At the time of Madhushka’s abduction, Mayuri was pregnant, and later she gave birth to twins.
“Wasn’t my husband was abducted in a cruel manner?” she asked me casually. When she went to Colombo Fort police to give a statement last Friday, she was asked if she had obtained the death certificate. She replied that if a death certificate was to be given, it was them who should do so. However, that remark by the police makes one thing clear, that her husband is no more. That is known to the OIC of the police station too. The yet unresolved questions here are the fate of Madhushka and the reason for his abduction.
A Dolphin van (no. 252-9209) blocked the path of Madhuskha’s three wheeler and the abductors took him and his two friends in the three-wheeler. They had claimed they were from the police. They even used handcuffs. Madhushka was taken to an Army camp, while his two friends were dumped on Puttalam road on the following day. Their active contribution can be obtained for the investigation, but it is a question as to whether the CID has done that. Mayuri told us that the two could provide vital information regarding the abductors. A year ago, the Anuradhapura magistrate referred the investigation to the CID. However, the CID is yet to make submissions with regard to Madhhushka’s mobile phone details. Neither have they made submissions with regard to the officers of the Army camp to where Madhushka was taken.
Mayuri and her lawyer say that too much of time is being taken for this case. Lawyer Priyalal Sirisena says the CID says every day a report will be submitted and the case is getting put off. Mayuri has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC 3926/13). But, justice is yet to be done for them. A promise given her by a coordinating secretary to the president is still to be fulfilled either.
Govt. programme for missing persons
The office of missing persons was made law with the speaker’s having signed the related act on 23 August 2016. However, it is yet to become active. According to the WGEID, Sri Lanka is having the second highest missing persons in its 35 year history. It has referred 12,341 incidents of disappearances for confirmation. The government has confirmed 6,551 incidents.
The Maxwell Paranagama commission established by the previous government launched its report in August 2015. That commission received 18,476 complaints of disappearances. The total number of disappearances during the war is said to be around 24,000. Enforced disappearances are a crime against humanity. The entire public as one should raise a voice to find the truth and to prevent a repetition.
The OMP needs to be amended as it gives priority to incidents that could take place in the present. The past incidents are investigated on the basis of the position of the person who has gone missing and the effect of that person’s disappearance to society. Therefore, the disappearances of average citizens like Madhushka will not be investigated. That is a serious matter for concern. But, truth should come out one day. Civil society organizations and intellectuals should get together to pressurize the government into making the required legal provisions in place. Also, the OMP should be implemented despite its shortcomings. But, none of these have been done so far. Thousands like Mayuri do not know the fate of their missing loved ones.
Lanka News Web will discuss in detail in the future about the shortcomings of the OMP act. Until then, we should keep in mind that there are nearly 24,000 voices (during the previous regime alone) to raise a voice about the missing persons.
Britto Fernando of the missing persons association told us, “Mayuri and Madhuska’s family members intervened on behalf of Madhuska several times. They went to the police and staged protests. We supported the protests against the disappearances during the Mahinda regime. We were able to make that a topic in Anuradhapura town. Every day we staged protests in front of the court. We distributed leaflets and raised public awareness. We sought the questioning of a police officer. But, it was only around a year later that the matter was taken to court. After we told the court that investigations were not taking place properly, it handed it over to the CID. But, they keep on postponing the hearing for further investigations. We believe this is not being investigated impartially. Mayuri’s affidavit clearly says that the top police officer named Mahesh Senanayake told her that he knew only what happened until Madhuska was taken to Puttalam, and nothing thereafter. But, a statement is yet to be recorded from Senanayake.”
Human rights activist Ruki Fernando said, “It is nearly four years ago that Madhuskha was abducted. All the available evidence has been handed over to the police. It is on record that the police had been aware of the incident. But, nothing has been done for four years. Mayuri has gone to courts, complained to the Human Rights Commission, protested in front of the Presidential Secretariat and met its officials. Various promises were given, but nothing has been done so far. That means that just like the previous regime did, the present government too, does not allow an impartial investigation to allow a wife, family members to obtain information. None of the promises given by the Presidential Secretariat has been fulfilled. This is very tragic. Noting has been given for his two small children. This is the situation of thousands of families of missing persons in Sri Lanka. Mayuri is just one of them. There are thousands more.”
Attempts to contact police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara for comments failed.
~ Basuru Jayawardena