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Report 13



2.1 General :

2.2 Civilian casualties :

Resettlement of Refugees

2.3 Education :


This section was drafted in August 1993. Updates have been added in the form of notes at the end of sections.

2.1 General :

Lush green rice fields against the distant blue hills of Uva and the busy toil of peasantry are reminiscent of the district in better times. These signs of a good summer (kalapoham or yala) harvest and other signs of returning normality have done little to lift the gloom in the minds of people weighed down by a myriad unanswered questions. In Akkaraipattu and elsewhere Tamil and Muslim farmers and labourers are going into the fields together. Several migrant Tamil workers have after more than three years come down from the Chenkalady area in Batticaloa District to work Muslim fields in Akkaraipattu, and are being accommodated by Muslims as was customary. Although routine security checks cause delays and public transport is far more cumbersome than in Colombo, one could travel quite freely north of Comary. The security situation is very similar to that described in Report No. 11. The last incident of some magnitude was the bomb explosion in the market at Sainthamaruthu on 3rd September 1992, killing 3 Muslims and wounding several others. Among the Tamils killed in reprisals were Sellathurai Master from Karaitivu and a driver and cleaner of a lorry from the Valaichenai paper factory. At least 3 shoppers from Karaitivu are said to be missing.

The general acceptance of the STF, at least among the middle classes, though welcome, must be qualified. The enlightened approach of several STF OICs has enabled young boys who joined the LTTE to return to normal life in their villages. Recent instances (in 1993) are one in Thirukkovil (about March), two in Karaitivu (about May - Vadivel(35) and Aruliah’s son(22)) and about five in Mandur. Those wanting to leave the LTTE had informed relatives, who in turn approached the STF and obtained written authority to fetch them from say the Batticaloa District and escort them home through check points, to the STF camp near home. They were then released as previously agreed after a day or so of detention.

Despite these advances, the STF’s past as an institution does not seem to wear off totally. The STF in Thirukkovil has had a particularly good record over the last two years. Arrangements were made earlier this year to extend paddy cultivation further into the interior  towards Rufus Kulam (Tank) and two tractors for ploughing were allowed. The LTTE took away one tractor ostensibly to transport some of their things. The STF reportedly responded by arresting two elderly folk in the village, members of whose family were in the LTTE. They were then taken from camp to camp over the next few weeks and are said to have been mistreated. They were released after the tractor was returned by the LTTE, supposedly after money was paid to them. On 2Oth July several civilians on the road are said to have been beaten following an incident where a former TELO member was killed and 3 STF men injured in Thirukkovil.

During June, Kopal, a former refugee and owner of a bucket shop in Veeramunai was taken by the STF. There had been no information of his whereabouts for over a month except for a rumour that he was seen at the Sorikalmunai camp. These are a small number of violations which cannot be compared with what happened during 199O. But the fact that such do happen when LTTE activity is almost nil is disturbing. The ordinary people are thus far from confident that their rights as non-combatants will be respected at all times. This is closely tied to fears refugees have in returning to homes in places which are vulnerable during conflict - such as colony areas and Amparai town.

There is thus a pressing need to have an impartial investigation into the conduct of the armed forces from 1984-1991 inclusive and lay bare the facts. The nature of disciplinary action could be left for a political consensus that will ensure that justice is done to all concerned. Unless the basis of fear is removed, communal suspicion and the internal destruction that is taking place behind a facade of normality will continue. To leave things to speculation keeps unwarranted suspicions and prejudices alive.

Although the LTTE has been generally responsible for violations against Muslim civilians since June 199O, this may have exceptions. That the forces used Muslim home guards against Tamil civilians  is well known. Tamil groups with the forces too may have on occasion acted against Muslim civilians. Two years ago a Muslim boy from Nintavur, who upon arrival from the Middle-East went into Karaitivu to deliver a parcel to the family of a Tamil friend was killed.This led to a great deal of anxiety among Muslims. Leading sources in Karaitivu attribute the murder to a Tamil group working with the forces.There are many such cases which lie uninvestigated leading to unnecessary fears. One is that of Arasamma in Veeramunai who disappeared at the end of 1991. This is linked by Tamils to her allegedly leaving behind her jewellery with a Muslim neighbour for safe keeping. Such speculation tends to diminish the effect the local Mosque Commiitee’s untiring efforts at restoring to Tamils whatever was due to them from Muslims.

