1.1 Incident At Pandeteruppu: 13th January 1989
1.2 Incident at Jaffna Hindu: 26th January 1989
1.3. The Old Ladys Pluck Tellipalai: 1st March 1989
1.4 Killings In Ariyalai:
Murgaiah(1st January 1989)&Annamalai(12th January 1989)
1.4.1. Rajadurai Murugaiah(45):
1.5. Incidents: General Vaddukottai : 8th December 1988
1.6. Instant Bomb Disposal Expert Incident At Ampanai, Tellipalai 3rd January 1989:
1.7. Thinnevely : 27th January 1989
1.8. St. Mary's Church (Cms), Kopay 28th January 1989
1.9. The Death Of T. Gajan 29th January 1989
1.10. Mrs. Punithavathy Ratnasabapathy (45), Meesalai 30th January 1989
1.11. Thinnevely Early February 1989
1.12. Incident At Atchuveli: 5th February 1989
1.13. Election Day:15th February 1989 :Rocketed To Vote
1.14. Death Of Mr. Anirthalingam, Newspaper Proprietor: 1st February 1989
1.15. Murunkan Mid - February 1989
1.16. Polonnaruwa:2nd March 1989:Death Of John Selvarajah
1.17. The Death Of N. Sababatnam, Karainagar:11th March 1989
1.18. A disappearance:Mullaitivu: 23rd December 1987
1.19. Incident at Thirunelveli: Bomb attack on the IPKF and its sequel:21st 23rd February 1989
Friday the 13th, it sounded ominous enough without things happening around to prove it. The hour was nearing half past two and most of the village folks had turned in for their forty winks when gunshots resounded through the sleepy little hamlet.
According to the eyewitness interviewed, about 300 1 away from the Pandateruppu junction, 3 youths identified as the members of the LTTE were putting up a poster on a wall while another kept watch about 15 M away from the spot leaning against the gatepost of the house belonging to a senior citizen of the area, Mr. Singarayar. Army vehicles belonging to the battalion at Villan commanded by Major Sud, which were at that time coming towards the junction from the north along Keerimalai road were spotted by the youths who quickly left their bicycles standing awkwardly on the road, jumped over the parapet wall1 opposite the wall on which this costar was freshly pasted, and took cover behind trees, walls etc. of the adjoining compound.
The boy, posted for sentry duty dropped his bundle pamphlets and scuttled off through and footpath nearby. Captain Dohear, followed by other Army personnel, got down from their vehicles to inspect the poster in great haste. Bullets fired by the youth struck down the captain and one other soldier. That the number of military persons shot dead was two was attested by the fact that a helmet and a cap were found lying beneath the bicycles on the road.
Gunshots were heard in all directions for the next five minutes or so. Many people in the surrounding area had left their houses and had started moving into the fields nearby as soon as they had heard the gunshots fired by the LTTE cadres. By the roadside, just near the poster, was a house belonging to a daily wage earner who worked in toe fields to eke out a modest living. The back entrance facing the road was covered with a metal sheet. This was kicked open by the army who charged in and went round the house to the front entrance where on the verandah were Grace Jenna (21) 8 months pregnant, her son Nicholas Surendrakumar (2) and Rita Kumuthini (13) crouched under a table in a corner. All three were killed on the spot. Rosemary who had covered away in a corner and warded off bullets from entering her head, received injuries on her upper arm, forehand and buttocks. Several others received injuries while trying to get to the neighbouring house. Grace Malar K 10) & Amirthansyagam (20) received gun shots on the hand. Anton Jeevanayagam (23), brother of the deceased woman, was also wounded. Their father: a daily wage earner who already had a disabled arm, was wounded on the leg. Anton Jeevanayegam and he were apparently the two bread winners of the family. Hunger and fear lurked in the eyes of these simple country folk who surveyed us with suspicion. There is a 1ot of talk about relief and compensation now that elections are around the corner, but they would have to wait and see whether it all materialises once the elections are over.
The lady staying in the house belonging to Mr. Singarayer said that she was just dozing of f when she heard shots being fired end before they could decide which way to rune the army had entered the house. Jeno (18), student of St. Henrys College Illavalal who was s1eeping in one of the bedrooms near the ha11 was dragged out and amidst screams of protest and was taken away. In the evening he was found near the house, shot on both legs and stomach. Jeno has since recovered and is attending school. The owner of the house was asked to bring the parcel of leaflets and was taken to the camp under duress.. The lady too received blows from the army. Houses along Keerimalai towards Villan were ransacked by the army, who broke into them and smashed up T.V. sets and other valuable articles.[Top]
On. the morning of 26th January, the LTTE is said to have attacked IPKF men in Jaffna town and the ENDLF at Kottady. Two Indian soldiers were reportedly killed and an ENDLF van burnt. A. chase was given. After firing at the pursuers at Pommaiveli, the LTTE dispersed in various directions.
The Vice Principal of the school; a short jolly sort of man, set off on his usual rounds, cane in hand, shortly after the drink interval. The time was about.11.15 A.M. This school had been his, home as his head turned grey over the decades. The keen sportsman that he was, he looked forward to spending his afternoons with the boys on the sports field after late lunch and a snooze. The school had been founded by the Hindu Board on the British Public School model. The familiar rooms and corridors he now paced were once trodden by such indomitable Victorians as Nevins Selvadurai, and had faced several vicissitudes in his own lifetime. The school had been a refugee camp during the Indian armys October 1987 operation. Many ordinary people were grateful to him, to the Principal and to other members of the staff, for their unremitting hospitality during those difficult days. For nearly a century, his school had produced, besides numerous professionals, youth leaders and public men of all hues from the Youth Congress of the 1920s, which was inspired by the Indian National Congress, to militant leaders of today. He could recall the time of the youth insurgency of 1971 when he was stopped by the Ceylon Navy, while carrying food cooked at his house for four boarders from the East who were unable to get home. A curfew was on at that time. After a brief inquiry, he was issued with a curfew pass and they subsequently arranged to take the boys home. One of those boys is now the Finance Minister in the EPRLF led provincial government. It counts amongst its alumni, an MP from the EPRLF as well as the late Mr. Thileepan from the LTTE. It is this school that is being branded a Tiger school by todays military authorities.
