For 12 long years, Mrs. Ekneligoda has fought a lone battle to serve justice to her husband
Human rights campaigner and wife of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, Sandya Ekneligoda was recently listed among 25 female activists who made it to the prestigious BBC 100 Women 2022. For 12 long years, Mrs. Ekneligoda has fought a lone battle to serve justice to her husband. “It has been 4,712 days since Prageeth has gone missing. During this period I have faced both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. I firstly spoke in front of a camera on January 7, 2010 at the onset of my husband’s disappearance. The first opportunity was given by the Sirasa news channel. There are several international organizations that assisted me in this journey. Amnesty International is one organization that had continued to inform the world about Prageeth’s disappearance and the incidents that followed,” she said during a recent press conference.
She has received several awards and accolades over the past 12 years and recalled many pleasant and unpleasant encounters. “The experiences I encountered following Prageeth’s disappearance is manifold.
I worked with various sectors including the judiciary. I have spent more time in judicial offices to obtain documents. While some people assisted me, others have inconvenienced me as well. The investigations were conducted in different phases. From 2010-2015 no proper investigation was being done regarding his disappearance. But people insulted me by saying that Prageeth is living in another country. State officials, ministers and various artistes were involved in passing these remarks. Some even said that he has sought asylum in another country. Then there was an accusation that Prageeth was abducted by an armed group. Another singer claimed that Prageeth was living in Dubai. All of them were throwing such insults despite knowing the truth because they were all part of the Rajapaksa gang.”
“After 2015 with changes in the political landscape, the investigations were handed over to the CID. Several top officials contributed to the investigations and with the assistance of Army intelligence units, there was a lot of progress made on the case. But after 2016 Prageeth was framed as a terrorist. As a result of speaking about the plight of mothers in the North and East, I too was framed as an LTTE sympathizer. Some claim that the intelligence units have evidence to prove that I have links with the LTTE. However I’m not ready to respond to those who continue to sling mud at me, especially on social media. But if they have any information they can provide these details to the CID because I’m fighting for justice for my husband.”
She extended her gratitude to the journalists’ fraternity, both locally and internationally for supporting her since day one. “I know that they will be there till justice is served to Prageeth. The media provided a platform for me to speak. I met many people in 2010 and they joined hands with me in this fight since then. These include civil society organizations, trade unions and many other entities. I extend my gratitude to everyone of them.”
“I don’t know what’s in store for me in future. I patiently faced all challenges. Some even question me on the awards and acknowledgments I receive. But in front of you I’m an apolitical woman. I don’t have any contacts with the elite. Most people respect the elite. I will continue this fight until justice is served to Prageeth. I request mothers of disappeared persons to join hands to continue this fight. It was the Rajapaksas who made me tread on this path. My message to them is that they will never be able to escape my curse bestowed upon them. I sought divine intervention on January 25, 2022 to seek justice. The Rajapaksas will become prey to the curse every time they try to instill fear among people, every time they try to hide evidence and delay justice. On January 25, 2010 while I was at Police, I received a phone call from incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe. He asked me not to worry and that he would help me find Prageeth. Now that he is President, he has a better opportunity to help serve justice to Prageeth by exempting the judiciary from any political interferences.”
Prageeth Ekneligoda was a journalist and cartoonist who was reported missing on January 24, 2010, days before the presidential polls that year.
Disclaimer: “Leave judiciary from political interference” - Sandya requests President - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view