SRI LANKA: Disappeared journalist’s wife declares loss of faith in Sri Lanka’s judicial process and turns to seek help from supernatural forces 

Sixth months after the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth Eknaligoda, Sanya Ekaneligoda and her son held religious ceremonies at the famous Kalli Amma Kovil, a Hindu temple at Modara, Colombo on 24 June. Mrs. Eknaligoda prayed to supernatural forces for help in finding the whereabouts of her husband who disappeared on the 24th January 2010. Sandaya has repeatedly declared that she holds the government responsible for the disappearance of her husband.

Her voice, praying to the Kali Amma on behalf of her husband, was played over some media channels. After the religious event she told the media that her plea to the authorities to investigate her husband’s disappearance has not brought about any positive results. She said she has lost faith in the authorities and will from now on hold religious ceremonies all over the country to pray for the help of supernatural forces.

Over the last six months several government spokespersons have talked to the media on this issue and these spokespersons have included several ministers. They all promised a speedy solution to the problem through effective investigations. The Inspector General of police and his spokespersons have also made similar promises. However, while these assurances were being announced the government propaganda machinery carried out a campaign stating that, in fact, Prageeth Eknaligoda had not disappeared but was in hiding and would return soon.

Sandaya Ekenaligoda’s declaration of no faith in the legal process echoes the general feeling of many persons. The failure of the legal process is a result of the general totalitarian tendency in the country where public institutions are prevented from functioning in a normal manner. Under such circumstances people turn to supernatural forces or to the underworld to get their problems solved.

The government claims that Sri Lanka has an effective judicial system and it does not need any inquiries from international agencies about human rights abuses. However, people turning to supernatural forces for help indicate that people have no faith in the local systems of the administration of justice.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-157-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Judicial system,