The Vice Principal was proud of his schools discipline and its high academic standards. The old philosophy, that a few timely well aimed cuts on the back, were a beneficent admonition against more costly indiscretions in later life, still had its admirers. As his cane swayed to the motion of his gait, he may have been dimly aware that he was following a very old tradition. Mr. Orator Subramaniam, an eminent educationist and Youth Congress figure, fondly recalls his schooldays 75 years ago, when the Principal, Nevins Selvadurai, used to follow the same routine. The venerable figure would sometimes stride out of the school premises to the nearby tea kiosks, and the loiterers would left in no doubt about the Principals dexterity with the cane. Schoolboys playing truant from .neighbouring schools too would suffer the same fate as their hapless mates from Jaffna Hindu.
The Vice Principals reverie was broken by the sound of a shot. From upstairs, where he was, he immediately looked onto KKS Rd. and saw people and traffic rushing northwards from town. He took the gunshot to have come from somewhere near Vaideeswara College. This signalled trouble in town which was south of the college. Shortly afterwards he heard two, more shots which sounded pretty close. Sensing trouble, the Vice-Principal went into action. He warned those in the Art class and the Library upstairs, to keep their heads down. He then ran. downstairs anti warned those in the science laboratory and in the classrooms adjoining the road to get down if any further noise was heard. When going towards his office, he met some teachers who were unaware of the firing noises. He advised them not to be out unnecessarily and took them into his office to help him with the timetable.
Mr. Mahesan was a retired teacher from the school, who was on his way back after Visiting a former colleague in Ilavaly, when he met another retired colleague, Mr. Nagalingan, near the Jaffna Hindu junction. Mi.Nagaingam was going in the opposite direction. The two of them thought it a happy coincidence and went into the old alma mater to catch up with each other over tea in the tuck shop.
Shortly after 12.00 noon, the Vice Principal was startled out of his office by a loud racket. He saw a gunman standing on the steps of the. building opposite and firing with his automatic into the corridor linking the tiass rooms in that building. He then shouted, My god, stop, those inside are our teachers and students. The gunman 1ooked at him and said, "We will see about you later.
Just then an IPKF vehicle arrived at the main gate, a short distance away. The Vice Principal spotted an officer and shouted at him, pointing to the gunman, He is shooting at our teachers and students. The officer ordered: Stop firing. They came to know later that the officer was from the railway station camp. The gunmen was from a party of about 8 persons from the EPRLF, who with the IPKF party were in pursuit of 3 persons , one tarrying an automatic and two other limping from wounds.- They charged that these persons from the LITE had entered the school through the main gate and were hiding there.
When the older was given; the firing ceased and most of those who came dispersed to search the school. The Principal, who had also been in his office the VicePrincipal, Mr. Mahesan and som3 others went into the corridor to see what had happened. They were followed by the same gunman and some IPKF soldiers. Three teachers who had received gunshots were lying on the floor, one of whom said that they needed medical attention. Mr. Mahesan remonstrated with the gunmen, who proceeded to belabour him with a rod. The Vice Principal protested and the gunman hit him with the butt on the loi4r part of his skull at the back. The gunman then raised his gun as if to shoot him. Immediately, an Indian soldier put his boot to his back and pushed him into a classroom, where he joined the Principal and some others. On looking back over the events, the Vice Principal is convinced that this -act saved his life.
It was the discovered that Mr Shanmugalingam, the teacher in the corridor lying closest to the outside entrance had died. A little later, they came outside and saw the officer coming their way. When they told him that there were wounded who had to be taken to hospital, the officer asked them to get a vehicle. When the Vice Principal made to go, the gunman moved threateningly. The VicePrincipal appealed to the officer, who told him to ignore the gunman and proceeded to lead him by the hand. Other soldiers stopped a vehicle and the two wounded were taken away.
Shortly after the shooting; a gunman came upstairs and: asked everyone in the library to go down. While& going downstairs, the gunman asked a senior staff member whether the person killed was a teacher. The staff member said that, he did not know anything and he was going doing for the first time. The young man sat on the stairs pensively, letting his chin drop on his fist. The staff member asked if he could go back to close the, library and then return. There is no need, replied the young man worriedly,. we are the only ones about.
Several teachers and students were assaulted during the search. According to teachers, the two EPRLF men who went to search the library were decent and concerned, and apologised later. But the conduct of about four of them had been atrocious. They thought that the IPKF party had acted creditably.
They added that the school had come under unwarranted suspicion; and that for some time, they have had the feeling that some of the groups opposed to the LTTE have been waiting for a chance to come in and let go1 A few days back, two boys at cricket practice had been assaulted by gunmen hovering near the premises. A senior teacher said that had the IPKF arrived 3 minutes earlier, nothing would have happened. had they arrived 3 minutes later, the scene would have been unthinkable, He added that the gunman who fired at the teachers could not have been. mistaken about what he was doing. The victims were waving their books and shouting we are teachers.
The senior teacher added that a visit paid by a delegation of the staff to the Town Commandant's office was a disconcerting experience. There was little in the way of concern or sympathy for what had happened. Nor was the discussion very relevant to the future of the school. They were treated to a homily along these 1ines: to are determined to hold the general elections on the 15th of February. We have flushed out the Tigers from their hideouts. But some people are sheltering them and are giving them food. From the outskirts, they come into town, shoot at our boys 2nd run away. When our soldiers return the fire, innocent people suffer. As long as people harbour the Tigers, incidents like this will happen. If you see Tigers, ask them to go to the jungles and join the others.
This has become more or less the official line. Another example of the IPKF's sensitivity was given by a retired professional end NGO official, who dealt with numerous affected persons. He was trying to put across to the leading Indian military official in this country the heaviness he felt in his heart, shortly after a relative had been killed. In concluding, he cited several Indian loaders who were long admired here. The military man replied sternly; You have mentioned nearly all the Indian leaders that one could think of except Rajiv Gandhi. He has done so much for the Tamils"
Both the students and the staff of Jaffna Hindu are yet to recover from the trauma. Several staff members avoid going into town, because they are afraid. At several encounters between the IPKF and members of the school, the latter have been referred to as members of a Tiger institution. According to the school authorities the IPKF Major at the nearby camp has tried to be helpful and encouraging, as was the officer from the railway station. The former promised that he would do his best to prevent a recurrence and wanted the school to resume normal activities. But, the parents are afraid to allow their children to use the sports field. The school is the only one in Jaffna not to have begun its cricketing season. Rs.25,000/ worth of sports goods have been purchased and dumped.
