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33rd anniversary of disappeared commemorated at the Eastern University

Eastern University in Vantharumoolai, Batticaloa, marked the 33rd year of disappearance. This solemn event aimed to remember the 158 refugees from the Eastern University who were forcibly disappeared by the military.

Organised by the Batticaloa chapter of the Families of Relatives of the Disappeared and the Eastern University Student Union, the protest and commemoration drew a gathering of over 100 protestors. Among them were families and relatives of the disappeared, students and lecturers from the Eastern University, civil society members, and religious leaders. Following the protest a minute of silence was observed by the protestors.

The protest and commemoration remembered an event of mass disappearance in 1990 when the ethnic war between the Sri Lankan security forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had reached a peak. At that time, thousands of internally displaced people had sought refuge in camps located at the Eastern University due to the intensity of the war, loss of property and lives, lack of food and water, and a total disruption of normal lives. However, when the army surrounded the refugee camp, they apprehended 158 individuals for investigations claiming to be involved in the war effort against the security forces. 

These 158 people were never heard from again, marking yet another case of mass disappearances in the history of the island. The Eastern University's commemorative protest serves as a powerful testament to the enduring quest for answers, justice, and remembrance in the face of a crippling economic crisis and ongoing political crisis.

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