"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
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Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01

Tamil journalist, Nimalarajan, shot dead in Jaffna by Sri Lanka aligned group...

CONTENTS OF
THIS SECTION

Last updated
31/12/06

Four years, Many deaths: Good Bye Sri Lanka - Frances Harrison,  August 2004
World Association of Newspapers  letter  to   Sri Lanka President Kumaratunga, 25 October 2000
Open Letter to Sri Lanka President on First Death Anniversary of  Nimalarajan, 19 October 2001
20.10.00  Jaffna journalist killed for his reporting
21.10.00  Thousands mourn slain Jaffna journalist
25.10.00  Journalists protest colleague's slaying
27.10.00  Trinco hartal over massacre
27.10.00  Hartal to protest journalist's slaying
31.10.00  Trouble flares at Batticaloa protest
03.11.00  Demonstrators protest in Kaluwankerny
22.11.00  Jaffna University students stage protest march
25.01.01  "Right to life not guaranteed in constitution"
22.03.01  Blair urged over Jaffna journalists
19.10.01  Jaffna journalist's murder investigation said aban..
10.02.02  CID to expedite Nimalarajan, Kumar murder investigation..
26.03.02  CPJ criticizes tardy investigation of journalist's..
01.05.02  Tamil journalists still face danger - RSF
07.06.02  Jaffna court seeks EPDP's weapons list
04.07.02  Ex-EPDP cadre makes confession on journalist's murder..
02.08.02  EPDP man remanded in Nimalarajan murder
06.08.02  Police to search EPDP offices
07.08.02  Another EPDP member arrested in Nimalarajan murder
11.08.02  Murder weapon in Nimalarajan case seized
20.08.02  Nimalarajan murder suspects further remanded
11.09.02  Nimalarajan murder case suspects allowed bail
18.10.02  'Douglas Devananda not questioned over journalist’..
18.10.02  Nimalarajan remembered
11.11.02  SLA asked for EPDP weapons over journalist's murde..
17.11.02  RSF plans Nimalarajan memorial discussion
25.02.03  Weapons in Nimalarajan murder case sent to govt. a..
27.03.03  Court orders arrest of key suspect in Nimalarajan ..
26.04.03  CID told to produce Nimalarajan murder suspect
27.07.03  Two more suspects to be arrested in Nimalarajan mu..
29.09.03  Fasting campaign to demand inquiry into Nimalaraja..
13.10.03  Nimalarajan Memorial Lecture to be held at LSE
17.10.03  Jaffna journalists fast to mark colleague’s murder
20.10.03  Nimalarajan murder suspect remanded
20.01.04  Court asks SL Police for progress report on Nimala..
26.03.04  Warrant issued for arrest of Nimalarajan murder ac..
30.03.04  Nimalarajan murder suspect arrested
31.03.04  Nimalarajan murder suspect accused in sexual assau..
17.05.04  Suspect in Nimalarajan murder allowed reduced bail
19.08.04  SC allows petition of Nimalarajan murder suspects
20.08.04  Nimalarajan murder case struck off from roll call
18.10.05  Nimalarajan's fifth anniversary commemorated

Nimalarajan's fifth anniversary commemorated - 18 October 2005 - TamilNet Report

"Fifth death anniversary of Mr.Mylvaganam Nimalarajan a BBC reporter in Jaffna who was shot dead by suspected members of a Tamil para-military group on October 19, 2000 was commemorated in an event held at the Offices of the International Students Union located in Nallur Jaffna. Journalist Thavachelvan presided the event.
Nimalarajan's sister Ms Kathirvel Jegatheswary lit the memorial flame. His uncle Kanapathipillai Loganathan paid floral tribute to Nimalarajan's photo.

Memorial lectures were given by President of Jaffna Students Consortium K Gunenthiran, Secretary of Jaffna Journalists Union, P thayaparan, Editor of Jaffna daily Valampuri, Mr Sivasundaram and President of Jaffna Technical College Student Union, N Suganthan.

Mr. Nimalarajan was gunned down on October 19, 2000, at his home located in the Sri Lanka Army‚s High Security Zone in Jaffna.

