Fr. Jim Brown: Mystery of the missing priest

Fr. Nihal Jim Brown with other Catholic priests during mass

Hello Friends

Five years ago on August 20th Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown a Catholic Priest serving in the Jaffna Diocese and Wenceslaus Vimaladhas a Catholic layman went missing in the north.

Aug 20th 2006 was a Sunday and Fr.Jim Brown assisted in the morning mass at Kayts.He left Kayts at 12.30 pm on a red coloured motor cycle NPGO 6486 with Wenceslaus Vimalathas riding on the pillion. 40 year old Vimalathas was the father of five children and a lay social worker.

Both went to Jaffna town where Fr. Jim Brown made some telephone calls .Thereafter they proceeded to Allaipiddy where Fr.Jim Brown was the parish priest.

They obtained permission at the checkpost on the Allaipiddy road junction along the Pannai causeway at 1.50 pm. Fr.Peter Thurairatnam of the Naranthanai parish was there at the time and witnessed the two going towards Allaipiddy. He was the last known person to see them. Thereafter both Fr.Jim Brown and Vimalathas simply “disappeared”from the face of the earth.

Priests and parishioners worried over their absence alerted church leaders who informed the Police. When Police conducted inquiries at the checkpost on the Allaipiddy road junction that was manned by Navy personnel they were informed that Fr.Jim Brown had checked “in” at 1.50 pm and checked “out” at the same post at 2.10 pm

The Navy refused to let the Police check their records

Despite a huge outcry by members of the Catholic clergy and laity and numerous protests nothing further was heard about the Priest and his companion

Five years have passed and there is still no solution to this mystery of the missing priest.

When this incident I too was deeply distressed and wrote an article “Tamil Catholics Perturbed over Missing Priest” in “The Sunday Leader” of 3rd, Sept, 2006 published in Colombo. It was also posted on my website www.transcurrents.com

The article traced the sequence of events relating to the disappearance and gave details of the background to it.The article also related the impact of the incident on the Catholic church in Jaffna and pointed out the divide that had set in between Sinhala and Tamil Catholics.

The article attracted much attention and disturbed the pwers that be.It was also cited by many reputed human rights activists in their reports
Some months later the Catholic Bishop of Jaffna Thomas Soundaranayagam was in Toronto and I had an opportunity to meet him. While conversing, Bishop Soundaranayagam was very appreciative of this article on Fr.Jim Brown’s disappearance

Five years have passed and the truth about Fr.Jim Brown’s disappearance is yet to be revealed.It has become one more statistic in the long list of “missing” about which those in power show little concern.

Despite the stubborn refusal by the ruling regime to show remorse or to be held accountable , these instances of flagrant human rights violations would always linger in the collective memory of the victimised down-trodden people. The yearning for justice will not cease

Five years have passed and the mystery of the missing priest and his companion has not been solved. This is indeed a sad indictment of the country and those in power

It is against this backdrop that I am reproducing the original article on my blog today. I do hope the collective conscience of right-thinking people would be troubled by at least five years later by reading about this incident and its aftermath.

Here it is Friends – DBSJ

Tamil Catholics perturbed over missing Jaffna Priest

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Members of the Catholic faith in Jaffna were greatly agitated last week when it became known that the Diocesan hierarchy was actively considering the recalling of priests from parishes in problematic, insecure areas. If the decision was implemented Catholic priests from the Northern Islands, Vadamaratchy East and some parts of Thenmaratchy would have left their churches and taken up residence temporarily at Colombothurai in Jaffna. The “shepherds” would have been absent when their respective “flocks” were undergoing great harship and fear.

Naturally the Catholic laity of those areas were agitated and upset. So too were other parishioners in other areas of Jaffna. There was much anguish and tears. “Do not desert us at our time of peril and need” many sobbed and wailed. Emotional appeals were made to Jaffna Caholic Bishop Rt. Rev Dr.Thomas Soundranayagam. The prelate took the feelings of his flock into consideration and changed his mind. The endangered flocks got their shepherds back.

What made Bishop Soundranayagam contemplate such a drastic measure in the first place? It was out of a sense of concern and anxiety over the safety of Catholic clergymen in Jaffna. Given the uncertain and unsafe conditions prevalent in Jaffna the Bishop felt that his priests should not be exposed to danger unnecessarily. He was particularly worried about the younger priests and those in charge of churches facing insecurity and security force related problems in unsafe areas.

