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Ongoing disappearances of Jaffna entrepreneurs; ‘hidden army hands’

 

Allegations have been levelled in Sri Lanka’s parliament against ‘hidden army hands’ behind the sudden disappearances of elderly, popular business persons in Jaffna.

The damning accusation against the military already facing allegations of forced disappearances was made at a time the Ranil Wickremasinghe government is striving to attract Tamil diaspora investments to revive the ailing economy.

On 18 June, a northern peoples representative presented detailed the house of three persons, including two business persons, who had disappeared in Jaffna.

According to Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Leader and Parliamentarian Sivagnanam Shritharan, the latest victim of these disappearances is an elderly, millionaire in Jaffna who has been conferred the government’s Deshamanya title.

“Vaithyalingam Kanakalingam is an 82-year-old eminent, millionaire businessmen who lives in Madathuveli in Pungudutivu, Jaffna. In recognition of his business, he was even conferred the Deshamanya title by the Sri Lankan government. On 12 May 2024, he has suddenly disappeared in front of his house in Madathuveli. A person who cannot even walk or get into a vehicle without someone’s assistance has disappeared.”

Parliamentarian Shritharan further said there is no information about the whereabouts of a woman who also disappeared in the same area six months ago.

“Yogamma Sobinathan, who resided in the Pungudutivu 9 area in Jaffna, had mysteriously disappeared six months ago. Her whereabouts are still unknown.”

Informing the parliament of another Jaffna-based businessman who disappeared seven years ago, the Tamil public representative emphasized that multiple attempts to discover his fate proved futile.

“When Velupillai Natarasa went to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital at 2 p.m. on 21 July, 2017, for a monthly medical check-up, the 63-year-old popular businessman had gone missing. He was born in , Shivan Koviladi, Sadayali, Karainagar. Although attempts were made to find out about his whereabouts through police complaints, newspaper notices, and social media, they were not successful.”

Claiming that there are hidden army hands behind the frequent abductions and arrests in Jaffna, the Parliamentarian alleged that such acts receive the police’s support as well.

“Like these three persons, many more must have disappeared in Jaffna. There is no information about them. That information did not come to light. Jaffna has become a land where abductions, arrests, and incidents of hacking with swords take place quite often. Behind this situation are the army’s hidden hands. There is also the police’s support. This means that they are also not ready to bring these acts under control.”

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