Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sri Lankan Government ideological war against the Tamils

The most casual observer of the Sri Lankan state’s conduct can see that the situation today is the continuation of war by other means.

By war, I am referring to the systematic and ideologically coherent practices of the state against the Tamils and other non-Sinhalese. What we see today is the intensification of structural violence against the Tamil people that began from independence.

By violence I do not mean just disappearances, abductions, murders, rapes and torture, although these are continuing, as we know. I mean more the structural practices of the state, aimed at limiting and suppressing the thriving of non-Sinhala people. We are familiar with some of these: colonization, erasing of Tamil usage in state practices, and the efforts to limit and destroy the socio-economic possibilities for Tamils.

None of this is new. It is part of efforts of the Sri Lankan state, since independence, to break down all resistance to the Sinhala national project. What is this project? To turn Sri Lanka into a modern day realization of an ancient myth that the island belongs to the Sinhalese and in which the minorities have a subordinate existence. As such, anyone who stands in the way of Sinhala majoritarianism – including principled Sinhalese who are not supportive of that project – are destroyed.
The recent parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka have once again brought to power the southern party that most aggressively espouses a Sinhala majoritarian view. It is a case of history repeating itself. It is a carbon copy of the 1956 elections. Then, as now, as the Tamils sought a political arrangement between Tamils and Sinhalese, the Sinhalese voted into power a party that vehemently rejected any compromise with the Tamils.

While constitutional changes are almost certainly in the near future, as the President’s party almost has the required two thirds majority, only the blindest of optimists see these changes as possibly positive towards addressing even basic Tamil grievances. Those who suggest this do so with no regards to either the historic evolution of the Sri Lankan state or the contemporary realities of Sinhala power today.

Let us be clear, change in Sri Lanka cannot come from within.

The last elections prove how overwhelmingly the structural bases of power serve Sinhala nationalism. The JVP for example lost several seats purely because its core platforms of Sinhala nationalism and anti-market economics were more convincingly taken up by the UPFA and President Rajapaksa.

In a contest between the UNP and the SLFP – both of which are essentially Sinhalese entities despite the token Tamils – the party that more aggressively pursued the Sinhala national project has won convincingly.

What we see now is another phase in the further entrenching of the Sinhala people’s dominance over the non-Sinhala.

It is not merely a question of human rights abuses, or lack of media freedom, or lack of governance. Rather, it is a specific kind of governance. This is why the Sinhala people – as in 1956 – are with Rajapaksa and his party.

To repeat, the core driver of Sri Lankan politics continues to be this Sinhala majoritatian nationalism.

This mass ideology predates independence and has now been entrenched in the mechanisms of the state. It is now carried forward in the state bureaucracy, the composition, practices and strategies of the military, the directing of international aid and state investment to some places and not others, and so on.

This Sinhala majoritarianism remains the central obstacle to the constitutional recognition of the Tamils, and other Tamil speaking peoples, as having a rightful place, equal to the Sinhalese, on the island.

And until it is confronted and checked, a truly democratic and peaceful Sri Lanka, one which treats all communities as equal, will remain an impossible dream.

It is worth noting that the ascendancy of this Sinhala majoritarianism has taken place while the country has been in the close embrace of the international community. After several decades of ‘engagement’ by the liberal West there still isn’t a hairsbreadth of liberal space in Sri Lanka. Indeed, it can be argued that Sri Lanka has headed successfully in the opposite direction.

Thus the war continues in Sri Lanka through politics. And as long as the war continues, there will be resistance. Some of us focus on media freedom, others are more driven by human rights concerns, or the humanitarian or developmental needs of the oppressed. But unless all of us recognize that the problems we are opposing stem from a strategic logic embedded in the state, we cannot succeed in our objectives.

We do not believe the course of Sinhala majoritarianism will change from within. Every effort by the Tamils to negotiate or reason with this majoritarianism has resulted in further violence. Look at the history of constitutional change since independence, for example.

Sri Lanka today is in a state of flux. As the Sinhala-dominated and supported state continues to wage war on the Tamil speaking communities, various forms of resistance will emerge, not only from within, but also from without. Today, the Tamils problem is being assessed and reflected upon in far more spaces across the world than ever before in our history.

As long as the oppression of Tamils continues, so too must the struggle for Tamil rights.

UN failed to protect Tamil civilians - Lord Patten

Patten's comment on the candidates during Sri Lanka's Presidential elections reflects his views of Sri Lanka as a state with alleged complicity in war-crimes, and that International Community has to exercise strong economic pressure to constrain Colombo's behavior within international norms.

In a New York Times article in January 2010 Patten said that public in Sri Lanka is "faced with a choice between two candidates who openly accuse each other of war crimes," and adds, "[w]hoever wins, the outside world should use all its tools to convince the government to deal properly with those underlying issues to avoid a resurgence of mass violence....In short, this means not giving Colombo any money for reconstruction and development until we know how it will be spent. And if we see funds not being used as promised, it means not being afraid to cut them off untilwe know how it will be spent."

It is widely understood that the failure of a state to protect its own citizens is the threshold condition that triggers the R2P responsibility on the international community.

"The State has a primary responsibility to protect the individuals within it. Where the state fails in that responsibility, through either incapacity or ill-will, a secondary responsibility to protect falls on the wider international community. That, in a nutshell, is the core of the responsibility to protect (R2P) idea" and that "Sri Lanka is anything but an R2P," Gareth Evans, President, International Crisis Group, said during the eighth Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture at International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in August 2007, well before the large scale massacre carried out by Colombo in May 2009.

Lord Patten's statement implicitly acknowledges that scale of the killings of Tamil civilians crossed the threshold levels to call for R2P intervention, and thereby, has added further fuel to the calls by several rights organizations for independent war-crimes investigations in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s military massacred as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final onslaught against the Liberation Tigers in 2009, according to a former United Nations official with detailed knowledge of events.

Sri Lankan Army bulldozed all the cemeteries.

It was heartening to hear President Mahinda Rajapakse identifying reconciliation and development as the priorities of his new government. However, it is crucial that both processes should unfold with the active involvement of Sri Lanka's citizenry, rather than being imposed from above by an omnipotent state. We seem to already have plenty of intimations of the latter.

On 19 March 2010, Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror carried a brief article on its front page startlingly headlined, "Government to wipe out LTTE [Tamil Tiger] landmarks". The rationale for this, according to the secretary to the ministry of tourism, George Michael, was that the "LTTE and the violence which affected the public during the war should be forgotten". Fortified with such logic, the government has bulldozed all the LTTE cemeteries in the Wanni and is now proceeding to demolish the homes of Velupillai Prabhakaran and other LTTE leaders. A few weeks back, the Thileepan memorial near the Nallur temple was defaced with the collusion of the Sri Lankan army. While the homes of LTTE leaders will be replaced with hotels and resorts, according to the ministry, we have also witnessed the erection of several state-sponsored "victory monuments" to commemorate the defeat of the LTTE in the north.

I am dismayed by the government's myopic and misguided understanding of memory, and its brutal disregard for the feelings and emotions of a people who have undergone unimaginable and innumerable horrors for the past three decades. The primary response to the war we endured should not be bulldozings and demolitions and exhortations to forget, but rather to ensure that we never again descend into that hellish abyss. To do this, we need to reflect on the circumstances that led to this war and make sure we do not repeat the mistakes made in previous decades.

In this regard, the UPFA government's efforts to develop the neglected northern and eastern provinces and limited use of the Tamil language by government officials are steps in the right direction – but much more work needs to be done to offer parity of status to the minorities in this country.

Bulldozing cemeteries and demolishing homes in the name of development and the promotion of tourism will only further alienate the Tamil citizenry and stall any attempts at reconciliation. Such memorials, in particular, play a crucial role in all societies. They function as repositories of memory, suffering and grief, and often help to translate the unthinkable to the thinkable. While the LTTE undoubtedly appropriated these cemeteries and the rituals of mourning associated with the dead to promote and disseminate a violent form of Tamil nationalism, we must also remember that those buried there have fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters. Bulldozing and obliterating these cemeteries not only deprives the kin of the dead a place to commune with their lost loved ones, but also displays a callous disregard for both the dead and the living. It is also a telling indictment of us as a nation that we do not have any memorials to the civilians who have died in this war, as well as in all the anti-Tamil and anti-Muslim riots that have taken place in this country.

On 21 February 2010, a group of academics at the University of Jaffna sent a letter to the director general of the department of archaeology appealing for his intercession in thwarting the further destruction of the heritage of Jaffna. They also alerted him to a variety of historic buildings, including temples, schools and presses, in Jaffna earmarked for demolition under the road development authority's current programme of road expansion in the north.

This letter is reflective of broader debates carried out in Jaffna – in Tamil newspapers such as the Uthayan, Thinakkural and Valampuri – concerning the need to secure the cultural heritage of Jaffna in the face of the postwar development of the north. Personal appeals have also been made by the vice-chancellor at the University of Jaffna and a delegation from the All Ceylon Hindu Congress. Sadly, all appeals seem to have fallen on deaf ears: no reply has yet come from the director general, nor any invitation for further consultations with the governor or project funders.