Though five years have passed by since his murder, the assassins are yet to be captured. The murder case is stuck in the courts in Sri Lanka without any progress as there appears to be no firm will on the part of the Sri Lankan government and its security establishment to apprehend and prosecute the alleged assassins from the EPDP, human rights activists say.

Fifth death anniversary of Mr.Mylvaganam Nimalarajan a BBC reporter in Jaffna who was shot dead by suspected members of a Tamil para-military group on October 19, 2000 was commemorated in an event held at the Offices of the International Students Union located in Nallur Jaffna. Journalist Thavachelvan presided the event.
Nimalarajan's sister Ms Kathirvel Jegatheswary lit the memorial flame. His uncle Kanapathipillai Loganathan paid floral tribute to Nimalarajan's photo.

Memorial lectures were given by President of Jaffna Students Consortium K Gunenthiran, Secretary of Jaffna Journalists Union, P thayaparan, Editor of Jaffna daily Valampuri, Mr Sivasundaram and President of Jaffna Technical College Student Union, N Suganthan.

Mr. Nimalarajan was gunned down on October 19, 2000, at his home located in the Sri Lanka Army‚s High Security Zone in Jaffna.

Though five years have passed by since his murder, the assassins are yet to be captured. The murder case is stuck in the courts in Sri Lanka without any progress as there appears to be no firm will on the part of the Sri Lankan government and its security establishment to apprehend and prosecute the alleged assassins from the EPDP, human rights activists say. "

 

"On 19th October 2000,  Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, aged 38, well-known journalist and father of three, was shot dead in his own home, through the window of his room, as he wrote a news report. He was the Jaffna correspondent for the Tamil daily Virakesari, the independent Tamil radio station, Sooriyan FM, the popular Sinhala political weekly, Ravaya, the Tamil and Sinhala services of the BBC. He was also the secretary of the Northern Journalists' Association.

His father, Sangarapillai Mylvaganam, aged 65, his mother, Lilly Mylvaganam, 62, and his nephew Jegata Prasanna, 11, were also attacked when a grenade was thrown into the home. They remain in a critical condition in Jaffna hospital. Mr Nirmalrajan's wife and daughters had a narrow escape as they were in another part of the property at the time.

Days before his killing Mr Nimalarajan had confided with colleagues that he had received death-threats. He had reported on the serious problems of the Tamil people displaced by the war, and the destruction of family life. He had also bravely reported on the vote rigging, intimidation and violence in the recent elections, carried out by a militant group active on the peninsula. The armed group, which has joined the political mainstream and contested parliamentary elections, helps the Sri Lankan governments security forces in the peninsula. The human rights violations of the Sri Lankan security forces and the paramilitary groups' working with them is well known. Mr Nimalarajan had written reports critical of the group.

This group had reportedly been displeased with the sums of votes their political group, the EPDP had received. Nimalarajan was made aware that they had been angered by his honest reporting. The same organisation was suspected of carrying out a bomb attack on a Jaffna daily newspaper, Uthayan, in August 1999, which had also been critical of the EPDP. The EPDP is strongly amid widely suspected to have been behind the assassination of Mr Nimalarajan.

Shock waves spread through the world as Tamil organisations and media, and groups defending the rights of journalists based in Sri Lanka, New York and Vienna condemned the brutal assassination, expressing their outrage. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists stated that Nimalarajan was one of the few sources of independent news from the Jaffna Peninsula where journalists are not allowed free access. International media including AFP and BBC were quick to give voice to the distress of reporting rights groups.

