Tired and in shock, he leans on her shoulder as if it were his mother's. His reddened eyes keep on closing as he nods off
There's been a seismic shift. The publication of the UN report on Sri Lanka in September put on record indisputably and for posterity the terrible suffering endured by Tamils in the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war. That acknowledgement of the atrocities is hugely significant given just a few years ago the world disbelieved most of these accounts.
There's typically a sense that once people have fled their country they no longer deserve a full stake in its future. Perhaps the assumption is exiles have assimilated elsewhere, their children no longer speak the language or understand the nuances of the culture. Sometimes there's a degree of envy - members of a diaspora are considered financially better off abroad...
Mrs Jeyakumari and her daughter were well known activists who had been among the crowds which mobbed British prime minister David Cameron when he visited the former war zone in Jaffna in November last year. Three months later Mrs Jeyakumari sent me a video address in which she warned that she was being followed and harassed as a result of her campaign.
It was when the barrister casually mentioned the torture methods that I recognised her client's country of origin. Beaten with pipes filled with sand, hung upside down and forced to inhale chilli smoke. It's the standard menu of Sri Lankan security force torture for Tamils...
Five years after the civil war ended in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan security forces are still committing crimes against humanity
Why has the international community - especially former colonial power Britain, key stakeholder India, and major investor China - failed to create a framework of incentives for peace ?
The withdrawal of a key ally will further weaken the embattled Congress-led government in India which will now be forced to rely on smaller parties to maintain its parliamentary majority. Although we do not expect early elections to be called, the departure of the DMK will hamper prospects for any meaningful reform for the remainder of the current government's term. We expect limited progress on this front until the next general election, which is expected to be held in May 2014.
Publishing a book about a highly charged ethnic conflict in which tens of thousands have died is no path to a peaceful life. You only need to look at the racial abuse and filthy language in the comments sections of online sites frequented by Sri Lankans to see how intense the emotions still are.
In March in a small coastal village called Puttumattalan where a hundred thousand people had taken shelter, Murugan says he was ordered to bury 700 people who died trying to cross over the lagoon to the army side at night.