Sri Lanka: SEP public meeting to demand inquiry into party member’s disappearance

30 March 2007

The Socialist Equality Party is calling a public meeting in Colombo on April 9 to demand that the Sri Lankan government and military launch an urgent investigation into the disappearance of party member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan.

The SEP holds President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government responsible. Since coming to office, Rajapakse has plunged the country back into civil war, imposed draconian emergency measures and unleashed a reign of terror throughout the island. No one in the security forces has been held accountable for the many disappearances, extra-judicial killings and other violent crimes.

Wimaleswaran and Mathivathanan disappeared on the evening of March 22 on the northern Jaffna islands. They were last seen at around 6.30 p.m. on Punguduthivu island, riding a motor bike towards a long causeway connecting it with Kayts island, where they both live. The commander at the Punguduthivu navy camp claimed the two men passed through the navy roadblock on his side of the causeway. The commander of the Kayts navy camp, in charge of the roadblock at the other end, denied any knowledge of them.

Either Wimaleswaran and Mathivathanan passed through the second checkpoint or they did not. If they did, then the navy must have a record of it. If they did not, they have either been seized by the navy at one of the two roadblocks, or they disappeared before reaching the second. Since the causeway itself is under military control, the navy is either directly responsible for their disappearance or has access to those who witnessed it.

Over the past year, death squads operated by the military or associated paramilitaries have killed, abducted or “disappeared” hundreds of Tamils in the north and east of the island. Moreover, the navy has a heavy presence on Kayts and the surrounding islands, working closely with right wing Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) paramilitary thugs to harass and intimidate the local Tamil population.

So far, it appears that neither the police nor the military has done anything to locate Wimaleswaran and Mathivathanan despite the SEP’s formal complaints to the defence ministry, the navy camps on Kayts and Punguduthivu and the police in Jaffna.

The SEP urges its supporters and WSWS readers in Sri Lanka to attend our public meeting and support our campaign to demand an immediate and thorough investigation into the two men’s whereabouts.

Venue of the meeting: Public Library Auditorium, Colombo

Time: Monday April 9 at 4 p.m.