even if it happens they would tolerate them as it would be the safest way and get on with their lives without raising so much of a sigh.

    The majority of the public live and die with this political culuture, as it were, from time immeorial. They are inextricably linked with the political system. Politicians are the culmination of their culture. They reflect vividely the psyche of the common man. The public, if get a chance, would always emulate their politicos. They engage in corruption, nepotism, bribary, thuggery, adultry etc as and when they can to their abilities as their politicos do.

    You, me, human right activists, members of civil society (in fact we do not have a civil society and most of GV readers live in the finge of this churning sewer, observe it with disconnected objectivity and comment as if they do not belong to it. The majority, who churn with the ‘s..t’ do not understand them and see the the fresh ground beyound the hole. The politicians start their careers in the sewers. But when they become senior and senior they do not jump in to the sewers to claim the dividens. They make juniors to jump and retreive the benefits for them.

    We are able to float on the periphery on the scum without being sucked in to the ‘black hole’ because we have the means and been brought up in that way. Most of us, I guess, can exist independently, (to a certain extent) from the political system and its culutre due to our means. The general public do not have that luxury.

    That is why the majority do not care about human rights, plights of tamils in the north, disappearances, extra-judicial killings, white vans, militarization of the north, corruption and rampant nepotisim in the very core of the government, econimic mismanagement etc. These are blank words for them. They have much more pressing problems of their own.

    The motto of the day can be rephrased to ‘mind you own busisness. no harm come to you or your family. stop blaming politicians. do as they do to survive by hook or by crook.

    • shan

      dear pitasthara puthraya…well said. this is the ground reality. who is to bell the cat?

      • @shan
        Very simple answer to that question, “Who will bell the cat?”
        It’s the registered voters of this country who can do that, with a little help from the international community. At the next election, if they go out and vote in very large numbers, the Government of Rajapaksa will find it hard to do any ‘Computer Jilmart’s.’Of course we will also need the help of the police and the armed forces who are loyal to the people and not the Rajapaksas’…

  • Happy Heathen
  • http://youtu.be/GNZSFTQCjfY

    The press conference after the release of Dimuthu Attygalle, proves without a doubt that the Government of Rajapaksa is involved in these abductions. Click the link to see what Dimuthu has to say to the press.

    If Premakumar Gunaratnam had not been an Australian citizen, it would have been curtains for him and Dimuthu. They would have both ended six feet under in unmarked graves.

    One lesson to take out of this episode is that if the international community makes a noise, the Government of Rajapaksa takes heed…

  • Ananda Jayasundera

    Thanks God that political opposition activist Dimuthu Attygalle was abducted with Australian citizen, Kumar Gunarathnam, otherwise she will rotting away in some unmarked grave like other unfortunate victims of the “white van” abductions. Ex. The ” white van” abduction of the JVP opposition activists Kugan Murugananthan and Lalith Veeraraj in Jaffna on December 11, 2011. Only their motorbike with registration number NPGT-7852 was found, but the two men.

  • Nimal Maithripala

    The “white van ” adduction victim claimed today that he was raped in captivity.
    ———
    Australian claims Sri Lankan agents sexually tortured him Leesha McKenny, Dylan Welch
    April 11, 2012 – 4:29PM

    Read later.THE Australian man abducted in Sri Lanka over the weekend has contradicted the claims of the Colombo government, claiming it abducted him, and were it not for Canberra’s intervention he would have faced certain death.

    Premakumar Gunaratnam, a 42-year-old Sri Lankan left wing politician who moved to Australia in 2006, held a press conference at his house in Sydney’s north this afternoon, after leaving Sri Lanka yesterday.

    He said that he was handcuffed, blindfolded and physically and sexually tortured during his three day detention.

    Advertisement: Story continues below “I have no doubt that if I didn’t have the Australian government’s support I would have been killed just like my brother and hundreds of other political activists and journalists have been killed,” Mr Gunaratnam said at his Dural home at about 2.30pm.

    His claims will put pressure on the Sri Lankan government, who at first said they were unaware of Mr Gunaratnam’s presence in their country, and once he was located stated categorically that they had played no role in his disappearance.

    “The Sri Lankan authorities never arrested that person,” the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Canberra, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, told Fairfax media on Tuesday.

    Disputing that contention, Mr Gunaratnam said: “I can confirm I was abducted by the Sri Lankan government forces, blindfolded and tortured. This includes, I am embarrassed to say, sexual torture.”

