» 11/02/2013, 00.00
Tamil women: The government took our children during the civil war
Melani Manel Perera
For the 23rd anniversary of the Day of the Disappeared, 350 women have asked the President of Sri Lanka for their loved ones to be returned. The testimony of two mothers. Since 1987, 5 thousand people victims of "enforced disappearances".
Raddolugama (AsiaNews) -
"Our children and our husbands were taken by the government security forces
. Nobody else took them away, the military did. This is why we call them
disappeared. President Mahinda Rajapaksa must bring them home". This
is the appeal of 350 Tamil women from the north of Sri Lanka, who traveled to
Raddolugama ( south of the country ) on the 27th of October to mark the 23rd
anniversary of the Day of the Disappeared , organized by the Families of
Disappeared . In
this place a large monument in honor of all those of whom all trace has been
lost was erected.
At the time of the civil war, the
armed forces justified the so-called "forced disappearances" accusing
these men of ties with members of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE , Tamil Tigers ), the rebels who were fighting
for the creation of an independent Tamil state .
Chandara, a middle-aged woman, came from the Mannar district to participate in
the commemoration. "I
dare say - she explains to AsiaNews in tears - that the military took my only
son. I call it kidnapping. They kidnapped him while he slept in our house, and took
him somewhere on this island. I do not want to call him 'disappeared' . Since
his disappearance , in 2008, I have tried to find my son everywhere. We are not
begging for food ; ask only that they bring our children home".
woman carried a color photo of her son with her to the encounter. She
knows that the police demand death certificates from mothers whose loved ones have
disappeared . "But
I 'm waiting for those officers to come to me - she says - and tell me to pick
up a death certificate for my son that they took away from me. If they come, I will take my shoes to them."
other women have similar stories to Udaya . Sebastian
Devi, from the eastern district of Trincomalee, saw both her children taken
away by the police. "In
my case - she says - it happened in broad daylight. They said that they had
only to question them but ... how many years have gone by now? " .
the plight of these women is the further threats they suffered at they hands of
members of the law enforcement. Using
the excuse that they wish to contact them to give them news, the officers ask
for their phone numbers, and in the middle of the night call them and sexually
Devi reveals that the women are also victims of bribes: "I once gave a
bribe of 1.5 million rupees ( € 8400 ) to two officials . They told me that if I
wanted my son back, I had to pay them. But after doing so, they disappeared and
I never heard anything about my boy. I later I found out that they had given
the money to naval officers. I've reported them, but the prosecutor closed the
case . "
to Families of Disappeared, since
1987 at least 5 thousand people have been victims of "enforced
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