Criminal Charges Against Disappearance Activist – Police Say Arrest Not Linked To Protests

Sri Lankan law enforcement bodies say disappearance activist B. Jeyakumari’s arrest has nothing to do with anti-disappearance protests and only deals with criminal charges against her.

Speaking to ‘Asian Mirror’, a senior officer of the Sri Lankan Army said Jeyakumari is alleged to have links to a criminal network operated in Sri Lanka by pro-LTTE elements in the Tamil Diaspora.

Initial investigations have revealed that Jayakumari’s house in Dharmapuram, Kilinochchi had been used as a hideout by a person named ‘Gopi’ who has a criminal record. Gobi, who has direct links with Tamil Diaspora in Switzerland and the British Tamil Forum, is involved in smuggling activities. Investigators also claim that Gopi had close links with the LTTE when the organization was functional in the North.  Therefore, according to law enforcement bodies, charges against ‘Gopi’ are two pronged – terrorist links and criminal activities.

When a special police team when to Dharmapuram, Kilinochchi to arrest ‘Gopi’ on Thursday, he was hiding in the house belonging to jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter, a senior Police officer said.

“He opened fire at police teams from the house belonging to Jeyakumari. One policeman was injured due to firing” he also said. “It was clear that Jeyakumari and her daughter were harbouring him. That is a criminal offence.”

When asked about the exact link betweek Jeyakumari and Gobi, he said it was still being investigated. “However, initial investigations have revealed that both of them hail from the same area – Trincomalee. Gobi had gone abroad immediately after the end of war. He had returned to Sri Lanka after three years and after his return, he had had very close links with Jeyakumari and her daughter,” he said.

According to him, Gopi had received money from a group in Switzerland on several occasions. “We are investigating whether Gobi and Jeyakumari received money from the same source,” he added.

Jeyakumari, who is closely connected to Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalan, Leader of the Tamil National People’s Front, and Northern Provincial Councilor Ananthi Sashitharan, has been in the forefront of protests against disappearances in the North. Her daughter had also participated in several protests.

However, the Police categorically state that the arrest had nothing to do with anti-disappearance protests.

Speaking to ‘The Nation’ weekend newspaper, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana  had said Jeyakumari had been arrested on suspicion of harboring a suspect 'connected to terrorism' who also has a criminal record. He confirmed the arrest was linked to an incident in Kilinochchi on Thursday.

This particular suspect is still evading arrest, the SSP said.

SSP Rohana also denied reports that Jeyakumari's daughter was under arrest, claiming that she was taken into police custody 'for her own protection'.

"She was produced before the Kilinochchi Magistrate and entrusted to the care of probation officers. This was done as we could not let the child stay by herself and the mother didn't want the child to be given to another party," he said.



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