Appendix I: “Disappearances” and Abductions Documented by Human Rights Watch

Northern Sri Lanka

1.  Thiyagarajah Saran

On the night of February 20, 2007, 25-year-old Thiyagarajah Saran, an employee at a private bus company, was at home with his wife and daughter. At about 9 p.m. two men arrived in their village in East Puttur, Jaffna, on a motorcycle. They stopped near Saran’s neighbors’ house and told the neighbors to call Saran and his wife. By the time the two came out of the house, another seven or 10 men had arrived on motorcycles.

According to Saran’s relatives, the men were wearing military pants and T-shirts, and their faces were painted with black stripes. They were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and pistols. Some of the men spoke Sinhala and some “bad” Tamil as if it was not their native language, while others were fluent and swore in Tamil a lot.

Saran’s relative told Human Rights Watch:

They started beating Thiyagarajah. They took his T-shirt off and stuffed it into his mouth. The neighbors came out to help, but they pushed them away. His wife was crying and shouting, and they hit her with a gun butt. She was nine months pregnant. They were accusing Thiyagarajah of having bombs in the house, and forced him to dig the ground around the house. They searched the house, turning everything upside down, but didn’t find anything. They beat him so badly that he couldn’t walk—they had to carry him away. They took him away on a motorcycle.

While the family has no clear information about Saran’s whereabouts, they believe that he was taken away by a joint group of the military and EPDP members. They made this assumption based on the mixture of languages the perpetrators spoke. Witnesses also told the family that two of the motorcycles left in the direction of Puttur army camp, and others went to the Achchuveli EPDP facility.

The morning after Saran had been taken away, his family started searching for him. They filed a complaint with local police, and visited various camps, including Achelu military camp, Puttur military camp, and Atchuvely EPDP camp. They visited the EPDP office in Jaffna town. The military and EPDP members everywhere told them that they were not holding Saran, but would inquire and let them know. The family also submitted a petition to the Human Rights Commission (HRC). As of this writing Saran’s whereabouts remain unknown.367

2.  Pathinather Prasanna                    3.  Anton Prabananth


On February 17, 2007, 24-year-old Pathinather Prasanna and 21-year-old Anton Prabananth were returning home from the market in Kalviankadu in Nallur, Jaffna district, where they used to sell fish. About four kilometers from the market, near the village of Nayanmarkaddu, a Powell military vehicle was patrolling the road. Local villagers later told the families that the two men on their bicycles did not stop as the vehicle passed them. The Powell then stopped, reversed, and several soldiers got out of the vehicle and ordered the two men to stop. Prabananth’s father told Human Rights Watch:

A friend of mine, who was also coming back from the market at the time, saw what happened and informed us. I came to Nayanmarkaddu the same day. The villagers told me they saw Pathinather and Anton being interrogated by the military. The military held them at gunpoint. Then the military put them into the Powell, and also loaded their bicycles into their vehicle. The villagers could not see much because the army ordered them to disperse, and now they are too afraid to talk to anybody about what they saw.

The villagers also told the families that this Powell vehicle had been parked at Thapal Kadai junction, not far from the village, and was used to patrol the road during the day, usually accompanied by an army field group on motorcycles. But when the family inquired at Thapal Kadai, the military personnel there denied having any knowledge of the incident and said they did not have the two men.

The families filed a complaint with the Jaffna police and also went to the military Brigade 51 in Jaffna. When they filed a complaint with the military commander, he told them that “if the army arrests somebody, they have to hand the person to the police in 72 hours,” and suggested that the families should inquire with the police stations instead. The families visited several police stations without success. As of this writing their efforts to find their relatives have proved futile.

4. Sathees Sabaratnam

Sathees Sabaratnam, age 27, worked as a driver in a grocery shop in Jaffna. On February 13, 2007, Sabaratnam accompanied his friend to a pawn-broker in Jaffna to redeem the friend’s pawned jewelry. Sabaratnam had 20,000 rupees (about US$180) to secure the release of his friend’s jewelry.

After he failed to get in touch with Sabaratnam, his brother contacted the friend he left with. The brother told Human Rights Watch that Sabaratnam left his friend after they secured the jewelry, saying he would go back to work. Nobody has seen him since. The brother said he also learned from the friend and other people he had spoken to in Jaffna that the police had inquired about Sabaratnam several days before he went missing. He said:

I have no idea why anyone would want to take him. But everyone in the community knew that our parents had now moved to Germany and were in a position to send us money. However, there was no ransom demand and no unexpected withdrawals from the bank.

The family has filed a complaint with the police and reported the case to the HRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

5. Krishnabhavan Kanapathippillai

The family of 36-year-old Krishnabhavan Kanapathippillai used to live in front of a large military camp in Thondaimanaru in Jaffna district. As the camp expanded its territory, the families living nearby were leaving the area. Kanapathippillai’s family moved to an abandoned house nearby. The family members frequently visited their old residence, for instance, to take baths and look after their garden. They used to leave the keys with their neighbors, the only family that continued to live in front of the camp.

Kanapathippillai’s relatives told Human Rights Watch that on February 11, 2007, he left home at around 11 a.m. on his motorbike, and went to their old house to take a bath. The neighbor who kept the keys to the house told the family that Kanapathippillai had stopped by to pick up the keys only at 2 p.m. because, in the interim, military personnel from the camp had borrowed Kanapathippillai’s bike and he had to wait till they returned. The family said it was a usual practice for soldiers to borrow his bike. Kanapathippillai was the president of the fishing society, and the military knew him well.

The neighbor said that after taking the key at 2 p.m. Kanapathipillai went to his house. She heard the sounds of bathing, and saw his bike parked in front of the house. Later in the afternoon she got worried and at around 4:30 p.m. went to the house to check. The door was closed, but she saw that the bike was still there and in front of the door somebody had left the keys, a water pump, and a lamp—she believed these were things Kanapathippillai was planning to take to his new residence. Concerned, the neighbor then informed Kanapathippillai’s brother and other relatives.

The family immediately went to the Thondaimanaru camp, but the military personnel there claimed to have no knowledge of Kanapathippillai. Kanapathippillai’s relative said:

We kept asking them, “How can it be that you don’t know anything? You are right here, the door [to the house] is locked from outside—somebody must have locked it, and somebody must have seen him and what happened to him!” But they just responded that they were new, and that only the old battalion would know where Krishnabhavan was. We actually noticed some of the officers from the old battalion in the camp, but they kept hiding from us. And when we requested to talk to them, the military told us that they were not there, that they couldn’t find them, etc. They must know something—the lane where the house is located is blocked on both sides, there is a sentry point, and only the people who live there are allowed in.

Next morning, the family filed a complaint with the Valvettiturai police, and also reported the incident to the HRC. The police, however, never visited the family, or the neighbor to collect additional information. At the time of this writing the family had no information on Kanapathippillai’s fate or whereabouts.

6.  Balendran Cruz      

7.  Satish Kumar Cruz

Balendran Cruz, age 29, had been working in Saudi Arabia for four years. He came back home to Sri Lanka to visit his mother in January 2007. On the morning of February 6, 2007, Balendran and his friend, 31-year-old Satish Kumar Cruz, went from Pesalai to Mannar town, on Mannar island.

According to Balendran Cruz’ mother, the families kept waiting for them, intermittently trying their mobile phones to establish contact. There was no response on either phone, and the men never returned. Later, their relatives found out that the two were last seen at around 2:30 p.m. near a place called Tharapuram.

Balendran Cruz’ mother told Human Rights Watch:

There are six checkpoints manned by the army, navy, and police between Mannar and Pesalai. There is a checkpoint every two kilometers and heavy patrolling throughout. It is very improbable that two persons can just disappear from such a heavily patrolled place. The [local Catholic] bishop sent us to the navy camp to check if they had been picked up by the navy but the navy denied arresting them.

She added that one of their relatives claimed he had seen Balendran in an armored vehicle near Pesalai, but the family was unable to confirm it. The family also got in touch with an EPDP representative from Mannar to raise the matter. The EPDP representative went to the Navy checkpoints and inquired about the two men, but did not get any information.

The family lodged a complaint at the Thalaimannar police station, and registered statements with the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM.

8.  Luis Moris Satkunanathan

On February 6, 2007,54-year-old Luis Moris Satkunanathan, a former village administrator (GS) from Mannar, went to work on a construction site in Thalaimannar on Mannar island.

His wife told Human Rights Watch that he left on his motorbike at 6 a.m., planning to come back at 11 a.m., but he never returned home.

The family did not have enough information to say what happened to Satkunanathan. They said on February 24 they got a phone call and heard a crying voice and then someone cursing. “We think it was him,” the wife said, but the person who had been cursing did not demand money and nobody has called since.

Satkunanathan’s relatives filed a complaint with the police in Mannar and reported the case to the HRC, but to date have received no further information on his fate or whereabouts.

9. Rajkumar Nadesalingam

On January 23, 2007, 21-year-old Rajkumar Nadesalingam was staying with his friends in the village of Kerudavil, in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna district. At around 6 p.m. villagers from Kerudavil informed Nadesalingam’sfamily that he had been taken away by the military.

The family learned that at around 2 or 3 p.m. soldiers from Kanakampuliyady camp conducted a cordon-and-search operation in the village and arrested a number of young men, including Nadesalingam. Some men managed to escape, others got released after their families’ intervention, yet Nadesalingam apparently remained in military custody. The military apparently arrested him, after beating him, for involvement with the LTTE. A relative told Human Rights Watch:

Villagers from Kerudavil said that the military severely beat him, and then he showed them places in the village where weapons were hidden—the military dug there and found weapons. He must have had connections with the people in Wanni [that is, the LTTE]—during the arrest, the military found cyanide on him [LTTE cadres frequently carry cyanide capsules to commit suicide upon capture], and some Wanni phone numbers in his cell phone.

Nadesalingam’s father said he was too afraid to go to the military camp to search for his son as he thought the military may detain him also because of his son’s alleged connection to LTTE. However, he inquired with the Chavakachcheri police who said that they had no knowledge of the case and that the military had not handed any detainees over to them. He also reported the case to the HRC and ICRC. According to the father, the ICRC inquired with the Kanakampuliyady military camp, yet the military said they had released everybody they arrested in Kerudavil village.

To date, the fate and whereabouts of Rajkumar Nadesalingam remain unknown.

10.  Junith Rex Simsan

28-year-old Junith Rex Simsan used to earn his living by providing huts and furniture for rent for holiday celebrations. At about 2:45 p.m. on January 22, 2007, an army group of about 35 men conducted a search in the area where he lived with his family. His relative told Human Rights Watch that when the military personnel came to his house they initially told Simsan that they wanted to rent some furniture. They then proceeded to question him about any arms he might posses as well as alleged connections with the LTTE.

The soldiers searched the family’s house, including the attic area, and dug up the ground around the house looking for hidden ammunition. According to the family, the group was from the nearby Colombothurai military camp in Jaffna district. The military then checked his ID and left, saying that everything was in order.

The same night, at around 12:30 a.m., several other men came to Simsan’s house. They jumped over the gate and knocked on the door. One of Simsan’s relatives told Human Rights Watch:

[Simsan’s] father opened the door, and the men pushed him aside, and then forced us and the children into one of the rooms. He [Simsan] came out of his room, covering himself with a bed sheet, and the men grabbed him by the bed sheet and seized him. They wore black pants, green T-shirts, and their heads were wrapped with some black cloth. Later I found out that they arrived in a van, but they parked it on the main road. They smashed the lights bulbs in the room, and dragged him away. They told him, “Come!” in Tamil. He cried, “Mother!” but we couldn’t help him.

The family informed Jaffna police of the abduction. The police promised to make inquiries but never visited the family. The family also visited various military camps in the area. The family said that in one of the camps the military looked through “a big list of detainees” in their presence, but told them that Simsan’s name was not on their list. The family also filed reports with the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. To date the family has received no further information on Simsan’s whereabouts. The ICRC informed the family that the army denied having arrested Simsan.

11.  Emil Pramittan Velautham

On the night of January 22, 2007, 25-year-old Emil Pramittan Velautham was sleeping in his house in Jaffna town, along with eight other family members. One of the relatives told Human Rights Watch that at around 1:20 a.m. they heard the dogs barking and thought that somebody was trying to break into the house.