The need of the hour is for groups of Tamil and Muslim citizens who will work together in several spheres. Only this will bring about the kind of social discipline and trust that would prevent things from going out of control during times of crisis. There is potential for such bodies particularly among those who came to maturity before the 8Os. Unfortunately, many of the educated in this category are moving out of the district owing to insecurity - Muslims to Colombo and Kandy and Tamils to Batticaloa.

A notable good sign is that prior to the return of Tamil refugees to Veeramunai in May 1992, their leaders had 8 meetings with Muslim community leaders in Sammanthurai. Where social relations are concerned things have since then gone reasonably well, despite reticence and suspicion on some matters. Both sides have expressed a desire for the kind of help that would bring about understanding.  [Top]

2.2 Civilian casualties :

We do not as yet have figures for the whole district which have been adequately cross checked. Some indications can however be given for those interested in rehabilitation work. The figure of about 6OO killed and missing in the Kalmunai Tamil AGA’s division is an average of those that have been around for some time and is affirmed by a citizens’ organisation on the basis of affidavits. This division has a total population of nearly 3O OOO living in about 3O villages with an average of 2OO families to a village. The casualty rate is about 2O killed per village and around 15 widows per village. The figure could be twice or thrice this number in a few villages which need to be identified.

Their experience of the armed forces appears to be similar to some of the villages in Mutur electorate of the Trincomalee District where we have taken soundings [See chapter 4 of Report No.12].

In Veeramunai which had a particularly bad experience there have been 154 dead and missing according to village elders. The village has  about 6OO families. The toll is therefore about 5O for a group of 2OO. This is consistent with the higher figures quoted in Special Report No 3 of October 199O, since those figures also involved folk from Malwattai, Mallikaitivu, Veeracholai and Valathapiddy who were also in the ill - fated refugee camp at Veeramunai. Some of our sources place the experience of Tamils living in widely dispersed villages in the colony area west of the Ampari- Karaitivu Road to have been similarly harsh, or in some cases even harsher. The population consists of about 18OOO persons in 41OO families, living in 17 villages, including the above as well as Sorikalmunai, Savalakadai, Colonies 11, 13, 14 and colony 4 of Central Camp, lying between Amparai and Mandur. Administratively these fall within the Sammanthurai AGA’s division. Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil also had very bad experiences.[See Special Report No 3  of October 199O].

Resettlement of Refugees

Around 6O OOO of the 8O to 9O thousand Tamils in the district were refugees for some time after June 199O. Those who are still refugees are from the colony areas mentioned above, Amparai Town, Inginiyagala and Pottuvil. They are presently in Thurainilawanai, Kalmunai, Karaituvu, Thirukkovil and Komari. In Veeramunai itself the majority has returned. In the colony areas the return has been piecemeal. The refugees have had to make a difficult choice between staying in the relative security of suburban camps where rations are given but where both family life and the education of children suffer [like in the case of Muslim refugees from the North]; and going back to their destroyed homes and restarting their lives under unpredictable conditions with no livelihood or capital, and where rehabilitation officials fail to live up to their promises.

One case is that of Veeramunai where nearly all 6OO houses were badly damaged and the best of property carried away in lorries by the forces. The refugees say the Government Agent promised them over a year ago that Electricity, the Rs 15 OOO/- housing grant, and a post office will be given expeditiously. The first and third have so far not been given. Only 1OO families (1 in 6) have received housing assistance. Government servants who suffered along with others have not received any benefits. Others have no proper livelihood. The local Rama Krishna Mission School first functioned under 2O tents. Now some buildings have been put up. But of the 647 children only 3OO have benches to sit on.

Note: The position in March end 1994 was as follows: Out of 6OO families in Veeramunai 556 have resettled. That is, returned to their premises and have received Rs 6OOO( SIA + PEG). Of these 468 are in category A ( Income < Rs 7OO/- per month ). They are now receiving Rs 15 OOO/- in stages. 2OO have completed their houses. there are 3O in category B ( Income >Rs 7OO/-per month , less than Rs 15OO/-) who are entitled to an NHDA sponsored bank loan of Rs.5O OOO/- . They are now receiving these. 86 displaced persons are government officers in category C ( > Rs 15OO p.m) who are entitled to a total of Rs 15O OOO/- from their departments ( circular 49 of 1989). So far 7 have received compensation. According to local sources, the CIDA  has agreed to replace the RKM school’s science laboratory once government  approval is given. The village has 1O5 widows who have formed themselves into an association of whom 65 were widowed after June 199O. The World University Service of Canada has provided Rs 2 lakhs to the local agricultural society. World Vision has promised a loan for women to purchase rice, pound it and sell it. The government has promised Rs 1 lakh for a self employment development society. The school is almost back to normal.

