Women Carry Camphor Pots in Colombo Procession for Their ‘Missing’ Fathers, Brothers, Husbands and Sons

Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Women, whose fathers, brothers, husbands and sons have been disappeared over the past years, took part in a religious protest recently in Colombo.

Women walk with burning camphor pots through the busiest business streets

Nearly 25 women from Batticaloa, Colombo, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Trincomalee carried burning camphor pots from Sri Ponnambalawaneswarar temple in Kochchikade to Jeyanthi Nagar Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy Temple in Ginthupitty on barefoot during a balmy day, while chanting religious hymns and crying.

“We need to know what happened to our loved ones; we feel lifeless without our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons; we are unable to move on without knowing anything about our loved ones” protesters prayed and pleaded.

Camphor flame carried single handely by a Tamil woman who is in search of her son

The burning camphor pot carrying protest was jointly organized by the Committee for Investigating Disappearances (CID), and Movement for the Release of Political Prisoners (MRPP) to remember the disappeared.

“Our one and only brother went missing from Dehiwala in 2008. We are seven sisiter and he is our youngest brother” ~ Vijayalakshmi Sabesan

Tamil women in spiritual activity to invoke blessing their loves who are still missing

Reverend Father M. Sakthivel lights the camphor placed in clay pots

Women pray with fire

Women parade with fire

“My son has been missing from Wattala since 2006” ~ Rajeshwary Manikavasaga Sharma

Mothers and wives participate in a Hindu retigious ritual dedicated to their missing family members

“My three sons are still missing. Second son we missing in 2007 from Mannar, and other two sons went missing in 2008 from Mannar and Trincomalee respectively” ~ Parameswary Sathanantharasa

Women on foot with burning camphor pots

“My son and son in law have goo missing from Trincomalee in 2007” ~ Ellamma Krishnamoorthy

Women are left in limbo; they don’t know anything about their missing men family memebrs

“My son was taken in a “white van” working placing for a house in Trincomalee in 2008″ ~ Devi Sebastian

Tamil women take part in a religious ritual for their missing family members

“My son has been taken in a “white van” from Colombo in 2007″ ~ Indrani Anton

Women walk with burning camphor pots asking “what happened to their loved ones who are missing?”

“My son has been missing form Kilinochchi since 2008” ~ Pavalarani Krishnapillai

Barefoot with burning pots

“My son in law has been missing from Trincomalee since 2007” ~ Jeyalakshmi Santhiapillai

Tamil women chant, pray and walk along the streets

“My son has been taken for an inquiry form our home in Trincomalee in 2008, he has been missing ever since” ~ Jeyalakshmi Nagendran

Tamil women walk with burning camphor pots while praying and chanting religious hymns

“What am I supposed to tell my sons about their father?” ~ Anpuselvi Morrison from Jaffna

Women walk through the main streets in Colombo

“I and my husband got injured in Puthumaaththalan on 11th of May 2009. I was admitted at a hospital. I didn’t know what happened to my husband. Later, I was told he was treated for his injuries and after the treatment he was transferred to Welikada prison. I went to the prison, but I was told he wasn’t there. I don’t know his whereabouts” ~ Jegatheeswary Thiagarajah from Puthmaaththalan, Mullaithivu district

“I am still searching for my two sons who wer abducted in a “white van” from our house in Trincomalee in 2008” ~ Lalitha Ramakrishna

“I have searched everywhere, but nobody is telling me the truth” ~ shared Ashadevi Shanmugalingam while weeping on the streets. Her son went missing from Wellawatte, Colombo in 2006

Women were on fast while carrying out the religious rituals on Friday, to seek information about their disappeared loved ones

Rasanayaki Rasathurai’s son has been missing since 2007 from Trincomalee

Women walking barefoot along the main road on a balmy day with burning camphor pots

Sandhya Eknalygoda, wife of missing cartoonist Prageeth Eknalygoda participating in Hindu religious ritual

courtesy: passionparade