    He called on the international community to acknowledge what he says are ongoing human rights violations in Sri Lanka being commited by the govenrment of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    “If everyone ignores the human rights violations in Sri Lanka then the Rajapaksa regime will continue the dictatorial regime abducting and killing people who speak out,” he said.

    “The free-thinking world should take a stance against (these) gross human rights violations.”

    Comment is being sought from the Sri Lankan government.

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/australian-claims-sri-lankan-agents-sexually-tortured-him-20120411-1wpzo.html#ixzz1riBJrwaG

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    This episode shows how important is the international community in today’s world in safeguarding the rights of the oppressed in third world ‘semi-democratic, feudalist, backward, authoritarian’ countries.

    The way the Ministry of External affiars wanted to impress the international community by hurriedly issuing a communique to Colombo embasies explaining the government’s innocence amply demonstrated the point.

    It should also be emphasized that this ‘international community’ includes only the westerna democracies and not Russia, China and others.

    This is the reason why Rajapakshas, Mugabes, Kim’s, Ahamdinejads, Assads, Gadaffis, Putins etc hate west. Not because west invaded and killed innocent Iraqis, Afgans etc. Not because they tortured muslims in Guanthanamo or involved in ‘rendition’ of prisoners. Not because they, in the past, invaded Vietnam.

    Only because they interfere, for whatever reason, when Rajapakshas and their ilk, violate human rights of their ‘own’ people.

    If it were not for the west we would be able to see to what extent the Rajapakshas regime is prepared to go to safeguard and consolidate their power in Sri Lanka.

    The issue is not whether Gunarathnam used several names and passports or whether he overstayed his visa or whether he is a Australian citizen or whether he has a right to engage in politics in Sri Lanka or whether we like his politial ideology etc or not.

    The issue is a man had been abducted by a armed gang and released after the interference of Australian high commission.

    If the government denies their involvment would they be happy to investigate the incident and reveal the identity of his (their) abductors?

  • Daniel

    This guy apparently went to Sri Lanka under a different name. He has multiple aliases. Has a criminal record. I can’t believe we gave this guy an Australian passport. Honestly I’m sick of these pretend Australians using Australian credentials to not only destabilise another country and then use our welfare too…waste our tax payer money! If he really cares for Sri Lanka he should fight his fight in Sri Lanka.. even to die there.

    • chandra

      Do the sums, Daniel. His wife, having been educated for free in Sri Lanka, and now serving as a doctor in Australia, would have paid more in taxes than would have cost the embassy people making a couple of phone calls towards his release! Next time you fall ill, she might even be the one treating you. So you got a good deal, mate.

      • Daniel

        chandar, we all pay taxes! Your argument is that because his wife is a “doctor” she is somehow more valued than a “janitor” that pays taxes? Enough said. I get your mentality. At least in Australia we don;t value people differently based on their JOB! Why don;t you start a Groupon for good value people? And what is the point of dragging his wife into this? She is a different person.

        The problem is, this is not an isolated incident. We are wasting border protection, police and other resources because some Sri Lankans are taking people here for a ride. It is more and more evident that they’re abusing the trust and kindness of people here for own political agendas, most of the time deceiving people. During the war some Sri Lankans ran charity drives that blatantly lied and supported a war. Now our diplomatic staff have to bail out crims like this who “loves” Sri Lanka so much, yet afraid to sacrifice his life for what he believed in that country! And you get boat people, “genuine” refugees who can afford several grand to pay off smugglers, while real refugees maybe dying. Some of these people don;t even pass ASIO screenings. Not only that, then instead of integrating into the society they fund wars back in their home country making things worse. Enough said again. We aren’t fools. Just stop the act for god’s sake!

      • @Daniel
        If you don’t like what is happening in Australia, why don’t you come and live in Sri Lanka aka “The Wonder of Asia.” I would be glad to exchange places with you. Come and live here for a year and travel around the country and you will see what a Utopia this country is compared to Dystopia Down Under that you live in. 🙂

      • Chandra

        “argument is that because his wife is a “doctor” she is somehow more valued than a “janitor” that pays taxes”

        I did not mean that at all. Because she is a doctor, and doctors are rather well paid, I can predict with confidence the inequality I invited you to consider (that the tax she paid might be higher than the cost of the phone calls plus fraction of staff time). Had she been unemployed I would not have made that suggestion.

        Why did I drag her into this? Correct me if I am wrong, but I did believe that it was she who asked the Australian government for help with getting her husband released. Thankfully they agreed to help her out – she being a citizen, tax payer and all the rest of it that you yourself claim to be.