The reason for Bishop Soundranayagam to have even thought of this was due perhaps to an emotional upheaval. He had been deeply troubled and saddened by what had apparently befallen a young priest in his Diocese, 34 year old Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown.

He had been presumably named Jim Brown by his devout parents after a well known missionary priest who served in Jaffna during the fifties and sixties. The senior Fr. Jim Brown was the livewire behind the Catholic press of Jaffna and the Diocesan flagship journal “Sathiya Vetha Paathukaavalan”.The young Tamil priest was named so in his honour.

Rev. Fr. Jim Brown the parish priest of Allaipiddy in Jaffna had gone “missing” from Sunday Aug 20th. Another lay social worker accompanying him had also gone missing. The Navy stationed in Allaipiddy were suspected of being responsible. But there was no concrete proof. Despite much effort to trace Fr. Jim Brown’s whereabouts there was no success. The incident had upset and saddened the Catholic clergy and laity in Jaffna.

Bishop Soundranayagam was particularly concerned as the young priest grew up in his Diocess and entered priesthood under his benign guidance. He was an active worker with a keen social conscience. According to Church circles Fr. Jim Brown was almost a protégé’ of the Bishop.He felt the “loss” keenly.

An adoration service was held at St. Johns Church Jaffna on Aug 24th to pray to God for Fr. Jim Brown and the layman Wenceslaus Vimaladhas. Bishop Soundranayagam participated and shared his thoughts and experiences about Fr. Jim Brown. The Bishop had met the priest on Saturday Aug 19th. In a very long conversation the priest had told his superior about what had happened in Allaipiddy the week before when the LTTE has launched an operation in the area and how more than 850 members of his parish were displaced.

When the Bishop had asked the priest to stay on in Jaffna at the Bishops House the latter had replied that he needed to go back to supply drinking water to the displaced people.”Lord, my people are waiting for drinking water, I’ll deliver these water bottles and then I’ll come back”he had said.As the Bishop continued he observed ” When his parents come and ask me, – Lord we gave our son to you to serve God, and where is he now? – how could I answer them”.

An emotionally upset Bishop could not speak further at this point. He was silent for a while and then recovering continued with his address. This _expression of personal trauma may help explain the Bishop’s mindset in opting to recall priests serving under dangerous conditions.

Rev. Fr.Jim Brown born in 1972 had studied for the priesthood at St. Xaviers Seminary and was fully ordained as a priest in 2004. He served his Obedience period in a Mannar Church. He was appointed to the St. Philips Neri’s Church in Allaipiddy only a few months ago. It was a very “difficult” parish to serve due the prevalent security situation. Allaipiddy has been very much in the eye of a storm in recent times.

On May 13th four men went on a shooting spree in Allaipiddy. Nine people including a four year old child and four month infant were butchered in cold blood. The Navy and Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) were implicated. Terrified civiians from the predominantly Catholic locality took refuge at Philip Neri’s church. It was the then parish priest Fr. Amalaraj who first went with villagers to the house where residents had been shot to death.

Thereafter the panic stricken people fled from Allaipiddy. Some went to Kilinochchi. Others took refuge in two churches in Jaffna town and Navanthurai. After a while the people returned with security guarantees being given. Fr. Amalaraj played a constructive role in giving leadership to the fear stricken community at its time of need.

Fr. Amalraj came under threat due to this. EPDP controlled and financed media organs and websites began accusing Fr. Amalraj of being a tiger sympathiser. Several threats were issued. Security personnel in the area were hostile. Fearing for Fr. Amalraj’s life the Church transferred him out of Allaipiddy to Poonagary. Fr. Jim Brown was posted to Allaipiddy. It was a courageous move by Fr. Brown to go to Allaipiddy under such circumstances. It was in the finest Christian tradition of “Here I am; Send me O Lord “.

The new priest with his youthful looks and bubbly charm became a popular priest in a very short time. The parishioners clung to him as people drowning would desperately hang on to a lifeline. Fr. Jim Brown’s great challenge came on Aug 12th this year when the LTTE landed in Mandaitheevu and fought its way up Allaipddy, Mankumban etc.As fighting ensued frightened residents of Allaipiddy converged at the Philip Neri’s Church. Fr. Jim Brown was a tower of strength.