The new government's first step towards reconciliation should be the inclusion of Tamil and Muslim citizenry of the north in the formulation of a consensual and viable development plan for this war-torn region. And that plan must secure the integrity of its cultural and emotional heart.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jaffna Tamils Decry Development Plan of Sri Lankan Gov't

Two cyclists from the minority Tamil community are shooed away by government soldiers as they approach this northern Sri Lankan city’s only Buddhist temple while President Mahinda Rajapaksa is paying a visit.

But when a family from the majority Sinhalese family ambles toward the guards, they are treated more amiably.

These twin incidents during Rajapaksa’s rare visit to Jaffna on Apr. 1 illustrate the contrasting ways in which soldiers from an army made up largely of Sinhalese treat the majority and minority ethnic groups.

Nearly a year after the war ended, burnt out, shell-shocked buildings can be seen lying side by side with spanking new ones for banks or financial services as Colombo firms rush to grab a share of the new business opportunities in Jaffna.

But youngsters and city elders clamor for a different kind of development. "We need to be able to own rather than be bystanders (to development)," said a city businessman, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

Nirmala (not her real name), a high school student, said banks and financial services are not helpful to the Jaffna Tamils.

"A lot of banks setting up branches here are employing people from Colombo. We don’t have jobs. On the other hand, the banks take our deposits, but getting a loan is difficult because the banks want collateral, which we don’t have because our properties have been destroyed or have been taken over by the army for military purposes," she said.

Nirmala was one of a group of 30 16- to 17-year-old high school students who met with IPS recently to discuss their future in an environment where livelihood and employment opportunities are scant. They were unanimous in saying that the people of Jaffna are not part of the development that the government is carving out for the north.

Most of them want to go abroad for studies and live there permanently. "There is no future here. We will always be second-class citizens,"

Perceptions of widespread insensitivity of the Colombo establishment to the city residents became more pronounced when a group of businessmen and bankers flew into the city in late March to lay the foundation stone for a new 80-room hotel being built by a Colombo bank.

Few Tamils from Jaffna were invited to the event and all the speeches were delivered in English even if the majority of the 700,000 people speak only Tamil. Furthermore, local residents questioned the location of the hotel as it is close to a sacred Hindu temple, visited by millions of Tamils every year.

"How can you sell alcohol or meat in a sacred location?" asked Arudpragasam Sivathamby, a taxi driver. Outside the same temple premises, dozens of Sinhala traders are doing business, in some cases displacing the Tamil merchants, causing resentment among the minority ethnic group.

"This is causing a huge problem," said Tamil parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran.

Development is only seen in the form of banks, finance companies and consumer firms opening up in Jaffna while job-creating industries or factories are still inexistent.

Tamils are hoping for a greater role in power sharing. However, Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan, a political scientist from the University of Colombo, said that is not a priority for the government at the moment. "The government won a commanding majority at the recent parliamentary polls, and trying to appease the Tamils is not the biggest priority at the moment," he declared.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unspoken Genocide in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has presented model genocide, a model which has successfully massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians without any witness. A war without witness is what Sri Lanka has presented before the world as a model. This model has now given strength to the rest of the oppressing governments of the world and shown ways of how to oppress in a more brutal way without having to worry about international or national criticisms.

Genocide does not only mean killing. And the Sri Lankan Government did not only take the lives away. The Genocide against the Tamils in Sri Lanka did not start very recently. It has been systematically implemented in various forms from time to time. It is that systematic implementation which reached its peak in 2009.

When dealing with war crimes, the international community is focusing only on a few of the issues, especially at the end of Eelam War 4, at Mullivaaykkaal in May 2009.

But, there have been an ongoing record of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, for a long time in the island of Sri Lanka, and the pattern of this long record has to be analysed by anyone investigating the War Crimes.

My view is that the War Crimes, carried out by the Sri Lankan military with direct and indirect help from various actors of the international community, are part of a systematic programme and should also be investigated for the context of the patterns rather than singled-out events.

It is also equally important to understand that a systematic and prolonged genocide doesn't take place without a deep mythology behind it.

Like the hatred against the Jews in Europe throughout many years had resulted in the Holocaust, which led to the Genocide Convention, we also see clear evidences of a racial mythology originating from the Buddhist chronicle of Mahavamsa in the island of Sri Lanka.

The dangerous dimensions of the racism caused by the Mahavamsa mindset, which attacks the Tamil people who cherish secular values, should be objectively analysed by the investigators.

A structural analysis should be an important part of the investigations, if the investigation should become meaningful for all the victims of the past and the future.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sri Lankan government sold prostitutes from China and Russia to pass budget

During the past years the government auctioned prostitutes from China and Russia in Parliament to get the budget proposals passed, then the Parliament was similar to a ‘New Year sale joint’ and he would not be embarrassed to reveal it now said Minister Dulles Alahapperuma.

Speaking at a press conference held today (1st) Minister Alahapperuma said, “As Parliamentarians we are not embarrassed to reveal these things. During months of November in past several years the Parliament was like a ‘sale place.’ Like New Year sale or Christmas sale we had ‘Diyawanna sale.’ Everything was on sale there. Dollars were traded. Agents from embassies went to and from. Everything happened there.

Prostitutes from China and Russia too have been sold at ‘Diyawanna sale’ during 2008 budget. That is how we had to protect our power,” said Minister Dulles Alahapperuma.

Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam

TGTE announced Independent Election Commission and Election Process for UK.

TGTE Country Working Group, UK has reached important mile stone by announcing the appointment of Independent Election Commission and Election Process for UK in the formation of Provisional Transnational Government of Tamileelam.

The announcement was made in the Open-Day Launch event which took place in Concorde Club, Crane Lodge Road, Cranfield.

The event commenced with traditional oil lamp lit and followed by a minute of silence observed in remembrance of those who laid down lives to the emancipation of Tamileelam.
It was well attended by representatives of BTF, BETFPE, G.E. Society, BTCA, Harrow Councillor, Siva Yogam, White Pigeon, SAGT, TNC, TIC, T4T, TNPF, ACT Now, MTA and Hendon Tamil School including people who have long standing in communities and invited common public. All attendees welcomed the announcement and appreciated the importance of reaching the mile stone.

Abarna Sanjeev of TGTE Country Working Group, UK, introduced Election Commission members:

1.Mr. N. Vijayasingam – Former Adviser to the European Union, New Delhi, former adviser to Ceylon Workers Congress, Srilanka and former governing councillor, University of Jaffna.
2.Mr. Claude Moraes – Member of European parliament was re-elected to the European Parliament for London in 2009, where he also led the London Labour list. He is Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, and is Socialist and Democrats Group Spokesperson for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
3.Mr. Ivan Pethurupillai – Retired Senior Executive with Royal Dutch Shell Oil Group in London.
4.Mr. Keith Sonnett – Deputy General Secretary Unison. Extensive experience in election arrangements and verification of process both home and abroad.
5.Mr. S. Sriskandarajah – Solicitor and Human Activist.
6.Ms. Anne Hock – MD for Popularis, A specialist company in the management of Ballots and Elections.
7.Mr. Balasuntharam – Retired AGA, Srilanka
8.Mr. Mike Griffits – Former Chair Labour Party and National Political Officer Amicus/Unite.
9.Mr. Chinniah Pathy – Engineer presiding officer for Bexley Council at a number of local and parliamentary elections.
Dr. Vasanthakumar of TGTE Country Working Group, UK, introduced Mr. Vijayasingam and ceremonially appointed Mr. Vijayasingam as the independent Election Commissioner.

Election Co-ordinators, Mr Suren and Mr. Guna, presented the Election Process with an aid of Power Point presentation. A question and answer session followed in which Dr. Vasanthakumar, Election Co-ordinators and Election Commission members responded to the questions.

Election Commissioner, Mr. Vijayasingam, made strong commitment to run the election in independent, transparent and fair manner.
Questions and answer session extended after the traditional Sunday roast lunch which every one seemed to have enjoyed was served by Concorde Club.

The event came to conclusion with vote of thanks by Dr. Ratna Pushparajah.

Tamils Meet with U.S. State Department on Sri Lanka Crisis

Americans for Peace in Sri Lanka (APSL), a U.S.-based human rights activist group, led a delegation of 11 Tamil American organizations for a meeting at the United States Department of State with Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake. The meeting to discuss the current humanitarian crisis Tamils face in Sri Lanka took place on April 08th in Washington, DC, with Ambassador Blake joining by video conferencing.

Assistant Secretary Boucher referred to the heightened anxiety of the Tamil Americans over the plight of their loved ones in the Tamil homeland, and expressed solidarity with them in this difficult time. The discussion was divided into two parts, humanitarian situation, led by Ambassador Blake, and views on political solution, led by Assistant Secretary Boucher. The APSL team gave its own presentation under both topics. Tamil Americans thanked Secretary of State Clinton for her call for a ceasefire and phoning Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa to halt directing fire into the "no-fire zone". They noted that Secretary Clinton's call was not heeded by the Colombo government.