Mr. Shanmugalingam who was killed9 was said to be quiet men with no political links, and an excellent teacher.
About 20th February, at Kollankaladdy a small boy carrying a plastic bucket full of food, dropped the bucket and ran away on spotting the IPKF. On examining the contents, the IPKF concluded that the food was meant for the LTTE.
On Thursday, 23rd February, at 8.0.0 A.M., the IPKF surrounded the house of Mr. Subramaniam (aged 64) and arrested the old man and his son S. Sivapaladevan (24), an employee of the Kankesan Cement Works (KCW). The two were immediately beaten and accused of supplying food to the Tigers. It appeared that someone had given false information.
At the Tellipalal camp, father and son. were hung upside down and beaten. When the sons head was to be immersed in a bucket of water, he protested in fear that he was asthmatic. The fathers head was then immersed in water, and the son screamed at the sight of the fathers agony. A soldier gave the son a heavy blow causing him to lose consciousness.
When he regained consciousness it was late in the night. He was lying naked in one corner of the room, while his sarong was in the other corner. The father was in the same room. The father was released on Saturday evening to attend the funeral of a relative.
Mr. & Mrs. P are an old couple living at Kollankaladdy, both retired teachers and practicing Hindus. Mr P had been a school principal. Their daughter who was the Chemist at KCW, went to the army carp to ask for the release of Sivapaladlevan in order to enable his to attend the funeral. This was allowed. The father and son were to be returned to the army camp in the evening. It was clear that the army had no evidence against them. Mrs. P. accompanied Subramaniam and son to the camp in the evening. When they had not been released by Wednesday morning (1st March), Mr. & Mrs. P thought that they should find out what was amiss. Mr. P felt that the IPKF would not listen to him and that he may just lose his temper and make matters worse. Mrs. P decided to go on her own. When she asked for their release, the officer in charge at Tellipalai replied in strong terms, If you were not an educated lady, I would not even have bothered to hear you.
Mrs. P went into the attack, "You boast that India is a democracy, and you will only listen to educated English speaking ladies. Do not the other 90% have even a voice with you? India is even called a Holy Nation and almost everything we see is to the contrary. See what you have been doing".
The ofticers face fell. He then blamed the population for supporting the Tigers -,
Yes, said Mrs. P, gave the Tigers Jewellery and money. But you gave then shelter and training, and armed them. Then when you have a quarrel with them, you put us at the receiving end. She went on authoritatively, "You must go to your detention centre at KKS and make a close study of the young men there. 9O % of them are innocent. They are also sons of poor helpless people. Those who gave substantial money to the Tigers also used their money to send their children abroad. I insist that you do this. I know Sivapaladevan. He is an innocent boy and you simply mistreated him. Being a probationary employee, he stands to lose his job by prolonged absence. You ought to release him.
The officer quickly promised to give a letter to the works manager of KCW stating that Sivapaladevan would be released by about 6th March and asked Mrs. P to send the other lady from KCW to collect the letter the following morning. Mrs. Ps daughter collected the letter as arranged.[Top]
Murughaiah was born in Trincomalee in 1940, into a humble family of 5 boys and a girl. He came and settled down in Ariyalai, Jaffna, after the 1983 racial violence, as a displaced Government officer. He was a Tamil nationalist bearing the DMK stamp The DMK in South India was a secular Tamil nationalist movement of the lower strata of society, which viewed the Brahmin dominated upper strata as an external imposition. Murugaiah was a member of the DMK and had a commanding personality a dark, wellbuilt man, with jet black hair combed backwards, sporting a bushy moustache, red shirt and black trousers. In keeping with his ideals, in spite of his having attained to middleclass status, in 1972 he chose a bride who was the daughter of a dhoby (washerman). Through his wife Saroijinidevi Somasundaram (born 1947), he had four children Aelventhan Ravanan(15), Thevi Uthayarani(14), Anparasan Sankilian(13) and Thamilarasan Kulakkottan(11). The names of the boys, taken from Tamil Kings renowned for military prowess and valour, give some insight into his sentiments He was an avid reader of the Jaffna based English weekly, The Saturday Review, of which he possessed bound volumes.
On coming to Jaffna just after July,1983, he took up residence in Stanley College Lane Ariyalai, and was employed by the YMCA in refugee work until the end of the year. From 1984, he worked for the Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organisation, TRRO,where he rose to become the head of the Relief section. This section dealt with applicants whose families, for reasons of death or injury, had lost means of income and were in need of cash for immediate expenses.
Although the LTTE was the militant group enjoying the largest support in Ariyalai, Murugaiah belonged to a small community where the militant group TELO had a base. Murugaiah s early militant links were with the TELLO. He had been involved in promoting the Tamilar Miahalir Peravai, a TELO sponsored womens organisation. When the LTTE decimated the TELO in May 1985, Murugaiah sought links with the LTTE.
Subsequently Murugaiah's name came to be linked with the LTTE. It is hardly credible that the LTTE would have come to trust an erstwhile supporter of a militant group with which it had a bloody feud. But, whatever the link was, it was one which Murugaih and the LTTE found mutually useful. Mlurugaiahs subsequent loyalty to the LTTE was almost complete.
It is a well known phenomenon that relief organisations functioning under conditions of conflict are faced with various groups pressurising them to allocate funds to projects or front organisations of their choice. To smoothen such dealings, a pragmatic measure often adopted is to have within the organisations, persons enjoying at least good diplomatic links with such groups. (The alternative is the demanding task of having a highly motivated organisation with its house in order, with an ability to go direct to the people end establish a case for complete autonomy.)
When such pragmatic measures are adopted, things can often run fairly smoothly, with the money reasonably well spent. Those within the organisation who function as intermediaries would tend to grow with the organisation, getting to know its weak points; which knowledge in turn would increase their indispensability.
There is little doubt that Murugaiahs influence within the TRRO was fairly strong. After May 1986, the TRRO adjusted itself to the new climate of LTTE dominance. Following the October 1987 IPKF offensive, the LITEs capacity to influence public life directly, greatly declined while those of other militant groups which had earlier felt cut out, increased.