In the early hours of the morning on Aug 13th the Army camps in Jaffna town began using multi – barrel rocket launchers to fire on Allaipiddy – Mandaitheevu areas to dispel the tigers. Both Mandaitheevu and Allaipiddy are situated close to the Pannai causeway and are only a short distance away from Jaffna town. Some of the shells fell in the vicinity of Philip Neri’s church and on the church itself. The church was damaged. Tragically 16 people taking refuge inside and 4 outside the church were killed. 54 people were injured.

Fr. Jim Brown endeared himself to his parishioners by giving leadership at a critical juncture. After the artillery firing subsided he gathered the people and marched towards the security barriers pleading that they be allowed to go elsewhere for safety reasons. The Navy and Army refused wanting perhaps to keep the people there as “human shields”. But Fr. Jim Brown’s persistent pleas made the authorities relent. Permission was given to go to Oorkavalthurai or Kayts.

Thereafter with the help of Catholic priests from Kayts vehicles were brought and more than 850 Allaipiddy parishioners were transported and housed at St. Mary’s Church. Some of the injured were treated at the Kayts hospital. But Fr. Brown did not rest. With the security authorities refusing to let the badly injured be taken to Jaffna for treatment Fr. Brown managed to go to Jaffna himself.

He informed Jaffna addl magistrate Srinidhy Nandasekeran of the serious situation and requested her urgent assistance. She promptly obliged. Due to Ms. Nandasekeran’s intervention the transport restrictions were lifted. Fr. Brown accompanied the Magistrate and went along with a convoy of ambulances and vehicles to transport the injured to Jaffna Hospital. Thereafter Fr. Brown shuttled between Allaipiddy, Kayts and Jaffna tending to his dispersed and dejected parish tirelessly.

After providing food and water to the displaced parishioners for two days Fr. Jim Brown along with Fr. James of Kayts came to Jaffna .They obtained the aid of “Caritas” to cater to the needs of the displaced. Many had fled with only the clothes they were wearing. Fr. Brown persuaded the authorities to allow provisions in bulk to be taken to Kayts. He also obtained permission for the people to return to Allaipiddy and take away clothes and essential items.

Signs of positive leadership among the beleaguered Tamil community is frowned upon by the powers that be. Besides Christian priests have been regarded suspiciously as being sympathetic towards the LTTE. As in the case of his predecessor Fr. Amalaraj , several threats were made to Fr Jim Brown too.One accusation levelled against him by the local chief of Navy at Allaipiddy was that he along with other civilians had helped dig bunkers for the LTTE. The priest politely denied these charges and went about with his work fearing only God in heaven and no man on earth.

It was on Saturday Aug 19th that he met his Lord Bishop and related all what befell Allaipiddy. He declined an invitation to stay on at Bishops House saying he had to take drinking water to the displaced parishioners at Allaipiddy.Thereafter Fr. Jim Brown returned to Kayts.

On the following Sunday Aug 20th Fr. Jim Brown assisted in morning mass at Kayts. He then left Kayts at about 12. 30 pm on a red coloured motor cycle NPGO 6486 with a lay social worker riding on the pillion. Fr. Jim Brown’s ill – fated companion was 40 year old Wenceslaus Vimalathas known generally as Vimalan. When Fr. Jim Brown wanted to go to Mandaitheevu he was refused permission by the naval personnel. He then proceeded to Jaffna town to make some quick and urgent telephone calls.

Both then returned and obtained permission to enter Allaipiddy again. Particulars of his “entry” at the Allaipiddy road junction security post was duly recorded at 1. 50 pm. There was also another priest who witnessed this. This was Fr. Peter Thurairatnam of the Naranthanai parish. This was the last time any known person had seen Fr. Jim Brown and Vimalan.Thereafter they simply “disappeared”.

Priests and parishioners became worried at their absence and alerted Church leaderss. The Kayts Police were also informed. Since they had been last seen at Allaipiddy junction inquiries were directed there first. Church authorities as well as the Police were informed that Fr. Jim Brown and his vehicle had been registered “in” at Allaipiddy at 1. 50 pm. They were then registered “out” at the same post at 2. 10 pm. When the Police wanted to chek the records the navy refused to show the particulars.

