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Home » Countries » Sri Lanka » Immediate action needed

Immediate action needed

The British foreign and development ministers must put immediate pressure on the Sri Lankan President to release the Mr. S. Sajitharan - who has been abducted by a pro-government group.

The abduction:
Armed paramilitary men from the Sri Lanka Army operated Pillayaan Group entered the house of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian T. Kanagasabai and abducted the Batticaloa MP's son-in-law around 2:30 p.m. Sunday (18th Nov). The group has threatened to kill the abductee if Mr. Kanagasabai voted against SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa's budget on Monday. The abduction took place at the police-protected house of the parliamentarian at Ka'luthaava'lai. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Police has withdrawn the security provided to all Batticaloa district TNA MPs residences in Batticaloa on Sunday. The abducted victim, S. Sajitharan, 37, is a teacher. (Source: www.tamilnet.com)

The vote on the budget today (19th Nov) is of critical importance to the government. Even Sinhala oppositional MP’s have accused the government of ‘trying to persuade and intimidate parliamentarians not to vote against the government.’ (see BBC-Article)
It is clear that the votes of the 22 Tamil National Alliance MP’s will be significant in this close vote.

There is no disputing the connection between the Pillayaan paramilitary group and the Sri Lankan armed forces. Since the Sri Lankan government’s military onslaught on the east of the island, facts about the close collaboration between the Government armed forces has been reported widely, not only in the pro-Tamil media but in the Sinhala owned media and international news agencies like the BBC. With hundreds of thousand of Tamil people displaced the Sinhala speaking Sri Lankan armed forces has needed Tamil paramilitary groups like the Karuna and the Pillayaan group to try to enforce its will on the Tamil speaking population. Indeed, it was the government’s own Special Task Force (STF) that acted as the negotiators when a violent conflict emerged between the Karuna group and the Pillayaan group.

It is clear that the Sri Lanka President can ensure the release of Mr. S. Sajitharan. Britain has very close relations with the Sri Lankan government. British Foreign Minister David Miliband, and development Minister Douglas Alexander must send a clear message to the Sri Lankan president that the British government is opposed to death threats as a means of winning parliamentary votes.

Please respond today – your action will be certain to have an effect.

Rt Hon David Miliband: Fax: 0044 20 7008 2144 or inside Britain 020 7008 2144
email: private.office@fco.gov.uk

Rt Hon Douglas Alexander: Fax: 0044 20 7023 0634 or inside Britain 020 7023 0634
email : privatesecretary@dfid.gov.uk

Please email a copy of your letter to imrv@humanrights.de