The Sri Lankan government operates a strict media blockade in Sri Lanka, preventing local and foreign journalists from reporting freely from the Tamil areas. This censorship has been condemned frequently by numerous international human rights organisations and over many years. The denial and repression of news is an ongoing blatant attempt to hide the truth and avoid the scrutiny and sustained outrage of the international community. Mr Nimalarajan used his skills fearlessly to get the real version of the local news to a vast number of international media contacts. His selflessness and commitment to his profession as an independent journalist cost him his life...." (Urgent Action Press Release, CENTRE TAMOUL POUR LES DROITS DE L'HOMME CTDH - TCHR, Tamil Centre for Human Rights TCHR, 23 October 2000 )


World Association of Newspapers  letter  to   Sri Lanka President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, on the murder of journalist Mailvaganam Nimalaranjan: -

25 October 2000

Fax: +941 33 37 07

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum, which represent more than 17,000 publications in 93 countries, to express our outrage at the murder of journalist Mailvaganam Nimalaranjan. According to reports, on 19 October Mr Nimalaranjan, who worked for several local newspapers, radio and TV stations and was also a regular contributor to the BBC's Sinhala and Tamil services, died after being shot by unidentified attackers. Mr Nimalaranjan was working in the study of his home in Jaffna when gunmen shot him through a window. The assailants then threw a grenade into the living room, injuring both his parents and his 11-year-old nephew.

We are seriously concerned that Mr Nimalaranjan might have been murdered because of his reporting. He had written articles on alleged vote rigging in the 10 October parliamentary elections and the problems facing people displaced by the war between government troops and Tamil separatists. He had also been critical of a former Tamil militant group which now fights alongside government troops against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Mr Nimalaranjan also recently reported being threatened by a leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party following an article he had written to the Tamil journal Athavan.

We respectfully urge you to ensure that a thorough investigation into Mr Nimalaranjan's murder is carried out and that those responsible are swiftly brought to justice. We urge you to do everything in your power to create an environment in which journalists are able to carry out their profession free from violence.We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Parkinson

President, World Association of Newspapers, Ruth de Aquino, President, World Editors Forum 

cc: Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations
Mrs Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO

 

Open Letter to Sri Lanka President on First Death Anniversary of Journalist Nimalarajan, 19 October 2001

In an open letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, drafted by the Free Media Movement, the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Sans FrontiŤres (RSF), more than 200 journalists, media workers, media organisations, trade unions, international and local NGOs, academics, protest at the lack of progress in the inquiry of the brutal murder of Jaffna journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan.


Your Excellency,

Exactly one year ago, journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan was brutally murdered in his Jaffna home. Nimalarajan was a regular contributor to the BBC's Tamil and Sinhala services as well as to various Sri Lankan media outlets. He was one of the rare independent journalists to inform both the international and local media on war and political developments in the peninsula.

Following Nimalarajan's murder, you personally ordered the Police Department to open an inquiry into the killing. Today, however, twelve months after the incident, no one has been arrested and, as the Magistrate has pointed out, the police has shown much reluctance to genuinely investigate and identify the murderers.

We respectfully urge you to do all in your power to put an end to this culture of impunity and to ensure that the Sri Lankan police and judiciary take appropriate action to apprehend our colleague's murderers. In killing this brave journalist, they have deprived millions of people from their legitimate right to know.
Yours Sincerely,