Ambassador Blake gave an update on the U.S. led efforts to care for the 120 - 150,000 Tamil civilians in the "safe zone," which included 60% of the food aid going through the World Food Program, and evacuation of more than 4,000 wounded civilians. He spoke of continuing problems with medical aid and gave an update on the visit by UN Secretary General's special representative for the internally displaced, Walter Kaelin, who has extracted concessions from the GoSL in the administration of the IDP camps in Vavuniya. APSL pointed out the real figure of encircled civilians in the "safe zone" is 330,000 as given by the additional government agent of the district. Tamil Americans asked for the support of the U.S. administration to obtain clearance to any Diaspora initiative to take direct medical aid to the crisis zone.

Ambassador Blake informed that the government of Sri Lanka now plans to resettle 80% of the IDPs within one year, and after clearing mines. Tamil Americans cautioned that the over emphasis of mine clearing operations can be a ruse by Sri Lanka to delay the resettlement while they engage on creating high security zones and colonization of Sinhalese in the Vanni area.

APSL made an urgent plea to Ambassador Blake and Secretary Boucher to check on reports over the weekend that the Sri Lankan military has used chemical weapons, killing hundreds of civilians and combatants. The news of the possession of internationally banned chemical weapons in the hands of the Lankan forces has created alarm among the Tamil Diaspora that the Colombo government could engage in mass killings in the "safe zone" with intent of a genocidal outcome.

Tamil Americans continued to press for an immediate ceasefire. Ambassador Blake asked the Tamil Americans whether they can ask the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to let the Tamil civilians leave. APSL responded that the Tamil civilians are given a Hobson's choice, and appealed for expanding the current safety zone and creating a demilitarized zone under the protection of the UN agencies. Only then the Tamil civilians can be asked to choose between staying with the LTTE, or leave for protected zone or distant IDP camps.

Assistant Secretary Boucher then emphasized need for a political solution to end the conflict. Tamil representatives pointed out that no durable political solution is possible without the participation of the LTTE. Tamil Americans opined that negotiations should not preclude separation as a solution, and that confederation with power sharing at the center may be a viable alternative to total separation. Ambassador Blake stated that a viable political solution is one that the Tamils would be willing to accept, and appealed to the Tamil Diaspora to take part in such political discourse.

Several senior high ranking officials from the State Dept and from the office of the United States' Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Susan Rice were also present during the discussions.

The following U.S. Diaspora groups were represented in the meeting: Americans for Peace in Sri Lanka, Federation of Tamil Associations of North America, HELP Advocates Sri Lanka, Ilankai Tamil Sangam, North Carolinians For Peace, People for Equality and Relief in Lanka, Tamils Against Genocide, Tamils of California, Tamils of New England, Tamils of Ohio, and World Thamil Organization - USA.

About APSL:

Americans for Peace in Sri Lanka is a not-for-profit activist group of Tamil and non-Tamil Americans striving to bring durable peace to all peoples in Sri Lanka.

Tamil people have been held against their will

Tamil people in Sri Lanka have been held against their will – Andrew Pelling (Croydon Central, Independent)

Declares that following the end of hostilities in Sri Lanka the detained Tamil people have been held against their will, without any freedom of movement in unsanitary IDP camps.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HM Government to press the Sri Lankan government for the implementation of a thorough going release of Tamil people in IDP camps and the commencement of talks to bring home rule to Tamil lands to the benefit of all Sri Lanka

Mahinda Rajapakse in Jaffna election-more SLA men than Public for the meeting.

Mahinda Rajapakse displeased with Jaffna election meeting.

Despite efforts by Minister Douglas Devananda and the candidates of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) it was possible to bring in only less than 400 persons to attend the propaganda meeting in which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse participated Thursday in Jaffna Duraippah Stadium, sources in Jaffna said. Mahinda Rajapakse appeared disturbed and displeased on seeing a small crowd and delivered an address which failed to cover the much expected and vital issues like political solution, resettlement of uprooted families in Valikaamam North in Sri Lanka Army occupied High Security Zone (HSZ) and restoring normalcy in Jaffna peninsula.

The Sri Lankan president first thanked those who voted for him in the presidential election and said that Tamils and Sinhalese should live as brethren and relatives. He further said that he will get the Tamils a solution for the ethnic problem in the form of ‘People’s Council’.

Mahinda Rajapakse’s helicopter landed in Nalloor Education Department playground Thursday morning and from there he was taken to Nalloor Kanthasuvaami Koayil for worship.

He next performed religious rites at the Naaka Vikaarai Buddhist temple in Aariyaku’lam where the chief incumbent welcomed him and conducted the prayers.

The president was then led to Duraippah stadium under heavy escort.

The people brought to the meeting had to pass through many check points with fences built with iron rods and netting where they all were thoroughly inspected.

They were allowed sit only at a distance of 200 feet from the stage.

Duraippah Stadium and its surroundings teemed with SLA soldiers, police personnel deployed to guard the president besides the presence of his special security team which accompanied the president.

Minister Douglas Devananda, Northern Province Governor Major. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Jaffna Mayor Ms. Yogeswari Patkunam and the candidates of SLFP and EPDP were some of those present at the meeting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Karuna Amman’s supporter abducts and kills school boy in Jaffna

Chaavakachcheari police recovered Saturday the body of the 17-year-old student who was abducted from his house in Madaththadi in Chaavakachcheari North, Jaffna Peninsula, on 14 March for a ransom of 30 million rupees, from the backyard of a house on Dutch Road in Chaavakachcheari, sources in Jaffna said. The body was recovered from the plantain garden in the backyard of one of the three friends of the victim arrested and detained in Jaffna prison, the sources added.

Unidentified men arriving at the house of Thiruchelvam, a popular merchant in Madaththadi in Chaavakachcheari North abducted his son, Kapilnath, 17, student of a leading educational institution in Jaffna.

The abductors had kept demanding 30 million rupees as ransom to release the boy using various phones from the time of abduction until Monday dawn and had threatened to kill the boy if the money was not paid, according to the merchant.
Sources from the police have revealed that the school boy from Chavakachcheri was abducted to receive ransom money and later killed by one of Karuna Amman’s supporters.

Although the person who had killed the boy has been taken into custody, the mastermind behind the plan it is learnt is still at large.

During the questioning of the man in custody it had been revealed that the boy was abducted killed and his body was buried in the suspect’s compound in Chavakachcheri.

The body of the student was exhumed yesterday and the post mortem was held at the Jaffna Hospital yesterday.

The post mortem report stated that the boy was strangled to death.

Eezham Tamil woman in Tamil Nadu refugee camp burned herself to death

Eezham Tamil woman in Tamil Nadu refugee camp commits suicide due to sexual abuse by 3 policemen.

Tamil woman from Sri Lanka held in the Refugee camp for Sri Lankans in Karoor district in Tamil Nadu died Sunday night in Karoor government hospital where she had been admitted two weeks ago when she had set herself ablaze unable to bear being sexually molested by three Tamil Nadu policemen.
Ms. Kumar Pathmathevi, 28, had said in her statement to a feminist human rights activist that the policemen took her to a private house and molested her instead of taking her to the police station to be interrogated about her husband Kumar who was wanted in a homicide case. Various civil organizations in Jaffna peninsula as well as in Tamil Nadu are in uproar against the police cremating the body of Pathmathevi, against the law of the country.

The three policemen who had sexually molested had warned Pathmathevi not to divulge the incident to anyone and that they will shoot dead her husband Kumar if she did so, according to Pathmathevi’s statement given from her death bed to the human rights activist woman.

The burning of Pathmathevi’s remains which should have been interned by the police has raised suspicion that the three policemen are guilty of the offence alleged.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Corruption under Sinhalese occupation is sky-rocketing

Distilling and selling of illicit liquor (kasippu) flourishes in many parts in Jaffna peninsula as excise and police officers, being bribed, turn a blind eye to this illicit trade which is even provided with men with grenades to guard the kasippu joints, according to accusations raised by civil society sources in Jaffna. Vaddukkoaddai police arrested a youth Saturday at the toddy tavern in Moo’laay under suspicion and recovered a hand grenade in his possession. When produced at Mallaakam courts he testified that he had been posted there to guard the brewers and sellers from the police and excise officers, sources in Jaffna said.

Poor farmers are the customers who fall victims of becoming addicts to this liquor which contains a high amount of methylin which is injurious to health and brings death in some cases.

Kasippu is produced in places near Jaffna town and other rural areas in the peninsula.

A culture of arms prevails in the peninsula which has now embraced illicit distilling and selling of liquor along with the abductions, extortions which had escalated in recent times, the sources further said.

UK is concern about war crimes, deteriorating status of the rule of law and freedom of expression in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the only country added on the annual human rights report by Britain this year as a country of concern by the Foreign Affairs Committee, according to British Foreign Office. The Annual report on Human Rights 2009 presented 17 March to British Parliament says, ‘Since the last report, we have added one country of concern. We agreed with the Foreign Affairs Committee’s recommendation to include Sri Lanka. This reflects our concern about allegations of serious conflict violations, as well as the deteriorating status of the rule of law and freedom of expression.’

The following are some excerpts of the HR report:

‘Human Rights Council Special Session on Sri Lanka

The EU led efforts in May to call a special session of the HRC in response to the situation in Sri Lanka. We found support for the session from select members of other regional groups who shared our concerns. Together we worked hard on a draft resolution that could be presented to the wider HRC membership, even those with misgivings about the focus on Sri Lanka, as a constructive expression of HRC concern.

