2.6 Kurukal Madam
2.8 (Periya) Kallar
The army arrived in Chenkaladi in late July 1990. People fled into the jungle and later ended up at the Eastern University refugee camp. On the first day the army took 8 persons in a round up. They released 3 and went away with 5. Nothing more was heard of them. Three months later information was received that one of the prisoners, Elango, was under detention in the South.
The first army unit stationed at Chenkaladi was harsh. A few days later a two thousand strong army unit arrived. The senior officers were camped in the Methodist Church. This unit was extremely well disciplined and the officers very courteous. Whenever they removed cooking vessels from homes of local residents, they washed them and put them back. Though this unit was there only a few days, people became over confident. The word go around and those who had fled started coming back.
Eravur Massacre and after: On 11th August a landmine went off in Chenkaladi. Though there were no casualties, the army fired shells and took away 25 persons, including the post master and a technical assistant. Some buildings were burnt. Many civilians fled into the Muslim area (Eravur North). The army did not respond while the LTTE massacred Muslims that night.
As the army began moving towards Eravur from Chenkaladi the following day (12th), soldiers stabbed Maruthappu, the sexton of the Roman Catholic Church, and Seeni Podiyar, an 80 year old man. One soldier who was concerned came running into the Methodist Manse premises, collected the boys and pushed them inside, and made the women stand in front. The other soldiers then passed by without bothering to look inside (See Report No.5 ). The church was full of civilians things, and 125 refugees were in the church. At 12.00 p.m. Fr. Joseph, the Roman Catholic clergyman brought news of the stabbings. Two soldiers were then standing sentry in front of the church. At length, a church worker took some water for the soldiers and asked them whether it was safe to move about. The soldiers replied that there was nothing to fear as long as they were there and that they could move about until 5.00p.m. A tractor was arranged to transport the things and the people left for the Eastern University.
The Methodist priest, Rev. Arulrajah, and Fr. Joseph went to the Athiyamalai Roman Catholic Church and made it to Batticaloa the following day by a circuitous route. There they made a complaint to the military authorities about killings by the army. Brigadier A.N.U. Seneviratne denied that there had been killings. The clergymen returned to Chenkaladi with Fr. Diconic from Batticaloa. He and Fr. Joseph conducted the burial rites for Maruthappu. An old beggar lady remaining in the Methodist Church was dispatched to an old peoples home. Nearly all those left in Chenkalady went to Batticaloa on the 13th. An old couple, Mr. Kanagaratnam and his wife decided to remain in their home. They were later killed in shelling. [Top]
Eravur is a village 4 miles north of Batticaloa town having 37,000 Muslims and 13,000 Tamils living in wards 4 and 5. Tamil Muslim relations had been consistently good and the two communities were integrated, and their economic activities were complementary. The Tamils were chiefly from the service casts such as barbers, dhobys, builders, goldsmiths and iron smiths. In some sense they were better off serving Muslims rather than caste conscious Vellalas. The Muslims were mainly farmers, labourers or fishermen. These categories made up 95% of the Muslim population in sharp contrast to Muslims of Kattankudy.
Apart from the integration of economic and social life, the relations between the two communities were also cemented in educational life. Aligar Maha Vidyalayam in Eravur had eminent Tamils and Muslims among its alumnii, and came first in the island for Arts and Commerce in 1986. It attracts Tamil students from as far as Kiran and Saththurukondan. S. Thambirasa was among its eminent principals. The school has also produced many Tamils who are doctors and engineers. Although recent politics has tended to strain relations, there were leaders on both sides working hard to maintain good relations. In 1985, a Tamil Muslim unity committee was set up with Dawood and Sivanandarajah as joint secretaries. More recently Dawood and Thambapillay who were classmates at Aligar MV were joint secretaries. Dawood was cluster principal of a group of schools in Eravur. Mr.Haniffa the present AGA of Eravur was a principal who had served largely in Tamil schools at Pandiruppu and later at Vantharumoolai Central.
Following the LTTE assuming control in late 1989, Muslim expectations were high. Because of the conduct of groups aligned to the IPKF, the Muslims had provided substantial help to the LTTE. Dawood, together with a number of other Muslim leaders held talks with LTTE leaders including Anton Balasingam and Yogi with regard to Muslim rights in the future political arrangement. These were leaders who had staked the future of Muslims on good relations with Tamils. The LTTE's response was lukewarm on Muslim rights. These Muslim leaders spoke from LTTE platforms and were filmed with LTTE leaders at the latter's Vaharai convention.
The June War: Eravur was among these villages which had no record of communal violence on anything approaching the scale known elsewhere. Although the massacre of Muslim policemen had taken place further south and the army was expected in Eravur anytime, the village leadership was intent on not allowing Tamil Muslim relations to suffer. An elder showed a diary entry, where Dawood summoned a meeting about 16th June of the village elders and told them:Do not fraternise with the army. Our Tamil brothers will be angry.
