Given below is an interview Lanka News Web had with Sandya Ekneligoda, wife of senior journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who was a victim of enforced disappearance in January 2010.
How many cases into Prageeth’s disappearance are over now?
Not a single case. There was talk within the court that the habeas corpus case will have an influence on the other case. So, it is now pending in a manner that can be recalled as we wish. There is another in the CID ‘B’ report.
How many cases in all?
I have only filed the habeas corpus case. For certain other cases, we have requested interventions. One case was withdrawn. The other is continuing.
What do you think about the incident involving Gnanasara Thera?
I am waiting to see justice. Two incidents happened on the same day – threatening and abusing me and a contempt of court. On the same day submissions were made over the contempt of court, and Gnanasara Thera was remanded. On February 09, I filed a complaint over Gnansara Thera’s threatening me and a case was filed under the victims and witnesses protection act. The contempt of court case was filed. Both were referred to the Attorney General’s Department in October 2016. But, the AG’s Dept. is yet to file my case. So, I am awaiting justice.
Have you gained anything from this struggle since 2010?
The main thing is Prageeth lives. Prageeth’s disappearance means he lives. If not for this struggle, a Prageeth will not be in this country.Do you have any connection with the association of the missing persons?
No. In the beginning, they invited me for certain functions. I got involved in some of their work. But, no one has mediated to make a direct intervention.
How do you meet your daily expenses?
In the beginning, organizations outside Sri Lanka helped in my younger son’s education. Some friends in Sri Lanka helped from time to time with Rs. 10,000, Rs. 5,000 or so. Other than those, only Mr. Upul Jayasuriya did something big. In addition, Mohan Lal Grero allowed my two children to do their A/Ls. Those two were the biggest help I received within Sri Lanka.
For two years, you have been seeking a meeting with the president?
I tried to hand over a letter. I was not allowed. In the end, I handed it over to the security at his official residence. I don’t know if he got it. There is no reply either.
You received a foreign award?
Yes. For being one of the 13 most courageous women in the world. It was organized by the US State Dept. and civil society organizations. They have been doing that for many years. I was able to be one of the 13 in 2014.
Do you personally believe Prageeth is still living?
That is irrelevant to me. I do not think about that. But, for me, Prageeth still lives. I share everything with Prageeth. Prageeth is not here with me physically. But, I share everything with Prageeth. I tell Prageeth about every sadness that comes my way. So, I think even if I cannot see Prageeth with my eyes, Prageeth remains with me all of the time.Basuru Jayawardena