In doing so we hoped for a consensus outcome. Sri Lanka, unfortunately, tabled a text with a different purpose, which was passed by majority vote. The UK could not agree with their assessment of the situation and voted against the resolution because it:

• omitted to reaffirm that it is the primary responsibility of the state to ensure protection of the human rights of all persons under its jurisdiction;

• failed to call on the government of Sri Lanka to start an inclusive political process, which would address the legitimate concerns of all of Sri Lanka’s communities; and

• did not address the need to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and minorities or the right to freedom of expression.

The session, nonetheless, presented an opportunity for many States, UN Special Procedures, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to put on record the plight of civilians caught up in it. We continue to believe that the situation merited the attention of the UN’s primary human rights body and that it was right to call the session.’

‘Since the end of the conflict we have been calling, along with the EU, for an independent and credible process to address possible violations of IHL. The Sri Lankan government has made little progress.

In October, President Rajapakse announced the formation of a committee to look into a US State Department report on possible violations. In late December, the President extended the deadline for the committee to report until the end of April 2010.’

‘Freedom of Expression

Sri Lanka ranks 162 out of 175 countries in the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Index 2009. The environment for free expression deteriorated in the early part of 2009 as the conflict intensified.’

‘A Tamil journalist, J S Tissainayagam, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on 31 August for charges related to his writing. In addition, Tamil language newspapers (such as Sudar Oli, Uthayan and Valampuri) continue to operate in extremely difficult conditions, with their staff regularly receiving anonymous threats.’

‘Disappearances and Abductions

Reports of abductions and disappearances of civilians continued throughout 2009. In the vast majority of cases the reported victims are Tamil civilians.’

TID interrogates 700 civilians

About seven hundred civilians are being detained by the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police under the Emergency Regulations, Colombo media reported quoting TID sources. Most of the detainees were arrested during the last months of the war. The State of Emergency was extended by the dissolved parliament during the first week of this month.

Meanwhile, the dissolved parliament is due to be reconvened on April 6 to extend the State of Emergency for another month.

The new parliament to be elected on April 8 is scheduled to hold its first sitting on April 22, sources said.

‘Sinhala Only’ in Jaffna

‘Sinhala Only’ in a government office opening event in Jaffna.

Local media reporters in Jaffna peninsula staged a walkout Monday from the official opening of Sri Lanka Foreign Employment (SLFE) branch in Nalloor in Jaffna Monday when it was conducted in Sinhalese language only. Tamil Minister Douglas Devananda was also present at the event along with Northern Province Governor, G. A. Chandrasiri. Meanwhile, the Governor and the Minister later participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony for the new building of Jaffna Municipal Council in its original premises. The government is fervent in opening various offices and laying foundation stones for new buildings in an attempt to entice the voters of Jaffna peninsula, civil society circles in Jaffna observed.

President of SLFE Welfare Organization, Kingsley Rananwathe and its Secretary, Susil Srisena had come to Jaffna from Colombo SLFE head office to officially open the branch in Jaffna.

How could an office meant to help the residents of Jaffna district achieve its goals if it cannot conduct its affairs in Tamil, asked local journalists.

The main building of JMC had been blown up during the war in 1985.

Tissainayagam wins British Press award

Senior Tamil Journalist J.S Tissainayagam currently in bail after being incarcerated in Sri Lanka for nearly twenty two months as part of a 20 years in prison sentence, won the prestigious International journalist of the year during the award ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel, London, on Tuesday, 23 March. "International journalist of the year recognises the courage of an overseas journalist who has battled against oppression and who has helped a British national newspaper report. Nominees are provided by the Foreign Press Association and the World Association of Newspapers," the British Press Awards website said.

Tissaianyagam was charged under Sri Lanka's draconian anti-terror laws for causing disharmony among ethnic communities by publishing two articles in an online website.

"Although released on bail, Tissa remains afraid for his life and lives in isolation from his family and friends because of this fear. He cannot practice his trade and simply has no life," BBC said quoting one of Tissainayagam's colleagues.

Amnesty International named Tissainayagam as a Prisoner of Conscience, held a vigil in UK in early September 2009, and said "[w]e gathered to protest against the sentencing of Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, known as Tissa to his friends and family, to 20 years ‘vigorous imprisonment’ by the Government of Sri Lanka."

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) honoured Tissainayagam with its 2009 International Press Freedom Awards at a ceremony in November 2009.

Tissainayagam also won the coveted Peter Mackler Award for courageous and ethical journalism, named for a 30-year veteran of Agence France-Presse who died last year, at a ceremony at the National Press Club in US in October 2009

The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and its allies obstructs opposition

The election campaign activities that were planned to be carried out in the islets of Jaffna by political parties including United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and other independent groups contesting Jaffna electorate Wednesday with police protection were given up at the last minute as Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) men continue to obstruct anyone other than the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and its allies engaging in election campaign in the islets of Jaffna which is held in the complete control of Sri Lanka Navy, sources in Jaffna said.

The election campaign activities in the islets on Wednesday by opposition parties had been announced in the local media Wednesday.

EPDP men who hold monopoly the islets of Jaffna with the assistance of SLN had earlier attacked UNP candidates and supporters who had gone to the islets of Jaffna some days ago.

It is feared that EPDP will carry out election frauds in a large scale in the islets in the forthcoming election as it seems impossible to post their agents in the polling booths in the islets of Jaffna, the political parties and independent groups sources said.

100 Tamil IDPs abducted

Fate of 100 Vanni detainees taken away by SLA not known.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers had blind folded one hundred Vanni youths and young family men detained Kaithadi Palmyra Development Board Special IDP detention centre in Jaffna peninsula and taken them away in vehicles in the last one week, according to complaints made by family members of the persons taken away to Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC). SLA soldiers had taken 70 of the above IDPs in the first instance and 30 in the second, and the SLA authorities refuse to reveal any information of their whereabouts or what had happened to them, the complainants said. The SLA authorities also refuse to reveal the number of IDPs detained in this detention centre, sources in Jaffna said.

A group of Vanni IDPs detained in various camps in Jaffna peninsula had been classified as persons involved in ‘terrorism’ and brought to Kaithadi special detention centre located in the Palmyra Development Board building.

SLA authorities in the above centre had only allowed a few relatives of the detainees to visit them.

The detention centre is in the complete control of SLA.

The wives and parents of the abducted IDPs are in a state of grief and fear for their lives.

Earlier, some Jaffna University students who had come from Vanni to restart their disrupted education had also been arrested and detained in Kaithadi detention centre.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sinhalese soldiers destroy Thileepan memorial

A gang of Sinhalese army soldiers went on rampage , demolishing the memorial pillar of Lt. Col. Thileepan (Rasiah Parthipan) located behind the historic Nalloor Kanthasuvami Koayil on Point Pedro-Nalloor road, residents of the area said. Lt. Col. Thileepan began his fasting on 15 September 1987 in front of the Nalloor Kandasuvami temple placing five demands to the Indian government but died as India failed to meet the demands, on September 26, 1987.

The thugs who demolished Thileepan’s memorial pillar Sunday night have taken the premises into their possession and have started using the memorial pillar to dry their washings, the sources added.

Meanwhile, a large number of Sinhalese traders and vendors have encroached the surroundings of Nalloor temple, with the blessings of Jaffna Municipal Council, where they have erected small stalls and shops.

Though local media and traders had repeatedly complained about this to Jaffna Municipality, but its administration being in the hands of ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), nothing had been done to evacuate the Sinhalese encroachers.

Thileeepan’s statue first erected in 1988 was completely destroyed by Sri Lankan Army (SLA) when it moved in to occupy Jaffna in 1996.

When Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) was implemented in 2002, the statue was reconstructed by the public. However, when clashes erupted between SLA and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Thileepan's photograph and decorative lamps were damaged the by SLA troops on 26 October, 2006.

Thileepan, LTTE's political wing leader for the Jaffna district, soon after the signing of the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement in 1987, fasted unto death in a twelve day campaign after putting forward five demands to the Indian government to meet the aspirations of the Tamil people.

The five demands Lt. Colonel Thileepan put forward to the Indian government were:

• All Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) should be released.

• The colonization by Sinhalese in Tamil areas under the guise of rehabilitation should be stopped.

• All such rehabilitation should be stopped until an interim government is formed.

• The Sri Lankan government should stop opening new Police stations and camps in the North and Eastern provinces The Sri Lankan army and Police should withdraw from schools in Tamil villages and the weapons given by the Sri Lankan government to 'homeguards' should be withdrawn under the supervision of the Indian army. The people of Jaffna peninsula are in grief over this vandalism of the government in removing traces of freedom fighters who fought to liberate the Tamils, in the North.

The Psychology of Nazism

The Psychology of Nazism - Why Hitler preached racial superiority?

The Nazi movement which did horrifying atrocities to the people was based on racial superiority. Adolf Hitler who was the main architect of the Nazi organization was supported by many intellectuals. Many leaders of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazi) had many things in common. They all believed in destructive Nazi nightmare of racial hearted and ethnic cleansing. What was the psychology behind such a fascist movement which violated basic human rights? Were they psychologically deviated?