The family cried for help, thinking the perpetrators were thieves, but the men outside said in Tamil, “Are we thieves?” as if denying it. Then they tried to break the gate, but the family opened it. Two men then came in, in civilian clothes, armed with assault rifles, and their faces covered with dark scarves.

Velauthamwas sleeping in the adjacent house. The men then took Velautham’s father and two brothers outside. The family saw that they were showing them to someone who had been waiting outside. Then they asked, “Is that all?” and one of the brothers responded that they had another brother. The men then went to the room where Velauthamwas sleeping. His relative told Human Rights Watch: “He was sleeping, and they started dragging him away in his nightclothes. We all shouted, and cried, and tried to follow them, but they started shooting in the air to scare us off, and left.” The perpetrators did not take the other two brothers or the father.

The family filed a complaint with the local police, who said that they would contact the family if they received any information, but never did. The family also inquired about Velauthamin the Colombothurai military camp, Passaiyoor military camp, and the main EPDP camp in the area. The military personnel denied holding Velautham, and EPDP members repeatedly told the family to come back later.

The relatives filed the case with the HRC, SLMM, and ICRC.

12.  Kajendran Kanapathippillai

On January 18, 2007, 21-year-old Kajendran Kanapathippillai returned home in the morning after spending a night in a shop in Jaffna town where he used to work. At around 2 p.m. he left home and went back to Jaffna.

Kanapathippillai’srelative told Human Rights Watch that at around 3 p.m. he called home and said that he had reached Jaffna. However, an hour later, when his daughter tried to reach him on his cell phone, nobody picked up the phone. Kanapathippillaidid not return home that day.

The next day Kanapathippillai’sfamily inquired at the shop, but his co-workers said they had not seen him since he left the shop on January 17.

The family started searching for Kanapathippillai, checked in the hospitals, and filed complaints with Jaffna and Chavakachcheri police stations, yet all their efforts proved futile. They also registered the case with the HRC and ICRC.

While the family found no witnesses to Kanapathippillaibeing arrested or taken away, they believe he was seized by the military. His father explained that in 2003 Kanapathippillai, who was then 17 years old, spent a year in the Wanni, at an LTTE training camp. The father said that his son had no continuing involvement with the LTTE but, a week before he went missing, several military personnel stopped the father on the road not far from his house and started interrogating him about his son. The military asked whether Kanapathippillai had been in the Wanni and seemed to know much about him. Family members also note that, on his way to Jaffna, Kanapathippillai would have passed the Varani military camp.

13. Kandayiah Latheeswaran

At 8 a.m. on December 22, 2006, 20-year-old student Kandayiah Latheeswaran left his house in Mavady, Vaddukkoddai, western Jaffna district to attend classes in a college in Jaffna town. He never returned home.

The family inquired with the college, and found out that he had not come to the classes that day. They learned that he had been last seen at Anaicoddai area, on the outskirts of Jaffna town.

The family inquired at the local police station in Vaddukkoddai, and at the Mavady military camp, but both the police and the military denied arresting Latheeswaran. They also registered reports with the HRC, ICRC, SLMM, and local NGOs.

One of Latheeswaran’s relatives told Human Rights Watch that she had seen him in the Kaladdy military camp several weeks after he went missing. She said:

On January 9, 2007, I was on my way to the university in Jaffna—there were no classes but I was going to the bank in the university—and passed by Kaladdy military camp, located near the university. Suddenly, through a gap in the fence I saw [Kandayiah]. The fence was high and I could only see his face, but I immediately recognized him. He was just five meters away. He was talking to an army person; there were just two of them. He looked tired and had a bruise on his nose.

The relative said she had reported the encounter to the ICRC. To date she has not received any information regarding Latheeswaran’s fate.

14.  Thilipkumar Ranjithkumar          15.  Ganesh Suventhiran


On the morning of December 8, 2006, the military conducted large-scale cordon-and-search operations in several villages in Valvedditturai area in northern Jaffna district, including Samarapaku, Naachchimaar, Navindil, Illanthaikkadu, and Mavadi. According to eyewitnesses, the group conducting the searches consisted of personnel from Point Pedro camp, Polikandy camp, Valvedditturai camp, Uduppiddy camp, and another camp locally known as “Camp David.”

The wife of 25-year-old Thilipkumar Ranjithkumar told Human Rights Watch that in the morning four soldiers searched their house and checked the ID cards of the family members. They returned her card, but seized Ranjithkumar’s and told him to come later that day to Navindil to collect it.

Ranjithkumar’s wife took their two children and accompanied her husband to Navindil. She said there were almost 2,000 people at the area where the military told them to come—men with their families who had come to collect their IDs. The military personnel were calling out people’s names, asking some questions, and returning their ID cards. She said that they also called Ranjithkumar, checked his documents again, and let him go. However, he never left the area. Ranjithkumar’s wife said:

He got his card back, and was making his way through the crowd. There were two Powell vehicles parked there, and as he was passing in between them, several military personnel jumped off the vehicle, picked him up and pushed him inside. It all happened in front of my eyes—I stood with the kids some ten meters away. I ran there, screaming, “Where are you taking him? Please, let him go!”

In response, one of the soldiers unfastened a strap from his gun, and lashed me, saying, “Go away, he is not here; if you lost your husband, go and ask the police.” I kept crying, asking them to either release him or take me and the kids as well, “because we wouldn’t survive without him anyway.” One of the soldiers, moved by my tears, got inside the vehicle and I heard him talking, but he did not come back to us.

Ganesh Suventhiran, age 23,also had his ID card confiscated on the morning of December 8, 2006, in his home village of Naachchimaar, northern Jaffna district. He also went to Navindil to pick up his card.

His wife told Human Rights Watch that she came there some time later and although she had to wait behind the fence, she saw her husband, who waved to her. She said that the military personnel checked his ID again and returned the card, allowing him to leave. However, as he was leaving two soldiers picked him up and put him into one of the Powell vehicles. Suventhiran’swife said she then immediately ran to the vehicle, and, along with Ranjithkumar’s wife started begging the soldiers to release the men. She said that the soldiers kept pushing the women away, saying they would hit them if they came closer.

The women said that some 15 minutes after their husbands had been put into the Powell, the vehicles quickly drove off, and other personnel followed them. The two women told Human Rights Watch that they managed to write down the license plate numbers of the two Powell vehicles, 40041-14, and 40032-14.

The wives of Ranjithkumar and Suventhiranimmediately went to file a complaint at the Point Pedro police station located inside the Point Pedro military camp. Suventhiran’swife said:

We gave them the vehicle numbers we wrote down, but they said, “We have hundreds of vehicles with the same numbers, so it is childish of you to expect us to find them by these numbers.” The next day, when we came back, we saw both vehicles leaving the camp and coming back. We told the policeman, and also talked to a female military officer who wrote something down. Then a commander—he had stars on his epaulets and a red band on his arm—came; he talked to us and to the female officer, but never returned to us. They said they did not know anything and sent us to the Valvettiturai police station.

The Valvettiturai police registered the complaint, but advised the women to search for the men in the forest; they mentioned that previously a man taken away by the military had been dumped in the forest, blindfolded, yet alive. The families, however, did not find their husbands there.

The two women told Human Rights Watch that they kept visiting Point Pedro and Polikandy military camps, and that on Christmas day 2006 the military personnel from the Polikandy camp came to verify the places of residence of the two men with their village leaders. The soldiers, however, kept denying having any knowledge of the men’s whereabouts. The women also reported the “disappearances” to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. The ICRC inquired with the military, the women said, but received the same response.

To date the fate and whereabouts of the two men remain unknown.

16.  Kajenthiran Sivasubramaniam

Kajenthiran Sivasubramaniam, age 29, used to work in a bakery owned by his family in Kalviyankadu, Jaffna district. At about 10 p.m. on December 6, 2006, he delivered baking supplies for overnight baking to the bakery and went to his uncle’s house nearby. According to his family, that had been part of his daily routine since 2000 when he started working in the bakery: he used to come home before 6 p.m. to have dinner, return to the bakery with supplies, and then go to his uncle’s house for the night.

According to information relatives later received from the workers at the bakery and the uncle’s family, at about 1:30 a.m. a group of about 40 or 50 armed men came to the bakery. They asked for “Jegan”—Sivasubramaniam was locally known by this name. The bakers told his family that the assailants wore military pants and civilian T-shirts, and had masks on their faces. They arrived in a Powell military vehicle and a white van. Those speaking spoke Tamil.

Sivasubramaniam’s relative told Human Rights Watch:

The workers were very scared—there were so many armed men they thought the military was cordoning the entire area. Initially they told the armed men that that they did not know where Jegan was, and that he should come in the morning. But the men then turned everything upside down in the bakery, and seized one of the workers. They told him they would put him into the oven if he didn’t tell them. So he had to say where Jegan was sleeping.

The armed men then went to the house of Sivasubramaniam’s uncle, breaking the kitchen door and pushing away the uncle and his wife who tried to prevent them from entering. They did not search the house and did not ask the family to produce their identification documents, but seized Sivasubramaniam and took him away in his bedclothes.

Eyewitnesses to the incident believe that the perpetrators were from the military, and so Sivasubramaniam’s family started searching for him in the army camps. They went to the Irupalai army camp, but military officials there said they had not conducted operations in the area and did not know anything about the abduction. They also approached military personnel in the Urelu camp, the main army camp in the area. Military officials there said they did not know anything about the incident but took testimony from the family.

Sivasubramaniam’s relatives also submitted a statement to the Kopai police station. The police contacted the Urelu camp but said they received no response and did not proceed with the investigation.

The family reported the case to the HRC and ICRC.

17.  Rasiharan Somalingam

On December 6, 2006, 23-year-old Rasiharan Somalingam was on his way to his mother’s house in the village of Samarapaku, in Valvedditturai, Jaffna district. In Navindil area, the military was conducting a cordon-and-search operation. Somalingam told his family that soldiers stopped him and seized his ID card, saying he should come to Uduppiddy military camp to get it back. Somalingam returned home and then the same day went to the camp accompanied by his wife and sister. The military personnel ordered Somalingam inside but told his relatives to leave, saying they would release him shortly.

The two women left, but when Somalingam did not return home they came back and asked the military about him. They saw Somalingam’s bicycle parked inside the camp, yet the military officials denied they had arrested him.

Somalingam’s relative told Human Rights Watch that one other man from the area had been detained in the Uduppiddy camp along with Somalingam, and many people witnessed him being taken inside. Three days after his detention, the other man was dumped at a junction, away from his village, blindfolded, with his legs and hands tied. Somalingam’s relative said that the man was very scared and was not willing to talk to anyone about the circumstances of his detention or about other detainees he had seen in the camp.

The family reported the case to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. To date they have not received any information about his fate or whereabouts.

18.  Thiyaganagalingam Sundaralingam

On the night of December 3, 2006, at around 11 p.m., the family of 50-year-old Thiyaganagalingam Sundaralingam heard a vehicle stopping near their house in Tellippalai, Jaffna district. Sundaralingam’s wife and his oldest son went to wake him up. The men outside told the family to open the door, and when they refused, they broke the kitchen door and burst inside.

Sundaralingam’s wife told Human Rights Watch that there were nine men, all wearing T-shirts, but the family members couldn’t see much as the men shone a light in their eyes. The men spoke badly accented Tamil. Later the family saw the vehicle they arrived in, and learned from neighbors that two other vehicles were parked at a nearby junction. Sundaralingam’s wife said:

We all gathered in the hall around my husband. We were nine people altogether. The men told my oldest daughter, who was carrying a baby in her hands, to go away so that the child wouldn’t get scared. Then they sent us all to another room, and only my husband and the oldest son stayed. The men then ordered my husband to go with them. We all started shouting, but they told us to stop and said they would just question and release him. They took him out, and I just saw their vehicle leaving.

