A Sociological Exploration of Disappearances in Sri Lanka

The last four decades of political violence in Sri Lanka have witnessed the enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of Sri Lankans. While much of the relevant literature has contextualised disappearance as a counter-insurgency strategy in the context of armed confrontation, the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009 did not bring about an end to the phenomenon. The hypothesis of this study is that political competition was the motive behind disappearances, which served as an integral part of a system of state power and patronage to enable the political elite to immobilise all political opposition. As a central component of this political project, […]