Dr. Rajani Thiranagama
Immediately following this introduction is a report prepared by Dr. Rajani Thiranagama on disappearances during the first quarter of 1988. It was circulated privately among interested groups.
Dr. Thiranagama was the Head of the Anatomy Department until her death on September 21st. Apart from singlehandedly managing the department, Dr.Thiranagama was also an active researcher in her field, striking out into new areas of thought. She also linked her scientific research to considerations of conceptual developments of the social sciences. It is this same comprehensiveness of approach that formed part of her concern for human rights.
The story behind the report says much about her concern for those defenceless persons from the lower strata of society. A young girl who had been giving first aid to war victims in refugee camps and whose own family was in a state of despair was referred to Rajani by an acquaintance. Rajani befriended her and counselled this girl who was contemplating suicide. This girl who was anxious to help the suffering and the needy found in Rajani an ally and a new source of strength. She brought many persons who had undergone much suffering and had relatives or sons and daughters missing to Dr. Thiranagama. Dr. Thiranagama did what she could under the circumstances. She compiled their tales. In some cases she got friends to take it up with the Indian authorities. The Town Commandant, Jaffna, who had pledged to help was appraised at least of two cases ‑ one being the case of Sangaralingam whose wife and three daughters disappeared after being detained by an identified army unit. Nothing came out of this. To meet people in compiling this report, she had to cycle many miles at a time when many people were scared of being associated with those having war related problems.
Following report are two UTHR (Jaffna) documents which throw more light on Dr. Thiranagamas work and life.
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