On December 9, 2011, in the military-occupied Jafna, in the north of Sri Lanka, left-wing activists Lalith Kumar and Kuhan Muruganandanin were “disappeared” in the area of Neerveli while the two were riding on a motor bike.
Like many other activists and reporters who have “disappeared” in that country, witnesses say the two were abducted by an armed gang in a white van. However these witnesses were too terrified of retribution to make official statements.
According to Amnesty International for the last three years there have been 15,000 abductions in Sri Lanka. Every day, on average, somewhere in Sri Lanka, somebody is getting abducted.
There has been no meaningful official investigation into the abduction of Lalith and Kuhan.
Lalith and Kuhan had been constantly harassed by the Sri Lankan armed forces on many occasions as they went about their work as activists for the Movement for Peoples Struggle. According to Jagath Bandara, a supporter of the Front Line Socialist Party (FLSP), their work was “making the people in the south of Sri Lanka aware of the prevailing true hardship of the people in the north. They were also working hard to bring about true national reconciliation”.
Lalith had been taken into custody several times before and later released after being warned not engage in political activity in Jafna.
The FSLP has launched an international campaign for the immediate release of Lalith and Kuhan, who it believes are being detained by the government in a secret location. An online petition can be signed here.
Premakumar Gunaratnam, a Sri Lankan Australian who was a victim of a similar abduction in Sri Lanka on April 7, this year, told Green Left Weekly:
“As a former victim of the Sri Lankan governments hit squads, I believe that a collective appeal makes a bigger impact than a personal one. Lalith and Kuhan are going to be symbols of the many disappearances in Lanka that have been taking place for decades.
“The huge number of disappearances consist of innocent civilians and political activists belonging to various political strands but they were all disappeared under one anti-democratic, nepotistic and dictatorial regime.
“Therefore we should make a collective effort to put an end for this.
“If Lalith and Kuhan are still alive, definitely they are probably being transferred to different locations as bits of information about their previous whereabouts.
“Definitely they are being tortured and being threatened. Definitely they are being threatened their their family members (Kuhan has a young daughter) if they continue to engage in political activity again, especially in the north and east with FLSP.
“The government's main intention is to create a fear campaign among the oppressed masses in the north by using this sort of cowardly acts.”
For more information contact Jagath Bandara +61419404997