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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sri Lanka: Tamil Mother Identifies Son Alive in Army Custody

A middle-aged Tamil mother Monday identified her missing son in a photograph that showed a group of LTTE cadres alive while in the Sri Lankan military custody during the final few days of the bloody war.

Sriswary Pushparajah, a teacher, told the Paragama Presidential Commission of Inquiry that the young boy sitting next to the girl in the photograph publish by the Channel 4 News was her son Pushparajah Ajinthan.

She said that her son seen in the photograph was forcibly recruited by the LTTE during the war.

“I lost my son in Mullivaikkal. We got caught in a military round-up on March20, 2009 and the son did not come because he was on the other side. As I am a teacher, my students told me that they saw my son alive while in military custody. We searched for him everywhere but of no avail,” Mrs Pushparajah told Ceylonews.com after giving evidence to the Paranagama Commission at the Chavakachcheri Divisional Secretariat in Jaffna.

She said she saw her son first in the photograph published in a newspaper in 2013.

“It is clearly evident that the Army has caught him alive. Although we do not know his whereabouts, we firmly believe that he is still alive. Because, they were seen in military custody with their hands and legs bound,” she said pointing to a photograph published by Channel 4 News.

She said that her son was studying Advanced Level at the Mallavi Maha Vidyalayam when the LTTE forcibly conscripted him.

“He fled LTTE and was with living us when we lost him. Later, we see him like this in military custody with his and legs bound. The army should be keeping them,” teacher Sriswary said.

Several photographs have surfaced in the past that show prominent LTTE figures or their family members alive and in Sri Lankan army custody at the end of the war. Those same people have either been photographed dead or have disappeared subsequently. These include the pictures of 12-year old Balachandran and some of the pictures of LTTE TV newsreader Isaipriya who was also taken into army custody on 18 May 2009. Some of these photographs were independently authenticated in the past by the Channel 4 News.

“It is now the duty of the Sri Lankan military to locate my son and hand him back to us. I firmly believe that they will return him,” she said.

Speaking to Ceylonews.com, another elderly man said his 33-year old son, daughter in law and three grandchildren went missing in Mullivaikkal where tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed during the final phase of the war.

“I have searched for them everywhere and there no news of them. This Presidential Commission just recorded my statement but gave no convincing answers. They just said they will look for him,” he said.

Another mother said that she was demanded to pay Rs 50 lakhs to release her son. We don’t that much of money. I told them we will pay the ransom only if they produce my child,” she said.

She, however, said her children living abroad have paid some money via bank transfers hoping to get her child released. She said the she does not have those bank details in her possession.




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