The family filed a complaint with the local police who promised to look into the case, but they never provided them with any information. They also went to the Uduvil military camp, but the military officials there denied having Sundaralingam. The family said that on December 13, 2006, the military police from Uduvil camp came to their house and told them to come to the camp. Sundaralingam’s daughter was crying, and one of the soldiers told her so that others could not hear, “Don’t cry, your father is in the camp, so go and cook your food.” When the family went to the camp, the military officials took a statement from them, recorded in Sinhala, and asked Sundaralingam’s wife to sign it. She did not want to sign something in a language she couldn’t read, but the official ordered her to do so.

The family later found out that the night Sundaralingam had been taken away the military had picked up another man from the area who was beaten and then released. This man told the family that the people who had detained him wore military uniforms and drove a military truck, and that he had seen Sundaralingam on another military truck.

The family home is one of only two inside a high security zone near two military camps, Tellippalai and Kollankaladdy. Family members say that military personnel from Tellippalai camp used to conduct weekly checks in the area, and knew the family very well. In response to the family’s inquiries, military officials said that Sundaralingam was a “good man” but claimed to have no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The family also reported the case to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. They have received no further information on Sundaralingam’s whereabouts. The relatives suspect that Sundaralingam might have been taken away because he used to take undeveloped rolls of film from local people and take them to Colombo to develop and print the photos. The family thinks that the military might have wanted to interrogate him about the photographs to which he had access.

19.  Sivasooriyakumar Tharmaratnam

On November 17, 2006, 28-year-old Sivasooriyakumar Tharmaratnam went with his wife and infant child to obtain permission from the local authorities to travel to Colombo at the Travel Clearance Civil office at Hospital Road, Jaffna, located inside a military camp. Along with other petitioners he was waiting at the checkpoint near the office, and at around 12:30 p.m. the military staff told him to come in. His wife gave him her ID card, and went to a nearby church to breastfeed the baby.

When she came back about half an hour later and asked about her husband, the officials told her that he had received his permission and left. She saw that her husband’s bicycle was still parked at the place where he left it earlier and decided to wait for him. She told Human Rights Watch:

I kept waiting because he had to take us home. At around 5:30 p.m., an official came out and showed me his application form with his signature certifying that he had received his permission. But when I started asking people who were still waiting at the checkpoint, they told me he had not come out. They knew him because we all made friends while we were waiting. There is only one way out of that office, through the checkpoint so they would have seen him if he had left.

The family immediately went to the Jaffna office of the HRC, located nearby, and the HRC contacted the Travel Clearance office. The military staff said again that Sivasooryakumar had left.

Sivasooryakumar’s family told Human Rights Watch that shortly before his “disappearance” he had opened a small shop to sell car parts. The shop was located inside the high security zone, and Sivasooryakumar used to spend time outside the shop. The family believes that the military might have suspected him of spying on them.

The family reported the “disappearance” to the Jaffna police, SLMM, and ICRC. The ICRC inquired in the Palali camp and Nallur military camp, but military personnel there claimed to have no knowledge of Sivasooryakumar’s whereabouts. At this writing the family has received no further information about his fate.

20.  Charles Caston Raveendran

At around 11:30 p.m. on November 15, 2006, 37-year-old Charles Caston Raveendran and his family were sleeping in their house in Chundikuli, Jaffna, when they heard knocking on the door. Raveendran worked for Halo Trust, an international mine-clearing organization operating in Jaffna. They did not open the door, and when Raveendran’s wife looked out of the window, she could not see anything as the men outside shone a flashlight into her eyes. She said that when she asked the men who they were, they answered, “police.” Raveendran, who thought the perpetrators were thieves, called for the neighbors, but the men broke the front door and burst in.

According to Raveendran’s wife, the assailants were eight men, all dressed in civilian clothes, some wearing bandanas, and all armed with AK-47 assault rifles or pistols. They spoke a mixture of Tamil and Sinhala, but she thought most of them were Tamil. The neighbors later told her that the men had arrived in two vehicles—a white van and a green jeep—which they parked on the main road. She told Human Rights Watch:

They took him out of his room into the hall, and pushed me, our son and two daughters, and his aunt into another room. He was wearing his sarong, and they allowed him to tie it and then tied his hands. I couldn’t see much from another room, but he yelled, “They are tying my hands!” I heard a slap, and then he didn’t say anything else. They took him out of the house and then came back to do a search. They asked us where the person who worked for Halo Trust was—I didn’t realize they were asking about [my husband] Charles Caston, and thought they were looking for his former colleague who is now living abroad. They searched my husband’s room and took away his mobile phone, his watch, his work boots, and his documents. We were too terrified to ask any questions.

The family told Human Rights Watch that, judging by the perpetrators’ accents, appearance, and bearing, they were Tamils from the area.

The family inquired with the Jaffna police, but the police said they had not come to the area. According to Raveendran’s wife, when she asked the police how it was possible for such a big group of men to break into their house during the curfew time, the police said, “if it’s the army, we cannot discuss it.” They also reported the case to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM.

On behalf of the family the village headman inquired about Raveendran in the Passaiyoor military camp, but the military staff there denied arresting him. Halo Trust also informed the Palali military camp about the abduction, and the military personnel there said they had not arrested him, but added that “if it was the army intelligence unit, they could not interfere.” The family has not obtained any further information regarding his whereabouts.

21.  Sivasothy Sivaramanan

Sivasothy Sivaramanan, age 28, ran a small teashop in Urumpirai, Jaffna district, together with his father. In the beginning of October 2006, an army unit on motorcycles (a so-called “field group”) came to the family’s house in Urumpirai West. Sivaramanan was not at home at the time. The military searched the house, checked his father’s ID, and left.

Sivaramanan’s father told Human Rights Watch that on November 4, 2006, at about 6 a.m., another three soldiers in uniform came to the family’s teashop and asked him in Sinhala about his son’s whereabouts. He answered that his son had not yet come to the shop and asked why they were inquiring. The military officials responded that is was “nothing special,” and left.

The same night at around 9 p.m., after both the father and the son returned home, they heard a noise of a vehicle stopping near their house and of people running. According to Sivaramanan’s father, male voices called Sivaramanan by name from the street, and then about 15 men, fully armed and wearing loose pants and T-shirts, jumped over the gate and broke down the door into the house. They mostly spoke to each other in Sinhala, but some spoke Tamil as well. The men smashed the light bulbs in the house, pulled the drawer out of a desk, took out a photo album, and started asking the family about the people in the photos. The father told Human Rights Watch:

The armed men then woke our cook who was sleeping outside. The cook was drunk, and when the men started beating him up and questioning him, he showed them the room in the adjacent house where my son was sleeping. They went to that room, and I followed them. My son was hardly awake, and the men just put handcuffs on him, and started dragging him away. I asked, “Where are you taking my son?” but they just kicked me and pushed me aside. They took him outside, put him in a van, and drove away.

The family filed a complaint with the local police, who promised to make inquiries but did not come back to the family with any information. The relatives also inquired at the Kondavil and Thavady military camps, but military personnel in both places denied having Sivaramanan in custody. Sivaramanan’s father also met with the leader of the EPDP, government Minister for Social Services and Welfare Douglas Devananda, who said he would find his son. According to the father, he went to the EPDP office three times, and every time Devananda said he would get back to him in 10 days, but never did.

The family believes that the army might have taken Sivaramanan because the teashop used to serve lunch to many local people, and the military might have suspected that LTTE members were among them. Sivaramanan’s father told Human Rights Watch that when he asked about his son and complained at a checkpoint not far from the shop, the military personnel there told him casually “Oh, that’s because you were feeding LTTE.”

The family also reported the case to the HRC, ICRC, and local NGOs. At this writing the family had no additional information on Sivaramanan’s fate or whereabouts.

22.  Padmanathan Rajendran

23.  Sureshkumar Rajendran

24.  Nishanthan Tharmakulasingam

On September 28, 2006, 21-year-old Padmanathan Rajendran and his brother, 18-year-old Sureshkumar Rajendran, who was staying with him in Irupalai, Jaffna district, went to play sports at a local sports ground and invited 21-year-old Nishanthan Tharmakulasingam to join them.

None of the three ever returned home. When their families started searching for them the same day, they only managed to find out that local residents had seen all three at the sports ground at around 4:30 p.m. However, nobody saw them being arrested or taken away, and no army or other security forces were present in the area.

The families believe that the three men were abducted by the LTTE. They said that the LTTE had a strong presence in the area. The relatives said that Padmanathan and Sureshkumar Rajendran spoke good Sinhala and were “friends” with the army, and used to tell the people in the village that they would help them out should they have any problems with the military. Their connection with the military was apparently well known in the village, and could have been the reason for their abduction by the LTTE. The families said that their fellow villagers also believed that the LTTE was involved in the men’s abduction, although people were too scared to share any specific information with the families.

Relatives with close connections in the military said that their military contacts were adamant the army was not responsible for the abductions.

The families of the three men filed a complaint with the Kopay police. They also reported the case to a local human rights group. To date they have not been able to obtain any information regarding the fate or whereabouts of their missing relatives.

25.  Irajeevan Sathiyavagiswaran

On the night of September 11, 2006, 32-year-old Irageevant Sathiyavagiswaran,an information technology officer with the government, was sleeping in his family home in Tirunelveli, Jaffna district, when at about 12:15 a.m. the family heard the sound of motorcycles and a van stopping near the house. The family saw about 15 men jumping over the fence into the yard, and shouted, “Robbers!” as they were aware of a spree of robberies in the neighborhood. The men then broke the door and burst into the house.

According to Sathiyavagiswaran’s relatives, the men were in civilian clothes, but they could hardly see them as they were blinded by a flashlight. They said that most of the men spoke accented Tamil, though one spoke Tamil as a native speaker. They were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and other guns. One of the relatives told Human Rights Watch:

We were 11 people in the house. We were all begging them to take anything they wanted but not to hurt us. They told us to shut up and pushed us into a corner. They asked our names, and one of them went and checked other rooms in the house. They then asked for our documents, but as one of the women went to get to get the documents, they grabbed Sathiyavagiswaran. He tried to resist, but they knocked him down, and just dragged him out by his feet, like a dog. His mother was trying to grasp him, but they hit her with a gun butt on the head, and punched his sister who was in their way. He just kept shouting, “Mother! Mother!”

The relatives tried to follow the men as they were dragging Sathiyavagiswaran out of the house, but the assailants put him into a white van and drove away. The family said that there is a military checkpoint only 25 meters from their house and the soldiers there could easily see what was happening. However, when they inquired at the checkpoint, a soldier told them that he just thought they were shouting and crying because “someone got sick in the family,” and so did not think the soldiers should intervene.

The family filed a complaint with the Kopai police station and inquired at the Urelu military camp, but the military staff there said they had no knowledge of the incident. When they inquired at the EPDP camp in the area some 20 days after the abduction, one of the EPDP officials there said he believed Sathiyavagiswaran “must still be alive,” and suggested that otherwise the family would have found the body. The family also reported the case to the ICRC and SLMM, and a number of organizations made inquiries on their behalf.

At this writing the family has received no further information on Sathiyavagiswaran’s fate or whereabouts.

26.  Iyngaran Selvarasa

On September 3, 2006, at around 3 p.m., three soldiers came to the house of 24-year-old Iyngaran Selvarasa in Kopai, Jaffna district. Members of his family said they knew these men well, as they were from the nearby Irupalai camp and frequently stopped by the house while on patrols in the village. Military personnel had previously searched the house twice, but never found anything. That day the soldiers just talked casually to Selvarasa, and then left.

A few hours later, a group of about 10 or 15 fully armed men arrived at the house in a white van. The family said they spoke unaccented Tamil and were in civilian clothing. Selvarasa’s relative told Human Rights Watch:

They told him, “You thought you could escape from us?!” and then just started dragging him out. I kept asking why they were taking him away, but they said nothing in response and just put him in a van. They kept the rest of the family at gunpoint. I ran to the van, but one of them pushed his gun into my chest, then raised the barrel and shot into the air.

One relative said there is a military checkpoint some 200 meters away from the house, but the soldiers did not come when she was crying for help. She said she also saw the van passing the checkpoint without being stopped. Later, when the family tried to inquire at the checkpoint, the soldiers advised them to go and ask about Selvarasa at the Irupalai camp, but the family was too scared to go there.