Inquiries made at all Catholic Churches in the Peninsula failed to reveal any information about the missing priest and pillion rider. It was feared that they had been arrested by the Navy at Allaipiddy. Bishop Soundranayagam contacted Rear Admiral Upali Ranaweera ,Northern region Commander of the Navy.Ranaweera denied that the two men were arrested and reiterated the navy version that both had left through the Allaipiddy checkpost for Jaffna. 72 hours after they went “missing” it became apparent that both had “disappeared”.

A much worried Jaffna diocesan hierarchy made representations to a wide section of people ranging from the UN Secretary – General in New York to the Papal Nuncio in Colombo. The Human Rights Commission, ICRC,Kayts magistrate, 51st Brigade commander etc have all been notified. The Amnesty International issued a statement. Catholic clergy and laity in Mannar and Kilinochchi staged hunger fasts, silent processions etc and submitted petitions to local and international officials. Church sevices were held widely entreating the almighty.

On Aug 29th Catholic people converged at the Our Lady of Refuge Church on 4th cross street , Jaffna and proceeded to the Cathedral in procession carrying placards with Fr. Jim Brown’s picture. As they reached the water tank checkpost on main street they were stopped by the army who refused to let them citing emergency regulations. No amount of pleading by priests made them relent. Thereafter the people turned back.

Ever since the arrests of Fr, Singarayer and Fr. Sinnarasa in 1982 on charges of maintaining links to the tigers there has been a general suspicion that Tamil Catholic priests are closet supporters of the LTTE. Veteran cartoonist Wijesoma drew a memorable caricature then of a tiger tail jutting out from under the cassock of a priest. The fact that both Singarayar and Sinnarasa were discharged by the courts years later is not remembered. Many Catholic priests were treated with suspicion and constantly harassed.In one instance two priests taking some barbed wire to Jaffna from Colombo were detained.

Some priests paid the supreme price. Fr. Mary Bastian from Vankalai went missing in 1985 with some others. They were never found. A few days later Rev Jeyarajasingham a methodist priest and his wife were found burnt to death in their vehicle at Murunkan.An American Jesuit priest in Batticaloa Fr. Herbiet went missing while travelling through Eravur in 1990. Another priest. Fr. Selvarajah went missing in Sorikalmunai in Amparai district the same year. Fr. Wenceslaus at Tholagatty monastery was killed in 1986 by security forces. Fr. Chandra Fernando of Batticaloa was shot dead in 1988 by EPRLF/ENDLF assassins.

There are many recent instances of Catholics in the North – East suffering at the hands of security forces or their henchmen. Civilian Catholics have been killed in places like Vankalai, Allaipiddy and Pesalai.. In Pesalai members of the armed forces fired at and threw grenades at cowering refugees inside a Church. In Batticaloa state – backed gunmen shot Tamil Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham during Christmas mass at the St. Mary’s Cathedral at the time of holy communion in the presence of Bishop Kingsley Swampillai. Now a young Catholic priest has “disappeared” and the security forces are prime suspects.

Even as Tamil Catholics are deeply disturbed at these developments there seems to be practically no concern evinced by Sinhala Catholic clergy or laity. Even though Sinhala and Tamil Catholics subscribe to the “one, Holy Catholic Church” the ethnic divide has torn even the Church asunder. Regretfully the chasm has grown wider after Rt. Rev Oswald Gomis became Colombo Arch Bishop.

After Bishop Malcolm Ranjith went abroad there has been no Sinhala Catholic Bishop reaching out to the North – Eastern flock. Sadly not one word of empathy has come out publicly from the Catholic South about the plight of their Northern brethren. Getting Mahinda Rajapakse to ban “Da Vinci Code” is deemed more important than trying to repair a fractured Church.

Even as Tamil Christians struggle to cope with their troubles and sorrow they must also remember that they are being victimised not as Christians but as Tamils. In their suffering Christian Tamils are one with their Hindu brethren. By their indifference and lack of concern Sinhala Catholics are demonstrating that they are more “Sinhala” than “Catholic”. Mirror images are flourishing among Tamil Catholics too. Even Our Lady of Madhu seems unable or unwilling to check this growing separateness.