The refugees from Sorikalmunai returned in November 1992. SIA & PEG given. Housing payments proceeding. Of the 4O missing persons taken away by the army unit (described by locals as Kola Kottiya-  Green Tigers) which first entered and looted in 199O, two are said to have unexpectedly returned.

Generally most refugees in Amparai District have returned to their villages although most of the returnees either have no livelihood or earn a precarious living. Rations have been largely stopped. Units 4 and 11 in Central Camp for instance have no ready access to medical facilities. In Mawattai, which was destroyed, again by the armed forces, there is no community centre and no school. Thangavelayuthapuram refugees have not been permitted to go back to their farms and pastures near Kanjikudichcharu and are still refugees in Vinayagapuram south of Thirukkovil with hardly any means of livelihood. Veeracholai has also been resettled. Walathapiddy, where about 58 of those taken by the forces from Veeramunai refugee camp are believed to have been killed and burnt, is described as a scene of utter desolation.

645 families in Pottuvil and 5O in Lahugala were resettled during October 1993. But their situation remains desperate. the attitude of the STF in Pottuvil remains threatening. Fear remains. It is difficult for them to earn a living because their ability to move around is restricted both by fear as well as by unstated rules. There are also severe restrictions on relatives visiting them. There are over 13O missing and over 6O women widowed since June 199O by the actions of the forces. Their experience of 199O is thus quantitatively similar to Veeramunai. Seva Lanka visited them once in May 1994. But no NGO has done any appreciable work there. There is a desperate need for a foreign NGO to have a permanent presence there.

The Kuravar (Telugu) community who were driven out of Aligampe are still refugees in Thirukkovil [See Special Report No. 3] But a slow return is currently taking place and some make regular trips from Thirukkovil  to cultivate their fields watered by Ambalam Oya. Others continue to travel the country as snake charmers, spending the nights in churches.   [Top]

2.3 Education :

Here there are problems common to both Muslims and Tamils as well as those specific to Tamils. The common problem arises from the continuing exodus of the middle class from the district including experienced teachers, together with the general destruction. The dropping of educational standards is worrying particularly when there is no further scope for Tamils and Muslims to extend cultivation. Sammanthurai Central College, amongst the leading schools in the district, was ten years ago sending annually about 15 students to universities. Last year the number dropped to 5. The district quota system would protect a certain number of university places. But it cannot protect quality. In previous years a large number of graduates from Jaffna used to make up the shortfall of graduate teachers in the district. This is no longer the case.

Most Muslims successful in entering universities would normally go to the Eastern University. But for the last three years they had been unable to go there. The experience of displaced Muslim students and staff in Southern universities was to say the least, humiliating. Muslims now face a dilemma, not dissimilar to that facing refugees- to go or not to go home. One choice is to defy the inconvenience and elements of insecurity caused by the LTTE, go back to the Eastern University, challenge their Tamil colleagues to stop pussyfooting and defend their rights. By doing so they claim and nourish what is rightfully theirs. The alternative is an uncertain future for the Eastern University as well as for the education of Tamils and Muslims in the East.

There have been some changes. The Addalachahenai Teachers’ Training college has been made a College of Education. The Sammanturai Technical College has become an Affiliated University College. With little prospect of hiring appropriate staff, these are viewed as mere name board changes and vote -catching gimmicks by politicians.  [Top]

2.4     Problems specific to Tamils:

Out of the 59 Tamil schools in the Kalmunai electorate for instance, 19 (in August 1993) were not yet functioning. Many of the displaced students are either in Kalmunai schools or are in schools sharing sessions with others - such as the Veppadiththotam school with classes from grades 1-8, having 388 students. The Veeramunai RKM school with 647 students is an example of a school functioning in a resettled area. It had classes up to A Levels. One of its students, Sivasubramaniam, was admitted to the Engineering degree course at Peradeniya and 1O out of 16 O Level students qualified for A.Ls. Those in its advanced classes are now in Kalmunai. Seven of its teachers, including 3 graduates, disappeared during 199O. Four of them in August 199O were picked up in Akkaraipattu town, then under close STF control, while travelling by van to join their families in Thirukkovil. The teaching staff of the school has been made up to 25 by recently recruiting 9 volunteer teachers.