The family filed a complaint with Kopay police, and inquired at the Srithar EPDP camp. They also reported the abduction to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. To date they have not received any information on Selvarasa’s fate or whereabouts. They said that after Selvarasa had been taken away, the soldiers stopped coming to their house.

27.  Thavaruban Kanapathipillai  

28.   Shangar Santhivarseharam

On August 16, 2006, at around noon, 26-year-old Thavaruban Kanapathipillai went to Kachai, in eastern Jaffna district, to buy some items for his shop, and invited 30-year-old Shangar Santhivarseharamto accompany him. The two men rode a bicycle together. They never returned. Their families told Human Rights Watch that they waited for the men, but could not go out to search for them the same day because a curfew was imposed in the area.

The next day, Santhivarseharam’s mother went to Kodikamam military camp located near her house to inquire about her son. She said she was surprised when the military officials asked her whether her son used to work for a bus company, the Ceylon Transport Board, because Thavaruban Kanapathipillai had worked there and the detail suggested the military might have some knowledge of the two men’s whereabouts, although the officials denied it.

The same day, both families filed a complaint with the Kodikamam police station, and went to the military camp again. Kanapathipillai’s uncle told Human Rights Watch:

When we got to the camp, I saw my nephew’s bicycle parked there. It was parked near the camp, in the military-controlled area. When we asked the soldiers, they denied arresting them, and when I said we had seen the bike, they got very angry, and started yelling, “Who told you to go and look there?! We’ll shoot you if you ever approach this place again!” We asked the GS [local civilian official] and the police to get the bike back, but they couldn’t. Eventually, the commander in the camp returned the bike to us. He said that the people who had arrested our men were no longer there, so we should just take the bike and go.

The families reported the case to the HRC, SLMM, and ICRC, and wrote petitions to various state and military authorities. To date they have not been able to obtain any information regarding the fate and whereabouts of their relatives.

29.  Thavavinayagam Anantharasa

30.  Selvanathan Kanthy

On August 15, 2006, two men—35-year old Thavavinayagam Anantharasa and 22-year-old Selvanathan Kanthy—left their home in Velanai, on Kayts island west of the Jaffna peninsula, for Jaffna town, to buy supplies for their shop. They never returned home.

Anantharasa’s relative told Human Rights Watch that when the families started searching for the men the next day, they learned that both had been stopped and questioned by the navy at Allaipiddy checkpoint at around 12 p.m. The navy let them pass, but they were stopped again at the Mankumpan checkpoint about half an hour later.

Local residents in Mankumpan told Anantharasa’s family that they saw him there at around 12:30 p.m., near the Mankumpan Pillar Hindu Temple. They said he was sitting under a tree surrounded by a group of uniformed navy officers. The people were not sure whether the navy personnel were interrogating him or just talking to him.

When the relative inquired with the navy at the Mankumpan checkpoint, they first told her that Anantharasa had crossed the checkpoint and his name was registered there. Then they added they did not know what had happened to him and suggested that he might have been taken away by the LTTE.

Both families filed complaints with the police. They also filed cases with the HRC. When the HRC inquired at the Mankumpan navy camp, the navy said it had no information about the two men.

Kanthy’s relative said that local people at Allaipiddy told them they had seen navy personnel driving Kanthy’s motorcycle—the license plate was removed yet they said they recognized the vehicle.

Kanthy’s relative informed Human Rights Watch that on August 26, 2006, 11 days after the “disappearance,” two bodies were found under the bridge near Mankumpan checkpoint. While the villagers and the families could see the bodies from a distance, the military did not allow them to approach the place and did not provide any information regarding identification of the bodies.

31.  Sutharsan Vijayakumar

At around 3 p.m. on August 9, 2006, 19-year-old student Sutharsan Vijayakumar left his house in the village of Alady, Jaffna district. He told his family he was going to play sports at a nearby playing field. He never returned home.

When Vijayakumar’s family started searching for him they found out he had been detained by the military on his way to the sports ground. A relative told Human Rights Watch:

There is a small checkpoint, a military post about a kilometer away from our house. It’s right in front of a shop, and the shopkeepers there saw everything. They said the soldiers beat him and pushed him onto his knees. They kept him on the roadside for awhile and then took him to an abandoned house nearby. Nobody dared to follow them, of course, and so nobody knows what happened afterwards.

The relative said she did not dare to go and inquire at the checkpoint, yet visited two military camps nearby, Manipay camp and Chunnakam camp. Military personnel, however, chased her away saying they had not arrested Vijayakumar.

The relative also mentioned that another young man was arrested together with Vijayakumar, but she did provide Human Rights Watch with his name or further details.

Vijayakumar’s family filed a complaint with the Chunnakam police, but did not hear anything back. They also registered the case with the HRC and ICRC. To date the fate and whereabouts of Sutharsan Vijayakumar remain unknown.

32.  Shanthakumar Palaniyappan

At around 8:30 a.m. on July 22, 2006, a large group of military personnel came to the house of 26-year-old Shanthakumar Palaniyappan in Meesali, Jaffna district. Palaniyappan’s wife told Human Rights Watch that earlier that morning there had been a claymore landmine attack not far from their house which had left three soldiers dead and several injured. She said that the soldiers who usually patrolled the area were from Puttur junction military camp, but was not sure whether this group was from there as well.

Palaniyappan’s wife said that the military personnel did not introduce themselves and did not produce any documents, but started questioning her husband about the attack. She said:

They just took him away. I kept asking where they were taking him, but they said they would inquire and bring him back. When they left, I followed them. They took him to a place not far from where we live. There was a house there, and for awhile they kept him there; he was just standing near the wall and I could see him. The military then chased me away, and I don’t know where they took him from there.

Palaniyappan’s wife inquired about him in the Puttur junction military camp and the Puliayadi military camp, but the military in both places denied having arrested him. She also filed a complaint at the Chavakachcheri police station. She reported the case to the HRC and ICRC.

Three days after the “disappearance,” the Chavakachcheri magistrate who Palaniyappan’s wife said was investigating the claymore attack summoned her and informed her that her husband had not been arrested by the army. The court told her that she would be notified if any information came to light. To date her husband’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.

33.  Maruthai Ajanthan

On June 26, 2007, 17-year-old MaruthaiAjanthan, a grade 10 student at Vipulanandan College in Vavuniya, was on his way to Vavuniya town.

His father told Human Rights Watch that while people saw him leaving the village, no one saw him in Vavuniya town. He said:

Since nobody saw him in town, I suspect that he was taken away on his way to town. I went to the LTTE and the [pro-government Tamil group] PLOTE and asked them if they had seen my son or knew about him. They all said that they knew nothing about him. Anything could have happened to him. There are many police checkpoints on the road to town. I don’t know who could have taken him.

Ajanthan’s family filed a complaint at the Vavuniya police station (Case No MOIB885/298) and followed up their complaint with repeated visits. The family also complained to the village administrator, the HRC, ICRC, SLMM, UNICEF, and the nongovernmental Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC). To date the family has received no additional information about Ajanthan’s fate or whereabouts.

34.  Tharmakulasingam Kuruparan

At around 2 p.m. on May 11, 2006, 24-year-old Tharmakulasingam Kuruparan left his home town of Chavakachcheri in southern Jaffna district, and went to Jaffna town on a motorbike. He intended to return home the same day, but never did. He earned his living by buying and selling motorcycles.

Kuruparan’s relative told Human Rights Watch that at 7 p.m. that day he received a call from a friend of Kuruparan who said that Kuruparan had been arrested at Kaladdy junction, near the university there. When the relative went there the next day, eyewitnesses to the incident who knew Kuruparan told him that the previous day an army field group on five or six motorcycles, accompanied by a Powell vehicle, closed the road.  Soldiers were checking documents of people traveling on the road.

The people said that after checking Kuruparan’s documents, soldiers handcuffed him, pulled his T-shirt up around his head, and put him into the military vehicle. They similarly arrested three or four other people, but Kuruparan’s relative did not know their names.

The eyewitnesses believed that those arrested had been taken to the Urelu military camp, as this was the only camp in the area with motorized field groups.

Kuruparan’s relative told Human Rights Watch:

Two days after his arrest, we went to the Urelu military camp, but they said they had not arrested anybody. We also went to the Jaffna police station. They did not ask us to produce witnesses, but went to the scene to inquire. They did not tell us what they found but in any case the witnesses would have been too afraid to tell them what they saw. I also wrote letters to the Palali camp, the SLA [Sri Lankan army] commander-in-chief, and the GA [Government Agent—central government official at the local level] also appealed on our behalf, but he also received no response.

The family also filed the case with the HRC, SLMM, and ICRC. They did not receive any reliable information about Kuruparan’s whereabouts, although they heard rumors which they were unable to verify that he had been detained in Kankesanthurai military camp near Palali.

35.  Rasanvagampillai Sivananthamoorthy

36.  Markandu Pushpakanthan

37.  Kandasamy Parimelalakan

38.  Ramachandran Rasakumar

39.  Ponnambalam Parthipan

40.  Vaikundavasan Vaikundakumar

41.  Selvaratnam Sivananthan

42.  Ratnam Thayaroopan

On May 6, 2006, eight men from Manthuvil East in Jaffna district went to spend the night in a local Hindu Temple for holiday celebrations. Their families told Human Rights Watch that around 12:30 a.m. they heard the sound of a vehicle passing through the village in the direction of the temple. About half an hour later they heard seven gunshots. The families were too scared to come out in the middle of the night and decided to wait till morning. At 4:30 a.m. the military started a search operation in the village. The relatives of the eight men said they saw a jeep and a Powell military vehicle approaching the temple.

The relatives convinced their neighbors to join them and went to the temple. One of the mothers told Human Rights Watch:

We wanted to get there before the military vehicles left. When we got to the temple, we saw a guard with a gun at the entrance to the premises, other military personnel around the temple, and the two vehicles parked there. When we approached, the guard blew a whistle, and the soldiers ran to their vehicles and quickly left. We suspect they had put our men in one of the vehicles and drove them away.

When we entered the temple, nobody was there. At the lodging area, we saw their mats, clothes, and one of their ID cards. We saw some blood stains, and collected bullet cartridges from the place.

The relatives believed that the soldiers who conducted the search operation were from Puttur junction military camp—they had often patrolled the village.

The relatives tried to go immediately to the nearby Varani military camp. However, on the way, as they were passing the Iyathalai camp, the soldiers there stopped them, asked for the “disappeared” men’s names, and did not allow the families to proceed to the Varani camp, telling them to report to the Kodlikamam police station instead.

The women filed complaints with the police. They also reported the case to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. The police went to the temple three days later, but did not get back to the families with any information.

On May 9, 2006, when the families were finally able to visit the Varani military camp, military personnel there told them that the LTTE had published an online article saying that the eight men had been killed by the security forces and dumped in the forest at Kaputhuveli. They suggested that the relatives should go and search there. The women said that SLMM staff had looked into the case, visited the temple, met with the families, and searched for the bodies in the forest mentioned by the military, yet they were not able to find anything. To date, the fate of the eight men remains unknown.

43. Sakthivadivel Rajkumar

On the morning of October 23, 2006, a group of men abducted Sakthivadivel Rajkumar, age 29, in front of a garment school in Vavuniya. His wife, who received the news on his abduction from the garment school employees, told Human Rights Watch that three or four men forced Rajkumar into a white van and drove away.

The same day, Rajkumar’s family registered a complaint with a police station in Vavuniya (Case No CIB 200/219), and later also reported the case to the SLMM (Case No VV1428) and the HRC (Case No 394/2006).

One week after the abduction the family received a telephone call from a man who called himself Robert and said he was from the Karuna group. The man demanded two million rupees (about US$18,000) for Rajkumar’s release. The family requested to see Rajkumar before paying the ransom, but the caller refused.

The next day someone left Rajkumar’s umbrella in the garden. His wife told Human Rights Watch that “Robert” then called again and said, “If we brought his umbrella then it’s not hard to bring a part of his body.” She recorded the numbers from which the phone calls were made.

According to Rajkumar’s wife, “Robert” told the family to deposit the money in Sampath Bank, and gave her an account number and the name in which the deposit should be made.