Meanwhile Tamil Catholics will continue to mourn for Fr. Jim Brown as they have done for others before. His disappearance cannot be treated as an isolated incident. It is part of the on going state terror campaign to crush and stifle any sign of Tamil dissidence and defiance. Catholic Priests provide great leadership to their parishioners at times of trouble and distress. Killing them or making them “disappear” intimidates and demoralises the people. The “disappearance” of Rev Fr. Jim Brown can only be viewed from that perspective.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

42 Comments

  1. Thanks for this article. My view is that father Jim was killed by the EPDP and the Navy is covering up the real truth

  2. I knew Fr.Jim Brown personally. He was a wonderful man and friend. God bless his soul. His memory shall never fade

  3. There must be an impartial and independent investigation. In an ordinary situation this something you’d expect. Many were being killed and injured during Aug 2006 when priest disappeared. EU banned LTTE In after an escalation of violence. At least in few selected cases such as this the authorities must do everything it possibly can to see that justice is served.

  4. As I have been married to a Catholic I have been going to Sunday Mass for the last 25 years. I can vouch the dissapearences of Catholic priests and other priests have never been discussed on the pulpit.

    Dont know why but perhaps to keep the service focused on God.

    I am aware even when the Jews were hunted down the Catholic shurch was largely silent.

    I am not pointing fingers or stating whether its right or wrong.

  5. In your conclusion you wrote ‘His disappearance cannot be treated as an isolated incident. It is part of the on going state terror campaign to crush and stifle any sign of Tamil dissidence and defiance. Catholic Priests provide great leadership to their parishioners at times of trouble and distress. Killing them or making them “disappear” intimidates and demoralises the people. The “disappearance” of Rev Fr. Jim Brown can only be viewed from that perspective’. This is absolutely true. It was true then and it is true now.

    I am a praticing catholic from Jaffna. My first ever article was published in ‘Paathukavalan’, when I was in grade nine. I studied at a Catholic College. Our Rectors were Catholic priests. I was taught by Rev. Sisters too. Our lives are influenced by their guidence and teachings. My several relatives are priests. All of the priests avoid talking politics
    and their primary mission is spritual guidance. Targetting them is the utmost crime any regime can commit.

    When we were discussing a previous post, one of the readers of this forum ask me you are a catholic or christian what is your tamil problem. This article , even though it was written five years ago is the answer for him.

    Mr. Jeyaraj, recently Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, arch bishop of Colombo made some comments regarding the current situation in SL, why don’t you reproduce his Madu church Sinhala language sermon in this forum for discussion

    bernard.

  6. I am a catholic from Sillalai. I was living in Jaffna when the father jim brown disappearance incident happened. We were all upset and sad. I will never forget that.

    Thank you DBS anna for this.

  7. Thanks DBS for writing this 5 years ago and publishing it again now

    The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church. We will always remember them and be inspired

  8. This is yet another feather in the cap of the regime which proudly boasts of Humanitarian Operations. How any right thinking person can condone and reconcile such killings and lack of accountability is amazing. It is the credibility of the Govt which is at stake and such incidents justify the UNSG report, Channel 4 video and call for international investigation and accountability.

  9. It is very kind of you, Mr DBS for publishing the article on Fr. Jim Brown who had gone missing for the last five years. Collective memory of the Tamils is great positive point in the analysis of the socio political issues. You mention that point in your article. Be sure, it is not going to go away, instead, it is going to linger and cause great pain in the hearts and minds of those who value life.

    I sought to do a research on the Social Doctrines of the Catholic Church beginning from 1891 Rerum Novarum of Leo XII till Benedict XVI who wrote on ‘Deus Caritas Est’. John Paul II, the predecessor to the present pope, excelled in highlighting Human Dignity. Catholic Church is a non partisan structure, second to none in this world, to proclaim justice and peace based on the unchangeable value of Human Dignity. This is from my personal research.

    As a non-Christian, I am always impressed by the Dedication, Commitment and Sacrifice of the Catholic priests. The church stands for justice, at least tries to, even during the time of conflict. In polorized society, it is almost impossible to please both sides. Both sides in conflict will try to take advantage of.

