Sri Lanka may release Tamil detainee ahead of Modiís visit

Sri Lanka may release Tamil detainee ahead of Modiís visit

March 8, 2015   04:35 pm

Coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here next week, Sri Lanka is likely to release a Tamil mother who has symbolised the fight against the alleged disappearance of Tamils during the final stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009, DNA Iindia news agency reported.

50-year-old Balenderan Jayakumari - who was arrested last year by the previousMahinda Rajapaksa regime - is likely to be released next week, government sources here said, adding the release is part of the Maithripala Sirisena-led new government’s attempt to move forward by taking everyone along. Jayakumari was leading a campaign to find her missing son and has come to symbolise the fight against the alleged disappearance of thousands during the last stages of the war against the Tamil tigers. Modi will arrive here on a two-day visit starting March 13, the first bilateral visit by an Indian premier in 28 years.

The highlight of the premier’s trip will be his visit to the former LTTE stronghold in Lanka’s Tamil-dominated North, making him the first Indian Prime Minister to travel to the war-ravaged region. Sri Lankan police had arrested Jayakumari, a widow and a mother of four children from the former northern war zone of Kilinochchi on the charge of harbouring a criminal who shot at a police officer to evade arrest.

However, Tamil parties have alleged that she was being punished for protesting over the fate of her son, an underage rebel who disappeared after the Tigers surrendered to the government at the end of the war in May, 2009.

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