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The Commission received 537 written complaints from this district. We could not visit Jaffna as a good portion of Jaffna was under L.T.T.E. control and the ground situation was not conducive for a visit. Even after the completion of the Riviresa operation the Presidential Secretariat by its letter of 10.12.96 advised us not to visit Jaffna.


Hence the Commission invited those complainants who were residing outside Jaffna to appear before the Commission at the Ministry of Justice. 104 such complainants were heard. The balance complainants are residents of Jaffna and the Commission faced difficulties in summoning them in view of the postal and transport delays and the security problems faced by them in coming down to Colombo. So their inquiries had to be delayed, for a future date.


Almost 50% of the cases inquired by the Commission relate to the disappearances of soldiers and this number amounted to 51. Out of these, 37 soldiers were from Pooneryn Camp and the balance from the other Camps.


The Security services have a well worked-out scheme to support the families of the armed personnel who die or disappear while on duty. It was revealed in evidence that they have already been paid compensation, obtained posthumous promotions and their monthly salary is being paid to the dependants.


The other people who appeared before this Commission were Muslims.


Muslims are an industrious and self-reliant community and they have enriched Jaffna life for centuries. On 30th November 1990, the L.T.T.E. took a decision to evict the Jaffna Muslims with two days notice. The disruption of the social, economic and emotional life of the Muslims was enormous. All their possessions were plundered and they were not allowed to take even a change of clothing, let alone jewellery and cash. Evidence given by Mrs. M.P Pathurasman of No.10/90 Anuradhapura Road, Puttalam, regarding the disappearance of her son and her husband, is given below. This shows the traumatic effect this eviction had on the Muslims.


“My complaint is about my son’s disappearance. Ramzeen was 18 years old, he was a student Osmania College Jaffna. When my son was at his aunt’s place at Mullatuvu on 11th  April, 1990, some Tigers came on  bicycles and took him into custody and took him away. My sister Samoon Jerina, alias Jaseeda saw the incident. She will come as a witness to testify.


“This information was passed on to me by my sister whose address is Mrs. Jerina Samoon No.74, P.W.D. Road, Mullaitivu. I inquired for him at the Tiger Camp in Jaffma and various other Tiger Camps and contacted one Saleem of L.T.T.E. who was in the Thirunelvely Camp who informed me the son is in their custody and they would release him after inquiry. Subsequently I heard that my son was in the Tiger Camp of Neerveky and inquired for him and got the same reply.


Subsequently my husband was also taken by Tigers and kept at their Camp and they promised to release him after inquiry, My husband who was 50 years old was taken into custody in October, 1992 and the L.T.T.E. demanded a sum of Rs.1 million for his release. He was released after 15 days without any payment. I have four children, out of whom my son is the eldest. The person who told me said that he contacted my son at the shop and my son was scared to give any letters for fear of reprisal. I do not have anybody to go and speak to him and get a final reply. I have given this information to the ICRC as well. I did not get any information from them. I request the Commission to trace him and hand him over to me. My husband is working in a shop at Puttalam. We depend on the state assistance of Rs. 1,250 per month for our living. All my children are school going. My arrested son is an O/L student. My son’s name appears in the list of 32 names held in captivity by the Tigers, given to the ICRC. I like to see my son. I request the Commission to make arrangements to see my son through the good office of the ICRC”


The affidavit of another witness, Mrs, Ummu Salma of No.41 Navalar  Road, Jaffna is also reproduced below to show the travails Jaffna Muslims underwent during these troubled times.


“My husband Mohamed  Kiluru Sultan Abdul Cader, aged 68 years, father of six children (three males and three females) and a businessman dealing in Gold jewellery and gold, residing at 41, Navakar Road, Muslim Ward, Jaffna, was taken into captivity by the L.T.T.E. terrorists on the night of 30th September, 1990 at about 11.00 p.m. when he was sleeping.


When the group of terrorists came to my house they asked for the keys of the jewellery shop purported to be owned by my husband, when in fact my husband had no shop as such, he replied that he had no shops at all. Thereafter he was blind folded and forcibly loaded into a vehicle driven by them and was taken away from home immediately.