    Fr. Jim Brown, whom I had come to know during my research in Jaffna, does not deserve that kind of treatment from the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces. Allaipiddy is peninsula in the island of Kayts (Am I correct?) and there is no reason for anyone getting lost in that little town of Allaipiddy, unless he is forced by an outside agent.

    The Catholic Church with its great organized structures, contributed much to the Sri Lankan society, to the both groups in the divide. The government should acknowledge that and render justice to the victims.

    Thanks for reminding your readers about these unsung heros!

    Dr. Kathir

  10. wonderful well-written article. I recall reading it when you first wrote it. It is valid even now and forever. God bless you and keep you

  11. Very brave of you to write this type of article 5 years ago and to reproduce it again now Jeyaraj

    May God almighty bless you, keep you, protet you ,preserve you ,strengthen you, embolden you and guide you

    Fear not Jeyaraj for he will always watch over you

    Thank you………….DBSJ

  12. about missing persons, the GOVT,ARMY, AIR-FORCE, NAVY, STF, no one is the least worried
    as it is not their kith and kin is missing. After all it is another less burden to this cruel world we live in.

    it is some times thought of whether GOD is watching all these atrocites committed and is
    waiting, HELPLESS.

  13. People in Allaipiddy and Kayts say the man who masterminded Fr.Brown murder is now an EPDP member of Parliament

  14. ‘Despite the stubborn refusal by the ruling regime to show remorse or to be held accountable , these instances of flagrant human rights violations would always linger in the collective memory of the victimised down-trodden people.’……..

    How very true DBS annan. We are from Kayts and we will never forget Fr.Jim Brown

  15. Are there still people believe/dream in the island of Srilanka Tamils can live with dignity ,safely,and happly in one Srilanka????

  16. Sri Lanka is a lawless state. One do not need plan to kill. Orders come from the TOP. You just kill. There will be no consequence. The killers prpbably said ” Its govnt property ( the bullets) just shoot “.

    That is the governence we have in SL.

  17. Dilshan, you may recall in 1989 at the height of the counter terrorism by the GOSL, the church took a stand, in the pulpit informing the parishoners of the atrocities carried out by the Armed Forces in holding camps. As we heard on Sunday mass at St’ Thomas’s church Kotte, ” Men are forced to drink the semen of other men “. ” Women are paraded naked to the amusement of the service personnel guarding them ” etc etc. The parishoners listening to all this were more embarrassed than shocked.

    But then the victims were Sinhalese.

    My Bible Packing Sinhalese catholic friends simply don’t care. One of them, after reading at mass, came home and opined that the 1983 riots were planned and executed by the Tamils themselves. So much for their Catholicness.

    In discussing with my multi-religious and multi- cultural family we realize that the troubles we face in SL is a Sinhala-Tamil issue and not religious.

  18. Dear DBSJ,
    In your conclusion you wrote ‘His disappearance cannot be treated as an isolated incident. It is part of the on going state terror campaign to crush and stifle any sign of Tamil dissidence and defiance. Catholic Priests provide great leadership to their parishioners at times of trouble and distress. Killing them or making them “disappear” intimidates and demoralises the people. The “disappearance” of Rev Fr. Jim Brown can only be viewed from that perspective’.

    This is absolutely true, not just for priests, for anyone who provides leadership for Tamils, and not willing to collaborate with the state. – I am please to see the word usage “state terror campaign” by DBSJ.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Dont patronise me.I know who you are. By the way I wrote state terror campaign five years ago when it was at its highest. I have been criticising the state and state terror almost all my life but you and those of your ilk have been attacking me viciously as an agent of the govt simply because I also criticise the LTTE which has caused the greatest harm to the Tamil people. Now you fellows think you all are smart by making these types of comments or by patronising left handed compliments(forgive me southpaws)

    Let me tell you something. I do not write for the likes of you. When you and those of your ilk praise me (even tongue in cheek) I get a feeling of revulsion.The same feeling I get when Sinhala chauvinists praise me for anything

  19. If I have not mistaken, Fr.Jim Brown was also runnning an orphanage for children in the Mannar area at one time.

    It is obvious that Fr. Jim Brown was dedicated for his priest hood and did not fear for his life like Jesus Christ. – This type of dedication invites white vans in Sri Lanka.