On November 3, 2006, the family deposited half of the requested sum, and received a call from a man who confirmed that the money had arrived. During the call the person also said that Rajkumar had been injured during torture and that he would be released upon recovery. At this writing Sakthivadivel Rajkumar has not returned home, and the family has not received any further information from his abductors.

Western Sri Lanka

44.  Kirubalan Balasubramaniam

Kirubalan Balasubramaniam, age 23,worked with a NGO called Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB) in Jaffna but wanted to go abroad to continue his education. On April 1, 2007, he went to Colombo to get a student visa for Cyprus. He had not been admitted to a university yet but was in the process of preparing his application. While in Colombo, he stayed at the Ramakrishna Mission in Wellawatta.

According to his mother, the last time she spoke to Balasubramaniam was on April 27, 2007. When she tried calling him the following day he did not answer his mobile phone. Her attempts to reach him during the following week also failed. In desperation, the mother called the mission where he was staying. The mission told her that they knew nothing of his whereabouts since April 28, 2007. The mother later discovered that around 40,000 rupees (about US$360) had been withdrawn from his account a few days after he went missing.

Balasubramaniam’s family filed a complaint with the police (case No CIB I 298/19) and also reported the case to the HRC, CMC, and ICRC. At this writing the family has not received any further information regarding his fate or whereabouts.

45.  Surendrakumar Puniyamurthi

Surendrakumar Puniyamurthi, age 39,worked as a newspaper delivery man and was fondly called “Paper Suresh” by his clients and friends. On April 20, 2007, at around 8:30 p.m., he went to his mother’s house, had dinner, and returned to his rented room in a building occupied by many tenants in Colombo.

According to his mother, Puniyamurthi’s cotenants later told her that about six armed med came into the building shortly after he returned from her house asking for “Paper Suresh.” People in the building directed them to his room and the armed men entered and took him away. Two days later Puniyamurthi’s friends informed his mother of the incident. She told Human Rights Watch:

He had lived in Colombo for six years, his records were absolutely clean. He had never been on the wrong side of law, never had problems with the police. We don’t suspect anyone because he was not the kind of person to get into trouble with anybody.

The family lodged a complaint with the police on April 24 (Case No CIB II53/196); they also reported the case to the HRC and CMC. The police came to Puniyamurthi’s house to conduct an inquiry but to date have not informed the family of any progress in the investigation.

46.  Antony Paul Eldrin Mathew

Antony Paul Eldrin Mathew, age 34, had worked as a crane operator in Colombo harbor for over six years. His wife and 7-year-old son lived in Trincomalee but the family spoke by phone every morning and evening. Mathews’s wife told Human Rights Watch that she spoke to him on the morning of February 14, 2007, but when she tried his number at 6 p.m. that evening there was no answer. At around 7:30 p.m. Mathew’s wife received a call from his landlady who told her that Mathew had been taken away by four men in a white van. The landlady told Mathew’s wife that the men had said that they needed to take Mathew away to question him.

Some of Mathew’s neighbors later told his wife that they noticed a small board with the word “police” behind the windscreen of the van. His wife told Human Rights Watch:

On the day of the suicide attack on Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa [December 1, 2006], the CID [Criminal Investigation Department of the police] took my husband away to question him. But they released him the same evening when they found no evidence of his involvement. When he was taken away on February 14, I thought they were the same people who had taken him away [in 2006] and would release him.

My husband has no links with any terrorists or militants. There is no reason for the police to be suspicious of him other than that he is Tamil and that he moved from Trincomalee. He is the only Tamil working in crane operations in the port.

The family filed a complaint with the Kotahena police station (case No GCIB 25/192). They also registered information with the HRC and ICRC. To date the family has received no information on Mathew’s fate or whereabouts.

47.  Suresh Palanisamy

On the morning of February 1, 2007, four policemen, two of them in uniform, arrived at the house of 22-year-old Suresh Palanisamy in Colombo. According to information from Palanisamy’sfamily, the police told him that he was needed at the Eheliyagoda police station regarding a complaint, and Palanisamyleft with them.

Upon hearing the news from Palanisamy’swife, his father rushed to the police station. The police denied ever bringing Palanisamythere. The father then went to Kotahena police station and filed a complaint. On February 5, 2007, the family also registered the case with the HRC.

48.  Kanapathipillai Ravindran

Kanapathipillai Ravindran, age 30, lived in Colombo for over five years. He owned a phone repair shop in Wellawatta and was financially well-off. According to his mother, on the night of January 28, 2007, Ravindran received a call from someone asking him to repair a phone urgently. The caller said he was waiting outside his house and kept ringing the bell.

Neighbors who witnessed the scene conveyed details to the mother. They told her that when Ravindran stepped outside, two or three people were waiting for him near the house, while another couple of men were waiting in the street, near a white van. The men bundled him and pushed him over the wall, put him into the van, and drove away.

Ravindran’s mother told Human Rights Watch:

The people who picked him up spoke Tamil. The neighbors said that it was fluent Tamil. However, we have no other information about them. My son had no links with any Tamil groups or the LTTE. We don’t know who could have taken him.

Ravindran’s landlord reported the abduction to the police (case No GCIB 229/481), yet, so far the fate and whereabouts of Ravindran remain unknown.

49.  Ravees Subramaniam

Ravees Subramaniam, age 30,moved to Colombo from Jaffna in 2004, and worked in a jewelry shop.

According to his mother, Subramaniamwas going to work as usual on the morning of January 28, 2007, when four unidentified people kidnapped him on Kathiresan Street in Colombo.

Subramaniam’smother told Human Rights Watch that people who witnessed the abduction informed her about it. However, no one could identify the abductors and there was no information on where they had fled with her son.

The family registered complaints with the Pettah police and filed the case with the CMC. At this writing the family has received no further information on Subramaniam’swhereabouts.

50.  Ramachandran Sivakumar

In December 2006, 43-year-old Ramachandran Sivakumar, a trishaw (motorbike taxi) driver from the Wanni moved to Colombo, hoping the city would offer him a better chance to feed his family of six. He stayed in a lodge near Pettah in Colombo, and kept in touch with his family through regular phone calls.

On the evening of January 14, 2007, Sivakumar called his wife to tell her that he had found a job as a driver in a delivery company and would be starting the job the following day. She never heard from him again.

According to Sivakumar’s wife, witnesses who saw him in the lodge later told her that he left on the morning of January 15, 2007, and never returned. She received no news of his being abducted, but believes he may have been picked up the security forces.

She told Human Rights Watch:

Right after he came to Colombo, he was picked up for questioning by the Pettah police station. He told me they had asked him if he was a member of the LTTE. They found no evidence of his involvement with the LTTE and had to release him. I suspect that the security forces may have taken him again. Nobody else knew him in Colombo, and nobody had a reason to target him. He is a poor man.

Sivakumar’s family filed a case with the Pettah police station. They also reported the matter to the HRC, ICRC, and SLMM. His whereabouts remain unknown to date.

51.  Balendran Ratheeskanth

In December 2006, 27-year-old Balendran Ratheeskanth moved from Vavuniya to Colombo in the process of migrating to the United Arab Emirates for work. He obtained the necessary work and travel permits, and had a ticket to fly out of Colombo on January 23, 2007.

According to Ratheeskanth’s mother, who had spoken to his landlord, at around 2:30 p.m. on January 13, 2007, six unarmed men arrived in a blue van at his boarding house in Colombo. The men identified themselves as CID officers and presented their identity cards. They said they had to take Ratheeskanth away. The landlord repeatedly asked them why and where they were taking Ratheeskanth, but they did not reply and forcibly took Ratheeskanth away.

Ratheeskanth’s mother told Human Rights Watch:

Normally my son called me every evening. But that evening I did not receive a call so I got worried. I called the landlord of the boarding house and he informed me about what had happened. The same night I got on a bus from Vavuniya and came to Colombo.

Ratheeskanth’s mother filed a complaint with the police; she also inquired at the CID office at Dematagoda about her son. The police and the CID denied having any knowledge of the arrest. At this writing, Ratheeskanth is still missing.

52.  Subaramaniam Jeshuthasan                          

53.  Alakaiya Logeshwaran

54.  Raveendran Ranjith                    

55.  Kanapathipillai Puvaneshwaran

56.  Thavapalan Krishnakaran 

57. Muhammad Mazeen Muhamed Riyaz

Subaramaniam Jeshuthasan
Subaramaniam Jeshuthasan

Alakaiya Logeshwaran
Alakaiya Logeshwaran

Thavapalan Krishnakaran
Thavapalan Krishnakaran

On January 10, 2007, five young men from Batticaloa arrived in Colombo to apply for work visas for the Middle East. After their visa interviews, 22-year-old Subaramaniam Jeshuthasan and 31-year-old Alakaiya Logeshwaran took a bus back to Batticaloa on January 12. An eyewitness told the families that a white van stopped the bus. Men saying they were from the CID took Jeshuthasan and Logeshwaran off the bus and drove them away.

The two men’s relatives, interviewed separately, told Human Rights Watch that they had each learned these details from an eyewitness who was arrested with Jeshuthasan and Logeshwaran but was released the same day.

Jeshuthasan’s family informed the police in Batticaloa the next day and officers there said they would inform the other stations. The family also got a call from Jeshuthasan’s cell phone. The person spoke Sinhala and when the family went to get a neighbor who spoke the language the person on the phone hung up. The family called back Jeshuthasan’s cell, and the person who answered said he was with the police and that he would inquire into the family’s complaint, but the relatives have not heard anything from the police since.

Logeshwaran’s family said they reported the case to the police in Eravur, and officers there said they would inform other stations. They also reported the case to the HRC (case No 026/07/MA).

The three other men from the group stayed in Colombo, at the South Asia Lodge, awaiting their interviews and medical exams. Their relatives told Human Rights Watch that, according to the lodge owner, on the night of January 12, a group of men arrived at the lodge in a white van (license plate number 253-0467) and showed CID identification cards.

The men took away 24-year-old Raveendran Ranjith, 33-year-old Kanapathipillai Puvaneshwaran, and 20-year-old Thavapalan Krishnakaran.

Ranjith‘s family went to the Pettah police station and filed a complaint, but the police did not provide the family a case number. The family also submitted information to the HRC (case No 024/07/MA).

Krishnakaran’s family reported him as a missing person to the police in Pettah, Colombo, and Valaichchenai, the last of which took the case. They also filed a case with the HRC.

Krishnakaran’s relatives on January 19, 2007, filed a complaint with the Batticaloa police (case No CIB 130/131). They also reported the case to the HRC (case No 030/07/MA) and SLMM (case No BT-3549).

The employment agent for four of the five men, a 34-year-old named Muhammad Mazeen Muhamed Riyaz, also apparently was “disappeared.” A relative of Riyaz’s told Human Rights Watch that after Riyaz learned about the abductions, he went to eight different police stations in Colombo and registered complaints. He also reported the case to the CMC, and took the families of the “disappeared” to the Tamil-owned Shakti TV to publicize the case.

According to Riyaz’s wife, on the morning of January 22, Riyaz left home to go to his office on Messenger Street in Colombo 12. At around 11:15 a.m. other employees informed her that about six armed men in civilian clothes walked into the office. They introduced themselves as CID and said they had come to check Riyaz’s office. They got him outside the office on some pretext and once he came out, they bundled him into a van and sped away.

Riyaz’s family filed a complaint with the Kotahena police and at Boosa prison. They also registered statements with the HRC and ICRC. At this writing the family has received no further information on Riyaz’s fate or whereabouts.

58.  Ketheeswaran Sujampu Nadar                       

59.  Kanapathy Sujampu Nadar

Ketheeswaran Sujampu Nadar, age 30, and his brother, 25-year-old Kanapathy Sujampu Nadar, owned a bus and provided transportation services in Colombo. Kanapathy was not married and lived with his brother and sister-in-law in Colombo.

According to Ketheeswaran’s wife, on January 10, 2007, she received a phone call asking for a private hire of the bus. The caller spoke Sinhala. She passed on her husband’s mobile number to the callers but also told them that he was at work and would not be free until 9 p.m. that day. Her husband and his brother never returned home.

Ketheeswaran’s wife told Human Rights Watch:

We discovered my husband’s bus parked in the place where it is normally parked. But the men never came back home. The bus is normally parked at Ellie Lane in Colombo 15, but there was no trace of my husband or his brother.

