by Ramanan Weerasingham, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, Europe, January 31, 2018
Probing the abduction of Tamil youth in the capital city of Colombo and its suburbs during the height of the war, Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested yet another Navy intelligence officer charging him of being in-charge of dumping dead bodies at sea as part of the well-organised abduction operation.
After evading arrest for several years, Muthuwhennadige Aruna Thushara Mendis attached to the Sri Lankan Navy’s Special Intelligence Unit and its Special Boat Squadron (SBS) was arrested on January 23, 2018 by the CID team and produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate who ordered him to be kept in remand custody.
Gunsite underground camp
According to the CID, Mendis had been in charge of a boat which provided support to this special intelligence team, especially in disposing of bodies, while serving at the Parakrama Naval base in Colombo from 2008 to 2009.
Officers directly involved in this investigation said that these dead bodies were tied tightly to concrete pillars before being dumped into the deep sea. “This was to ensure that these dead bodies would never float at sea unlike in early 1990”.
His arrest followed the arrest of another naval intelligence officer Kasthuriarachchige Gamini a week ago this month.
Mendis has functioned as the Chief Petty Officer of the Special Intelligence Unit headed by Lieutenant Commander Sumith Ranasinghe, who has also been arrested in connection with these abductions.
He had allegedly been part of the navy unit that took the eight abducted youths to the Gunsite underground camp at the Trincomalee Naval Base, from the Naval camp in Chaithya Road, Colombo Fort.
The CID is also probing his involvement with the abduction and the disappearance of navy intelligence operative, Ali Anwar at Katunayake.
Former Navy Spokesman Commodore D.K.P Dassanayake, who was the Overall Commanding Officer for the Navy’s Special Intelligence Unit and the SBS during the peak of the war, and Chief Security Officer of former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Sampath Munasinghe were also arrested over the enforced disappearances. Both were released on bail after months of detention.
Granting of bail to these Naval officers came after President Maithripala Sirisena warned the judiciary and the law enforcement authorities not to press cases against the war heroes.
Following is the details of the 11 people including five school boys who were abducted and made to disappear by the Navy’s Special Intelligence Wing in 2008.
1. Kasthuri Araachchige John Reed alias John, 38/ 28, Ratnam Road, Kotahena Colombo 13.
2. Rajeev Naganathan alias Malli, 87, Shoe road, Kotahena, Colombo 13.
3. Pradeep Wishwanathan, 1/6, 220 Wasala Road, Colombo 13.
4. Thilakeshwaran Ramalingam, A/ 3F/ 12, Bloemendhal Flats, Colombo 13.
5. Mohamed Saajith, 40 Clifton Road, Dematagoda, Colombo 10.
6. Mohamed Jamaldeen Dilan, 75/12 Maligakanda Road, Maradana, Colombo 10.
7. Amalean Lyon, Arippu East, Arippu.
8. Roshan Lyon, Arippu East, Arippu.
9. Anthony Kasthuriarachchi, 38/ 28, Ratnam Road, Kotahena Colombo 13.
10. Thiyagaraja Jegan, 42, Linganaagar, Trincomalee.
11. Mohammed Ali Anver alias Hajjiar, 27/ 40, Fernando Road, Karagampitya, Dehiwala.