The judge said if the respondents failed to produce them, they must explain the circumstances in which they had disappeared. When Ananthy Sasitharan returned to her seat, she gave me a determined look. She had won.
Later when we were returning home, Kanthi showed me a photograph she kept in her handbag. “Husband,” she said to me in English, pointing him out among a group of other Tamil Tiger cadres. She was happy.
The significance of this day cannot be diminished. Ananthy repeatedly said “vetti”, which translates as victory. And she said this was for all the mothers and wives, whose husbands, daughters and sons were forcibly disappeared by the Sri Lankan military.
But it was a strange kind of victory, bittersweet. A complicated, ambiguous win. A quiet moment of vindication for the women.
Despite years of gaslighting, misinformation and legal strategies by the state to break their spirit and intimidate them into stopping their cases, this moment belonged to them completely. They were believed.
Outside the court, only Tamil journalists bothered to turn up.
Compiled from tweets by lotus.eyes @kamalakkannan