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Mar-18-2014 18:41printcomments

Arrest of Mother, Daughter Worsens Public Opinion of Sri Lanka

Arbitrary arrest of a mother and her 13-year-old daughter who have protested over the disappearance of the woman's 15-year-old son five years ago, brings more international pressure.
Mrs. Balendran Jayakumari, and daughter were arrested last week, near Kilinochchi. -

(SALEM) - If the international community needed any additional proof about Sri Lanka's pogrom against ethnic Tamils, the arbitrary arrest of a mother and her 13-year-old daughter who have protested over the disappearance of the woman's 15-year-old son five years ago, should more than suffice.

The British Tamils Forum wrote, "The actions of the Sri Lankan state are all the more brazen given their timing. Sri Lanka is currently coming under intense scrutiny at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and yet these arrests show it no longer has any concern over its international image and, more worryingly, indicate that Sri Lanka does not expect the international community to take any concrete action to arrest its ongoing persecution of Tamils."

They say the detention of this woman and her teen daughter, "is further evidence, if any were needed, that Sri Lanka has no intention of relenting in this persecution, let alone of investigating its past abuses."

The mother, Mrs. Balendran Jayakumari, and daughter were arrested last week, near Kilinochchi. An outspoken mother of the disappeared, Jeyakumari, was arrested by the government on terrorism related charges.

It has been announced that Jeyakumari, who is currently being held in Boosa camp, will serve 18 days detention, under the country's tough anti-terrorism law. Her daughter is being held in a separate location.

Sri Lankan officials actually staged an event surrounding their arrest, people in Kilinochchi say. Gun shots rang out when government officials stormed into the woman's home. She said she was preparing food for her children at the time of the arrest, and that she immediately took her daughter and went outside. Jeyakumari says there were no other people present.

Government officials released a story that there was an LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) cadre inside of the house who shot a police officer. The 18-day sentence makes it quite obvious that the story was a ruse, it also speaks to the international pressure bearing down on the Rajapakse regime for this arrest and for the woman's release.

Mrs. Jayakumari was quoted by the Hindu saying, "Soon after they went inside, I heard two gunshots. Following that a large number of police and army came and interrogated us. I said I do not know anything about the person who jumped over the wall."

A police spokesman named Ajith Rohana told reporters Ms. Jeyakumari was arrested for harboring a criminal. He said a man was hiding at her home and fired a gun at police during the raid. Rohana also said the daughter was not arrested but taken into custody "for her own protection."

This mother has good reason to believe her son, who was 15-years old at the time, survived the war. He was a child recruit of the LTTE in 2009, who was captured alive. Sri Lanka published a photograph of her son in a book published by the government, which showed rehabilitation of rebel fighters. She says that is proof that he was in fact in government custody, but Sri Lankan authorities will not release any information about his whereabouts. This frustration led his mother into a leadership role in the mobilization of families of the missing in her neighborhood.

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Tim King specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide. His years as a Human
Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in
2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine. Tim is the news editor
for and holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional
mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards
from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and The Red Cross
More articles by Tim King


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