JOURNALISTS/ EDITORS:
ABC: R. Uthayakumar; Agence France Presse: Amal Jayasinghe; Associated Press: Gemunu Amarasinghe; Dilshika Jayamaha ; Athavan : Sivangnanam Arumugam, editor; Balaya: Vasana Navaratna; Samarakon Pathiraja; Tushal Vithanage; BBC Correspondents: Elmo Fernando; Frances Harrison; BBC Sandesaya: Priyath Liyanage, Editor; Wimalasena Hewage; MJR David; Saroj Pathirana; Upali Gajanayaka; Indra Ramanayaka; BBC Thamilosai: Anandhi Suryaprakasan; Ramesh Gopalakrishnan; Ethirajan Anbarasan; BBC World Service: Sampath Kumar, South India Reporter; Daily Mirror: Kasun Karunaratne; Damika Fernando; Krishan Francis; M.A. Fernando; Purna Rodriguo; Thushita Fernando; Ranga Srilal; Gamini Akmimana; Senake De Silva; Johan Perera; Percy Pyasena; Arjan Peiris; Hemantha Fonseka; Sunil Jayaseri; Navin Jayawardana; Asanga Gamanpilla; Pradeep Pathirana; Aswin Hemathagama; Ravindra Deepta; Dolani Mawalage; Deepam TV, UK: G.S.Kumar; Dinamina: Sanath Balsuriya; Divaina: D. Rathugamage; Haraya: Sujeena Senarath; Ranath Kumarasinghe; IBC: S. Shivaranjith, Director, UK; Kanasaravi; India Abroad News Service: Christine Jayasinghe; Indian Express: T.N.Gopalan, Chief of Newsbureau, New Delhi; Inter Press Service: Renuka Senanayake; Island : Gamini Weerakoon, editor ; Shamindra Fernando ; Sumadhu Weerawarne ; Namini Wijedasa ; Roy Silva ; Anjolie Munidasa ; Suresh Perera ; Prasad Gunewardena ; Dilanthi Jayamanne ; R. Palipane; D.M.L. Andree ; Wilford Lafz ; Cecil Wickramanayake ; Praneetha Amarasekara ; M.S.M. Mansoor ; Clifford Hieller ; R.L. Fernando ; Lakbima: Ajith Dharmadasa; A. Dissanayake; Nirma Dewagiri; Mahinda Dalugoda Arachchi; Keerthi Wijeyasinghe; Ranjith Nimalsiri; Vincent Fernando, Niluka Kadurugamuwa; Amal Samantha; Indika Aravinda; Geeth Gunasekera; Rukmal Gamage; Shanthi Dharampriya Mendis; Mihiri Ratnasena; Lasantha Wirekulasuriya; Udaya Ekanayake; Sunethra Athugalpura; Piyananda Maldeniya; Lakruwan Wanniarachchi;
Lakbima (Sunday): Tissa Premasiri; Saman Priyanthe Gamage; Palitha Amarasuriya; S.S.M. Ayub; Mahinda Ileperuma; Lankadeepa: Siri Ranasinghe, editor; Tushara Gunaranatne; Gunasinghe Herath; Ariyananda Dombagahawatte; Prasana Sanjeeva Shanthakon; Premakirthi Ranatunge; Shantha Kumara Vithana; Chandrasena Kirivattuduwa; Sandun Gamage; Upul Joseph Fernando; Ranjith Anande Jayasinghe; Chintakhe Karunaratne; Indrani Peiris; Dayasili Lyanage; Kumarasiri Hetige; Asoka Jayatunga; Ratnapalle Gamage; Mahinda Hattake; Press Trust of India: K. Venjataramanan; Puthiya Sanadhermam: V.S. Maniam; Ravaya: K.W. Janaratna; Victor Ivan, editor; Jayasiri Jayasekara; Timbiriyagama Bandara; Upali Kolambage; Susil Jayasekera; Newton Senevaratne; Saman D. Lianage; Lasantha Ruhunage; Manjula Vedivardana; Budhika Weerasinghe; Wimalanath Veeraratne; Gangalalani Warussavithana; Tiran Bahangama Arachchi; Chaminda Nagodavithana; R.B. Dissanayake; Ajith Senevaratna; RSF: Vanessa Gosselin; Sarinihar: B. Sivakumar; S.K. Vicknesaran; M. Raveendran; S. Revathy; S. Priya; "Shakthi Program," 3CR Radio, Ajith Rajapaksa, Australia; Silumina: Mendeka Abeysekera; Podhele Jayantha; Sooriyan FM: M. Subramaniam; Sunday Leader: Lakbima Wickramatunge, editor; Wilson Gnanadas, news editor; J.S. Tissainayagam; Sunday Times: Anthony David; Shelani de Silva; Faraza Farook; Nilika de Silva; Taniya Fernando; Chris Kamalandran; Dunstan Wickramaratne; Iresha Waduge; L. Gunatillake; Renuka Sadanandna; Chandani Kirinde; Hearanthi Fernando; Ameen Izadeen; Ishika Amarasinghe; Sanjeevani; Lalin Fernandopulle; Ashly Wijeyesinghe; A.V. Emmanuel; Tamil Guardian, UK: S. Nadarajah, Editor; Tamilnet: D. Sivaram; Thinakkathir: P. Ariyarathnam; K. Jegatheeswaran; P. Venukopal; K. Rushangan; K. Rathiran; P. Venukopal; S. Baheerathy; P. Vijendran; L. Thavathiran; M. Rajasingham; R. Uthayakumar; S. Gunaratnam; Thinakkural: A. Sivanesachelvan, editor; R. Surenthiran; P. Sivaganeshan; M. Thevagowry; R. Bharati; A. Thevarajah; M.A.M. Nilam; M.A.C. Mohamed; A.F. Farhana; S. Senthan; K. Ganeshraj; Meera Ganeshamoorthy; V. Rasiah; V. Thanabalasingham; A. Yogamoorthy; P. Mahendravaja; M. Ruban; S. Ravivarma; K.R.P. Haran; B. Parththipan; Uthayan: E.Saravanapavan; Virakesari: S. Perinparajam; P. Manicavasagam; V. Coonghe; R. Nadarajan; T. Nadarajah; P. Rajendran; K. Velautham; S. Ramesh; Fouziya Sivaraja; S. Thurarajah; S. Perinparajah; T. Vethanayagam; K. Ravindran; M. Pirabatharan; S. Srikajan; R. Priyadharshini; S.E.M. Chitraanjan; N. Joy Jeyakumar; K. Vijayan; R. Premini; S. Vanneyakulam; R. Rajalingam; V. Thevaraj; S. Surenthiran; B. Rathika; Mrs Ifhan; G.T. Kethanarathan; G. Nadesan; Virakesari Varamangheri: T. Vivekarasa; Voice of America: Vikram Singh; Other: C.J. Amaratunga; Sita Ranjini; Sunanda Deshapriya; Waruna Karunatilleke; Bandula Padamakumara; Lionel Guruge; Chula Vancha Sirilal; Kusal Perera; S. Uthayakumar; Athula Bandara; D.K.R. Chandralal; Chamath Desaman Ariyadasa; Dayan Candappa; Mark Thomas, Comedian & Broadcaster, UK;