    The following sentences from the article speaks volumes.

    “He informed Jaffna addl magistrate Srinidhy Nandasekeran of the serious situation and requested her urgent assistance. She promptly obliged. Due to Ms. Nandasekeran’s intervention the transport restrictions were lifted. Fr. Brown accompanied the Magistrate and went along with a convoy of ambulances and vehicles to transport the injured to Jaffna Hospital”.

    How could a Tamil Rev.Fr do this in a country where Tamils are not treated equal?
    How could a Tamil Rev. challege the forces of an oppressive state that has a total control over Tamils, being a minority?
    How could a Tamil Rev.Fr go over the head of the Navy by seeking the help of the law when the armed forces are the law?

    In Sri Lanka, these people are inviting death, unless you are willing to lick boots.

  20. It has been the perception of the sinhala buddhists and successive governments, that the catholics of the north, sided with the LTTE.
    This was evident from the photos of LTTE gatherings on the internet showing catholic priests among the crowds.
    Hence the same atrocities visited on LTTE by the army and police,were directed on nothern catholic priests.

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith ignores all what happened to catholic priests in the north and preaches submission to the regime.
    Sinhala catholics appear to agree.
    Sinhala christians too,are/were largely silent on atrocities visited on the tamils.

  21. The First Lady (once a Miss Lanka Finalist) is a Catholic and she has no kith and kin to mention what happened to Fr. Jim Brown? Now she has to worry of these lines:-

    “i) ignores the good people and favors the wicked;
    ii) causes harm by new unrighteous practices;
    (iii) neglects the observation of proper and righteous practices;
    (iv) suppresses dharma and propagates adharma;
    (v) does what ought not to be done and fails to do what ought to be done;
    (vi) fails to give what ought to be given and exacts what he cannot rightly take;
    (vii) does not punish those who ought to be punished but punishes those who do not deserve to be;
    (viii) arrests those who should not be arrested but fails to arrest those who should be seized;
    (ix) indulges in wasteful expenditures and destroys profitable undertakings;
    (x) fails to protect the people from thieves and robs them himself;
    (xi) does not do what he ought to do and reviles the work done by others;
    (xii)causes harm to the leaders of the people and insults those worthy of honour;
    (xiii) antagonizes the wise (elders) by lying and mischief;
    (xiv) does not recompense service done to him;
    (xv) does not carryout his part of what has been agreed upon and
    (xvi) by his indolence and negligence destroys the welfare of his people.’ (7.7.19-26)”

  22. Good that you put persons like MFERN (why do these LTTE propagandists adopt Sinhala sounding names?)in their place DBS. To those of us who have been reading you from your behind the cadjan curtain days the remarks made by these people seem stupid and irrelevant as we have seen first hand the priniples that guide your writing

    Please continue your good work without paying any regard for the likes of tiger propagandists like MFERN

  23. [One accusation levelled against him by the local chief of Navy at Allaipiddy was that he along with other civilians had helped dig bunkers for the LTTE. The priest politely denied these charges and went about with his work fearing only God in heaven and no man on earth.]
    ———————————————————-
    I believe this could be the reason for his dissapearance.It would have been better for him if he had taken this accusation more seriously than to just deny it. Going with the bishop or someone and meeting the Allaipiddy chief of navy would have been better.When a accusation like that is made better to take it more seriously. This poor chap was a young fellow concentrating on his work and did not have the maturity to sort out allegations like these and seems to have paid the penalty. I feel very sorry for him,being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. How many fine people we have lost due to this war.

  24. Sanctimonious cats like MFERN are the bane of our commuity.After supporting the LTTE for years without question when tigers were treating Tamils cruelly they have undergone sea change now talking piously like ardent human rights champions

    You did well in ticking MFERN off DBS

  25. He is not the ‘first Christian Tamil’ to got dissapeararance and not only ‘Christian Tamils’ got dissapeararance in SL!!! IT is all happened to even ordinary tamil who don’t belive any religon?

  26. Failure to understand the distinction between the State Terror and Terror triggered by chauvanists is the root cause of all problems in SL.

