By Hilmy Ahamed –
Mohammed Wasim Thajudeen died or was murdered on the 17th of May 2012. He played rugby for St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia, Havelocks Sports Club and Sri Lanka National Rugby team. He was a brilliant rugger-rite- and a much loved human being.
Wasim’s death is surrounded in mystery with rumours that members of the security division of a certain VVIP killed Wasim. There are also unverified reports claiming that the police investigations into Wasim’s death had been shelved due to political wheeler dealing. God forbid that Yahapalanaya has cut deals.
Just prior to the August 2015 elections, the CID made bold statements that there had been attempts to hide evidence of the murder of Thajudeen during the initial police investigation. This is due to the initial investigator’s failure to produce the police CCTV footage, phone records and testimony from neighbours and security guards at Shalika grounds. The fire fighters who were called in to douse the fire of the burning car were also not questioned. The Police also failed to investigate as to why Wasim’s body was found on the passenger side of his car, when no other body or human remains were found on the driver’s side or in any other part of the wreckage. Did Wasim’s ghost drive the car? The post mortem report indicated that there was carbon monoxide in Wasim’s lungs, but the Government Analyst is supposed to have confirmed that he found no evidence of carbon monoxide. Wasim’s wallet was found, without any signs of being burnt, in Kirulapone a few days after his death. His mobile phone was found intact many months later in Nuwara Eliya. The Daily Mirror newspaper, in one of its reports, claimed that an eyewitness to the incident saw two Land Rover Defenders at the scene of Wasim’s accident/death.
In an interesting twist from previous submissions, the Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr Ajith Tennakoon has now confirmed with Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris that former Havelocks and Sri Lanka rugby star Wasim Thajudeen was murdered or was dying of non-accidental causes prior to the car being set on fire. He also confirmed that Wasim had not been driving his vehicle at the time of his death. His submissions confirmed that Thajudeen died of injuries sustained in an assault or premeditated murder and his body was dumped into the left seat of his car before well-trained military style operatives staged the accident. Dr Tennakoon made his observation after performing a special judicial medical examination of Wasim Thajudeen’s badly charred body that was exhumed from the Dehiwela Muslim Burial grounds just prior to the August 2015 General Elections. Mystery surrounded Thajudeen’s untimely death and there are contradictory reports of the last hours of Wasim. Many articulated suspicion of murder, and social media carried vivid details of the gruesome murder of this much loved ruggerrite by the bodyguards of a certain VVIP family. There were also rumors that Thajudeen’s ex-girl friend who was suspected to be the cause for Wasim’s murder had confirmed to the CID that it was a murder by a jealous lover. The public was beginning to feel that there would be no justice or positive outcome from all the promised inquiries on Wasim Thajudeen’s murder, just like the other charges of corruption and fraud by the previous regime that did not result in any prosecution.
It took many months and a lot of courage for the Chief JMO Dr Tennakoon to place his verdict in court. Why did it take so long, and did anyone attempt to sweep the findings under the carpet. We heard news reports of vital forensic evidence suddenly disappearing from the vaults, and the public were vary of the possible outcome. This positive news of the JMO’s submission gives hope that justice would prevail for Wasim and numerous others who died of suspected political assassinations. The government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe owe Wasim’s Family a decent inquiry and maximum punishment to anyone involved in his brutal murder as they used the tragedy of the rugger-rite as an election campaign slogan to its maximum. If the government has any complicity in the cover up of Wasim’s murder, what would be fate of this judicial medical officer and the magistrate inquiring in to this? Would they be taken to task for going beyond their brief?
There are also many hundreds of others who just disappeared over the years, especially youth from the Northern province. This too should be an important aspect of the mandate of a possible Truth and Reconciliation commission as envisaged by the Geneva deliberations.
We have seen many politically hyped up media reports that gave hope to the people that good governance would prevail, and law and order will take precedence. Within hours of this government being elected, many of those hopes were shattered. A good example is the VIP son’s loot of $ 500 million in Dubai that just evaporated into thin air, never to be investigated.
There are the political murders of Lasantha, Ekneligoda, Raviraj, Kerosene Maheswaran, Shri Ram and hundreds of others, whose deaths have not seen a decent inquiry or prosecution. Failure to ensure justice to these bold activists who fought a ruthless regime to bring good governance would have died in vain if we do not seek justice for their murders. The bold submissions of the Senior Colombo JMO give hope and encouragement to those who want to see justice prevail in the country.
It is indeed sad that politicians sprung up to demand justice for Wasim during their election campaigns and are totally silent since then. The former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the run up to the August General Elections claimed that the good governance government that came to power after the January presidential elections had become desperate enough to even dig up graves to boost their campaign. Failure to provide justice to Thajudeen would just confirm his statement.