MEDIA GROUPS:
Robert Menard, General Secretary, Reporters sans frontiŤres; Sunanda Deshapriya, Convenor, Free Media Movement ; P. Manicavasagam, President, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance; Mr Shantharajah, Secretary, Eastern Journalists’ Association; Marilyn Greene, Executive Director, World Press Freedom Committee; Anne-Marie Stott, Policy Advisor, World Association of Newspapers; Jacqueline Park, Director, Asia Pacific Project Office, International Federation of Journalists; Christopher Warren, President, International Federation of Journalists; Sujeeva Senarath, Convenor, Nimalarajan Media Solidarity; Chandana Bandara, Nimalarajan Foundation

WITH THE SUPPORT OF:
Kate Gilmore, Secretary General, Amnesty International; Sunila Abeysekera, Women and Media Collective; Darshana Kaningala, Movement for the Defence of Democratic Rights; Dr P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives; Kalyananda Tiranagama, Executive Director, Lawyers for Human Rights and Developments; Priyantha Wickremasinghe, Joint Secretary, Ceylon Electricity Board Joint Trade Union; N.Kandasamy, Secretary, Centre for Human Rights and Development; INFORM; Institute for Human Rights; Jehan Perera, Media Director, National Peace Council; Prasanna Vithanage, Film director; Suriya Wickremesinghe; Miriam A.Young, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Centre for Justice and Peace; Steve Alston, UK; Lionel Bopage, writer & HR activist, Australia; Professor Kumar David, Hong Kong Polythechnic; Upali Dharmadasa, USA; Dr Willie Senanayake, Member of Presidium, Friends for Peace in Sri Lanka, Australia; Professor H.L. Seneviratne, University of Virginia, USA; Gerard Gamage, Government United Federation of Labour; Priyantha Wickramasinghe, CEB, Trade Union Joint Front; N. Janagan, North and South Country Estate Workers Congress; Linus Jayathilaka, United Federation of Labour; Neil Wijethilaka, Corporation, Cooperative and Mercantile Workers Union; D.B. Samarasinghe, Provincial Government Clerical Workers Union; P. Amaradivakara, July Strikers’ Joint Organisation; Jayantha Jayalath, All Ceylon Municipal Council Union Services; Liyanage Quintas, Government Printers Union; W.A.D. Wimalaratne, Sri Lankan Republic Health Workers Union; Regi Fonseka, Sri Lanka Railway Workers Service Union; R.A.M. Anandappa, Colombo Porters Workers Union; K. Herath, Miner Workers Overseers Union, Upali Dharmaratne, Kollonnawa Government Factory Workers Union; R.P. Gunesena, Miner Workers United Telephone Operators Union; Dias Wickramasinghe, Railway Workers Trade Union Joint Front; R.J.M. Anadappa, Commercial and Industrial Workers’ Union; Saranapala Silva, United Fisheries ad Fisheries Workers Union.


