Death or murder of Selliah (Chelliah) Subramaniam, a Tamil business-person, in July or August 1996; subsequent arrests [LKA34243.E]

Amnesty International reported that in late July 1996 two burned bodies were found in Galgamuwa, Nikaweratiya and that

although neither was officially identified, one was believed to be Selliah Subramaniam, a businessman, who had been rearrested by members of the Counter-Subversive Unit of the Vavuniya police when he went to collect his possessions on his release by the order of the Supreme Court. He had been detained for nearly four months without charge or trial (1997).

In August 1998, seven policemen believed to have been involved in Subramaniam's murder, were arrested (Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1996; AP 16 Aug. 1996). The police were members of the Counter-Subversion Unit and included "a sergeant, three constables, two junior officers and a driver" (ibid.). The police were also accused of murdering the other unidentified Tamil man whose body was reported to have been "found at the scene" on 9 July 1996 (ibid.). Subramanium had been arrested in Vavuniya in February "when police were probing an explosives haul," (ibid.).

No further information on the arrests of the seven police officers could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International.1997. Amnesty International Report 1997. New York: Amnesty International USA. [Accessed 28 Mar. 2000]

Associated Press (AP). 16 August 1996. Niresh Eliatamby. "Seven Policemen Arrested for Killing Suspected Tamil Rebels." (NEXIS)

Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. August 1996. "Words Not Deeds." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases



Resource Centre. Sri Lanka country file. February - November 1996.

_____. Sri Lanka: Amnesty International country file. February 1996 - April 2000.

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Association for the Prevention of Torture

Human Rights Watch

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Sri Lanka News Update, Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs


World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)