Govt aware of the killings
and the abductions: Mano Ganesan
district parliamentarian and convener of the Civil Monitoring
Commission of Sri Lanka (CMCSL) Mano Ganesan holds the
Government responsible for the series of extrajudicial killings
and abductions taking place on a daily basis. Ganesan believes
that the Government is aware of all the killings and especially,
of the abductions, though it denies vehemently.
Following are excerpts of a brief interview Mr Ganesan had with
Q: The present trend seems to be escalating. How do you see
A: Definitely, the trend is very dangerous. I could simply draw
a parallel to the 88/89 period. The only difference is that
today’s abductions take place in broad daylight in the city of
Colombo too, while the abductions in 88/89 took place in the
night. The culture of impunity is not new to Sri Lanka but what
is unfortunate is that it continues unabated. During the 88/89
period, the poor and innocent Sinhala youths were spending their
nights in the forests. But now, the Tamil people are being
picked up in the daytime, itself and that too within the city of
Colombo. The trend is more dangerous than those days.
Q: Are there, in your view, any steps taken by President
Rajapaksa to arrest this situation?
A: No. I am shocked and extremely disappointed. Those days, it
was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who fought against Human Rights
violations. But unfortunately, at present, similar things are
happening under his very nose. Those days, he was the champion
of Human Rights but now we want to ask the same champion to act
fast to put an immediate stop to this menace. He even went to
Geneva, to report on the Human Rights violations. But now he is
silent. We want to know why.
Q: What course of action do you intend taking now?
A: We want to take up this issue with the international
community. We are also prepared for any discussion, whether for
all out war or restricted war. We are ready to discuss power
sharing, whether it is federalism, confederalism or the Indian
This is what we call democratic discussion. There can’t be any
discussion or difference of opinion in respect of Human Rights
and dignity. That is national and universal. There can’t be any
justification for extra legal abductions and killings. This has
to stop. The Government has to stop this.
Q: Who do you hold responsible for this?
A: I, with all responsibility, accuse the Government, and hold
the Government responsible for all these abductions and
killings. We, as legislators, make laws. We have the emergency
regulation and the PTA. Now, why do we make laws against the
already existing ones? This is to give additional powers to the
police and Government forces to arrest and curb terrorism.
Already, in the existing laws, there are provisions to curb this
type of thing. But yet, we make laws at the cost of public
money, to expedite this process. But when the police and armed
forces go out of this law and act according to their whims and
fancies, then, there is no need to pass legislation in
Q: The Government, unofficially says that this type of situation
is inevitable when the country faces a terrorist problem. How do
you view this?
A: Yes, we know it. But this Government is acting worse than a
terrorist group. A legitimate government can’t act like a
terrorist outfit. Those in the hierarchy of the government
should know the difference between an abduction and an arrest.
Arrest is legal. That is, a person is picked by the police and
kept in a legally identified location. And in addition, the
police are obliged to give all the information about the arrest
to the family of the arrested. But what happens in an abduction?
The police and the forces are taking the people to unidentified
locations. We are against unlawful arrest. Minister Keheliya
Rambukwella should not play with the peoples’ tears. The
Government says there are no abductions. But we have documented
the abductions. We have all the details of the abductions.
Q: The latest reports indicate that the five men killed, belong
to Karuna’s group and fingers are being pointed at the LTTE as
well. So, how can one completely blame the Government?
A: Whether it is Karuna’s men or not, people are being abducted
and killed. They are, after all, people of our nation. And it is
the Government that should answer for those killings as well.
Nobody has any right to touch another individual’s life.
Killings in this country are done for two reasons. One political
and the other economic. Political killings are committed to
achieve a particular target by the government, while at the same
time, abductions are also taking place to enhance one’s wealth.
Yesterday’s pocket picker is today’s housebreaker. The abductors
demand large amounts of money from family members of those
wealthy abducted businessmen. This is for their personal
economic reasons. This nonsense should stop forthwith.
Situation unacceptable: Minister
of Disaster Management and Human Rights says that he and the
Government are concerned about the current wave of atrocities
which are simply unacceptable.
“These abductions and killings cannot go on. We have to get to
the bottom of this, since it gives a very negative image of the
Government and what is happening in Sri Lanka. As the Minister
of Human Rights, I don’t condone this” he said.
Samarasinghe says that there might be a hidden force operating
to tarnish the Government’s image through these killings.
“Now we believe that there might be a hidden hand behind these
atrocities to embarrass the Government. We are carrying out
investigations into this possibility. Those who point the finger
at the Government should realise that the Government is not
foolish to commit such crimes, especially at this point in
Minister Samarasinghe says that Human Rights Council interest
groups have been informed of the progress by the investigations.
“The police are also taking this seriously. I know that the
President is also very concerned about this. We are confident
that we will be able to get to the bottom of this” he added.