        Please reflect a little more critically at your stance on this.

      • wijayapala

        Daniel

        At least in Australia we don;t value people differently based on their JOB!

        Right, you value people differently based on their SKIN COLOR. Isn’t Australia the land of the “dot-busters?”

      • Happy Heathen

        @ Chandra

        “His wife, having been educated for free in Sri Lanka”

        There lies the paradox…….and hypocrisy.

        The argument behind the free education is that after gaining the qualification you are supposed to serve the poor people who paid for your education…….

        But in this case the person has sought greener pastures without paying the dues. Educated by the poor peoples money and now serving the Capitalist apparatus.

        What is more disheartening is the fact that they call themselves socialists….

        The hypocrisy proliferates unabated.

  • Gadin Ram

    The “white van” abduction victim, the opposition political activist Attygalle is accusing the Rajapaksa Government Forces for her horrifying ordeal. I think, she is correct in her accusations. Pro-Rajapaksa paramilitaries: Karuna, Douglas D, Pillayan are heavily involved in “White Van” abductions too. White van “disappearances for ransom” is very lucrative. Now it is become an industry where the opposition political activists are “disappeared” presumed dead or some “disappeared” to collect ransoms.

    White van “disappearances for ransom” is overtly a racket milking Tamil cash cows there is also a hidden aspect.

    In July 1983 organized mobs consisting mainly of Sinhala – speaking hoodlums looted and destroyed Tamil businesses.

    Despite that blow the resilient Tamil people have bounced back and have carved out their niche once again in Sri Lankan commerce.

    What is happening now is another “silent” July 1983.

    The business concerns are not physically destroyed but Tamil businessmen are being systematically wiped out. Tamil owned or controlled commerce is rapidly eroding.

    The “enforced disappearances” of most affluent Tamils are not political or related to counter – terrorist procedures.

    These are nothing but extortion related abductions.

    The actual number of incidents are not reported to the Police or even organizations like the Civil Monitoring Commission.

    Many people negotiate on their own and get their loved ones released through paying a reduced sum.

    They later keep silent.

    In many cases the ransom paid is so great that continuing with business becomes impossible.

    Some are forced to sell off property to collect ransom money.

    Also some who get released feel so insecure that they transfer their businesses to someone else and leave the country.

    There are also many businessmen who have run off to India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Middle – East and Western nations to escape being victimised.

    The “white van” abductions or slow strangulation of the Tamil businesses is not being done by Sinhala mobs like in July 1983 but by main three Pro-Rajapaksa Paramilitary Groups:1. Karuna, 2.Pillayan, 3.Douglas D.

    The actual abductions are generally done by the Karuna, Pillayan or Douglas D groups. There is close collaboration by sections of the Police and armed forces and intelligence personnel.

    Some top “security” guy is usually at hand to help out if something goes wrong. It is also believed that a percentage of the ill – gained loot is given to these sections.

    In some instances the Tamil groups pay “bribes” to get things done. There is corruption or collaboration by the Police or Armed forces in this sordid activity.

    What is frightening about this racket is suspected connivance and condonement at very high levels.

    At least one cabinet minister has demanded and received money for the release of abducted persons.

    There are also instances of the families and relatives of abducted persons obtaining their releases through contacts at very, very high levels of Government. It is said that the only sure guarantee of getting one released is to gain the sympathy of family members of a powerful political dynasty.

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/5508
    ————————————–
    Below the incomplete list of the Victims of the “white van” abductions:
    – A Tamil multi – millionaire businessman accused of attempting to de–fraud Customs goes “missing” in Colombo after he threatens to expose involvement of people in high places in corrupt activity. Ransom is demanded and distraught family members pay more than three crores of rupees to two Tamil political groups for the return of the man who is a diabetic. But the missing person who phoned last from Polonnaruwa district is yet to return despite the huge amount paid.

    – The vice – chancellor of an Eastern university is threatened by an armed Pro-Rajapaksa amil group and moves to Colombo. His resignation is not accepted by the UGC. The VC attends a top academic conference in a high – security area of Colombo. He is last seen around noon at the venue. Many appeals have been issued and representations have been made to the President himself but the man who went missing many weeks ago remains in the ranks of the “disappeared”.

    – The Colombo district organizer of an Up Country Peoples party goes missing in Colombo. Within 48 hours of his disappearance the party concerned crosses over from the opposition to the Government. One MP becomes cabinet minister and another deputy – minister. But the “disappeared” organizer is still missing.