    SL State is fundamentally rooted as representative of the extremist Sinhala/Buddhist elements. New Delhi though aware of colombo’s idealogical is appreciative and supportive of the same which is no less crime than that of SL State. Just go through the lines written by Mr. Bhadrakumar – Blood on our hands….immediately after guns were silenced in Mullivaikal…. he praises SL is fantastic practioners of diplomacy and supports the Theravada Buddhism tendancy of SL State…

    What is the role of the State in a Modern world… is that parading the dead bodies of terrorists to incite a Pogram… Mr.Bhadrakumar… this Blood Stain cannot be washed and dont dream of a relic … because it goes against the very grain of 21st century goals … as a practioner of New Delhi’s diplomatic philosophies you guys have treaded the most dangerous path …

  27. Well said Prasad.Its really funny to see some LTTE rump guys now saying they never supported the LTTE at any time and pretending to be human rights activists.

    Many tiger rascals who attacked DBS viciously are now trying to use his blog to show they are reformed people

  28. “Sinhala Catholics are demonstrating that they are more Sinhalese than Catholics”

    The Missionaries who converted Sinhala people forced them to dissociate from their Sinhala identity.

    This was a deliberate attempt to fragment the society and introduce an element of elitism.

    There was a time when some Sinhala Catholics didn’t even celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

    Other countries ,

  29. Dear Shankar,
    I hope you are not trying to justify Fr.Brown’s killing by the navy, because he did not take their allegations seriously.

    Going with the bishop to meet the Navy chief could have even viewd as a sign of guilt.

    As a God’s man, Fr.Brown was committed to do the right things and he did the right things. The authorities, who wanted to stop him from doing the right things could not stop him and the only way to do that was to take him out of this world.

    As I stated earlier in my comment, being a Tamil, you have fewer rights in SL, and if you do not toe the line of the State and its armed forces, you invite death. – Latest casualty is the editor of Uthayan news paper.

  30. Thank u DBSJ for reminding us of this good Shepherd, who walked in the foot steps of Christ. I was greatly perturbed when I first read this article in 2006.

    There are many thousands of ‘disappearances’ yet forgotten by the authorities.

    May Fr. Brown’s soul rest in peace!

    ————————–

    Sadly not one word of empathy has come out publicly from the Catholic South about the plight of their Northern brethren. Getting Mahinda Rajapakse to ban “Da Vinci Code” is deemed more important than trying to repair a fractured Church.

    ———————–

    To the fractured Church of Sri Lanka:

    2 Chronicles 7:14;
    “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”.

    —————-

  31. Dear DBSJ,

    I have read this article some times ago in your blog. Thanks for reproducing the article.

    I have opine that the disappearance of Father done by EPDP and SL Navy.

    Good leadership vacuum is imminent for the Ceylon Tamils,Which was created by all Tamil military/SL Army

    Regards,
    Ratnam.

  32. Dear Prasad,
    I support what you said about some LTTE elements using Sinhala sounding names.

    I hope DBS will check these impostors like M FERN

  33. The Navy and Army refused wanting perhaps to keep the people there as “human shields”.

    Well DB, This is mere speculation is it not? This is not respectfull professionalism!
    Write the facts, Do not play with the words. This is like C4 video journalism. Imagination with no substance. What happened to father Jim is wrong. But that does not give you a licence to write derogiratory.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:
    It is not.

    Actually I put it mildly then because I did not want to endanger the poor civiians. But the navy DID REFUSE TO LET THE PEOPLE GO ELSEWHERE TO SAFETY AS THEY WANTED TO USE THEM AS HUMAN SHIELDS TO PREVENT THE LTTE FROM COUNTER SHELLING

    It was a shameless act

    Instead of trying to teach me journalism go and ask the armed forces to behave decently

    Also this is not a news story where I have to write merely the facts

    This is an article for which I dig out the facts brutally suppressed by the govt and its armed forces and I write them with my observations also to provide context and background

    It is foolish for people with scanty knowledge of journalism to pontificate on how it should be done

    Please dont try to whitewash the armed forces or LTTE to me.I know how both sides “fought” this war

  34. Something same happened in 1990s for Rev. Fr. Eugene Hebert (An American Jesuit who served in the East and at St. Michael’s College). So it is Not New………I was also worried about Rev. Fr. Jim Brown!

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