Saturday, November 16, 2013

Families of the disappeared continue to demand right to justice and truth

       By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai in Jaffna

Occupying the street

Tearful Tamil mother of a missing son argues with a senior Police officer, and refuses to leave where she is
Kumarasamy Kanagalingam from Kilinochchi lighting camphor

Protest against disappearances by the families in the north

Families of the Disappeared gathered near the Jaffna Municipal Council Grounds, along the Main Street with photos, placards, and banners. They lit camphor, and prayed, before they stretched themselves into a straight line. Later, as British Prime Minister David Cameron reached Jaffna Public Library for a meeting with the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran, protesters tried to proceed towards the library. But, Police blocked the road with truck and riot Police personnel were called on duty. Angry and frustrated people of the disappeared had demanded that the truck should be removed from the current spot, and they should be allowed to meet the visiting British Prime Minister. Heated arguments between the Police and people began immediately, but Catholic priests, activists, and families of the disappeared kept moving towards the library, despite the Police barrier. As they were not allowed to move ahead any further, the protesters occupied the street while weeping, and holding photos and placards.

Annoyed protesters stopped, and banged on the tightly closed air conditioned mini buses which carried British journalists, and officials, while showing the missing loved one’s photographs through the widows. As the situation became chaotic, and tense Police kept chasing the protesters away from the vicinity. One man managed to lie down on the street for a few seconds, before he was chased away by the Police to pave way for the speeding Ambulance along with mini buses carrying the British journalists, and officials.

Later, a luxury 4X4 carrying Tamil National Alliance Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan left the Jaffna Public Library premises, and approached the street. Emotional and tearful protesters ran towards his vehicle, but he failed to get down and speak to the helpless people, rather he reversed the vehicle, and left the library towards the back entrance. Protesters got angry, sat on the street right in front of the Jaffna Public Library, while sobbing endlessly, and demanded they would not move until Tamil National Allaince Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, and Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran come and meet them. But, both of them did not come to the spot, they waited for an hour, and left with tears and trustlessness.
Protesters on Main Street
Families of the Disappeared along the Main Street

"My son Mahinthan Palendiran was last seen at Mulliwaaikkaal on 18th of April 2009, and has been missing afterwards. He was a GCE (O/L) student at that time" tearful mother Jeyakumari Palendiran

Peaceful protesters along the Main Street
Family members of the disappeared, whose loved ones have gone missing over the past few decades

"Where are our loved ones, who have been made to disappear?", Tamil women ask the Police

Showing and staying a banner during the protest


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