At this point Mr. K. Kanthasamy, a founder of the TRRO and its chief fund raiser arrived from Britain, and threw himself into the work of the TRRO with plans for massive rehabilitation work. A signed statement by the Directors of the Central British Fund for Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation (29th June 1988) indicates that the EROS attempted to fill the vacuum and had meetings with Mr. Kanthasamy where demands were made in intimidatory fashion. Mr. Kanthasamy was a strong person who resisted these demands and disappeared after being kidnapped on 19th June 1988.
All this goes to indicate that like most public institutions in Jaffna, the TRRO was functioning in an atmosphere where weaknesses had crept in through attrition and where complete trust was lacking.
In his work for the TRRO, Murugaiah was known to be a strickler for rigid bureaucratic norms to the point of often being rude and insensitive to applicants for relief. Those who admired him, maintain that this was because there were many coming with bogus claims and he was thus forced to be strict. The organisation found itself able to do little about his public relations.
On the other hand, he acquired a popular image in Ariyalai as a bold and forthright backer of the LITE and became secretary to the Ariyalai citizens committee. He was blunt when confronting the IPKF, in spite of being counselled by his friends to be more diplomatic. He was one of the chief organisers behind the public meeting to commemorate the LTTE militant, Santhosams 1st anniversary on 21st October 1988. Murugaiah was one of the main speakers. Mr. Sivanandasundaram, the chief speaker, was assassinated on his way back to Pt.Pedro after the meeting. The latter had said at the meeting that his organisation the Thamil Makkal Mantram, would issue a public pronouncement the next day, calling upon all citizens coznittees to turn the LTTEs fight into a peoples fight.
Sometime in midDecember, several leading citizens of Ariyalai were invited to the IPKF camp and were questioned.
At 2.00 A.M. on New Years day (1989), some youths called at Murugaiah's home. He was then interrogated about various persons and organisations. He was questioned about a womens organisation, the Mahalir Avai Onriarn. At one point he was told that they knew about the Mothers Front, a womens organisation started in 1985 by women from the social elite to protest against the activities of the Sri Lankan army, and which declined amidst divisions after mid1986.
Murugaiah was questioned about a number of persons and was asked for the whereabouts of the Citizens Committee president and the local SALT (an LTTE sponsored students group active in schools mainly during 1987) organiser. Murugaiah tried to shield them and gave negative replies. (When LTTE supporters started becoming targets from October 1988, many Citizens Committee leaders and those associated with the LTTE went into hiding, particularly at night time). The interrogators seemed to become impatient at repeatedly hearing I dont know. At 2.55 A.M, he was asked to come out with the youths and direct them to the house of P. Suntheralingam, the Citizens Committee president. Mr. Murugaiah protested that the latter did not sleep at home, but his coming was insisted upon. The last time his wife saw him alive was when she gave him a shirt and saw him out.
A pistol shot was heard at 4.25 A.M at the junction of Hospital Road and Temple Road. Murugaiahs body was found there early in the morning.
The place of Murugaiahs murder was 11/2 miles from his home. This would have been unusual if immediate killing had been intended, suggesting that Murugaiahs abductors had started with a different motive. In the absence of any process of the law, the ordinary Ariyalai citizen expresses no doubts as to who is responsible.[Top]
Annamalai was an affable lawyer in his 5Os living near the Paasayoor end of Pungankulam road in Ariyalai. He had returned from Britain towards the close of the 1970 to work for the leftwing NSSP, a breakaway group of the Trotskiyite Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP); and now a member of the United Socialist Alliance, comprising parties of the political left LSSP, NSSP, SLMP and CPSL. With other NSSP leaders Annamalai had links with the Militant Tendency of the British Labour Party, Annamalai functioned as the secretary of the NSSP in Jaffna, and his party enjoyed considerable esteem amongst students in Jaffna because of its unequivocal antiracist stand. His party started at a time when antiTamil sentiments were the norm in the South, that it did not, like others, say one thing in the North and something else in the South. It kept this promise as part of an acid test, when its leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, fought in 1984, a southern byelection on a stridently antiracist platform. The challenge was taken so seriously that President Jayewardene took the unusual step of campaigning for the ruling UNP at a byelection. The result was close and it was widely believed that, but for the thuggery of the UNP Mr. Nanavakkara would have won. The NSSP was the first party to campaign for selfdetermination for the Tamils as a means to solving the National Question.
Annamalais first trouble with the LTTE was when in early 1983, the NSSP put down candidates for the Municipal lections, in the face of a boycott call by the LTTE Annamalai was whipped by some youngsters who called at his home.
During the period following the 1983 racial violence, Annamalai kept out of active politics. But he was active in the Movement for Inter Racial Justice and Equality, particularly in the area of care and legal help for political detainees. On a number of occasions he had expressed the feeling that in a situation such as the one prevailing, politics seemed irrelevant and that one seemd to be driven by scenes of grief and misery towards humanitarian work. He was a friendly, kind hearted man, and it was easy for those with ideological differences to work with him. Shortly after the July 1987 Accord, the NSSP tried to approach the LTTE in Jaffna . Annamalai too had been with his party members. It is reported that those approaches were unsuccessful. It was not uncommon for the LTTE to be deeply suspicious of those who south good relations with them.
Many members of the Left in the South had a deep -sense of guilt after the July 1983 antiTamil violence. This led them into a generous attitude towards the Tamil militant groups which held up even through massacres of Sinhalese civilians. The LTTEs rejection of their overtures (except for a brief interval when Kittu was in charge of Jaffna) has been to them a constant puzzle.
Annarnalai had been reported1y very critical of his partys soft line towards the IPKF and the EPRLF, particularly in view of their role in human rights violations. During his last party meeting, he is reported to have protested to the point of almost disrupting the meeting. It is a mark of the respect his party had for him, that in spite of differences, he was placed on the national list for the forthcoming general elections. According to a party neither he had been advised to stay in Colombo until the elections. But he came to Jaffna for 3 days to spend Thaipongal with his family. He was shot dead on 12th January by some youths, shortly after he had returned at 5.30 PM from a trip to Pt.Pedro with some party workers. Mr. Annamali leaves behind his wife and 9 year old daughter.
A worried party member said that as soon as news of Anna's death was out, his father in law had rushed home to ask him to give up politics. He added as a mark of consolation, "There were Narodniks in Russia who had tried to assassinate Lenin. But they disappeared."