Psychologist Gustave Gilbert analyzed many Nazi leaders like Herman Goering, Albert Speer, von Ribbentrop Rudolf Hob (the commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp) etc during the Nuremberg trials and revealed the inner nature of the Nazis. He found that Nazis lacked empathy. In their personal lives they were good husbands and fathers. They loved their children. But when the dark side of their nature came in to action they could kill tens of thousands of men, women and children in the gas chambers. After committing these crimes their conscience were not shattered. They had no guilty feelings.

Nazi leaders conspired to wage war committed crimes against humanity and felt that they are doing it for the betterment of the German people. They saw other races especially Jews as sub humans. There are many theories beneath Hitler’s anti Semitism. Some Germans believed that they lost the WW1 as a result of the betrayal by the Jewish businessmen who did not support the war efforts. But the truth was there were many Jewish officers who fought for Germany during the Great War. Hitler had personal experience which led to deep mistrust and hatred against Jews.

Hitler’s mother was suffering from a breast cancer and she was dying. When her Jewish doctor broke the bad news to young Hitler he thought that the physician was responsible for her death. Hence hefty anger and prejudice was building inside his mind from young days. He was capable of generalizing this anger and prejudice against the Jewish people. When he came to power Hitler’s leadership caused the Holocaust or the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during the WW2.

Nazis committed atrocities in the occupied territories. In the Eastern Europe especially in the USSR they unleashed horrible aggression. Women were raped in front of their husbands and children, men were killed in masses, and some were driven to forced labor. In all these events their lack of empathy and lack of remorse were pronounced greatly. According to Gustave Gilbert Nazis leaders had a dual nature. Above all they believed that they were doing the right thing.

Based on the interviews of the Nazi leaders Gustave Gilbert published a book called Nuremberg Diary in 1947. These documents disclose the psyche of the Nazi leaders. When the Nazi leader Herman Goering was interviewed by Gustav Gilbert, Goering said: "Of course the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. . . . But after all it is the leaders of the country that determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along."

People can always be brought to the will of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Goering was obsessed by Hitler’s personality. On one occasion Goering said my conscious is F├╝hrer's (Hitler’s) conscious. They were ready to follow Hitler under any circumstances. Therefore many Nazis leaders shared a common mental structure.

Nazis were able to create a mass hysteria and mass conditioning of the German people. Millions of people believed in Nazi propaganda and adored Hitler. No doubt that Hitler was a charismatic leader and an excellent orator. Gilbert studied the inner nature of Adolf Hitler. In 1950; Gilbert published The Psychology of Dictatorship. In this book, Gilbert made an attempt to portray a profile of the psychological behavior of Adolf Hitler.

Why Hitler preached racial superiority? Has he had any doubts about his origin? Hitler’s grandmother Anna Maria Schicklgruber became pregnant while working as a servant in a Jewish household. Hitler made daring attempts to conceal this factor and had fears that his pure Aryan blood was contaminated. When he was about to be the absolute leader of the Germany one newspaper published an article stating that the shape of Hitler’s nose is more Hungarian than German. Hitler was furious about this article and eventually he hunted the journalist who wrote it. Hitler admired the music of Wagner. Wagner was an anti-Semite.

As a boy Hitler was tormented, humiliated and mocked by his father. Hitler’s father punished him for a slightest mistake he made. When he became an adult leader he ruled the Germany with an iron fist. His aunt Johanna was a schizophrenic patient and little Hitler was terrified by his aunt’s psychotic behavior. In the later years Hitler ordered to terminate every psychiatric person in Germany. He could not stand them.

In his speech in 1937 April Hitler said,

All that concerns me is never to take a step that I might later have to retrace and never to take a step which could damage us in any way. You must understand that I always go as far as I dare and never further. It is vital to have a sixth sense which tells you broadly what you can and cannot do.

Hence Hitler was determined to continue his destructive efforts despite the protests made by the civilized world. He misinterpreted the religion and used it to justify his atrocities against Jewish people. In his autobiography Mein Kampf (P46) Hitler mentions the following statement.

I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.

Henry Murray, a prominent personality specialist at Harvard University hypnotized that Hitler was deeply confused about his sexuality. Analyzing the metaphors in his book Mein Kampf, Murray says that Hitler was unable to come to terms with his complex sexuality. Henry Murray claimed that Hitler was both impotent and a "fully fledged masochist". His niece Galee became so tormented by his sexual jealousy and committed suicide. Hitler’s sexual inadequacy may have led to exorbitant cravings for superiority. Lothar Machtan has argued in his book The Hidden Hitler that Hitler was homosexual.

Although Hitler proclaimed that the Third Reich was invincible and would last for thousands of years the system was collapsing in front of his eyes. In the verge of the defeat his passion for Germany changed dramatically. Adolf Hitler issued his infamous "Nero Decree," the order to destroy all German industry and infrastructure. Hitler’s Minister of War Industry Albert Speer sabotaged this auto destructive plan. On 30 April 1945 when the Red Army was advancing Hitler committed suicide with Eva Braun in the F├╝hrerbunker.

Psychology of Nazism demonstrates the savage part of the human nature. Leaders can tune the people and make them hate and terminate other ethnic groups without remorse. When the people are being desensitized they follow the leaders blindly. Influential charismatic negative leadership can bring total chaos to the Humankind.

Following poem reveals the life time suffering of a victim of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the magnitude of trauma caused by the Nazi ideology.

Monday, March 22, 2010

State Terrorism and Absolute Animalism

In the early months of 2009 year, after heavy shelling and artillery attacks in civilian-populated areas in the Wanni, thousands of people had surrendered themselves to the Sri Lanka army in the absence of any alternative to being bombed to death in their homes.

Many of these people had been butchered like cattle, with women raped in army bunkers and then killed. At the time these atrocities began to take place the Human Rights Groups raised the alarm to both civilians and the international community. Civilians were warned about the possibility of being extra-judicially slaughtered by the soldiers of the Sri Lankan army and the message was conveyed to the international community through the media network. The international community turned a (deliberate) blind eye to these incidents, and instead demanded evidence for these supposed massacres, even when it was well aware the Sri Lankan government wasn’t allowing any independent journalists into the war zone.

Now, however, the occurrence and utter brutality of these massacres has been proved beyond any doubt by the Human Rights Groups, with the Sri Lankan military being forced to make some farcical statements in an attempt to cover up their now-exposed tendencies to murder and animalism

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Sinhalese humiliate Jaffna Tamils

I ‘ve read this article and seems to me the Victorious Sinhalese are humiliating the vanquished, dispossessed and disadvantaged Tamils, harass the Tamil girls and vandalize Tamil places of worship while abusing the meager water and other recourses in Jaffna
It is reported that the people of the North, especially in the Jaffna district, have developed a feeling of dissatisfaction, disaffection and contempt towards the people of the South, who post the end of the war are now engaging in pilgrimage and sightseeing related visits to the North in large numbers, and in the process totally disregarding the need for privacy, encroaching on meagre infrastructure resources and services of the district, causing significant negative impact on the environment/cleanliness and pollution in the area, and behaving in a manner unacceptable by the cultural and religious values of the Northerners.
These negative feelings are expressed in relation to the following issues highlighted in support of the claim;
1. Large and unrestricted numbers of pilgrims are traveling from the South to the Jaffna District especially to visit Naghadhipa, Nallur Kovil, Madhu Church and other places of religious worship and there are no adequate infrastructure facilities for this level of inflow
2. Following the pilgrimage these visitors engage in sightseeing and visit war damaged areas, IDP resettlement areas and places of religious and cultural heritage of the Northerners
3. During the sightseeing tours visitors do not effectively engage with the people of the area, do not respect their need for privacy nor empathise with their present status and enquire and try to extend any help or even express feelings of solidarity as citizens of one nation in brotherhood. They state and look at them in a manner that they feel that they were once captives of the Terror groups, then displaced persons and now destitute looked on by their southern citizens as animals in a cage or helpless people in a hopeless state. These feelings are heightened as the people in the North do not see their plight, lifestyles and challenges of life and livelihoods are shared by the southern brothers and sisters.
4. Large numbers use Duraiappa Stadium and areas in the vicinity and these areas are not capable of providing the necessary housing, waste, sanitation, garbage clearance facilities to the present level of visitors and therefore they use open areas and their resting areas for washing, toilets, cooking and leave the areas totally polluted with garbage, polythene, waste and toilet waste causing great inconvenience to residents
5. These pilgrims indiscriminately use the water and other resources of nearby temples, kovils and Churches and use water for washing, cleaning after toilet use etc without consideration of the cultural and religious values and use of these premises and the state they leave behind after use with no concern for residents who use the same facilities thereafter
6. Visitors who are not actual worshipers crowd temples/kovils during poojah time and crowd out actual users and disturb the sanctity and value of the poojahs
7. These pilgrims use religious places and culturally significant places like the Jaffna Library disrespectfully ( in shoes) and use it for lying down, relaxing and entertainment including some times for consumption of alcohol
8. High Ace Vans are sometimes parked in front of Kovils and other places of cultural significance and visitors have food and at times alcohol and dancing with blaring music disrespecting the places of worship and cultural values
9. Ladies and Young Girls on bicycles are subjected to harassment, whistling, hooting and negative comments by visitors
10. Insensitive behaviours all round by not recognizing and aligning with the the socio-cultural values of Northerners.”

