11/13/2014, 00.00
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Batticaloa Tamil women refuse to forget the men "taken away by the army"

by Melani Manel Perera
Wives, mothers and sisters of the victims of "enforced disappearances" will not lose hope. In 1990, the military in Batticaloa took 156 men to "bring them to safe areas" but they never returned.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Taken from the army to be brought in a "safe areas" and never to return home. That's what happened to hundreds of men - husbands, fathers, children - during the civil war in Sri Lanka. In many cases, at least 20 years have passed for the remaining women without their family members or any news of their whereabouts. "The government does not give us any answers - a woman tells AsiaNews - or they even ask us if we know where they were going when they disappeared. But if they were taken away by the army, how can I know?".

Like every year, many wives and mothers gather to commemorate the National Day of the disappeared, victims of so-called "enforced disappearances". "I will not lose hope - one of them told AsiaNews - which is why I will continue to wear the bindi [red dot on the forehead, the traditional sign for a married women - ed] until my husband comes home. How is it possible for a  person to disappear in the hands of the security forces, who have a duty to protect the public? ".

These women admit they feel "cheated" by the government and its promises to provide answers. As in the case of the last Presidential Commission, which was created in 2013 to investigate alleged kidnappings in the northern and eastern provinces between 1990 and 2000.

Another woman, a native of Batticaloa (East of the country), remembers when she lost track of her two brothers: "It was 1990 and we took refuge in a school. I remember that on 5 May, some soldiers came to us, saying that they had to count us. Then they asked all the men to follow them, telling us that they would bring them back soon. A total of 156 men and boys never returned. Since then, we have not heard from them".


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Colombo government admits 65 thousand "disappeared" in the Civil War
11/06/2016 09:49
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Tamil Mothers: Help us find our children


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