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‘Release my husband’ demands wife of former LTTE cadre

Photograph: Selvarany and her children protesting for Ajanthan's release last year.

The wife of a former LTTE cadre who has been held for more than five months without charge has demanded his release, at an emotional press conference in Batticaloa yesterday.

Kathirgamathamby Rajakumarar, also known as Ajanthan, was arrested by Sri Lankan police over claims he was involved in the murder of two Sri Lankan policemen in Vavunathivu in November last year. 

However, three men detained following the Easter Sunday attacks have reportedly claimed responsibility for the assassinations. The men, currently in CID custody after multiple raids and a crackdown on the Islamist extremist network on the island, said they had been responsible for the killing of the officers as well as the damage to Buddhist stupas in Mawanella. Amidst raids carried out in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings, a gun found in a house in Kalmunai is believed to be a missing police rifle from the killings.

This week, Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne also claimed at least four army officers were involved in organising the assassination.

Read more: NTJ paid by Sri Lankan intelligence, soldiers organised police murder - cabinet spokesperson

Read more: Sri Lankan police investigate Islamist extremist links to 2018 checkpoint shooting

Ajanthan though remains in detention.

“It is not fair to detain my husband,” his wife Selvarany told reporters. “I will never accept this. My husband is not guilty.”

Ever since her husband’s arrest Selvarany and her children have been struggling to cope, she said. Sri Lanka’s CID arrested her husband and promised they would release him within three months. Without her husband, her and her five children are suffering financially. 

“I borrowed money from a relative and went to Criminal Investigation Department in Colombo to see my husband,” she said describing the hardships they face. “I can’t feed them three times a day… I am only feeding them once a day. My children wash themselves with water only as I can’t afford soap. I am living a painful life without money to buy milk powder, to provide my kids with milk tea in the morning.”

Weeks after his arrest Selvarany and her children staged a hunger strike calling for his release. However, after threats from Sri Lankan police, her protest was forced to end.

'Where is my father?' reads the sign held by Ajanthan's children last year.

Read more: Police threats forced wife of detained former LTTE cadre to end protest

Read more: Wife of arrested former cadre ends hunger strike after officers pledge release on bail

Now that the alleged perpetrators have confessed, she told reporters that she wants her husband to be allowed to come home. “The guns the police officers carried have been found, the driver of the vehicle that was used for the murder has also arrested,” she added. “Maithripala Sirisena must take quick action to release my husband, who is not guilty.”

In an emotional final plea, Selvarany said her family was desperate to see Ajanthan back home. In tears, she told reporters, “If my husband is not released, me and my five kids will drink poison and commit suicide.”