The army which had been ordered to retake the East, went into action without a clear strategy. The army was rushing to Batticaloa from Valaichenai without securing its lines of communication. It moved into Eravur about the 23rd of June and moved unresisted towards Batticaloa without setting up a camp. The LTTE then moved back into Eravur.
On 4th July (Haji), the LTTE abducted community leaders Dawood, Kazi, M.L.A. Gafoor and Al Haj Ali Mohamed. This happened in the morning. A person who had collected several lakhs of rupees for the LTTE, approached them. Independent efforts were also made by the Tamil Muslim unity committee and the Roman Catholic Church. After a long delay, the LTTE let it slip that the last rites for these leaders could be performed.
Just after the army passed through on 23 rd June the LTTE had come in large numbers and looted the MPCS and local shops, including Tamil ones. The same thing was going on in Chenkaladi. A curfew was imposed. Mr. Tawfeek, a graduate teacher, who was on the road was tied to a post while the looting went on. Others seen with prayer caps were assaulted. The LTTE had also brought Tamils from the neighbourhood and had encouraged them to loot. The Pradeshiya Sabha (Regional Council) and Public Library were also destroyed. Equipment from the Aligar MV laboratory was carried away. These happened between 23 rd and 27th June.
One Muslim observed, I was in Jaffna when the forces destroyed your public library. It was a piece of cultural genocide worthy of publicity all over the world. Imagine what we would have felt when the same was done to ours?
The army returned from Batticaloa in late July, about a month later, to secure its lines of communication. Camps were set up in Chenkaladi to the north and in Sathurukondan to the south of Eravur. Patrols used to set off from both places simultaneously and meet in Eravur. Following the Kurukkal Madam massacre of Muslims, there was talk of setting up an army camp in Eravur.
What was behind the disappearance of Dawood and other leaders: A common rumour in circulation among Tamils is that Dawood an others were killed because they had garlanded the army when it arrived. In fairness to these men, it is necessary to examine this claim. Dawood belonged to the class of Eastern Muslims who from humble beginnings rose through sheer hard work. He first became a Tamil trained teacher, then worked for his degree, diploma in education and finally passed the Administrative Service examination. He was also a member of the Eastern University Council. From his school days he had identified himself with the social advancement of Eravur. As a schoolboy he had organised Jinnah library in 1952 which later became the public library. As a community leader, he had staked his diplomatic efforts on good relations with Tamils. He was an experienced man with a sense of history and had seen a number of forces come and go in the space of a few years. It was only logical and in keeping with common sense that he had, following the outbreak of war, cautioned the village against fraternising with the Sri Lankan army. Would such men have suddenly lost their heads to go and publicly garland the Sri Lankan army that was passing through.
This claim about Dawood welcoming the forces is strongly denied by others close to him. Asked whether the villagers welcomed the army, a government servant gave an answer which carried much conviction. He said, Most people in this village have hardly gone beyond this region in all their lives and do not speak Sinhalese. When the army came, the atmosphere was tense. Soldiers from near my house called out a boy. They asked him for young coconuts to drink. He just stared in fear. They then asked him where the LTTE was. The boy pointed to the jungle. A soldier slapped him. That was how things were. Of course several people gave them water when asked. Does that amount to welcoming the army. It is further pointed out that when Dawood and others were abducted on 4th July, the LTTE came to their homes and called them. They came out promptly because they knew the LTTE and did not think they had anything to hide.
What could then have happened Many community leaders, both Muslim and Tamil, will readily admit on the basis of commonsense, that when an army moves in, it is best to establish some human communication. the soldiers are new to the place and are tense. When they make irrational judgements, much damage can result. Thus nearly all citizens committees appointed by the LTTE in Jaffna did business with the Sri Lankan army in 1987 after Operation Liberation, and with the IPKF later on. They even took part in functions. Furthermore, if one had an LTTE connection of some sort, it is better to introduce oneself before an informer does it. These are realities in the NorthEast. The LTTE does not take kindly to any action based on the initiative of persons not under its control.
For the disappearance of these Muslim leaders, one has to look for causes in the LTTE's self inflicted paranoia against Muslims. This is discussed separately.
The_Massacre, 12th August : By early August the cauldron had been stirred. The LTTE had conducted massacres of Muslims in Kurukkal Madam and Kattankudy and had destroyed the very community leadership in Eravur that had worked for the maintenance of good relations between Tamils and Muslims. This leaderlessness combined with anger and fear were natural catalysts towards the creation of anarchy.
Muslims deny allegations that Muslim agents were then at work pointing out Tamil youth to the army. In this atmosphere of growing suspicion, Tamil claims are based on the premise that several Tamil youth were picked by army patrols in the market shared by Tamils and Muslims. There were other factors contributing to the tension. A call had been made by Muslim leaders based in Colombo to set up an army camp in Eravur on the grounds that Muslims were being attacked. Tamils on the other hand had fears of the army based on experience. The ant iMuslim direction of the LTTE had caused several Muslim cadre to desert and return to their villages. News had also reached Eravur that the LTTE had killed five of its Muslim cadre at Kokkadichcholai on suspicion. It is however a fact that Muslims and Tamils did have social and neighbourly relations until 11 th August.
