COLOMBO: On the eve of the visit of Nisha Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, to discuss human rights violations during Eelam War IV, the Sri Lankan police on Monday arrested two army officers and two other ranks for alleged involvement in the disappearance and murder of noted cartoonist and political journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
“At the request of the CID, we have released two officers and two other ranks to undergo investigation,” military spokesman Brig.Jayanath Jayaweera told Express on Monday.
While Jayaweera would not mention ranks, the media quoted the police to say that two Lieutenant Colonels, a Sergeant and a Corporal were arrested.
On August 11, the media reported that a Sergeant and a Major, along with two former members of the LTTE belonging to the breakaway Karuna group, Kanapathipillai Suresh and Sumathipalan Suresh, were arrested. According to reports, the Sergeant had abducted Eknaligoda on January 24, 2010, two days before the 2010 Lankan Presidential election and tortured him at an army camp at Girithale.
A vocal supporter of Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the then Joint Opposition Candidate against sitting President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Eknaligoda had written a controversial booklet in Sinhalese entitled “Family Tree” which is believed to have led to his abduction and disappearance.
While Eknaligoda’s wife, Sandhya, and rights workers pointed an accusing finger at the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, especially the Defense Ministry under brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the government denied knowledge of the abduction.
While international human rights groups kept pressuring the Rajapaksa government to investigate Eknaligoda’s disappearance, Maithrpala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe promised to re-open the case if they came to power.