Six months ago, the police arrested my husband on suspicion but later released him when they found no evidence. I felt maybe this is like that. But till now there is no news of my husband.

The family filed a complaint with the local police who promised to make inquiries but did not come back with any information. The relatives also inquired with the CID chief. They also provided information to the CMC. So far their efforts to find the two men have proved futile.

60.  Varapragasam Morrison                      

61.  Natkunam Selvarasa

Varapragasam Morrison, age 35, and Natkunam Selvarasa, age 27, shared a house in Colombo.

According to Selvarasa’s relative, at around 4 a.m. on January 8, 2007, six or seven armed and masked men in civilian clothes jumped over the compound wall and entered the house. The relative told Human Rights Watch that the men knocked on their door, and when Selvarasa opened they assaulted him and ordered him to hand over all his possessions. The family handed them 10,000 rupees (about US$90) and a mobile phone. The assailants pushed Selvarasa into a small blue van parked outside and left.

The same men then beat up and took away VarapragasamMorrison. His wife, who was in Jaffna with their children, told Human Rights Watch that she learned the details of the incident once she got to Colombo.

Selvarasa’s stepmother told Human Rights Watch:

We suspect the Sri Lankan government. There is a police checkpoint adjoining the boundary of our house; who else could dare to come in with the police on guard next door? My son had no links with any militants. We don’t know why anybody would take him.

Selvarasa’s family registered a complaint in the Modara police station. They also reported the case to the CMC. Morrison’s wife reported the case to the SLMM, ICRC, and CMC.

62.  Vairamuththu Varatharasan

For eight months, 40-year-old Vairamuththu Varatharasan worked as a truck driver, transporting goods from Colombo to other cities. He moved to Colombo from Jaffna at the age of 20. An ethnic Tamil, Varatharasan married a Sinhalese woman in 1993 and has four daughters and a son.

At midnight on January 7, 2007, a group of uniformed policemen came to Varatharasan’s house. His wife told Human Rights Watch that one armed policeman came inside the house and asked for identity papers. Around 20 other people, some in civilian clothes, surrounded the house outside. Varatharasan’s wife told Human Rights Watch:

I went inside the house to get the identity card. By the time I came out of the room, my husband was not there; neither was the policeman. I ran out and spotted a van parked in a dark place on the road. I ran to the road but by the time I got there, the van started and left.

The next night about 20 uniformed army personnel came to my house. They said, “You are a Sinhalese lady. Why don’t you help us? We know you have kept weapons in the house.” I told them there were no weapons in the house. They went around the house, hitting the floor with iron pipes but did not find anything. Before I could ask them any questions, they asked me, “Where is your husband?” I told them that the police had taken him the previous night. They asked me if I had reported the matter to the police.

The woman said that her husband had been arrested previously, and the CID used to visit their house regularly and question him. After the killing of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005, she said, the CID arrested Varatharasan and held him for two days. The family complained to the police about this constant harassment by the CID, but it did not help.

The family filed a complaint about Varatharasan’s “disappearance” at the Grandpass Police Station (Case No MOIB-355/132). According to Varatharasan’s wife, the police told her she would have to wait for 91 days before they would take any action. The family also reported the case to the HRC, CMC, and Municipal Council opposition leader Vasudeva Nayannakara.

63.  Thangavel Mayuran

When ThangavelMayuran, age 23, finished his advanced level studies in Jaffna in March 2006, he and his entire family moved to Colombo because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the peninsula. Mayuran’s uncle, who lives in the Netherlands, supported them financially during the move. Mayuran worked evenings in a print shop on Galle Road, Colombo, and on occasion slept in the shop and returned home the next morning.

According to Mayuran’s mother, at around 11 p.m. on December 22, 2006, one of Mayuran’s colleagues informed her that Wellawatte police had taken her son away. She said:

We immediately went to the police station where the officer-in-charge checked the lock-up and told us our son was not there. The officer asked us to wait, as a police team which had gone for round-ups was to return shortly. But they came back without our son.

According to a statement given by the owner of the shop to the CMC, “five armed persons in civilian clothes entered the shop at around 10:30 p.m. on December 22. They asked all those present in the shop for identity cards. When Mayuran showed his ID card, one of the men started pulling him to take him away.” In his statement, the owner says he tried to intervene and asked them which police station they were from. The men replied they were from “Slave Island-CID” [“Slave Island” is an area in Colombo]. The owner said he wanted to check the vehicle they were going to take Mayuran in. In response the men threatened to shoot anybody who came out of the shop.

On the family’s request, the Wellawatte police called Slave Island police station to check if anyone who fitted Mayuran’s description had been arrested, but they denied such an arrest. The family provided information to the HRC, ICRC, SLMM, and CMC. To date they have not received any further information about Mayuran. Mayuran’s mother told Human Rights Watch:

I think they took my son by mistake. They were looking for some other Mayuran because before my son joined the shop, another boy by that name worked there. Till now, there is no news. We just want our son back.

64.  Sivakumar Jathavakumar

Sivakumar Jathavakumar, age 23, traveled from Vavuniya to Colombo on November 15, 2006, to get a visa for work abroad. He stayed in the Wellawatte Lodge on Frances Road in Colombo 6 with two friends.

On December 16, 2006, men in civilian clothes arrived at the lodge in a police van and took Jathavakumar away. Jathavakumar’sparents learned about the abduction from the friends with whom he was staying.

The family said they filed a complaint with the Wellawatte police station, and several months later they saw a newspaper article that said Jathavakumar was being held in Boosa prison.

The article, viewed by Human Rights Watch, lists 89 people the authorities said were being held in Boosa prison. Based on that information, the parents went to Boosa prison to find their son. His father said, “They took us in and brought five prisoners out, asking them to look for our son. The army then said he was injured. This was last Friday [March 2, 2007].”

The parents left Boosa without any confirmation that he was being held at the prison. It is not known if they reported the case to the police or anyone else.

65.  Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath

Professor Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath, age 56, Vice Chancellor at Eastern University in Batticaloa, went missing from a high security zone in Colombo on December 15, 2006.

Previously, on September 20, 2006, a group of unidentified armed men had abducted Dr. Bala Sugamar, the dean of the arts faculty at the Eastern University, saying they would release Dr. Sugamar if Prof. Raveendranath resigned from his post as University Vice Chancellor. According to Prof. Raveendranath’s family, the professor and his immediate relatives left Batticaloa for Colombo on the night of October 1, 2006. The next day, he submitted his resignation and Dr. Sugamar was released 11 days later.

Prof. Raveendranath stayed in Colombo, where he worked for the university grants commission. He reported receiving death threats on his cell phone. “The people who threatened him said they would punish him and kill him if he didn’t stop working,” his son-in-law told Human Rights Watch.

On December 15, Prof. Raveendranath attended a science conference near the BMICH conference hall in Colombo, which is in a high security zone with a large military and police presence. The family expected him back for lunch but he never arrived. His wife tried his cell phone several times but it was turned off.

That same day his family filed a police report with the Dehiwala police (Case No 225/260/CIB2). They also submitted the case to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN Working Group), which sent it under the urgent action procedure to the Sri Lankan government on January 9, 2007. At this writing, Prof. Raveendranath remains missing.

66.  Maxi Bolton

Maxi Bolton, age 42, worked for one year in Australia. According to his family, during that time he won 20 million rupees (about US$180,000) in a lottery. Upon his return to Sri Lanka, he bought land and a house, and opened a grocery and communications shop.

An employee told Bolton’s wife that on December 9, 2006, Maxi Bolton was at his shop in Kotahena, Colombo, when five men arrived in a white van (license plate number 250-5669). Two of them came inside, saying they were from the CID and Bolton was needed for questioning.

One-and-a-half months later, the wife said, the family got information that Bolton was in Welikanda area. A man who identified himself as Jithan called Bolton’s sister to say that his questioning was almost done and the family could pick him up. According to Botlon’s wife, the caller said, “Go to Welikanda and talk to the people. There is Karuna and an army base there.”

In late February 2007, some members of the family went to Welikanda. Bolton’s wife told Human Rights Watch:

There’s a house in Welikanda that we thought was their [Karuna’s] house. They said, “You must go to Batticaloa town.” We went. There they said, “We don’t do such things, but we can help you look.” We also went to the army camp, but they would not speak with us.

The family returned to Colombo without Bolton, and they have not received any phone calls since. “If it’s for money, we would have gotten phone calls,” the wife said.

It is not known if the family reported the case to the police.

67. Pradeepan Sandirasekaran

Originally a resident of Jaffna, Pradeepan Sandirasekaran,age 26,moved to Colombo in 2002. He studied at the Jaffna Open University and then worked as an agent in Ceylinco Insurance Corporation in Colombo. At the time of his “disappearance,” he was completing a four-month course at the British College of Applied Studies.

Sandirasekaran’s father told Human Rights Watch that his son went missing on November 16, 2006. On that day witnesses saw him coming out of Ramakrishna Hotel in Colombo, which is close to an internet cafe where Sandirasekaran had been working to pay for his education. His father was unable to ascertain with certainty what happened to his son, although he said “Most people said he was arrested.”

Sandirasekaran’semployers registered a complaint with the Wellawatte police. The family reported the case to the commissioner of police, the HRC, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court. They also reported the case to the UN Working Group. At the time of writing they have received no information on Sandirasekaran’swhereabouts.

68.  Ramachandra Susilakumar

On November 2, 2006, 36-year-old Ramachandra Susilakumar was walking out of the Mayura Café in Kathiresan Street in Colombo, having finished his meal. At around 2 p.m. a white van stopped near him on the road. Some men in civilian clothes jumped out of the van, pushed him inside, and drove away. His mother, who learned about the abduction from one of her son’s friends who had witnessed the incident, told Human Rights Watch:

Initially, we thought this was the police or the CID and he would be released, as he had been arrested once before on suspicion in the middle of 2006. He was in custody for a month and then released. But this time he has not been released.

The family filed a complaint with the police. They also registered the case with the CMC. To date they have not received any further information on Susilakumar’s fate or whereabouts.

69.  Jeyawarthanage Raja

On October 19, 2006, 45-year-old JeyawarthanageRaja, a small trader from Mt. Lavinia,Colombo,was returninghome from a work trip to Ratmalana, south of Colombo.

According to information that his wife received from eyewitnesses, at about 10.30 a.m. he stopped at a tea shop to have breakfast close to Ratmalana. Half an hour later, when he left the shop and was walking toward his motorbike, two men stopped him. He did not appear to know them and they spoke for five minutes. Raja then left with the two men; none of the witnesses saw the vehicle in which he left with them.

Raja’s wife told Human Rights Watch:

At about 12:30 in the afternoon I got a phone call from my husband. He was calling from his mobile, but did not want to talk much. All he told me was that he was going to come home late and hung up the phone. I got worried and waited for him at our shop till 7 p.m. that evening. But he never came home.

Raja has been missing ever since. His family filed a complaint with the police. They also reported the matter to the HRC and ICRC. To date they have not received any information.

70.   Muthaiya Thiruchelvam

Muthaiya Thiruchelvam, age 33, worked as a hairdresser at the New City Salon in the Bastian Mawatha section of Colombo.

According to his mother, who spoke to employees at the salon, after midnight on October 13, 2006, a dark blue jeep with four men, three of them in police uniforms, pulled up to the salon and took Thiruchelvam away.

The family reported the case to the Pettah police, who registered the complaint.  The parents also visited Boosa and Kalutara prisons but officials in both places said they had no information about their son. The family has not received any news about their son, and the police have not provided any information.

71.  Ramiah Subramaniam

Ramaiya Subramaniam, age 33, a married carpenter with two young daughters, went missing on September 26, 2006, in the Colombo suburb of Delkanda.

His mother-in-law told Human Rights Watch that he went for a bath in the river with five friends, and on the way back someone came in a white van and took him away. Subramanian’s friends ran away.

Subramaniam’s employer filed a complaint with the police in Paduka but the family is not aware of any subsequent progress in the case.

72.  Pushpakumar Yoganathan

In September 2006, 26-year-old Pushpakumar Yoganathan came to Colombo from Vavuniya to get a visa for India. He obtained the visa and was staying at a friend’s house in Colombo 5.