I have not been to the North post war, but vividly remember my post cease fire (2002) visits to Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee where I encountered scenes and reactions very different to those described above. Those scenes were of the joyful mingling on equal terms of thousands of visitors and locals. Now, it appears, the meetings are of the victims and the vanquished. The primary fault is with neither the visitors nor the locals but with the manner in which the end of the war was treated by the national leadership and the media. The atmosphere of triumphalism, yet prevailing, is deeply damaging to inter ethnic harmony and to the prospects of healing wounds and reconstructing the Sri Lankan nation. There is much physical construction work but the locals remain disempowered and marginalized.

Under Apartheid, South Africa had been burdened with incomparably greater inter-ethnic hostilities and institutionalized racism and oppression than Sri Lanka ever was. But with the inspired leadership of Mandela, Tutu, and the others, they successfully dislodged those burdens in a manner that few predicted, and achieved a level of success that seemed impossible. Leadership of that quality may not appear anywhere on our planet for decades to come, but can we in Sri Lanka not find ways to bridge our much more modest but yet widening ethnic divides? We surely can, though, sadly, we see very little of even acknowledgement of the problem, still less of meaningful steps to address it. Our problems today are of our own creation and not of meddlesome foreigners or of the Diaspora

Thursday, February 25, 2010

British PM meets the Tamils

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met delegates of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) conference in London where the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband addressed the gathering.

Delivering the inaugural address of the GTF conference held at the British parliamentary complex on Wednesday the foreign secretary called upon the Sri Lankan government to make constitutional changes aimed at power sharing.

Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is offering some hope for the Tamils

British Foreign Secretary David Milliband, Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and Liberal Democrats Shadow Foreign Secretary Ed Davey all addressed the Global Tamil Forum’s inaugural meeting in London on Wednesday, 24 February. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) launch saw delegates from 14 countries gather in the UK House of Commons to be addressed by speakers from across the political spectrum, including parliamentarians, councilors and prospective parliamentary candidates. Some delegates were also invited in for a private meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

lobal Tamil Forum (GTF) launch was in the Gladstone Room of the House of Commons, began at 10am and concluded at 4pm, followed by a reception between 4pm and 6pm at the Terrace Cafeteria.

Among the guests were a Buddhist monk and an Islamic theologian, both of whom had travelled from Sri Lanka for the event. An African National Congress parliamentarian from South Africa, Sisa Njikelana, had flown to Britain especially for the event and was in the country for only 6 hours.

Private meetings amongst the GTF are expected to continue over the next two days.

Following is the full text of the address by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to members of the GTF at the House of Commons on 24 February 2010:

I want to very warmly welcome all of you to the House of Commons if you’ve come from around Britain, and welcome you to Britain, those of you who’ve come from around the world. I think that it is very significant indeed that the Global Tamil Forum should have brought people together from fourteen countries. That in itself is a huge achievement. It is a reflection of the breadth of the Tamil diaspora around the world and I hope it speaks to a unity that will serve the rights and hopes of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

It’s also important to recognise the history that’s associated with Britain’s relationship with Sri Lanka. Father Emmanuel spoke about this. And I hope that not just historians, but Tamils will come to look back on this meeting in this building as being a time and a moment of significance for the future of Sri Lanka.

I also want to recognise on the platform with me here are three Members of Parliament who have played an outstanding role in the British debate about the future of Sri Lanka. Virendra Sharma on my right, Keith Vaz, Siobhain McDonagh have all been stout defenders of the rights of all Sri Lankans and I think it is right not just to recognise the role of Governments, but to recognise the work of parliamentarians and also to recognise the work of community groups. Some of them made by Tamils, but others made by churches, made by other groups of British people who’ve seen the plight in Sri Lanka and wanted to respond to it and I think it’s important to recognise that this is a grass roots movement in Britain, not just a Government led movement.

I also want to say that the foundation of the Global Tamil Forum, the inauguration of its international work, is an important moment for politics and above all politics in Sri Lanka, because there is no substitute for political voice in asserting political rights. Tamils know to their cost the price of violence against them and in their name. We know that the civil war is over, but the civil peace has yet to be built and it is the dedication of this organisation to build a lasting equitable and endurable political civil peace that I think is the test of all of our effort.

I want to commend very, very strongly your decision to, not just to support non violence, but to advocate non violence. I think that history has shown time and again that lasting peace is not found through weapons and through warfare but through politics, however hard it is to persevere with it. We’ve seen this in our own United Kingdom, notably in the state of Northern Ireland, but also in other parts of the world and the road ahead no doubt will be long and hard in some ways that I will describe in a moment. But I think the founding commitment not just to a fully inclusive political process, but to support non violence as the means to achieve it, is something that speaks to the deepest values of the Tamil people and actually, as I will say later, to the deepest values of people everywhere.

Perhaps I should say why I’m here. It’s not just that London is the venue for this important meeting. It’s that the importance of establishing a lasting peace in Sri Lanka matters. It matters because of the deep links that exist between Britain and Sri Lanka, the deep links that exist between British people and Sri Lankans of all kinds, and it’s also that the future of Sri Lanka is important for the future of South Asia more generally. And I think that any Foreign Secretary would want to be here to listen, but also to support about the way ahead.

For twenty six years all the peoples of Sri Lanka suffered from the effects of civil war, but we know that while all communities were hit, the Tamil communities were the worst hit. We know that during the conflict Tamils were in every day fear for their lives, trapped between Government forces and the LTTE, many thousands killed we know, seventy thousand in total from all communities. Thousands more injured or maimed which often is not mentioned in a grim recitation of statistics.

We know that civilians were displaced, individuals, children separated from their families, homes and livelihoods destroyed and we know also that the Tamil diaspora around the world reflects conflict and it reflects fear around the world. We are proud in this country, very proud, of the contribution that British Tamils are making to our country. You are our neighbours, our friends, our relatives. We’re proud of your role in business, in commerce, in politics. But you know very deeply that you would like to be making a contribution above all in Sri Lanka and it is that tension, that dual focus first of all on Britain and first of all, and secondly on Sri Lanka, that brings us together.

We also believe that as well as the GSP issue there is an issue of history because history is there to be learned from. We can not live in our history, but we have to learn from it and I think that my reading of reconciliation around the world is that if history is buried then reconciliation never happens. We have recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and the commitment to expose history to the full glare of publicity, the commitment to reconcile history as well as reconcile people has been an important part of the South African experience and I think is an important lesson from the South African experience. That is why we continue to call as a Government for a process to investigate serious allegations of violation of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict. If credible and independent, such efforts could make an important contribution to reconciliation between Sri Lanka’s communities.

I’ve also said repeatedly that the concern with civil and political rights today, concern with the history, concern with the IDPs, feeds in to a constitutional point that there needs to be a genuinely inclusive political process in Sri Lanka which involves all communities of Sri Lanka. It’s important to say that whenever a British Minister says this, there are accusations that we are trying to tell Sri Lanka how to govern or run its own affairs. I want to refute that very, very clearly, because the shape of any future political settlement is for the Sri Lankan people, all the Sri Lankan people recognising all their rights, including minority rights, it’s for them to determine. But we will continue to be an advocate for the universal human rights that we believe underpin the basis not just of democracy, but of decent societies everywhere.

We also believe that as well as the GSP issue there is an issue of history because history is there to be learned from. We can not live in our history, but we have to learn from it and I think that my reading of reconciliation around the world is that if history is buried then reconciliation never happens. We have recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and the commitment to expose history to the full glare of publicity, the commitment to reconcile history as well as reconcile people has been an important part of the South African experience and I think is an important lesson from the South African experience. That is why we continue to call as a Government for a process to investigate serious allegations of violation of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict. If credible and independent, such efforts could make an important contribution to reconciliation between Sri Lanka’s communities.

