The nightmare for the Rasadurai family began last April when officers, who claimed they were from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) of the Police, arrested one of their sons and took away two motorbikes and a lorry that were in their yard.
The Chavakachcheri family had acquired the vehicles on lease a few months earlier.
The two sons in the family, Jeyanthan and Dushyanthan, both fought for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the war and surrendered when hostilities ended. Thereafter, they were rehabilitated and released in 2013 and 2014.
Thirty-five year old Jeyanthan was arrested when Police began investigations after a suicide jacket was discovered in the home of another ex-LTTE cadre, Gabriel Julian. Julian had been hiring his lorry out to Jeyanthan, who was making aluminium furniture at the time he was arrested. Examination of Julian’s phone had led the Police to Jeyanthan.
Jeyanthan was handcuffed and taken away from his garden at home in Chavakachcheri, where he was fixing the fence on 10 April 2016, a bright Sunday morning at about 9 a.m.
Dushyanthan (38), Jeyanthan’s brother, told Ceylon Today that he is unable to face the leasing company as the Police had also taken away his Pulsar 150cc motorbike. He has been looking high and low for his motorbike and that of his brother’s as well, but to no avail.
While initially reluctant to speak about his past, Dushyanthan opened up, to share his story as his financial situation was getting tough with a wife and two children as well as his parents to look after.
He says the two motorbikes belonging to him and his brother were parked in the garden, ‘unfortunately’, at the time his brother Jeyanthan was arrested. He was not at home when the motorbikes were taken away.
He says that the Senkadagala Leasing Company is after him urging him to pay the lease of Rs 13,000 monthly, which he has failed to do. He has urged the leasing company to lodge a complaint against him with the Police so that he could look for the motorbike, but they are yet to do so.
Dushyanthan, his six siblings, mother and father were in the Vanni and returned to Chavakachcheri after the war ended in order to resettle and get on with their lives, this time peacefully.
In the Vanni, Dushyanthan was a cooperative salesman when he joined the Tamil Tigers in early 2000. He got married in 2007.
But all ended well as Dushyanthan and his brother Jeyanthan came out of rehabilitation in 2013 as free men.
Talking a little bit of his past, he said that on 7 April, 2009 he was arrested in a hospital while receiving treatment for injuries but was released in 13 days. Later on, when there was an announcement urging LTTE cadres to report to Cheddikulam military camp late October 2009, he volunteered to register. But immediately after that, he was re-arrested and taken to the Pambai Madu camp along with 100 odd other cadres. He added that after six months he was transferred to Omanthai Maha Vidyalayam, which was a TID camp and from there he was moved to the Boossa camp in Galle. His brother Jeyanthan was released later, and as two married men having their own families, they had been living next door to each other.
Dushyanthan worked as a labourer at the Indian railroad construction site, where he earned Rs 1,000 per day. He had been collecting the money and had paid the down payment to lease out a motorbike.
Dushanthan says the TID checked the entire house and took the main phone with them. When the mother inquired about the arrest of her son, there wasn’t a reply. The TID said they are taking him for an inquiry to Vavuniya. His mother and Jeyanthan’s wife followed to Vavuniya on the same day to find out more about the arrest. But in Vavuniya the officials said that Jeyanthan was transferred to the Boossa camp and no one was able to see him. Dushaynthan filed a human rights violation case on the removal of the two motorbikes without their knowledge.
One of the two motorbikes belongs to another brother. “They took the motorbikes’ documents with them too,” says Dushyanthan.
He and his mother filed two HR violation cases (HRC JA161/ HRC JA086) but it has ‘not’ been fruitful despite human rights lawyer Dominic Premananth filing a FR case last year on the motorbikes and Jeyanthan’s arrest.
The matter was also brought to the notice of the Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam but there has been no response from either of them the family said.
With the lawyer’s help, the family was able to meet Jeyanthan on the 6th floor of the TID in Colombo but no one could talk to him properly. The few minutes were spent crying, he recalls.
A few days after the arrest, the TID wanted Jeyanthan’s mother to handover her mobile phone to them. It is still in their custody.
After week, they had been told to drive the lorry and park it at the Vavuniya Police Station. This, the brothers did. Dushyanthan says the lorry is now parked under the tree in Vavuniya Police premises but the two motorbikes are not to be seen around.
He says that the TID has not revealed anything about the motorbikes and that is really worrying. Dushanthan fears to even express his feelings about their lives and the events that have taken place after being rehabilitated. He speaks in the hope that through media, the officials concerned will be kind enough answer their queries.
Dushyanthan added that he wanted to lodge a Police complaint about the two motorbikes but the Police had refused to accept the complaints.
Today, Jeyanthan is in Welikada Prison and every 15 days, he is taken to the Aluthkade Magistrate’s Court for a hearing. Dushayanthan says that what he ‘heard’ is that the TID report is not being submitted at Court hearings. And so, for more than a year now, Jeyanthan has been taken to Court and back to Welikada without charges being filed.
AG Dept now responsible for the case – HR lawyer
CeylonToday contacted HR lawyer Dominic Premananth who said that the TID report on Jeyanthan was submitted to the Attorney General’s (AG) Department around two months ago and he is waiting to hear further developments on the case.
He noted that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) cases are tough to contest.
He said that the report with the TID’s Code EER was submitted to the AG’s Department and also that Jeyanthan is not the main suspect. He said 12 persons were arrested and six were released with three being granted bail.
He said he filed the FR case in August 2017 and he was told that the AG’s Department by 30 January 2018 will serve an indictment in Jeyanthan’s case.
He also noted that if the vehicles that were confiscated by the TID are not on the ‘production list’ of the case, they may be released but he has not heard anything about the two motorbikes as of today.
When asked about the case of the two Chavakachcheri brothers, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, in an email, responded to the writer in this manner:
“We cannot provide information on individual complaints to third parties, i.e. those who are not parties to the complaint, especially if inquiries are on-going, as that would breach confidentiality. If the complaints result in recommendations, those recommendations are made public. If any complainant is dissatisfied with the action taken to date by HRCSL regarding their complaint, they can make those concerns known to us and we will take required action to rectify the shortcomings, if any, and address their concerns.”
Police Spokesman not available
Ceylon Today tried to contact Police Media Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara about TID officials taking away the two motorbikes, but he was not available.