Yesterday (13th March 2014) a woman and her daughter who have been protesting on behalf of the disappeared were arrested by the police (CID).

Balendran Jeyakumary (from Tharmapurum) and her daughter “Vibooshika” (13 years) have been detained in their home from around 4 pm. Jeyakumary called a politician around 4 pm with a complaint that her house has been surrounded by the army. Around 4.30 one of Jeyakumary’s friends (K) called. Jeyakumary answered the phone and said she is at home but that there were “problems”. Then her phone was answered by a man who asked her friend (K) who she was, and why she was calling her. When K said her child is sick and that she was at the Vavunia hospital and needed Jeyakumary’s help, the man cut the call and thereafter Jeyakumary’s phone was switched off. Since then there has been no communication with her but it is now believed both mother and daughter have been detained in Vavuniya. Lawyers have not been granted access.

Jeyakumary was a mother of three boys (two of them were killed and one is missing) and one girl. Both the mother and daughter have attended protests organized by Mannar citizens committee and families that are looking for missing and disappeared members. She and her daughter have been featured in many video documentaries on the disappeared including “white van stories” which was previewed on Channel 4.

One of Jeyakumary’s sons was killed in Trincomalee, the second died in a shell attack in Mullivaikal. She handed over her third son (Balendran Mahinthan) to the Sri Lankan army in May 2009; at that time he was 15 years old (having been recruited by the LTTE in the final phases of the war). One of the Government’s LLRC publications (on the release of rehabilitated cadres) carried his photo but he hasn’t been seen since.

Police spokesperson Ajith Rohana told BBC Tamil yesterday night that a shooting incident took place in Tharmapurum on 13th morning in which a police officer was injured. They are claiming the women were detained as part of that investigation. However the fact that no charge has been brought, the fact that they are being held incommunicado, the fact that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act they can now be detained without charge for up to 18 months, and the fact that many people disappear under very similar circumstances, gives us cause for severe concern.