2.4.1          Implications of Developments in Amparai Town and the politics of fear :

In Reports 4,7 and Special Report No.3 we recorded the violence unleashed against Tamils during June 199O in Amparai Town and its environs. The death toll is still unknown. The number killed among a community of Tamil labourers of Indian origin living on the outskirts of town is placed at about 7O. According to a witness a lorry containing about 35 abducted Tamils stopped outside the Methodist Church which was surrounded by hoodlums and another dozen of refugees from he church, including the Malcolm family, were loaded into the lorry. All those taken away are missing. This was just one incident. Amparai Town used to have a thriving Tamil population which has declined with successive bouts of orchestrated communal violence since 1956. In June 199O, just before the troubles, there were 6OO pupils in Amparai’s Tamil school. Now the number of Tamil families in town is placed at about 25 (August 1993).

Most of the violence in mid-June 199O was by a number of accounts orchestrated by the police. Some of our records also speak of army involvement.On 11th  June 199O when the LTTE surrounded  police stations in the Tamil speaking areas, there were calls for help coming over the radio with expletives and curses directed at President Premadasa and Ranjan Wijeratne, then Minister for Defence. This by itself would not have led to violence against Tamils, unless the police had taken a hand. A man identified as a prime mover is a well known police sergeant with some interesting associations. During the JVP troubles of 1988-89, the JVP recruited significantly among the Sinhalese colonists, particularly in Paragahakelle and Ambagahawella. This sergeant was then equally zealous at killing Sinhalese youth. On one occasion he received a gunshot injury on the Dhamana Road and was hospitalised for a few days. For several months thereafater, on the same day of the month, a corpse was found burning at the same spot where the sergeant was injured.

During the late summer of 199O when the corpses of policemen murdered by the LTTE were discovered at Rufus Kulam, a large convoy including dignitaries and religious leaders, proceeded to the area for a ceremony. The convoy was unexpectedly detained at Thirukkovil for more than an hour.The reason which came down through the armed forces grapevine was that this sergeant who had gone to Rufus Kulam earlier had caught some Tamils and performed a blood sacrifice. The dignitaries had to wait while the remains of the Tamil victims were disposed of before the religious leaders arrived to pay homage.

While this sergeant’s superiors such as of ASP rank and above felt uncomfortable with his excesses, they presented the impression of being scared of him. The sergeant appeared to be above them and exceedingly powerful. More disturbing is the revelation that whenever the MP for the area, who was also the powerful minister for Lands, Irrigation and Mahaveli Development (and now Rehabilitation and Social Services) the  Hon P.Dayaratne visited the electrotate, this sergeant was regularly part of his entourage. In recent months the minister is said to be distancing himself from this man. The minister reportedly was in town while the orgy against Tamils was in full swing during June 199O, lasting about 3 days. Nothing in the way of commiseration or apology was offered by the minister. The minister may be a gentleman and a professional engineer. But post 1977 UNP politics makes peculiar demands on its practitioners.

We know that the violence against Tamils in Amparai town did not end in June 199O. There were the gruesome disappearances of Tamil patients from Amparai hospital during August 199O [Special Report No 3 ]. Another chilling episode commenced on 26th November 199O. M.Kathiresapillai, GS of Nintavur, and his wife were travelling by bus from Kalmunai to Amparai. At the check-point on the outskirts of town, a Tamil police reservist was identified among the passengers. The Kathiresapillais, the reservist and 12 other Tamil passengers were taken away by a police sub-inspector of some notoriety. The CTB driver, Tharmasingam from Karaitivu was allowed to proceed. Tharmasingam later informed a leading Tamil citizen of this incident, who in turn informed Colonel Jayewardene, then in Amparai town. Apparently unable to trace the 15 missing persons, Jayewardene is said to have informed the CID. About early December 199O, Tharmasingam parked his bus in Amparai and went into town. The conductor and passengers waited. But Tharmasingam never appeared again.

The sergeant named above is still in the police force at Amparai. The officer-in-charge at the Pottuvil Police station when over 12O returning Tamil refugees disappeared on 2nd August 199O is also in service. All this begs the question of security for Tamil refugees who are now being asked to return to areas where they faced the greatest insecurity from state forces. How tangible or serious are the assurances given?

Sinhalese were about a quarter of the district’s population when it was formed in 1963 and are now about half. Although Amparai town is the capital of a Tamil majority district, Tamils and Muslims have been progressively evicted. A variety of sources strongly suggest that the minister named is himself spear-heading moves to ensure that Muslims are strongly dissuaded from owning business premises in town. There was some consternation recently when a Sinhalese leaving the district, unable to obtain a satisfactory price for his business premises from Sinhalese, secretly sold it to a Muslim and left. The minister was reportedly canvassing for a Sinhalese buyer. There are other stories of similar import. This also gives us some insight into what may be in store for Trincomalee if present trends continue.