I’ve also said repeatedly that the concern with civil and political rights today, concern with the history, concern with the IDPs, feeds in to a constitutional point that there needs to be a genuinely inclusive political process in Sri Lanka which involves all communities of Sri Lanka. It’s important to say that whenever a British Minister says this, there are accusations that we are trying to tell Sri Lanka how to govern or run its own affairs. I want to refute that very, very clearly, because the shape of any future political settlement is for the Sri Lankan people, all the Sri Lankan people recognising all their rights, including minority rights, it’s for them to determine. But we will continue to be an advocate for the universal human rights that we believe underpin the basis not just of democracy, but of decent societies everywhere.
And we know that today land mines are still scattered across the former conflict zone, the lack of infrastructure and the lack of electricity, the lack of irrigation, poverty rates in Tamil areas are at least double those in the other provinces. And after the spike in violence that preceded the end of the civil war, nearly a hundred thousand Tamils still remain in the IDP camps, unable to return to their homes. And I will never forget the faces that I saw in the IDP camps in Sri Lanka ten months ago. I will never forget the stories that I was told of innocent people separated from their families, of brutalisation and of profound fear about the future. And whenever I think of that statistic of a hundred thousand people still in IDP camps I think of individual men, women and in some cases young teenagers talking to me about all they wanted was to be treated as a decent human being, able to go about their lives in a decent way. And that’s what motivates me and it’s what motivates the Prime Minister and it’s what motivates the Government to believe that the aspirations of the Tamil people expressed as the hope of a decent life alongside others in Sri Lanka is something that should motivate us in the future.
We try in the short term to alleviate the suffering. We try to send money and we do send money, tens of millions of pounds are sent from Britain by the Government. But I know many millions of pounds are sent by the Tamil communities too to try to make a difference through the humanitarian agencies who should be given far greater access and freedom of movement. We also continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to return the remaining IDPs to their home areas, to grant full access to NGOs and we do not forget either the eleven thousand five hundred or so ex combatants also still in camps.
Now despite the scale of this humanitarian crisis and the need for us to focus on it as a matter of urgency, we do not forget the longer term, because anyone who cares about the future of Sri Lanka knows that it will not be built by aid alone. It must be built through a new political settlement. Since the end of the civil war, since the re-election of President Rajapaksa, as we look forward and await the parliamentary elections, we continue to make the case that the President should use his mandate for a real drive for national reconciliation, a real drive to respect the rights of every single Sri Lankan, a real drive to fulfil the commitments, constitutional and other reforms, that would make a difference.
Now to do this there needs to be greater effort to respect the rights of all Sri Lankans. It is because of our concern about the implementation of core commitments in respect of human rights conventions that we along with twenty six other members of the European Union supported the European Commission’s recommendation to suspend Sri Lanka from the benefits of the GSP+ trade programme. We did, we did so because trade and values need to be linked. We did so because the rules of the GSP programme put values at their heart. Those values are values of civil and political rights, because we are concerned about violence and allegations of malpractice in the election campaign and of course there are also important commitments made by the Government in respect of media freedom. There is also the issue of the arrest of the presidential candidate who like anyone else arrested should be treated in accordance with Sri Lankan law.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rape of Tamil Women in Sri Lanka

Never ending stories of rapes of Tamil women and girls at the hands of Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries is norm of daily lives of Tamils who what they face in Sri Lanka nowadays. What is so alarming is that these criminals were never brought into justice. For example, Krishanthy case, in which the victim - Tamil teenage girl -was gang raped and later killed by two dozen Srilankan military men in the outposts of their camp in Ariyalai, Jaffna, in early 90s when she was on the way to her school. And another story of young Tamil woman worker of TRO ( Tamil relief Organization ) how she was gang raped and killed by about 20 paramilitary members of TMVP ( Karuna led faction of LTTE) for her suspected affiliation with LTTE in 2006. Because of the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka it encourages the Srilankan armed personnel to inflict more crimes against Tamil women and girls whenever they get chances. In the past, Srilankan armed forces often used to see every Tamil woman as their sexual pry or LTTE cadre given how the civil war played out in last 3 decades . Now LTTE is not in the picture, and it makes things easier for paramilitaries and Srilankan armed forces to go after any Tamil woman or girl whom they like. Raping of Tamil women and girls by Srilankan armed forces has become widespread in Sri Lanka but many stories never hit the mass media due to the backlashes the families of victims expect both from the culprits and the Tamil community itself.

One can argue that what are the benefits in trying to prevent the future rapes if the victims can go through anguish, isolation and the stigma by revealing their horrifying events to the public. Well, how many of you knew that more than 4,000 Tamil women were raped by IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) and its paramilitaries ( ENDLF, PLOTE, etc) during their stay of 3-year period from 1987 to 1989? Even if the local media knew about those incidents, they failed to bring into public because of the retaliation from the culprits of these rapes. People familiar with the IPKF rule in Jaffna knew well about how Tamil women and girls suffered at the heels of IPKF and its paramilitaries. And those paramilitaries often wait on the streets of Jaffna for the school girls to come out from their schools like Veambadi, Chundikuli and Hindu Ladies College etc. These victims were often disappeared for days and released later on with the mercy of their captors or they were killed in some instances. It was evident from the findings of many female bodies buried beside the Ashoka Hotel that was occupied by IPKF and its paramilitaries during their stay in Jaffna. Many can think that 4,000 rape victims may not be high enough to think as epidemic of rape and grotesque violence against Tamil women in IPKF time. In fact, if you go into those little details of the Jaffna population, you would see it was clearly on the epidemic scale.

What it made me to write this post is clearly this news - that appeared on Tamilnet few days back. And I see this is as the troubling sign of what to come from the Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries who stationed in Jaffna town which currently falls in the high-military zone. I’m already privy to one such incident happened few months ago and won’t reveal the victim’s name and her place for obvious reasons. The victim was raped by 9 EPRLF men (a paramilitary group that led by Douglas Devananda who is minister of the current ruling government in SL ) It is important to highlight the sufferings of Tamil women what they endure at the hands of Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries, otherwise it can once again become epidemic of rape against Tamil women and girls in Sri Lanka.

One should not forget the barbaric nature of Srilankan armed forces who are often given incentives to work in North East provinces of Tamil homeland that they can always get way with the sexual assaults of Tamil women. Past history of Srilankan armed forces is real proof what you can expect from them. During the final stages of Eelam war IV last summer, Defence Sectary Gotabaya Rajapaksa even said that all the Tamil women can become the possession of his military personnel and Tamil men should be thrown into Indian ocean. If military head can have that kind of mentality, no need to mention how the lower ranks work. It was said in many channels that widespread sexual assaults were on going against Tamil women and girls who were part of the 300,000+ Tamils put behind the warped wires by Srilankan government aftermath of its military victory over LTTE last summer.

Haitian peace keeping mission of Srilankan armed forces is a testimonial for how rouge Srilankan armed forces are. If they can go and involve in the raping spree of Haitian girls in their peace keeping mission of Haiti, not to mention that Haiti is more than 12,000 miles away from their country, they sure can inflict more violence against Tamil women in Sri Lanka given the history of hatred Srilankan armed forces have against Tamils in SL. What U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Sri Lanka is no accident that rape had been used as a weapon of war in Sri Lanka.
If we do not escalate the issue of rapes of Tamil women how they suffer at the heels of Srilankan forces and its paramilitaries, we may see 100s of brothels between Elephant Pass and Jaffna town on A9 highway just as what Colombo has it between Negombo and Pettah. The cultural city of Jaffna can become history for what it is known if we neglect the seriousness of these rapes. More importantly, there is no end to the sufferings of our women.

Tamil Genocide

1958 pogrom

Women were raped and Tamil property was damaged. A priest was burnt alive inside his Kathirvelayutha temple in Pananthura. The Sri Lankan government looked on as the violence against Tamils continued. Many Tamil homes were set alight. Babies were dropped in hot tar.

Manalaru massacre 03.12.1984

Many civilians were killed including women and children. Hundreds of families were displaced from these areas. Sinhalese were settled in these villages later.

KokkilaiKokkuthoduvai massacre 15.12.1984

131 civilians were killed including 31 women and 21 children. More than 2000

families were displaced following this operation and they remain displaced to this date in 2006.

Udumbankulam massacre 19.02.1985

On 19.02.1985, early in the morning, 85 Sri Lankan military personnel from the Amparai military camp arrived in six military vehicles in Thankavelayuthapuram and

Udumpankulam villages. Some of the military were in camouflage uniform and others in blue uniform. They went into the paddy fields where hundreds of poor farmers were busy with harvesting work. They were carrying weapons. They rounded up 103 people in the fields and took them to the forest nearby. There they raped and cut the breasts off from the women and killed them. Others were lined up and shot dead. In total 103 people were killed including many children. The military spread the harvested hay over the bodies and set fire to it.

Ms. TK, who was a victim of rape and eye witness to the massacres that took place in the paddy fields of Udumpankulam, related her story:

“On the night, the Army which came from Kondavedduvan camp rounded up all the people working in the paddy field. Then they started shooting the men. They raped five of us. We pleaded with the soldiers not to do anything to us. But they all raped us, in line in the paddy field itself. As we couldn't bear-up the pain, gradually we lost consciousness----”.

Kumuthini Boat massacre 15.05.1985

They [two navy members] asked all the people inside to say their names loudly. So we all did. They did this so that the sound would hide what was happening in the room. They started asking people to move towards the back. As I walked towards the back, they hit my forehead with a stick. I don’t know what happened after this. Inside this room, there were very small children there under the age of one. They stabbed a 6 month old baby and ripped open her chest. Girls were also raped along with other acts of violation. People were killed. 72 people were in the boat, 36 were killed and 36 survived. But the survivors were all tortured.

Kiliveddi massacre in 1985

125 houses were burnt that day. A further 13 people, eight men and five women, were taken to the Dehiwathe village. The men were murdered and the women were raped. Among these women were Mrs. Sinniah and her daughter. The women were left naked after they were raped. When some Kiliveddi people with the help of the Sinhala people in the Dehiwathe village went to see, they saw one of the Kiliveddi women naked and tied up.

Kanthalai massacre 09.11.1985

Kantalai is situated in the Trincomalee district. On 09.11.1985, Sri Lankan military went to the home of Mayilvakanam near Kanthalai Pillayar temple and abducted all six people from the house. Their bodies were later found in 4th Milepost area in Allai road. Among the six were two daughters of Mayilvakanam. Postmortem revealed that the two girls were raped before being killed.

