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Online Petition Against Arbitrary Arrest & Detention of  A Human Rights Defender

( March 21, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Ms. Balendran Jayakumari and her daughter Vithushaini (13) both were arrested on 13March 2014, by officers attached to the Kilinochchi Police Station. Although it is reported that Vithushaini has been released Jayakumari remains in detention.

Balendran Jayakumari of No: 5 Musalumpitty, Pullium Pokkanai, Tharmapurum, Killinochchi District was living in the Indian Housing Scheme of Tharmapurum with her daughter Vithushaini who is 13 years of age. Her husband disappeared during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government. After she became a victim of rights violations herself, she became a human rights activist and started a campaign in search of the whereabouts of her husband. Later she joined several other human rights activists in the area and assisted them in seeking justice for their own disappeared loved ones. She immerged as one of the leading human rights activists in the Northern Province among thousands of widows and children who lost their husbands, fathers and loving ones during the conflict. She has taken part in many protests where she was identified as a leading figure by the society, and unfortunately, by the government authorities.

Jayakumari and her daughter have been in the frontline of almost all the protests and they were clearly identified by the media telecasts as activists, protesting and demanding information on the whereabouts of missing persons who have been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lanka Police.

Jayakumari is a mother of three boys (two of them were killed and one remains missing) and one girl. Both the mother and daughter have attended many protests organised by the Mannar Citizen's Committee and families that are looking for missing and disappeared members. One of Jayakumari’s sons was killed in Trincomalee, the second one died in a shell attack in Mullivaikal. She handed over her third son, Balendran Mahinthan, to the Sri Lanka Army in May 2009 and at that time he was 15 years old; since then his whereabouts also unknown.

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