On the 4th October, 1990 the, group of L.T.T.E. terrorists came again to my house and loaded all the household effects, furniture, movable property electronic and electric appliances and other household effects into their vehicles and took away the vehicles which were parked in the house and premises. From the day my husband was taken into captivity by the said terrorists he was kept at various places from time to time but no members of the household were allowed to see him. Nor was he shown to them.


On 14th October, the group of terrorists again came to my house with my husband, who was chained in his hands and legs and appeared to have been tortured in captivity, and forcibly took away all the jewellery kept in safe places in the house and took away the same along with my husband. Thereafter, though valiant efforts were taken to see my husband, no one was allowed to see him nor was he allowed from captivity.


During the same period of time several other wealthy Muslims were also taken into custody by the same group of terrorists and were detained under trying circumstances. I was reliably informed and verily believed that my husband was beaten up, incarcerated and tortured in captivity by the terrorists who took him into captivity from the day he was taken as such.


The last day I saw my husband alive was on the 14th day of October, 1990 when he was brought home in manner set out above and thereafter I have had no occasion to see him.


On or about 27th October, 1990 there was a talk to the effect that my husband had succumbed to his injuries sustained in the course of torture in captivity on or about the 16th of October, 1990.


But up to the time I was in Jaffna which may be reckoned as the 17th day of December, 1990, I had not seen or viewed my husband dead or alive. Even after the information which spread all over the city and residential areas in Jaffna that my husband was dead due to being tortured, his remains were not handed over to me or any other person to be disposed of according to religious custom prevailing among Muslims.


Since I have not seen my husband dead or alive after 14th October, 1990 and since the remains of my husband if he was dead then had not been handed over to me or any other person for religious burial and since no person in authority in the peninsula or elsewhere in the Island was informed of his  captivity or his death up to date, it cannot be presumed that my husband is dead unless or until the Commissioner is satisfied by evidence adduced to the contrary That is to say only after sufficient evidence is brought up before the Commissioner for him to satisfy fully that my husband died in captivity on the date referred to above, then and in such an event only is it a fact that my husband died on the 16th day of October, 1990 in captivity of the L.T.T.E. terrorists at Nallur in Jaffna.


It has therefore become necessary for me as the lawful widow of the said missing person, to make application to the Commissioner for the relief set out below:


A. to  trace my husband if he is still alive;

B. to ask for sufficient oral and documentary evidence relating to the taking into captivity of my husband, circumstances relating to his captivity and torture and medical treatment extended to him in captivity;

C. If such evidence point out to one answer that is my husband is not alive, then in such an event to direct the authorities concerned to issue appropriate documents to that effect.


The following persons may provide sufficient evidence in relation to the averment contained herein:


1. M.U Thahir, Plaza Complex, Wellawatta, Colombo 6.

2. M.Rahumathullah, Albert place, Dehiwela.

3. M. Burhanuddeen, Wattala.

4. M. A. C. Ibrahim, St Lazarus Road, Negombo.

5. S. A. C Mubeen, Dam street, Colombo 12.


The Army in its operations arrested 14 people mainly from the Islands and Karainagar and they are still missing. The Navy was responsible for the disappearance of eight people, mostly fishermen and those crossing the Jaffna Lagoon at Kilali point. The L.T.T.E. arrested nine people - six Sinhalese fishermen and three Tamil civilians.


Eight arrests were made by unknown groups. The E.P.R.L.F. has arrested 22 year old M. Constantine and trained him as one of their fighters and allowed him to correspond with his father. The father had lost contact with him for seven years. His subsequent fate is not known.


There have been reports of large scale arrests of youth by the Sri Lankan armed forces, during the operations in Jaffna Fort, which commenced on 22nd August, 1990. The troops from Kayts had moved towards the Jaffna Fort, through the islands after advising the population of the islands to move into temples and churches at Allaipiddy. On 25th August 1990, the Army had gone to St. Philip Neri Church and arrested about 600 young persons of the age group from 15 to 30, and later released them except for 49 persons.


On the 23rd September, the Army arrested another 27 youths and none of these 76 persons taken into custody on these two dates ever returned home.


On the 26th September, 1990 after the forces withdrew, the local dailies in Jaffna, reported finding 34 skeletons in some wells in the Mandathivu area. The Commission could not investigate into this matters due to the fact that the area was inaccessible to the Commission.


Posted on 2002-08-30


Cyberspace Graveyard for Disappeared Persons
Asian Human Rights Commission

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