285 Signatures


Four years, Many deaths: Good Bye Sri Lanka - Frances Harrison
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=12579

As I leave Sri Lanka I have on my mind a journalist called Nimalarajan Mylvaganam. He worked for the BBC in the northern city of Jaffna. Four days before my interview for this job he was shot dead.

Two armed men burst into Nimalarajan's house as he was listening to the news on the BBC Tamil service at night. One man shot Nimalarajan five times in the head and chest. The other knifed his elderly father; the medical report said he had thirty three centimetres of cuts on his face and neck.

Nimalarajan's mother came out of the bathroom to see her husband and son bleeding on the floor. At that point, the attackers tossed a hand grenade into the sitting room. The mother and nephew were badly injured. The gunmen departed, firing in the air as they went.

All this, a short distance from a military checkpoint and during curfew hours. The only relief was that Nimalarajan's three children, all under the age of five, were asleep in the bedroom and unharmed.

I remember the family trying to explain to me - new to Sri Lanka - how difficult it was to move around at night in Jaffna during those days of war.  They said it took them an hour to get from their home to the hospital with the injured and dead on a primitive cart they pushed. A man had to walk in front waving a lantern to alert the soldiers that they were coming in peace and not attacking them.

Later we asked the Sri Lankan army if they knew who had been on duty that night at the checkpoint but they said they'd lost the records.

Nimalarajan's family were asked if they suspected anyone of being behind the attack. It was slightly Kafkaesque to see these people forced to lie and say no when some papers in Colombo were openly accusing people. I cannot say how much the family knew about the identity of the killers because that might put them in danger - even though they're now living abroad.

For the first year and a half in Sri Lanka the Nimalarajan family became a part of my life. I remember the time they panicked when the police came to their house on a routine check.

They went through the torture of applying for asylum in Switzerland and being rejected. They waited for months for a phone call from an embassy or an essential document to arrive from abroad; living in limbo and numbed by the shock of what had happened to them.

When my Sinhala colleague organised an event to mark the first anniversary of Nimalarajan's death, he received a threatening telephone call. Redialling the number another man said it was the local army camp. Later we identified the number. It was actually a fellow Sinhala journalist. So much for basic decency let alone professional solidarity.

To leave the country it's necessary to have a police clearance certificate. Although they knew full well who this family was - or perhaps because they knew - the Jaffna police dragged their feet on issuing this certificate. Finally we had to pull strings at the highest level of government to get the work done. It was the sheer meanness of that final gesture that lingers in my mind.

Almost four years later Reporters Without Borders who championed this case commented that it was now apparent the police were unable or unwilling to conduct an investigation and gather physical evidence.

Impunity is a word that's often used in Sri Lanka but it's still astonishing that despite the peace process, the change of government and the international attention given to this case - justice has not been done.

The killings have started again. Another Tamil journalist was shot dead in the east at the end of May. Several others are in hiding in Colombo after receiving death threats.

The BBC's reporters in the eastern town of Batticaloa no longer report in voice as it's considered too dangerous. Another BBC reporter in the north received a death threat last year. As I prepare to say goodbye to Sri Lanka I think of how Nimalarajan's family left this country. No big send off, no farewell gatherings, no interviews - they went quietly - their departure unnoticed by anyone.

The children were excited about starting a new adventure abroad but Nimalarajan's parents were in tears at the thought of leaving their country. They knew it was the right thing to do, but they felt they'd been made unwelcome in their own home.

continued 

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