By N. Lohathayalan –
Even as this new government gives a full pardon to the convicted throat-slitting murderer of a 5 year old boy in Mirusuvil, much order parents who have abandoned children are denied such an amnesty. The amnesty was confirmed at a press conference at the UNP’s Sri Kotha by former Minister Ajith P. Perera on Sunday 12 Jan. where he mentioned that many had been given amnesty. This article in large part was written immediately after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office but was not printed because there was no hard confirmation that he really would let the murders of Tamil children loose. Alas!
On 19 Dec. 2000, eight persons including four children had had their throats slit by army Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake. While Ratnayake has been pardoned, the father of two children in Kilinochchi, Sudhaharan by name, is languishing in prison without the father or mother.
At the time some persons had gone to Mirusuvil to see how their properties were faring after they had to flee as forces moved in. Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake at the sentry point down their street had stopped them for questioning. Eight of them had gone to the soldiers as ordered, while the ninth pretended to be a lone pedestrian going down the street and had thereby escaped. This was Ponniah Maheswaran of the same village of Mirusuvil.
These eight who had been detained in the evening had not returned home even after sunset. Relatives set out to look for them the next morning by when they had still not returned but could find no trace of them. They filed a complaint with the police after the army denied having seen them. Consequent to that, the police instituted a search. That eight persons had been detained came to be known widely and the police intensified their search.
As a result, on 24 Dec. 2000, some bodies were found in the septic tank of a toilet by the side of the army camp. The matter was then reported to the Chavakacheri Courts. When the judge inspected the scene, four youths under the age of 18 were discovered besides four men with decomposed bodies, throats slit and eyes blindfolded. Some had their legs and hands chopped off. One had his skin peeled, looking pink. Among the eight murder victims was five-year-old Visvarayan Prasath. Even the most hard-hearted could not fail to be moved by the sight.
Further to it, an inquiry was held at the Chavakacheri Magistrate’s Court and a report was sent to the Attorney General’s Department. The Attorney General filed action in the Jaffna High Court. A direct and important eye-witness was Ponniah Maheswaran, besides others. Staff Sergeant Ratnayake was given a death sentence. Appeal to the Supreme Court failed.
At the same time, former LTTE member Sudhaharan is languishing in jail. Two of his children are struggling under the care of their mother who has married again.
The former President’s promise to release him soon seems forgotten. There are 103 Sudhaharans in jail whom no one seems to care for and they too remain forgotten.
At this time some politicians in the North have met the relatives of these persons in prison and given them the false promise to release them soon. Now they say it will be done after April. Recall, the next election will be in late April or so! Tamils are not such fools.
What is the message in the presidential pardon? Is it not that Tamils, even Tamil children, may be murdered and the killers celebrated?
Among the promises the president made before the elections was that no soldier would be punished. That is why the Sinhalese voted for him. How proud now are the Sinhalese who voted to let child murderer Ratanayake go free?