The Sunday Times of 22nd January quoted an LTTE spokesman as saying that they had killed Annama1ai not because he had defied their ban on participation in the General Elections; but because he had spoken at a public meeting for the Socialist Alliances presidential candidate Oswin Abeygoonesekera in early December. It is notable that 42000 Jaffna men and women voted for Mr. Abeygeonesekera at the Presidential Elections, giving him majority in several electorates. This was done as a mark
respect for the Alliances antiracist stand against heavy adds in difficult times, and has little to do with any knowledge of Annamalai or what he had said.
Mr. Annamalal was an able and educated man who could have easily left this country, but instead made a deliberate decision to remain with his people and serve during their darkest days. His death will be mourned by many who do not share his political views. It Is ironical that in a kind where opportunistic and cowardice around, a person like Annamalai should be killed as part of a liberation struggle.
A passenger van from Karainagar bound for Colombo reached the IPKFs Bicknell pavilion sentry point at 5.30 a.m. An officer asked all the passengers to get down, accusing them of breaking curfew, and several of them ,were assaulted. Some were then tied and made to sit on the road. It was generally known that the curfew was lifted at 5.00 a.m. The two IPKF notice boards at Vaddukottai junction and at the pavilion end, one said that the curfew was off at 5.00 a.m. while the other said 6.00 a.m. While getting down from the van, a university man told the officer firmly that the curfew was off at 5.00 a.m. The officer who was hitting passengers one by one, changed his mind and asked the university man to sit down. The van was allowed to proceed at 6.00 a.m. Many of the passengers were angry. The conductor asked a Tamil soldier with whom he was acquainted roughly, At what time does curfew end?. The jawaan replied apologetically, Iyah, what can we do?. One elderly man observed, If these fellows can drive us into a violent mood at our age, just imagine what they will do to the young?. An old man added, This treatment is not enough for chaps who welcomed these fellows with garlands. The driver had received a cut on his forehead and terminated his journey in Jaffna, saying that he was in no state to go on.[Top]
What follows is the experience of Mr. Mahalingasivam a surveyor by profession from Tellipalal and a father of three children who had to become a bomb disposal expert in order to protect his accredited protectors.
On 3rd January while returning from work through post office lane near Ampanai, he saw some Indian soldiers demanding something from a woman. When they saw him, they let the woman go and stopped him. A soldier asked him to open a parcel lying on the other side. From the way they looked at the parcel, he thought it could be bomb. Through fear, he simply refused. Immediately he was threatened at gun point. He said to himself, I had to choose one of two kinds of death. He added, the pictures of my wife and children ran in front of me. However death, he thought was inevitable. Yet there was a faint chance of escape if it was not a bomb. He opened and to his surprise, some broken bottles brought him to life again. The soldiers then came up to him and didnt allow him to proceed. They asked him to go back and he had to find a. round about way to go home.[Top]
40 girls were getting ready to leave the textile factory in a lane opposite the Farm School at 6.00 a.m., when gunfire was heard. It was later reported that the LTTE had fired at the IPKF, killing a jawaan and wounding 3 others. After the noise had subsided, a young man at the factory went out to see if it was safe for the girls to leave. As he was re-entering the factory, he was spotted by an IPKF patrol which had Pushed to the spot. The patrol came into the factory, badly beat up the young man and the elderly watcher, and took them away to the Kondavil camp.
The 40 girls promptly trooped to the Kondavil camp and were told by the IPKF that their colleagues will be released the following morning. The girls said that they would then sit there until the two men are released. The IPKF responded by requesting them to go away, promising to release the men by 5.00 p.m. The girls said that they would wait until 5.00 p.m. or whatever the time of release. The two men were released by 2.00 p.m.[Top]
The parish priest of the church was to get married on the let Feb. On the 28th January where were some youths who were helping the priest to write out invitation cards and wrap the wedding cake. Around 7 Oclock in the night the priest went to have dinner at the house opposite to me church. While having his dinner there was an explosion, followed by a commotion. The priest took off his cassock and wanted to sleep there to avoid crossing road in a tense situation. In the mean time the soldiers who were stationed nearby at Kopay junction came running t towards the Church and entered the premises. Immediately they caught the youths who had been helping the priest, and along with them they stepped into the parsonage and saw some unwashed dishes left on the dining table. This caught the eyes of soldiers and prompted them to jump to the conclusion that the LTTE would have eaten there and that therefore the youths were LTTE. The boys were. beaten very badly. Then IPKF went to the house opposite and called the priest. The priest came out in his cassock and he too was taken. A little later they all were taken by the army.
The army claimed that a missile, had been fired at the Kopay camp from the Church. How the army came to this conclusion is not known. While locals admit hearing the noise, they doubt that it was from the Church. The case was plain enough, except for minds blinded by suspicion. The wedding cake and cakes were there. Boys involved in preparation for nuptial festivity are not going to be accomplices in firing a missile and then remain there to get the works.
High-level approaches were tried using leading locals to explain matters to the army. The. Bishop of Colombo is easy to have. used his clout with Ambassador Dixit. The army relented when given the plight of the anxious bride. Rev. Jeyarajah got married on the 2nd Feb. with a fractured finger, looking like a man from a knock out in the boxing ring transported straight to the alter. The army had told another clergyman that the others would be released in time for the wedding. This was not done. But the churchs success in releasing the bridegroom was talked of as a triumph of high level diplomacy. Even after mid - February the church keeper and an 0/L student had not been released. It Is usual for the army to detain innocent people to give time for signs of torture and maltreatment to heal.
This incident must be compared with the pluck of the factory girls who followed their gut instincts and got their colleagues released from the same Kondavil camp in a matter of hours - Low level diplomacy as opposed to High level diplomacy.[Top]
T. Gajan is a 23 year old boy from the Mannar district. Apparently prior to the Indo - Lanka peace accord he had had connections with the LTTE. But before the accord was signed he had left the movement and had joined the Jaffna College Technical Institute of Vaddukodai, Jaffna, where he had followed a technical course at the mechanical workshop for one year. After finishing the course, he joined as a Trainee Instructor at the same institute and has been working there for about a year. His colleagues say that he had scarely left the College hostel ever since the operation Pavanin late 1987.