The resulting trend among Tamils and Muslims was a tension between radicalisation and a hope that they could hold their position and save their lands by supporting the ruling party. During the 1989 parliamentary elections the former mood was dominant and the Muslim Congress gained a large number of votes. The Muslim UNP candidates faced humiliation. Two prominent UNPers were made national list MPs and the one became a very visible minister. The Muslims in general see the latter as persons with no independent voice who can merely throw crumbs without being able to make an impact on government policy. The Congress, unable to fulfil the militant hopes it raised, has moved in the same direction as the other UNP MPs by at various times trying to appease the government through political footwork that has not looked too dignified. The result is despair and fatalism that is intrinsically dangerous. Through playing on the fears of Tamils and Muslims over land and security, the UNP, may like in Colombo, poll a large number of votes from Tamils and Muslims as long as it looks like being in power. But what develops beneath will have an unhealthy volcanic character.  [Top]


Thandiyady (Between Thirukkovil and Komari) : September 1993 - mid October 1993: Nadarajah and Wilson from this village were taken by the LTTE charged with being close to the STF and were executed by exploding a bomb at Kanjikudichcharu junction.

During mid October the local STF took six persons whom they alleged had fed the LTTE. They included Sivarajah, a son of the Nadarajah mentioned earlier, Sivarajah’s brother - in - law’s elder sister Lali and Lali’s husband. Of this number at least four are said to be missing.

The STF also burnt the house of Sivarajah’s sister after removing the stocks of rice which farmers store pending a good price.

Veeramunai  : 23rd November 1993: Veeramunai as we know is a Tamil enclave of the Muslim village of Sammanturai. Chelliah Mehalingam (17) of Veeramunai was said to have been a good student by the principal of the local RKM (Rama Krishna Mission) school. About two days prior to the 23rd , Mehalingam was walking towards Veeramunai along the access road from the main road after sun-set. He was stopped, according to his mother, by Muslim home guards at Point No.9. He refused to stop and told the home guards that he objected to their stopping only Tamils while Muslims were allowed to pass unhindered. He later mentioned this incident to his mother, naming the home guards in question, adding that they had threatened to teach him a lesson. The mother said that they had taken the matter lightly and on reflection should have informed the police.

On the 23rd while returning the same way from Korakkovil at about 6.3O p.m Mehalingam disappeared. The last that was heard of him was that he had stopped at a rotti shop a few yards before Point No. 9 and had eaten rotti with potato curry.

The family reported the matter to the police and the STF, but no action was taken nor any investigation carried out. Home guards technically work directly under the police. According to the mother, a number of Muslims had told her privately that they had seen what happened, but were afraid to testify in public or give a statement. One of them was a housewife near Point No. 9. According to these statements, the Muslim rotti shop owner, perhaps sensing something amiss, offered Mehalingam a lift home on his bicycle. Mehalingam had said that he could manage and went alone. Some minutes later, Mehalingam was led screaming by the home guards through a lane near the Mosque leading to the paddy fields east of the village. Nothing more was heard of him.

The Mosque Committee when apprised of the matter, made an announcement through its public address system, asking those having information on the matter to contact them. They were also apprised of what information was available.

With the arm of the law in abeyance, a dark shadow was cast over relations between the communities that had been on the mend. The historical sense of grievances came to the surface. The Tamils began saying that the Muslims were out to finish them off. Old memories came back. One Tamil gentleman recalled how his mother, mother-in-law and wife’s two sisters had been killed during the tragic events of July/August 199O, culminating in the attack on refugees.

A Muslim gentleman remarked, “ These Tamils are always trying to give us a bad name. My son was almost killed in 1989 when Tamil militants having close connections in Veeramunai accosted a group of Muslim school boys returning from an outing, killing several of them. Moreover, Jeeva, the leader of the group is still at large. If we had, as the Tamils say, used the Sri Lankan armed forces to take revenge, few Tamils would have been spared. We made a genuine effort to calm the situation.”

It is also suggested that there may have been an element of revenge in Mehalingam’s disappearance. His brother Uruithiran is a body guard of Jana, an MP and a leader of TELO which was collaborating with the government forces. Jana is associated in past violence against Muslims. But Mehalingam and the other brother Chandran have no militant links. Early this year Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MP, NSSP, complained in parliament that the disappearance was not investigated by the police. According to NSSP sources the ASP, Police, in Sammanthurai subsequently questioned the rotti shop man and one of the home guards accused, but no statement was yet made available.