    – A young Tamil woman working as financial executive of an airline firm is abducted by unknown persons from her residence in Borupane road, Ratmalana.

    -2 Tamil prominent businessmen – brothers in law – in the jewellery trade return home in a car. The vehicle stops at a Police check point. Two men get in with arms and the vehicle speeds off. One of the businessmen a heart patient is dropped off soon. A ransom is demanded. Negotiations take place and a sum is paid. The missing man returns home. The family keeps “mum”.

    -2 Tamil businessmen – brothers in law – in the jewellery trade return home in a car. The vehicle stops at a Police check point. Two men get in with arms and the vehicle speeds off. One of the businessmen a heart patient is dropped off soon. A ransom is demanded. Negotiations take place and a sum is paid. The missing man returns home. The family keeps “mum”.

    – A well – known Tamil broadcaster is abducted on his way to work. He is taken blind- folded to an unknown destination and quizzed by people. The Indian High Commission exerts maximum pressure to get him released. The Indian envoy of that time speaks to President Rajapakse directly. The broadcaster is released with the stern warning that he should not open his mouth.

    – A Tamil Christian evangelical pastor from Vavuniya district, his two sons and another are on their way to Colombo. They are last seen at the Negombo bus stand. They are reported missing and have been classified as “disappeared”.

    – A Tamil businessman and his employee go missing. His family is informed by his abductors that a hefty amount has to be paid. They are advised to sell off the business and pay up. Meanwhile some relatives have links to “Saffronist” politicians. Through these connections an appeal is made to a powerful personality in defence circles. The man and his employee are released from a camp in the Eastern province.

    – A Tamil entrepreneur living in a Western Country goes to Colombo because a family member is terminally ill. His vehicle is stopped at the Negombo road junction by cadres from Pro-Rajapaksa Karuna Group in a pick up truck. The relative driving him home from the airport is told to keep his mouth shut. Later a massive sum is demanded for his release. The telephone calls are made from Sri Lanka to the foreign country where the family lives.Negotiations are currently on to reduce the sum demanded.

    -A Tamil woman teacher is abducted By Pro-Rajapaksa Douglas D. group in Vavuniya. Her family is middle – class and does not have the ransom demanded for release. But her abductors are well aware of her close relatives abroad and what their financial status. The relatives are asked to pay up. After bargaining an agreed amount is paid and the woman freed.

  • Priyantha Somaratna

    “White Van” Terror terrorise Sri Lankans.

    The “white van” abductions are striking terror and de-stabilising Our Beautiful Country. This is a dangerous and explosive situation. Many opposition political activists, journalists, and other innocent people have been abducted this way. Many victims of the ” white van ” abductions have not heard from since. Only their corpses turned up.

    The “white van” victim, Sagara Senaratne is lucky to be alive too..

    Sagara Senaratne, businessman and former provincial councillor, was abducted on March 26th. His abductors assaulted him, demanding Rs. 50 million. Fortunately for Mr. Senaratne, his brother-in-law is a person of some consequence: Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. Informed of the abduction, Minister Kumaratunga reportedly contacted the President and the Defence Secretary. It was the right move; “…the driver of the white van received a phone call, after which he said,‘let’s dump him’”(Sri Lanka Mirror – 28.3.2012).

    Mr. Senaratne was ‘dumped’ unharmed and ordered to pay the money to a bank account.
    Mr. Senaratne, in a fit of gratitude, hastened to name and thank his saviours. According him,“….he owes his life to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

    If not for the mediation by Kumaratunga and the two Rajapaksas, he told ‘Divaina’ that he would not have been alive today, adding that he was immensely grateful for them for having saved his life”(ibid).

    If Mr. Senaratne’s grateful assertions are accurate, the Rajapaksa Siblings knew the identity of the abductors, were able to contact them while they were on the job and had absolute control over them. The consequent context cannot but give rise to several questions of public import.

    How did President Rajapaksa and/or Defence Secretary Rajapaksa know who to contact in order to save Mr. Senaratne?

    How did they know the contact details of the abductors?

    Why have they withheld this vital information from the police?

    Why did the abductors obey them?

    If they could save Mr. Senaratne why did they not save other white van victims?

    If they have both knowledge of and control over the white vans, why are they permitting this monstrosity to continue?

    We as true lovers of the nation prepared to save our democracy, our right to freedom of association, our right join any political parties we choose and our right to freedom of speech and expression.