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 - http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=31223- 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.