There was an incident in Mehalingam’s life some months prior to his disappearance. The connection between the two,if any, is hard to assess. Mehalingam had gone with two school mates to bathe at Valukkamadu, a weir in the irrigation canal 1 1/2miles along the Mandur Road. The three it is said were accosted by LTTE cadre who took them along with them. Mehalingam and another reportedly escaped and surrendered to the forces in the Batticaloa District. The third person Ramesh is said to be with the LTTE. According to the mother, the LTTE had taken them by force. Karunaratne the local STF chief appears to have accepted this version. He had personally reinstated Mehalingam in school and helped him with stationary. Mehalingam who was when 14 years old in the Saraswathy Vidyalayam refugee camp would have witnessed events there, and like any young man, would have felt angry. But his elder brother being in the TELO would have deterred him from contemplating joining the LTTE.  

As months went, tensions once again cooled. An elderly Tamil farmer whose family have still not returned to Veeramunai reflected, “ You cannot put all the blame on the Muslims. When our boys carried the guns, they too ill - treated the Muslims. It is our boys who taught the Muslims to behave like hooligans bearing guns. Before this gun culture came here relations between the communities were fairly smooth and manageable. Whatever the Muslims had done recently, it is our boys that taught them”.

There were other ironies too. The Muslim home guards accused were well known to Mehalingam’s family as people from one village. Mehalinam’s father had been a member of the SLFP and the father of one of the home guards the local SLFP, organiser. The two had worked together closely.

More surprisingly, the grieving mother did not evince anti-Muslim sentiments. She said, “Several Muslims came to me privately and told me what they knew and what they had seen. They too shared my grief. But they were afraid to testify and I do not blame them. When our boys carried guns, we too were afraid to speak up for the Muslims.”

An elderly member of the Mosque Committee and a man of letters, confided apologetically, “We could not proceed further with the matter” . His meaning was clear. The root of the matter lies with the state’s calculated and purposeful indifference to the law and the course of justice. For its own purposes it employs gun men from both communities enjoying considerable impunity, who are at best a nuisance to their own community while being dreaded by the other. Moreover, the history of violations by the forces themselves remains a Pandora’s box which the government in power dare not open, nor can totally close.

As for mending communal relations, both communities have come face to face with a practical limitation resting largely on a lack of political will in Colombo to enforce respect for basic human rights and the rule of the law.

Thirukkovil : 15th December 1993: Two LTTE members Raju (alias Arjun) and Shantamoorthy had surrendered to the STF. On their request the STF had housed them  almost opposite their camp on account of their safety. The LTTE seems to have believed that valuable information provided by Shantamoorthy had helped the STF to apprehend several of its sympathizers in Thirukkovil - Thambiluvil and Akkaripattu. On the night of the 15th, the LTTE approached the house and called him by name. Raju came instead to the entrance unsuspectingly and was shot dead. Shantamoorthy received injuries. By the time the STF crossed the road, the gun men had escaped.

Veeramunai : January 1994:  Four boys from Veeramunai, P.Asokarajah, Thiagu, Vive and a grand son of the Vidane left the village and joined the EPDP- a militant group whose leader with his followers  left the EPRLF in 1987. The EPDP is said to have contacted the 4 boys in Kalmunai, who are said to be either school dropouts or poor students of around 16 or 17 years. Their parents reported the matter to the police. A local elder said, that among the reasons why people went to the police is that once the STF hears that boys are missing, the families would be harassed on the suspicion that the boys had joined the LTTE. The EPDP is however close to the government. This was the only case in Veeramunai of recruitment by the EPDP. The event, according to Tamil elders, has no connection with the Mehalingam affair.

Thirukkovil: Late April 1994: An STF night patrol was attacked by the LTTE following the exploding of a cylinder bomb. Three were reportedly killed and eight injured. There were searches but no reprisals. The brother of an LTTE member was taken in. At first the worst was feared. The STF later gave the assurance that the boy would be returned after a precautionary  stint at the Badarawela reformatory.

Thrukkovil 21st May 1994: Suthakaran, a recently elected local council member from Independent Group 1 and reportedly close to the STF,was shot dead as he was leaving for a temple festival. A week earlier he is said to have been involved in a bitter private quarrel with another family, where local sources described him as the aggressor. Although an LTTE involvement is suspected by some, speculation is wide and varied.  [Top]

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