He had earned about Rs. 3,500/- by working on orders taken by the workshop. On the 29th of January he had gone to Jaffna town to buy himself some clothes. After doing the shopping, he was returning to Vaddukotai in a crowded mini bus, and was standing at the foot-board of the bus. Somewhere between the Oddumadam junction and the CRPF camp, by the roadside, a boy in civil who was talking to an Indian jawan had recognised T. Gajan, on the foot-board. He ordered the bus to be stopped, asked Gajan to get down; -and then ordered the bus to leave without him. This incident was seen by two other students from the Jaffna College Technical Institute who were travelling in the same bus. This happened at about 4.30 p.m. The two students who had seen the incident had gone and reported it immediately to the acting director of the Technical Institute; who contacted the ENDLF camp at Oddumadam. The ENDLF denied that they had made the arrest. Later the boy's dead body with bullet wounds was found at Kombayan junction, not far from the point of arrest.
The JCTI authorities described Gajan as a model instance of one who had returned to normal living.[Top]
Mrs. Ratnasabapathy was a teacher at Vigneewara Mahavidyalayam, Meesalai - Chavakachoheri, who hoped to be made principal when the post fell vacant. Instead, Mr. Sellathural was appointed. The grounds for his appointment was that though he possessed fewer years of teaching experience in that school, he had an M. A. Mrs. Ratnasabapathy felt unfairly deprived and complained to the local EFRLF, who reportedly questioned Mr. Sellathurai. The LTTE who came to know about this. took particular objection to the implicit recognition of the EPRLF which headed the provincial administration as the legitimate authority. Mrs. Ratnasabapathy is said to have been warned by the LTTE on three occasions not to go to the EPRLF and to take the matter up with the local education authority of the central government. These were not heeded. On the morning of 30th January, while Mrs. Ratnasabapathy was sweeping her compound, she was called out by some youths, who then shot her dead.
Mr. Sellathural has said that he had at no time contacted the LTTE on the matter.
NOTE: The average Jaffna man would dismiss such an incident as sad, but as foolishness on Mrs. Ratnasabapathys part. Such debasement of life is part of a value system where people like to avoid personal responsibility, as well as unpleasant things which stalk everyone.
In this society, it is commonplace for people to feel very strongly on matters such as promotions and can become unbalanced particularly when the system is such that an individual cannot get a fair hearing. This part of the general administrative breakdown arid the rise of the patronage system which predate the militancy. At present it is very much the norm for senior civil servants, Directors and Councils not to be accountable to anyone. Deeply felt grievance: painstakingly written down often elicit terse, negative replies without any reason being adduced. The individual is often up against a brick wall unless he or she stooges. It is in this kind of culture that individuals see the gun and gunmen as the most appropriate remedy.
We are not commenting on the merits of Mrs. Ratnasabapathy s case or on the suitablity Qf Mr. Sellathurai. Things may have in order in this instance. But it is important to note that we are living in a System where such tragedies can occur again and again. Many teachers are regularly driven to despair over matters pertaining to their career.
The All Ceylon Teachers Union and Northern Province Teachers Association, once very influential and active in both teachers welfare and the maintenance of professional standards; are now just
shadows. Indeed, Mrs.Ratnasabpathy's tragedy and. killing- of the teacher at Jaffna Hindu, the teacher aroused little interest or concern in local teaching circles. [Top]
Mr. Kandiah of Idaikkadu a the retired principal of the former Teachers Training College at Thinrievely and resided near the Farm School. At 6.30 in the morning, when he had barely risen, loud gun fire resounded near his house. It transpired later that the LTTE had fired at an IPKF patrol wounding some men. The LTTE got away and the soldiers went back after scouting around briefly.
Sometime later a larger party returned and searched the area finding empty cartridges under a mango tree in Mr. . Kandiah's house. Mr. Karidiah and a young man boarded with him were badly beaten. The
man, advanced in years, tried to protest that he was helpless if someone climbed a tree in his house before dawn, when all were asleep, and used the covert position to shoot at passer by, but to no avail. Mr.Kandiah closed up and has gone to live indaikkadu.
On the morning of 5th February gunmen fired at a minibus carrying passengers to Jaffna. Five died on the spot arid five others were admitted to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital with severe injuries. Although no one has openly admitted responsibility for this act, the circumstances clearly point to the identity of the gunmen.
An EPRLF meeting was scheduled to take place at Atchuveli on this day. Several important leaders of EPRLF were expected to address the gathering. Gunmen were waiting in the vicinity of the road near the Industrial area. Many farmers at work had seen them and were aware of their identity. At the same time there was a rumour spreading amongst those passing through Atchuveli that the passenger vans were being diverted to the place where the meeting was arranged. This particular van (29 SRI 2946 ) was going to Jaffna from Point Pedro through Valvettitural and Thondamanaru. The driver heard this rumour on the way and decided not to go through Atchuveli and took a different route, From the Thondamanaru road, instead of going straight towards Atchuvely he turned into a byroad through which he crossed the Vasavilan road and went into the Industrial Area. The passenger van then became the target of automatic fire. One farmer saw a gunman shooting at the van with his automatic weapon. The gunmen left and rumours soon spread to the effect that EPPLF had shot and killed bus passengers. These were believed or disbelieved depending on ones sympathies. Those who believed it, talked about it with faltering assurance, until they ceased to talk about it at all.
The dead included a mother (Sarojinithevi, VVT) and her son (Kamalathas) whose husband (Rajavdu) and two daughters (Vasuki and Pamini) were among the injured. S. Arulampalam(VVT), .Selvaratnam(VVT) and M. Thevarani(Chunnagam) also lost their lives. Among other injured are S. Jeganathan(Point Fedro) and T.Suthakaran(VVT).
It is reported that the van concerned was sometimes taken from the owner and used by the EPRLF. Only one gunman was seen firing at the van. Evidently, it was soon realised that a mistake had been made.[Top]
About 8.00 a.m., an IPKF convoy was proceeding from the polling station at Yarlton College, Lighthouse road, Karainagar, towards Jaffna, when it was fired at by a group of 4 LTTE men. The area was bristling with the IPKF and immediately there was indiscriminate return fire from various points. A member of the university resident in the area, promptly busied himself getting the three generations of inhabitants under cover as bullets ricocheted around. One rocket exploded at his entrance flinging some of its lethal contents onto his babys cot which was empty at that time. Another rocket fell without exploding. When things were quiet, some militants operating with the IPKF came there. When he pointed to the unexploded rocket, they said that it was from their side and brought some IPKF men to take it away. Then an Indian officer came with a beaming smile and invited the members of the house to cast their vote. The university man replied indignantly, pointing to the traces of missiles, You almost killed us and now you want us to vote?. He later went alone to vote leaving the elders at home. At the polling booth, a young man told him, We know who you are, vote for such a symbol. Inside he was told by an election official, Vote for the Elephant. No, he thought, I shall vote for the Rocket, and for more of them.