According to Yoganathan’s mother, wholearned about the abduction from an eyewitness, on September 23, 2006, a police van pulled up to the house and some men asked for Pushpakumar, and took him away.

His mother came to Colombo from Vavuniay and inquired with the Narahenpita police, but the police denied having any knowledge of Yoganathan.

Shortly thereafter, some policemen from the CID went to the Vavuniya police asking about Yoganathan, and the Vavuniya police called the mother. They said they had received a request to search for him, and asked questions, such as why he had gone to Colombo. Since then the police have not provided any information to the family.

73.  Thirulogarasa Prabhakaran

ThirulogarasaPrabhakaran, age 30, had lived in Colombo for nearly a decade. At around 9 p.m. on September 12, 2006, he was returning home after buying food at a nearby shop.

As he was approaching the house, a white van stopped near him on the road. Prabhakaran’s wife, who witnessed the incident, told Human Rights Watch:

I saw three or four men jump out of the van and approach my husband. My husband started screaming and shouting but the men managed to push him into the van, and drove away. There was nothing I could do. I just watched the whole incident helplessly; it all happened so fast.

The family filed a complaint with the police (case No: CIB 299/118). They also registered the case with the CMC. To date the fate of ThirulogarasaPrabhakaran remains unknown.

74.  Muragaiya Suvendran

On the evening of September 1, 2006, 24-year-old Muragaiya Suvendran went to bathe at a well near his house in Puttalam, a town 130 kilometers north of Colombo. His mother told Human Rights Watch that people who arrived in a white van abducted her son. She said:

He went out and was abducted. Six to seven people were in the van. One of them was in an army uniform. The others had civilian clothes. I was inside the house. I saw him go out but I didn’t see him get into the van. My sister’s daughter saw him getting taken into the van.

The family immediately filed a complaint with the Puttalam police. According to Suvendran’s mother, the police said they had not taken him but promised to search for him. The family also reported the case to the HRC and ICRC. To date the family has received no information on his whereabouts.

On January 9, 2007, unknown perpetrators in a white van reportedly abducted   Muragaiya Suvendran’s cousin, 24-year-old Sivasubramaniam Sritharan.

75.  Sellathamby Selvakumar

At around 9:30 p.m. on August 28, 2006, a group of five men arrived in a white van at a video shop in Puttalam and abducted the owner, 38-year-old Sellathamby Selvakumar.

According to Selvakumar’s brother-in-law, who heard the account of the incident from a shop employee, the men, two of them armed with AK-47 assault rifles, asked for the owner. The employees said he was inside, and the armed men then hauled Selvakumar out, asked for his ID card, which he produced. The men then pushed him into their van and drove away.

Selvakumar’s family reported the case to the Puttalam police, but the police said they were not holding him. The family also filed a complaint at the police headquarters in Colombo, and the police said they had no record of his arrest. The family reported the case to the HRC and ICRC. Thus far their efforts to locate Selvakumar have borne no results.

76.  Ramakrishnan Rajkumar

In June 2006, Ramakrishnan Rajkumar, a 21-year-old manual laborer, came from Trincomalee to Colombo with his wife and their two-year-old daughter. Rajkumar had applied through an agency for a work visa to Saudi Arabia. The couple stayed in Colombo until the visa came through, sleeping at the AKB Lodge at Grandpass Road in Colombo 14, across the street from a police station.

Rajkumar’s wife told Human Rights Watch that on the evening of August 23, 2006, police came to the lodge and made some arrests, including of her husband. She explained:

That night the police were knocking on all the doors saying they are checking. It was 12:20; we were sleeping. Police in uniform came and we were all there. They asked for our ID cards. When they asked, I saw that two boys had been taken from the room next door. They threw my card down and grabbed my husband’s card and took him. Two people came to our door, in uniforms. They were armed. Another man was dressed in an army T-shirt and jeans. They spoke Sinhala. A Muslim guy across the hall translated.

I asked where they were taking him. The person in civilian clothes showed me a pistol. I asked where they were taking him again and he showed the pistol again, and then they took him out. I ran after them, and they had two vans, white and blue.

The next morning at 6 a.m., Rajkumar’s wife went to the Armour Street police station across the street from the lodge, but the police refused to accept her complaint. She spent the day searching at other police stations, she said, and returned to the Armour Street station that evening. “I was crying,” she said. “Then they took the complaint.” The police registered the case (Case No GCIB 19/244).

The woman also reported the case to the HRC (case No 4809/06), CMC, and ICRC.

One week after the “disappearance,” two men in civilian clothes came to the lodge to talk with Rajkumar’s wife. She said the men told her that they had arrested two other people with her husband, and added that the other two “were guilty,” but her husband was not. They promised they would release him in one week and send him by train to Trincomalee. To date, however, Rajkumar has not returned home and his family has no information on his whereabouts.

According to the Civil Monitoring Commission, the two other men “disappeared” on the same night were 24-year-old Gunasekaran Mahindan and 24-year-old Kandasamy Sridharan. Both remain missing to date.

77.  Kunjupillai Sivakanthan

On August 23, 2006, 34-year-old Kunjupillai Sivakanthan was at his workplace atthe Phoenix Complex on Messenger Street in Colombo.

According to Sivakanthan’s father, who spoke to witnesses of the incident, at around 1 p.m. six men in civilian clothes arrived and said they needed Sivakanthan for a police investigation. Sivakanthan got into their van and the family has not seen him since.

The family reported the case to the HRC. To date they have received no information on Sivakanthan’s fate or whereabouts.

78.  Paramjothipillai Navaratna

On the night of August 21, 2006, 30-year-old Paranjothipillai Navaratna, a trishaw driver from Colombo, left home to park his trishaw. He never came back, his wife told Human Rights Watch.

Navaratna’s wife said that she tried calling his mobile phone at around 11 p.m., but the phone was turned off. She went to the Grandpass police station, and the policemen, whom she knew well, gave her a case number and promised to look for Navaratna.

One week later, the family heard that the police had found Navaratna’s trishaw. His wife and brothers saw the trishaw at the Wellampitiya police station—they said it had been found on the street 10 to 15 meters away from the station. Since then, however, the police have not provided any additional information, and have been unresponsive to the family’s inquiries.

79.  Shanmugalingam Manivannan

Shanmugalingam Manivannan, age 31, sold gift items in an internet café in Colombo. According to Manivannan’s mother, at around 8 p.m. on August 21, 2006, six men in civilian clothes came to the shop. Two of them went inside and asked Manivannan to come out. Within minutes, Manivannan was pushed into a white van parked outside the shop. Some bystanders took down the van number (251-7376).

Manivaran’s uncle who was helping him in the shop rushed outside when people started shouting, but the van sped away. Manivannan’s family said they believe other shopkeepers, jealous of Manivannan’s success, might have been complicit in his abduction. His mother said that when the family started the shop, “people made various petitions to the police.”

The family filed a complaint with the Kotahena police and also went to the CID. However, the police denied that they were holding Manivannan. They also registered the case with the CMC. There has been no information on Manivannan’s fate or whereabouts to date.

80.  Mahalingam Subbaiya

Mahalingam Subbaiya, age 45, worked for a truck company for 15 years, and his job involved transporting rice from Vavuniya to Colombo, which he did regularly.

According to his mother, on August 21, 2006, Subbaiya was standing near his truck in front of People’s Park, a shopping complex in Colombo. At about 11:30 a.m. a white van (license plate number 251-6843) stopped near him. A fellow truck driver, who later related the incident to the mother, said that four men jumped out of the van, grabbed Subbaiya and pushed him into the van. The truck driver saw the incident from a distance but he managed to take a picture of the van with his mobile phone camera.

Subbaiya’s mother tried to register a complaint with the Grandpass police station and the Pettah police station, but the police in both places refused to open a case. She reported the case to the HRC and the CMC. So far she has received no information about Subbaiya’s fate.

81.  Manikkan Easwaran

Manikkan Easwaran, age 30, owned a restaurant on Negombo Road in Wattala, outside of Colombo.

On August 17, 2006, at around 9:45 p.m., a white van (license plate number 253-8617) pulled up to the restaurant as the family was closing up for the night. According to Easwaran’s relatives, he went outside and armed men pulled him inside the van, and drove away.

Soon thereafter Easwaran’s wife received a phone call (from a number that she recorded) and the unidentified caller demanded 50,000 rupees (about US$450). The same person called again from a different number and demanded that the family deposit 100,000 rupees (about US$900) into a specific account at the Commercial Bank in Kotahena, Colombo. The relatives said the caller warned them not to inform the police. It is not known if the family paid the requested amount.

The family reported the case to the HRC (case No 4795/06). Easwaran remains missing to date.

82. Ramiah Jeyaraj

83. S. Sriskandarajah

Ramiah Jeyaraj, age 22, worked as a driver with Kala Traders, a business house in Colombo. On July 20, 2006, when Jeyaraj was driving the business owner, S. Sriskandarajah, to the shop, unknown perpetrators abducted both men.

Jeyaraj’s father, who lives in Badulla, told Human Rights Watch that he learned about the abduction only in September. He said he immediately went to Colombo and tried to get the details from his son’s employers, yet had no success. He also registered the case with the Cinnamon Gardens police station.

The father also visited the CID headquarters in Colombo four times, and registered a complaint with an officer from the CID anti-terrorism department in Fort, Colombo. He reported the case to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into incidents of abductions, disappearances, and attacks on civilians resulting in death through the island, and wrote to the Presidential Secretariat. He also registered the case with the HRC, ICRC, and CMC. He also tried to get the help of some parliamentarians he knew to locate his son, but so far all of his efforts proved futile.

The CMC reported that that Sriskandarajah’s family paid over 30 million rupees (about US$270,000) as ransom for his release. Both men remain missing to date.

84.  Muniyandi Sureshkumar                               

85. Muttiah Sathyaseelan

86. Balakrishnan Ramar

Muniyandi Sureshkumar
Muniyandi Sureshkumar 
Muttiah Sathyaseelan
Muttiah Sathyaseelan 
Balakrishnan Ramar
Balakrishnan Ramar

Muniyandi Sureshkumar, age 22, had a business in Chilaw, Puttalam district. On July 10, 2006, on his way home, Sureshkumar stopped at the house of his friend, 31-year-old Muttiah Sathyaseelan, in Thillaiyadi. Another friend, 24-year-old Balakrishnan Ramar, was staying there as well.

Sureshkumar’s wife told Human Rights Watch that, according to eyewitnesses with whom she spoke, at 3 a.m. that night four or five policemen came to the house. Sathyaseelan’swife, interviewed separately, said the men arrived in a white van, armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They conducted a thorough search of the house but could not find what they were looking for. They took the identity cards and mobile phones of all the three men and ordered them to go with them. Sathyaseelan’swife said:

My husband and the other two said they would go and hand themselves to the police station in the morning, if that was what the men wanted them to do. The men insisted that they leave with them.

At 4 a.m., I went to the police station to look for them. I thought that was where they had taken my husband. But they were not there. I asked the police station to pass on the message to other police stations but I don’t know if they did.

At the families’ request, a week later the police registered the case (Case No GUB333/153).

Sathyaseelan’sfamily also visited the CID in Colombo, met parliamentarians from Puttalam, submitted a memorandum to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and wrote to the HRC. All their efforts have proved futile; to date, the whereabouts of the three men remain unknown.

87.  Ariyadas Pushpadas

Ariyadas Pushpadas, age 27, owned and managed a lodge in Colombo for three years. Prior to that he lived in Indonesia and Malaysia but decided to come back to Sri Lanka to run his own business.

Pushpadas’ mother, who gathered the details of the incident from eyewitnesses at the lodge, told Human Rights Watch:

On July 7, 2006, at about 1 p.m., four persons in civilian clothes came to the lodge in a white van. They came inside the lodge and said, “We are from the CID,” and told my son they wanted to question him. At first, my son refused to go with them but when they tried to handcuff him, he went without protest.

His mother said that Pushpadas’ brother immediately went to the Kotahena police station and filed a complaint against the CID. The police inquired with the CID, but the CID denied having arrested Pushpadas.