Periyapullumalai massacre in 1986

On 08.05.1986, the military arrived from Mahaoya and began attacking the village. 18 civilians were stood on a line and shot and killed by the military. 51 civilians disappeared. Many families were killed en masse. The mother four children and an eight month old baby from the family Nagalingam Rajaratname were killed that day. Children died when the military stepped on them with their boots. Kanthasamy his Sinhala wife and their child were killed. The military let two civilians known to them to escape. They ran and arrived at Senkalady. On 10.11.1986, more people were killed including a three month old baby. Six of the women who were killed were raped before being murdered. 24 people arrested on this day disappeared. A planned identification parade to identify the military men who carried out these massacres was stopped from proceeding.

On 10.11.1986, more people were killed including a three month old baby. Six of the women who were killed were raped before being murdered. 24 people arrested on this day disappeared. A planned identification parade to identify the military men who carried out these massacres was stopped from proceeding.

Periyapullumalai massacre in 1986

On 10.11.1986, more people were killed including a three month old baby. Six of the women who were killed were raped before being murdered. 24 people arrested on this day disappeared. A planned identification parade to identify the military men who carried out these massacres was stopped from proceeding.

Veeramunai massacre 20.06.1990

On 16.07.1990, eight women who went from the refugee camp to check their homes were arrested at the Malwaththai checkpoint. They were gang raped by more than 30 SLA men and killed. Their bodies were burnt.

On 26.07.1990, the military again arrested 32 young men. 23 of them were school children. All of them have disappeared.

Tiraikerny massacre 06.08.1990

A contingent of the police - the Special Task Force (STF) came in a number of vehicles. They had come there firing all the way. We realized that it is their firing that drove away the soldiers and the attackers. They saw the large number that had been murdered and injured. The women, who had been frozen from shock and fear, were unable to speak. There was blood and flesh strewn all around. In the midst of piercing shrill cries and screams of the injured, the chief of the STF promised protection and help to all victims.”

**According to a sworn statement, a little girl was seized and raped, and thereafter, thrown into the fire. Rescuers recovered the half-burnt body and buried it.

Kalmunai massacre 11.08.1990

Next day relatives of the young men walked to the Karaithivu camp through the Kalmunai town. The military in the town stopped them and made them stand by the road side. Large number of military arrived at the scene and selected the young women among the relatives. They were taken to a building near by where they were gang raped and killed. Men were tortured on the road and killed. All together 37 people were killed in two hours in this manner. None of the 25 young men taken to the Karaithivu military camp have been seen since. In total 62 people were killed in these two days by the Sri Lankan military.

Saththurukkondan massacre 09.09.1990

On the 10.09.1990, military arrested several people and took them to the military camp. Among those arrested were 85 women and many children. The arrested people were taken to the Sri Lanka army camp at the Saththurukondan. There, the women were raped, and their breasts were cut off. 68 children, among them five babies were also tortured and murdered. 205 people were killed in this massacre. Only one man, 21 year old Kanthasamy Krishnakumar escaped being killed and informed the others about what has happened. At an inquiry into the massacre, the Officer in Charge of the camp, Captain Gamini Varnakula Sooriya said “On that day no search or arrest was conducted by us.” He also reiterated that none of his men even ventured out of the camp on the day of the massacre. The military also threatened and forced the President of Citizens Committee, Arunakirinathan, to sign an affidavit saying no such incident took place. Arunakirinathan resigned from his pots following this forced affidavit. Mrs. SS lost 35 blood relations, almost her entire family.

Eravur massacre 10.10.1990

There was a man standing there with a knife. – But I did not know this. He grabbed my hair – because I had oil his hand slipped. He had tried to cut my head, but because his hand slipped, he cut my neck. I fell to the floor. I thought I would die, that’s how badly I was hurt.

Dr Shunmuganathan and a few others were cut and killed. As I was lying there, I could hear all the screams and violence. It was unbearable. But I had no other choice. After some time, a lady was brought in shouting. She seemed young. Her sari had already been removed in another room. An army took her inside a room and raped her. She pleaded to be let go and that she would not tell anyone what happened. Another army ordered that she be cut. I don’t know what they did - but I heard no sounds thereafter. Then he left.

Pullumalai massacre 1983-1990

Pullumalai in Batticaloa is a region immersed in natural beauty where Tamil people have lived for hundreds of years. Today, it lies barren and lifeless. The remains of the destroyed local school, temple and church have been left untouched as a symbol and memorial to the pain of those died and of those who survived. From 1983 to 1990 the SLA, together with Sinhalese mobs, tried over five times to destroy the village. Houses were burnt, wealth was robbed, and massacres were organized. There are unbelievable accounts of the rapes and systematic killings that took place. Over 400 families disappeared. No international or local body has enquired into the fate of these 400 families.

In July 1983, the cows in the village were killed and wealth destroyed. In 1984, when the Thiruvemba pooja in December was happening at Pillayar Temple, the SLA shot 9 people dead. That same year 300 houses were burnt. On 4th of January 1985, the SLA killed the only Engineer along with 7 others. They also destroyed houses and wealth. One week later on the 10th of January, they shot the temple priest along with 9 others. On 10th of November 1986, they returned to rape, steal, kill and burn the villagers. 103 Tamils were cut and killed that day.

In 1986, after they had shot 7 men in the village they used tires to burn the bodies. In 1987, 14 people that were fishing in the pond were shot. On 9th of July 1990, once again people left the village unable to bear the atrocities that were committed on them. Babies were ripped open and thrown callously. Over 40 families were shot; girls were raped, stabbed and ripped open. The witnesses of this torture left and have not returned till this day. Soosaimoththu Thambimoothu talks about unbelievable torture on the day his younger brother Sellathamby Perinbarasa and wife died,

“In 1983, the SLA and the mobs joined together to set alight our houses. They took all the wealth in our houses away in their vehicles. Around 40 or 45 houses were burnt. Everyone ran with fear in the direction of the vegetable garden. We also ran to our vegetable garden at Mungil Malai. The SLA rounded up and took away all the people that had gathered at Mungil Malai. My younger brother and his pregnant wife were two of these people taken away. They took turns to rape my sister in law in front of my brother. They tied up my younger brother’s hands and legs, cut open his wife's stomach, took out the baby and trampled the baby with their legs. Right at the end, they shot my brother in the ear. They took his wife's naked body, placed both bodies in a position that looked like husband was raping the wife and left. A little way away from them, Yoganathan, his father Arumugam, Jeganatha and Ramayyah were shot dead. One of their chests was ripped open with a knife and his insides were taken out. The people that were captured and taken away – don’t know what happened to this day.”

Kathirvelu Rasammah’s children and husband were destroyed by the SLA. In 1983, 1984 and then in 1990 her children were all shot dead,

“I ran behind the Army when they took my children. They told me to stop else they would shoot. They said they would have to carry out an investigation and then the

children would return home. We went to the camp a little while after this. They told us to go home and return back tomorrow. When we went the next day they did not let us and so we went back again the day after. They told us, that they had taken our children and left them in the forest and that we could go and see them there. We did not go immediately because we were too scared. When we did go a few days later, the forest was sprawled with bodies. There were arms and legs strewn everywhere. We could not identify whose children they were. They had all swelled up and were into their decomposition phase. We were too scared to stay there and so came back. My son and Arumuganathan who were fishing in the pond were caught by the SLA and chopped up. When we went looking for our son at the pond, there too we saw legs and arms lying around.”

Soosaimoothu Joseph’s account of the 1990 massacre is as follows:

“Suddenly trucks, vehicles and tractors were used to bring the SLA who surrounded the village. We ran in all directions. Bullets were falling rapidly. They took 35 or 45 people in one batch in a direction behind our house. They systematically took girls one by one and raped them. Even though we did not see this, the screams and pain of the girls were enough for us to know what had happened. There was no one there to save them or stay with them. Everyone ran in any direction they could. They came into our chicken pen and caught the chickens. I grabbed my wife and children and ran away. There were about 40 or 50 people running in the same direction as me. We ran in the forest that was beyond the pond. We were not able to run any more. We thought we would just remain there and die. My little child had a very bad cough. If the Army heard this, they would have come and shot everyone. Whilst we were thinking about this, the Army was coming our direction through the grounds. The Army at front had raised their guns and we thought that they had seen us and were approaching. My little child started coughing about the same time. 50 people were going to die because of this one child. So I tried to strangle the child to save these 50 people. My wife in panic pulled away my hand and took a handful of the milk powder that we had brought and shoved in the child’s mouth. The flour got stuck in the child's mouth and she struggled but was unable to cough. The Army was about 20 or 30 meters away from us and kept continuing on their track without stopping. We were so lucky that they did not see us. We stayed there till dark. When the firing stopped we went back into the village. In there we did not know where to look. Death was everywhere. The Peter Family and the 40 or 50 people that had run with them were all shot dead. Girls who had been raped were lying naked. Babies within one year were all shot and thrown about. The 3 children of the Pakyanathan had their legs ripped out of them.