The mood for the elections was neither free, fair nor voluntary. Many voters who were not registered close by, went to some station and requested that the assigned finger be stained with carbon ink so that they could-claim to have voted.
At Udupiddy, an area which was considered supportive of one group was placed under curfew by another group. At Myliddy, an area with a heavy armed presence, but not in general considered supportive of a particular group, voted apparently for good neighbourly relations.
The LTTE fired in the vicinity of polling stations at Kokkuvil Tech., Maviddapuram and in several parts of Vadamaratchi. The first resulted in panic at the university boys hostel, from near which the LTTE had fired. One student who left the hostel to contact the IPKF was detained and tortured. At Maviddapuram, a boy from a house nearby was taken away by the IPKF. At the time of writing, the mother had been unable to trace her son. At Point Pedro, a retired surveyor who went, to past his vote in nearby booth was killed in crossfire.
At Usan, the LTTE fired into the air from 8.00 9.00 a.m. to discourage voters. Next the IPKF arrived and fired into the air from 10.00 - 11.00 a.m and knocked on doors. Voting was brisk in the afternoon. In the environs of Jaffna town, the voting was brisk as well as voluntary.
There were a number of reports bf persons receiving unused polling cards from one group and voting for another group. There were so many factors at work, that it would be futile to quantify the extent of irregularity.[Top]
Mr. Amirthalingam, a District Land Officer, was a UNP candidate at the 1977 General Elections. He later became the founder proprietor of the Eelarnurasu, a daily which successfully caught up with its more established competitor, the Eelanadu. The editor of the Eelamurasu left, apparently owing to some differences with the management towards the fall of 1986, to become the first editor of the Murasoli; a paper closely identified with the LTTE, then rising to sole dominance. By the end of 1986, the LTTE had taken over the Eelamurasu as a kind of official organ. With some political supervision, the same staff was retained. An inside source said that Mr. Amirthalingam received some money in payment for the takeover.
It may be recalled that the IPKF raid on the Eelamurasu and Murusoli marked the commencement of the offensive in Oct. 1987, following which journalists and workers from these establishments were detained. Mr. Amirthalingam was also detained for alleged collusion with the LTTE, although he evidently had no control over matters. He was then under pressure from the IPKF to restart, the Eelamurasu. Such a message was communicated to all proprietors of journals. Reluctance stemmed from multiple sources of covert censorship in place of the one which had existed.
Amirthalingam was too experienced a man not to have realised that the LTTE would have been sensitive to the manning of its flagship by other hands, albeit under its legally recognised proprietor. What, If anything, passed between him and the LTTE is not known. The paper was due to come out on the fateful Saturday. All arrangements were complete. Different pages had been printed at different presses. Only the front page was to be printed. Mr.Amirthalingam was shot dead as he went home for lunch.[Top]
A boy sitting for his G.C.E(O/L)'s, was proceeding from Colombo to his home in Arippu, by van to sit for his examinations, when he was detained at Murunkan by the EPRLF. He was carrying Rs.46,000/- which his fathers business partner in Colombo was remitting to his father. Arippu is a fishing village on the mainland coast, south of Mannar. Two ladies from Arippu who were in the van told the boy's parents of what had happened. When the parents went to Murunkan and inquired, both the IPKF and the EPRLF denied having detained the boy. Another person who was also detained in the EPRLF camp that night said later that he had heard a single shot in the night. When the IPKF came over and inquired, a reply was given that a wild animal had been fired at. The body of the boy was recovered from the jungle several days later. It was said that if the ladies travelling with the boy had appealed, it would have been difficult to harm the boy.[Top]
It had been reported that about 200 Sinhalese civilians living in areas bordering the North - East had been during February. In the last of the killings near Polonnaruwa 40 Sinhalese men, women and children are said to have been killed in a gruesome manner.
John Selvaraja (46) was librarian .for the public library at Batticaloa and was in charge of the branch of Christa Seva Ahram at Kiran. The had written a book on Batticaloa and both his work and character were highly commended. After visiting his family at Navaly in Jaffna, he set of for Kiran on 1st March. The CTB bus was turned back at Habarana owing to the tense situation. He returned to Vavuniya and took a private van the following morning, thinking it was safe enough. At Polonnaruwa, the Tamil passengers were ordered to get down by thugs and were attacked. His body was found lying in a gutter. Later it had been dumped in a cemetery. The Police recovered the body and it was, brought back to Navaly for burial, almost a week later, in highly decomposed. state. Four other bodies were said to be in the Polonnaruwa mortuary when friends from Battlcaloa went there for the body. The IPKF had escorted them to the border of the North East, and the Sri Lankan STF then escorted them 20 miles Inside.[Top]
Mr. Sabaratnam (63) was a benign figure in Karainagar. A retired teacher, he was a familiar figure at local functions, at most of which he spoke. The title of Viththuvan from Annamlai university was a mark of his linguistic facility. He had an intimate knowledge of Karainagar, including the lineage of all its residents. This made him the natural choice when an occasion demanded an orator. He owned a printing press which naturally enough printed booklets and invitations connected with functions. He did the proof-reading himself, giving a good service with his personal touch. He got his customers, but it was money well spent. Many temples counted him a member of their board of trustees. As president of the local citizens committee, he was accessible at all times and would readily accompany those wanting help to the IPKF camp even at 10.00 p.m., when others dare not stir. Local residents say that his weakness -were to do with publicity and money. With this slight reservation, people generally regarded him with personal affection.
There was a1so a feeling that Mr. Sabaratnam had got too close to the IPKF for his own good. When Thileepans death anniversary was observed in Karainagar on 26th September 1988, Mr. Sabaratnam had offered to garland the IPKF colonel who called. But saluting an LTTE hero and garlanding the IPKF just metaphorically describes what a large number of public men do in Jaffna, and is hardly something to be taken amiss. He is said to have taken an understanding attitude to IPKFs fence burning. Stories did get around that he was party to financial deals concerning detainees where the beneficiaries were himself and the IPKF. In the absence of evidence, this must be treated as gossip. Perhaps his reputed weaknesses contributed to such talk. The LTTE did suspect that he had passed on information and is said to have warned him at least on two occasions.