At about 6 p.m. the same evening, some unknown people called on the brother’s mobile phone and demanded 10 million rupees (about US$90,000) for Pushpadas’ release. The next day, after the mother arrived in Colombo, the same person called again and was negotiating with her on the phone. “They told us that if we complained to anybody, they would shoot us,” she said.

On July 19, Pushpadas’ mother brought the money to a place called Dematagoda in Colombo 8, where she had agreed to meet her son’s abductors. She handed the money over to a Tamil man in civilian clothes who told her to go home and said her son would be released soon.

However, he did not come back. At the time of the interview, more than six months after her son’s abduction, the mother had heard nothing about his fate. She said that she had been talking to her son before she handed over the money, but after the ransom was paid her efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Eventually the family reported the case to the local police which referred it to the CID. So far, however, there has been no progress in the investigation.

88.  Velu Selvaratnam

On the night of July 6, 2006, 31-year-old Velu Selvaratnam was staying in Munneswaram, Chilaw, Puttalam district. His mother told Human Rights Watch that on July 7 the family tried to contact Selvaratnam but his mobile phone was off.

The relatives got worried and broke into the house. They said that the van that Selvaratnam owned and rented out was there, but Selvaratnam was missing.His driver’s license, mobile phone, and identity card were also gone.

The family told Human Rights Watch that the Chilaw police had questioned Selvaratnam two months before he went missing, asking why he had undertaken a trip to Jaffna, how he could afford the van, and with whom he worked.

The family reported the case to the police in Chilaw, but the police said they knew nothing about it. In September 2006, the family got a phone call from someone who said “Help me! Help me!” but they do not know for sure if the caller was Selvaratnam. They have not been able to locate him to date.

89.  Chelliah Premasiri                               

90.  Sithamparapillai Satkunarasa

In July 2006, 38-year-old Selaiya Premasiri, a resident of Jaffna, and his friend, 35-year-old Sithamparapillai Satkunarasa, were staying at the Western Lodge on Sea Street in Colombo. Premasiri’s wife told Human Rights Watch that the lodge owners informed her that on July 5 her husband left the lodge to go for lunch and never returned.

She did not manage to collect much information about what happened to her husband. She said that people on Sea Street told her that people in a white van took Premasiri and Satkunarasa away.

Premasiri’s family filed a complaint with the police. They also registered the case with the CMC. To date the whereabouts of the two men remain unknown.

91.  Sivarajah Haran

In early 2006, Sivarajah Haran was in Colombo looking after his sick mother. When his mother left for Jaffna in April, Haran stayed in Colombo. His father told Human Rights Watch that on April 26, 2006, at around 4 p.m. Haran went out for a drink. A shopkeeper in the area later told the father that as Haran was sitting at a shop, a man approached him, and the two exchanged words. Soon thereafter a trishaw with three men arrived. They took Sivarajah Haran into the trishaw and drove away. Nobody has seen him since.

The father said that several months earlier, a CID officer had visited them in Wellawatta, and asked about one of Haran’s aunts. They also had asked Haran’s friends about him.

To date the family has received no further information about Haran’s whereabouts.

92. Yogarasa Mathanarasa

In January 2006, 33-year-old Yogarasa Mathanarasacame to Colombo from Jaffna with his nephew and his sister-in-law. The nephew got a work visa for Qatar and left for Doha in early February.

Mathanarasaand his sister-in-law stayed on in Iswarya Lodge in Colombo. On the evening of February 8, 2006, while they were watching TV, three men in civilian clothes arrived at the lodge in a white van.

Mathanarasa’ssister-in-law told Human Rights Watch:

They came to the hall where we were watching TV. Once inside, they just pulled my brother-in-law away. I rushed to show them our ID cards but they dragged him outside. The lodge-owner followed them outside but was sent back in.

Mathanarasa’ssister-in-law did not know why he had been taken away. The family registered a complaint with the police (Case No: GCIB 286/92) and reported the case to the HRC and CMC. At this writing Mathanarasa’swhereabouts remain unknown.

93.  Sinnakkili Karunakaran

Sinnakkili Karunakaran, age 35, worked as a travel agent at the Raj Travel Agency in Pettah, Colombo.

According to his brother, on December 27, 2005, Karunakaran was traveling on a motorbike to meet a friend in Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4. At around 6 p.m. a white van stopped near him on the road. A man inside showed an ID card and pulled him into the van. A shopkeeper witnessed the incident and told the family about the incident.

The day after the abduction, the family saw that someone had withdrawn 40,000 rupees (about US$360) from Karunakaran’s Commercial Bank account. No one has called with threats or ransom demands.

Karunakaran’s brother told Human Rights Watch that two weeks before his brother’s abduction, the military had come looking for him at the Bambalapitya Lodge, where he spent a lot of time.

It is not known whether the case has been reported to the police.

To date, Karunakaran’s fate remains unknown.

Eastern Sri Lanka

94.  Shanthakumar Thirukumaran 

On October 5, 2006, 18-year-old Shanthakumar Thirukumaran boarded a bus from Vaharai to Batticaloa. His mother told Human Rights Watch that he was kidnapped on the way and they have not seen him since he boarded the bus.

Thirukumaran’s uncle invited him to Batticaloa so that he could pursue higher studies in the relative safety of the town. He left his house unaccompanied, carrying just enough money for his bus fare. Thirukumaran’s mother told Human Rights Watch:

My son came out of the LTTE-controlled area to the government-controlled area. His kidnappers took him from the area which was under government control. I suspect the Karuna faction took him; I suspect that he is in Welikanda. If the LTTE wanted to take him, they could have done it freely while he was in their area, they wouldn’t take him off a bus.

Thirukumaran’s mother reported the case to the police, the HRC, ICRC, and the Karuna group. She went to the Karuna group’s camp in Mutugala in the Polonnaruwa area, but was not allowed to enter the camp. According to the woman, members of the Karuna group told her, “We will investigate and inform you. He is not here at this camp.”

A knowledgeable local human rights monitor believed that, given the circumstances, the parents had good reason for blaming the Karuna group for their son's “disappearance.”

95.  Mary Joseph Jugin Premkumar

Mary Joseph Jugin Premkumar, a 39-year-old computer operator with Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), lived in the workers’ quarters above his office in Trincomalee.

At around 12:30 a.m. on September 26, 2006, a group of masked men came to the office and abducted Premkumar. His coworkers later told his mother that the men spoke Tamil and knew Premkumar’s name. Family members went to the SLT office to make inquiries.

The family filed a complaint with the Trincomalee police. To date the police have not provided the family with any information. Premkumar remains missing.

96.  Abdul Wahid Mohammad Fawzal Ameer

On July 22, 2006, 43-year-old Abdul Wahid Muhammad Fawzal Ameer, abeedi leaves supplier, left Mawanalla in Kegalle district to go to Batticaloa with his driver in a Dolphin-IS van (no 251-2729). The family has not heard from him since.

According to his nephew, Ameer’s wife called his mobile number on July 23. He said that an unknown man who answered the phone spoke Tamil with a northeast accent.

The nephew said the next day some people called the beedi factory owner demanding 300,000 rupees (about US$2,700) to release Ameer. The callers asked Ameer’s employers to bring the money to Manampetiya in the Welikanda area. The employers took the money to the area, but could not find them. Ameer’s van was spotted by his acquaintances in the Batticaloa area two months after he went missing, but there has been no sign of either  Ameer or his driver. Ameer’s nephew told Human Rights Watch:

All signs are that the people who took him belonged to an armed group which is operating in the East. The area where they asked my uncle’s employers to bring the money is controlled by Karuna.

The family reported the case to the CMC. At this writing the family has not received any information on Ameer’s fate or whereabouts.

97.  Devarajah Jegatheepan

At around 5:30 p.m. on July 4, 2006, 29-year old trishaw driver, Devarajah Jegatheepan, parked his vehiclein front of the police station in Batticaloa.

Based on eyewitness accounts, Jegatheepan’s relatives told Human Rights Watch that two men who arrived in a white van then approached Jegatheepan and asked him to take them to Urani, just north of Batticaloa. They went in his trishaw, but the van followed. In Urani they stopped and pushed him out of the trishaw and into the van. Witnesses told Jegatheepan’s family that they saw an army truck near the place where he was pushed into the van.

Shortly thereafter, the family got a phone call from Jegatheepan’s mobile phone. The person on the line said he was Devarajah, but the family did not recognize the voice. The family got three calls, and in one instance Jegatheepan’s brother told the caller: “Tell us if you want anything.” But the caller did not respond.

The family said that after the abduction someone withdrew 40,000 rupees (about US $360) from Jegatheepan’s account at Ceylon Bank in Polonnaruwa with his bank card.

The family filed a complaint with the Batticaloa police. They also reported the case to the TMVP office. To date they have received no information on Jegatheepan’s fate or whereabouts.

98.  Danesh Amarthalingam

On February 19, 2007, 20-year-old Danesh Amarthalingam from Kiliveddi, Trincomalee district, was traveling with his aunt by bus to Batticaloa, trying to leave the area before ongoing fighting intensified. His aunt told Human Rights Watch that as the bus made a lunch stop near Welikanda town in Polonnaruwa district, two men who sat next to Amarthalingam on the bus started making frantic calls on their cell phones, pointing at the young man. As passengers boarded the bus, the two men were joined by a third one, in a T-shirt and army trousers.

Amarthalingam’s aunt told Human Rights Watch:

We all got back on the bus. The bus drove for about 10 kilometers from our lunch stop when a white van coming from the opposite direction swerved and blocked the bus. The bus came to a halt. One man came out of the van and stood outside the van, blocking the registration number from view. About nine men got into the bus. They told the driver, “Don’t shout,” and “Keep quiet.” At this point, the three men who had kept an eye on my nephew once again pointed towards him and got off the bus.

One of the men was masked. He grabbed another boy, who was traveling with us, and my nephew by the collar and dragged them out of the bus. The boys were very scared. They did not say anything. I kept quiet because I was also very afraid they would shoot my nephew. They all had weapons. They said, “If anyone shouts, we will kill these two boys.” The other boy’s mother managed to be dragged outside along with her son. She was shouting and screaming but nobody helped her. The van sped off.

The bus driver stopped the bus at a police checkpoint and told the policemen about the incident. The policemen told the bus driver, “We can’t open a file here. Go and tell Valachchenai police station.”

The aunt said that the incident took place in the government-controlled area where the Karuna group also operated freely. She reported the abduction to the ICRC. To date she has not received any information about Amarthalingam.

99.  Karalasingham Kantharoopan

On the night of January 3, 2007, 24-year-old Karalasingham Kantharoopan fled Vaharai, Batticaloa district, with a group of five other Tamil friends as intense fighting broke out between government forces and the LTTE. The group of six left Vaharai through the jungle route and planned to go to government-controlled territory in the district.

Kantharoopan’s parents had moved to Batticaloa town in December and were expecting his arrival. However, he never made it to Batticaloa.

The family believes that the men were taken by government forces, although they also might have been taken by the LTTE. Kantharoopan’s mother told Human Rights Watch:

The only armed people on the way from Vaharai are the Sri Lankan army, so I suspect them. Some other villagers told me that after my son left, they heard some firing. I don’t know what happened. The Sri Lankan army captured many Tamil youths at that time, that’s why I suspect the SLA [Sri Lankan army] much more than the LTTE.

Kantharoopan’s mother went to the Kandy army camp in central Kandy district as she had heard that some Tamil youths were being held there, but did not find her son. She also visited the Welikanda army camp where she gave her son’s name to the police officer at the gate. The officer checked and told her that nobody by that name was at the Welikanda camp.

Kantharoopan’s mother also went to Karuna group camps in Mutugala and Theevuchchenai to inquire about her son, but Karuna cadres denied having him. His family filed a complaint at a police station in Batticaloa.

367 Each of the case descriptions in this Appendix is based on Human Rights Watch interviews with family members of the “disappeared” or abducted person. These interviews were conducted by Human Rights Watch researchers in March, February, and June 2007 in the districts of Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Colombo. Wherever possible, Human Rights Watch sought to obtain up-to-date information on individual cases through subsequent communication with NGOs in Sri Lanka.