(By Shalika Wimalasena | Translated by Akitha Wijayasinghe)
Journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda went missing two days before the 2010 presidential election. That was on the afternoon of January 24th. Now it is almost the end of 2020. That is more than ten years without justice, 4,000 days.
Who is Prageeth Ekneligoda?
Some make him an LTTE partisan. According to some journalists, he does not have an identity card issued by the Government Information Department. So, he is not a journalist. According to some, he is a political activist. He is an internationally acclaimed cartoonist.
To us he is an important man who walked this earth. This does not mean that there are unwanted people. Just because his values were established through his practices.
He is the husband of Sandhya Ekneligoda. He is the loving father of Sanjaya Ekneligoda and his brother.
They’ve been waiting for their beloved father to return home for over 10 years now. This is why making someone disappear is brutal than actually murdering him.
Military intelligence made several attempts to justify the abduction of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda by branding him as an LTTE supporter. But in the end, it all failed. The easiest and quickest way to capture people is to stir up racism and religiosity.
The same thing was done during Black July in 1983. Prageeth has also been implicated in the corners of these conspiracies. That is to whitewash those criminals. A group of journalists are also ready always to carry out that dirty bidding.
Leading figures in the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as in the government of President Maithripala Sirisena and in this government are on a mission of rescuing criminals. What they are doing is an insult to the judiciary. The judiciary also waits blindfolded, allowing it to happen.
No political party has issued an official statement on behalf of Prageeth in the political arena where they contest for power. No voice is raised against the insults directed at Prageeth and misleading people during the pre-election period. Although voices were heard from place to place, they have still not been loud enough. People look at the opinion of the majority. This is why it was written as an insult to the judiciary.
‘CID has officially informed the Homagama Magistrate’s Court that journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda has not been involved in or supported the LTTE terrorism and that no legal action has been taken against him through any institution, according to investigations carried out on the information of ten government agencies.’
This means that all those who try to further complicate the matter should be summoned to court. They should be asked where the evidence is.
No action has been taken so far against those who supported the military intelligence operatives, robed figures and journalists who reported that Prageeth had taken money from the LTTE and helped them to conceal suicide bombings suits.
The Army continued to evade handing over documents related to the incident to the courts. It is a criminal offense under the Penal Code to cover up this crime which was being revealed that it was done through the Giritale Army Intelligence Camp. If Prageeth is wrong, why not present evidence against him?
During the previous government, investigations into the disappearance of Prageeth were coming to a halt. But the deal-makers of the same government did not allow it. The media also reported that both the Attorney General’s Department and CID were under pressure.
According to media reports, the then President had once summoned top officials of the Attorney General’s Department and the CID and told them to immediately stop arresting military personnel. All professions should be respected. At the same time, there is a special emphasis on the military profession in society with the war.
Any government knows that it will directly affect the vote base. But should those who have committed crimes and violate the dignity of the military be granted immunity? If the highest authorities in the country are working to grant such immunity, they are committing an equally serious crime.
Immunity to criminals
Sandhya Ekneligoda, an iron woman, continues to demand justice for the crime of disappearing her husband. She deserves justice. Criminals should be prevented from getting justice through non-fulfillment of justice.