White Vanned And Still Missing
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The disappearance of Pathirage Nishshanka Perera, a 52 year old businessman from Wattala was reported on April 8th, but over a month later the police have been unable to make any headway in the investigation.
Persons who seemed affiliated to security units had aided Perera’s abduction according to eyewitness reports. The police have however denied the claim saying security personnel have not been involved in any abduction.
The police have not been able to arrest even one suspect after four eye witnesses had made statements about the incident along with the number of the van that was used for the abduction.
Perera’s son Dhanushka says that the family was worried since his father had mane health complications, which he feels the abductors are not aware.
Since there had not been any ransom demand, Perera’s family is unaware of the reason for the abduction.
“My father is a heart patient and was to do a by-pass surgery end of the month,” Dhanushka told The Sunday Leader. He added that Perera also suffered from diabetes.
“We have continuously inquired from the police if they have received any information, but over a month later there is still no clue,” Dhansushka said.
The OIC of the Kiribathgoda Police that is investigating into the incident on letter dated May 2, 2012 sent to Dhanushka’s mother has stated that the police have been unable to get any positive information on the suspects.
The OIC has noted that the complaint has been recorded as GCIB 206/100 and is filed under B/2068/12 at the Mahara courts.
According to the letter, the Kiribathgoda Police are continuing with the investigation.
Dhanushka’s mother had even written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealing for help from the authorities to locate her husband. The letter had been copied to the Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister a swell.
Dhanushka and his brother have also written similar appeals that have already been sent to the authorities explaining their father’s health condition.
“My father was abducted in broad daylight in front of four other persons. We managed to get the number of the van as well,” Dhanusha said with frustration.
On April 8th, Perera who is a car salesman had been engaged in a business discussion with two of his friends at his residence in Hunupitiya, Wattala.
There had been two others who had been repairing one of the vehicles that were to be sold by Perera.
Two unidentified persons had arrived at the residence at around 12.10 pm and they had called Perera towards them saying they wanted to purchase a vehicle.
About four others had then followed the two persons and a few of them had carried weapons with them.
One of them had held a pistol to Perera’s head while the others had threatened the rest of the people in the compound to remain calm and quiet.
They had then dragged Perera towards a silver Hiace van bearing number PE 6328 and driven away with him.
Hearing the commotion in the front area of the house, Dhanushka said that his mother and brother had come out to see Perera being taken away in a van.
Perera’s wife and son have followed the van in a three wheeler.
However, a defender vehicle had been parked about 300 meters down the road and the three wheeler had approached the vehicle since there had been several persons dressed in STF fatigue in the vehicle.
Dhanushka’s mother had told the persons in the defender that her husband abducted and had shown the van saying they were giving chase to it.
The persons in the defender have looked at each other and then the driver of the vehicle had sped off. The defender had over taken the van that had been used to abduct Perera and the van had then followed the defender vehicle.
The three wheeler however had been unable to give chase to the van since it had run out of fuel.
According to Dhanushka, his mother and brother had first gone to the Peliyagoda police to make the complaint, but they had refused saying the incident had taken place outside their area.
The complaint was then lodged at the Kiribathgoda police.
N. Ramesh, who is the driver at the Perera household, is one of the witnesses of the whole abduction saga since he was in the garden at the time.
He claims that persons in STF fatigue were in the defender vehicle that had blocked the three wheeler.
Ramesh told The Sunday Leader that Perera was engaged in a conversation with two of his friends when the armed persons had walked in and dragged him away by force.
“It seemed like the defender vehicle had helped the van flee the scene by overtaking the van and traveling before it,” he said.
Ramesh said that even when Perera’s wife had said they were giving chase to a vehicle that had abducted his father, the persons in the defender had not paid any attention and not even tried to assist them in anyway.
“It s over one month now and we still don’t know why our father was abducted in this manner,” Dhanushka said.
Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said the police have not been able to make any arrests with regard to the abduction.
He told The Sunday Leader that the Kiribathgoda Police have assigned a special team to investigate into the incident.
The Kiribathgoda Police is required to report the progress or in this case that lack of it to the Mahara Courts.
According to SP Rohana, the police have checked the number of the vehicle that had been recorded in the complaint and found that such a number had not been registered with the Motor Traffic Department. “The Motor Traffic Department has informed that a vehicle with such a number has not been registered,” he said.
With regard to the alleged involvement of STF personnel in the abduction, SP Rohana observed that the police have not been informed of such an issue and denied any involvement of security personnel in abductions.
Be that as it may, the involvement of security personnel in abductions has been revealed on several occasions.
The most recent being the involvement of serving army personnel in the attempt to abduct the Chairman of the Kolonnawa Urban Council. The persons who had tried to abduct the Chairman were captured and identified as army personnel.
They were handed over to the police and they were later released without even recording a statement from them. The military claimed that the army personnel were on official duty trying to arrest army deserters in the area.
Nevertheless, the motives behind Perera’s abduction like the many abductions recorded during the last few months are unclear and the authorities have been unable to make any breakthroughs.