He was abducted on 8th March. During his 3 days of detention, he was seen being conveyed on a motorcycle. His screams asking whether no one could help him were also heard. But people were afraid. Information went quickly both ways in Karainagar. The new LTTE cadres in Karainagar were not local, and hence less approachable. If the IPKF found out that someone. had contacted the LTTE, this too may cause trouble. At length some persons did approach the LTTE and pleaded with them to warn Sabaratnam if they wished, but not to kill him. This was not acceded to. It was thought that the LTTE kept him for 3 days in order to test public reactions. Mr. Sabaratnam was shot dead on 11th March.
His funeral was well attended and the grief was said to be deeply felt. One speaker said, Mr. Sabaratnam was a good man who had helped so many and had relieved their distress. But he had taken a liking for sweets."
The LTTE Is said to have been concerned about its high casualty rate In Karainagar. This can be explained in part by the fact that Karainagar is an island. Mr. Sabaratnam is described as an enigma, there being few
others like him. He could be seen dressed in immaculate white and looking fresh, almost simultaneously at four-different weddings. He was also bold. At the height of the IPKF offensive around Karainagar in early November 1987, he had accompanied 3 ladies to a funeral in Jaffna, and had received a bullet wound in his thigh.[Top]
The disappearance given below relates the experience of an ordinary woman in those parts whose husband went missing. The experience is relevant as military operations are still going on there and information is scarce.
Deceased: Sinnaththambi Pillainayagan
Unit 4, Yogapuram; Mullavi (Near Oddusuddan)
Place of incident: Mullaitivu.
Mr.. Pillainayagam.(Age 57) went to the Peoples Bank in Mullaitivu on 23rd December 1987 to withdraw some money he had in that bank.
When he reached Mullaitivu it was after 3 p.m. The bank was closed at that time. Hoping to go to the bank the following day he was going to stay the night with his nephew who was staying close to the town of Mullaitivu.
He was going that way without knowing that the people from that area had been evacuated by the IPKF at that time and the area had been cordoned off.
It is said that he was shot dead by the army personnel in an ambush. When it was inquired of the people who were close to that area, this is what they told his wife who went in search of her husband after a few days, as he had not returned.
All the attempts to assertion his death were in vain. His wife has approached the IPKF officials concerned but she was harassed many tines, not receiving proper information about his death or arrest.
She was tired of going to the IPKF camp and stopped going there after she had heard from the people. that her husband was shot dead and burnt by the army. -
His wife Parvathippillai Pillainayegam is now undergoing great hardship to maintain her family.
Since the mysterious death of her husband she had become the breadwinner of the family. Invariably she finds it difficult to manage her children with the meagre income she gets iron new land. She is now 53 veers of age and is sickly.
Of their children two girls got married to boys related to them, recently. She has to share her small plot of land the only source of her income, with her daughters who received part of it as dowry.
One daughter named Sugantha (13 yin.) and the youngest, the only son (15 yrs.) are the other dependents.
They are schooling in their village school. In a rural area such as their ' they can not expect help even from their relatives. Everyone has to eke out their existence and live from hand to mouth. She says that she still had not received anything from the Government or from non Governmental Organisations in the form of relief or assistance.[Top]
The 21st Tuesday February, around 9.30 P.M there was an explosion of a cylinder bomb at Palaly Road near Thinneveli farm. According local sources one soldier died and four were injured. On the following morning the whole area was cordoned off and people were asked to gather at various places. Two youths were assaulted very badly in front of the people and one died on the scene. Nearly 30 youths were arrested by the IPKF and later most of them were released.
On the same night at about 9.30 P.11. the people living in a colony near Potpathy Road heard some gun shots.
On the 23rd the IPKF along with the CVF brought the boy who was taken into custody on the 22nd round up and ordered the boy to identify the LTTE supporters and also show places where they had stored arms. The IPKF asked the people to come out and set fire to the huts. The people who begged to go and collect their belongings and hard earned money were forcibly stopped from approaching the huts which were still not set on tire. Altogether 23 houses were burned down and 43 families were affected. Most of them work as casual labourers and now they are accommodated at St. Josephs, Roman Catholic Church as refugees. The only allegation made by the IPC is that the LITS cadres nave around that area.
According to local sources, one girl from that area is being held by the CRPF (womens division) on the charge of having supplied food to the LTTE. IPKF patrols had been occasionally provoked from the surrounding coconut groves, sometimes by the firing of crackers. The resort to such drastic collective punishment against a community representing the poorest of this society) is a tragic comment on the political wisdom that is being exercised. There is no evidence of widespread support for the LTIE from that community. Such communities formed the natural support base of the EPRLF before its disbandment by the LTTE. After the IPKFs October 1987 offensive, persons from such colonies have been assassinated on suspicion by the LTIE This makes it all the more ironical that the EPRLF was present and party to the hut burning.
Perhaps out of belated realisation, the EPRLF led provincial government announced relief for the victims in a press statement, but was slow to move.
Local sources said that the Roman CatholIc Church found funds with which to put up structures and roofs for new huts. The victims agreed to find material for the sides. As this offer was to be executed, the EROS came in with an offer to build entire houses. On the problems faced by communities which once formed the support base of the EPRLF, it may be worthwhile recalling the death of Mr. Daniel, a Cement Corporation employee.
Soon after the disbandment of the EPRLF in December 1986, many of the low ranking cadres who had been left in the lurch took refuge in such villages, and the mood amongst women and elders was often defiant. The LTTE was sensitive enough not to attempt to enter several such areas for a long time. After the IPKF offensive, within a year, the LTTE's priority changed to one of survival, from wanting to rule with an acceptable image. Daniel was from an area near Pandeteruppu where the EPRLF was once strong. Shortly after the October 1987 offensive, the LTTE buried a sizeable quantity of arms under Daniels vegetable patch. Daniels only option, if he had known, was to keep quiet in the hope that the arms would be moved elsewhere. Early in 1988, an arrested LTTE associate brought the IPKF and showed them the arms. Daniel was taken by the IPKF from the KKS cement factory. In the evening his family was told that he had been released. Next morning, his dead body was found near Villan junction.
Such brutality, combined with insensitivity and a refusal to understand local conditions, no doubt cost the IPKF dearly in the long run. It is even sadder when militant groups who are from this soil take after the IPKF in their attitudes to people.[Top]
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