Despite Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s public denial, credible reports have emerged to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the Sri Lankan military still operates secret camps in the north, where surrendered ex-Tamil Tiger rebels and those who were made to disappear during and after the war, have been held and tortured to-date.
Relatives and families of four such people who are currently held in these secret camps in the Wanni for a prolonged period have reported this matter to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and sought its help to get their loved ones released.
The reports of the operation of secret camps have come at a time when Prime Minister Wickremesinghe during his three-day official visit to the North late last week publicly denied claims made by Jaffna District Parliamentarian of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Suresh Premachandran in this regard.
“After we took over the government, there are no secret camps. I cannot speak for the time before that,” Mr Wickremesinghe said in Jaffna on Friday (March 27).
Keppapulavu secret camp
Balananthini Viswanathan has filed a writ application in the Mullaitivu district court demanding the court to help releasing her husband Chelliah Visvanathan who had surrendered to the army during the final days of the war in May 2009 and gone disappeared since then.
She claims that her husband has been held in an army camp in Keppapulavu, a fertile village in the Mullaitivu district. After the war, the military has taken over this village denying access to about 350 native families displaced by the war.
Her writ application is set to be taken up tomorrow in the court.
About 50 held in Keppapulavu secret camp
Another ex-LTTE cadre, who had also surrendered to the army in May 2009 has contacted one of his relatives from this Keppapulavu secret camp and informed that about 50 people were being held in the camp.
The JDS withholds the details of this person and that of his relatives for safety reasons.
Meanwhile, a mother whose son was made to disappear in 2011 said that her son Ravindran Mayuran has been brought to the Mancholai hospital in Mullaitivu late last month for a urinary treatment.
According his mother Rosemalar, some family relatives have met Mayuran and spoken to him at the hospital on February 27 around 10 am, thinking that he has been released from the military custody. But when she went to the hospital on the following morning to visit her son, she was told by the doctors that no one in that name has been treated or admitted to the hospital.
The JDS reliably learns that the military personnel who brought 27-year old Mayuran to the hospital have warned the hospital administration not to maintain any record with regard to his admission or treatment at the hospital.
Mullaitivu secret camp
According to Rosemalar, Mayuran has told the relatives during the brief meeting that he has been held and tortured in an army camp in Mullaitivu. He has also said that he has been badly affected and often falling ill due to excessive torture.
Mayuran, a father of one, from 8th Division Manthuvil in Mullaitivu was first taken away from Arunasalam Welfare Centre in Chettikulam Manik Farm area in May 2009 by the military for interrogation. He was held and interrogated in Nelukkulam, Vavuniya Chinna Mankulam and Welikanda military detention camps.
He was released on 16 November, 2010 at a function at Vavuniya Tamil Maha Vidyalayam and was living with his wife and child at Kadirgamar Welfare centre. He used to go out and do some odd jobs to look after his family.
On 2nd February, 2011 he was made to disappear again while returning from work. The family has informed the ICRC and was waiting to know his whereabouts. It is under this circumstance that he has been met by some relatives and neighbours on February 27 while waiting for a urinary treatment at the Mancholai hospital. He had to end his conversation with them abruptly after noticing that he was being closely monitored by those who brought him to the hospital.
Jegatheepan Devaraja who was made to disappear in April 2009 has been seen by her cousin sister travelling in a military truck. The 27 year old boy from Mullaitivu was seen wearing a dress similar to the army. This has now been informed to the ICRC.
The native of Keppapulavu has been forcibly resettled in a jungle area east of Keppapulavu in September 2012. The 59 Division of the army has set up a massive camp in Keppapulavu, which includes a government school.
MP Suresh Premachandran has demanded the new government in parliament and outside to conduct a thorough investigation into the credible reports of secret camps.