LTTE cadre arrived in Eravur about 10.30 p.m. on 11th August and went about massacring Muslims until the early hours of the morning. They went through the Muslim areas of Surattayankuda, Michnagar, Meerakerni, Saddam Hussein village and Punnakuda, killing 121 persons. Among the worst reported incidents was the cutting of a pregnant ladys stomach. The baby is said to have been pulled out and stabbed. The army based at Chenkaladi 1 ½ miles away, it is said, came in the afternoon to collect statistics.
The soldiers accompanied by mobs then went through the Tamil wards (4 & 5) killing a number of civilians and burning dwellings. The rest fled. (Reports given separately). The creation of home guard units by the government which went into action two weeks later created an impossible situation for the Tamils.
The_Present: Eravur is relatively calm today. Muslim elders are very anxious to reassure Tamils and point to Tamils who have been functioning unharmed. They are very anxious to reestablish fraternal relations. One quoted a saying attributed to a Tamil politician that Muslims and Tamils in that region are like coconut and flour in the pittu. However, continuing LTTE attacks on Muslims and a hint of anarchy which the forces have done little to discourage, keep the two communities apart. Tamils go through the main road of Eravur with some trepidation. It is a sad legacy of liberation politics.
The local economic life is at a standstill and the people are living on government rations. 95% of the people who depend on agriculture cannot go to their fields. 36,000 cattle are unaccounted for and over 40,000 acres of paddy land belonging to the village remain uncultivated. Two seasons Kalapoham and Munmari have been missed. Villagers dare not go out to obtain clay for bricks, firewood, river sand and keerai (spinach). Fishermen who used to go to Punnakuda beach 3 miles away to the east dare not go beyond ½ a mile from the village. While Muslims are used by the state for propaganda, little publicity is given outside to their sufferings. Tamils quite often believe that Muslims are well off. Meanwhile the Tamils who used to earn a living by providing services to the Muslims, languish in refugee camps. [Top]
News was received that 6 Muslim home guards who went beyond Eravur station road had been shot by the LTTE, killing two. The four injured were sent to Polonnaruwa hospital. The university staff who were opperating from Batticaloa, decided to return home immediately. They left Eastern University in two vehicles, a car in front and a Tata bus behind. At Chenkaladi, vehicles were waiting in a queue, from the Peoples Bank up to the army camp. The time was 1.30 p.m. In the queue were vehicles and buses transporting train passengers from Valaichenai to Batticaloa. The AGA, Chenkaladi, drove his jeep up to the camp and went in to ask for an escort to take them past Eravur. The AGA came out and said that an escort will be given. When the escort did not turn up, Prof. Mano Sabaratnam and Dr. Jeyarajah went into the camp to ask for an escort. Two TELO members with guns were then seen coming out of the camp and stopping a van. The van went in front and others followed. Behind the two university vehicles led by the car, was a CTB bus from Valaichenai with passengers from the train which had come from Colombo.
While passing through Eravur, an army picket was on both sides of the road. When passing the police station, Muslim homeguards at the sentry point lightly made a cryptic utterance. They said, Say ta ta (goodbye) and go carefully. On reaching the camp marking the southern boundary of Eravur and the deserted Tamil village of Kudiyiruppu, the TELO escort turned back, presumably on the grounds that it was a Tamil area all the way to Batticaloa, and further that the LTTE may thus attack them. Vehicles then took off on their own. After several vehicles had gone ahead, the university car reached the security post marking the end of Eravur. At this point the Chenkaladi AGA's jeep which had gone ahead came rushing back to the post at full speed, sounding the horn and flashing the head lamps, evidently warning others of trouble.
The university vehicles stopped near the security post. After a few minutes the front vehicle started moving. The university vehicles and the CTB bus followed. The car was about ¼ mile behind the vehicle in front. As the university vehicles came to the bend 400 yards from the security post, those inside saw two men crouching behind bushes wearing camouflage banians of the type worn by the armed forces and homeguards. One was carrying a shot gun of the kind given to the homeguards and the other had a pole. On seeing the university car, they ran back, presumably thinking that those inside were persons of consequence.
A little further on, those in the car saw a man in a T shirt, soaking in blood, running towards the road with a limp, signalling that he wanted help. Three men in sarongs, two with knives and one with a pole were chasing him. The car being full, the driver slowed down and signalled the Tata bus to stop and pick up the fugitive. The bus driver not having seen the man, overtook the car and went. The car driver then took the centre of the road and braked, forcing the CTB bus behind to stop. The conductor helped the injured man on board.
At the same time the driver of the car saw in his mirror a woman in a red sari, chased by other saronged men with knives. All decided that she was too far for them to risk stopping. The driver saw the woman being overtaken and stabbed. The vehicles moved off and reported the incident to the army at the Saththurukondan camp. The soldiers took over the CTB bus and rushed towards Kudiyiruppu, in sharp contrast to the army in Kudiyiruppu.
The van passengers' story : About 40 train passengers were squeezed into a van which had proceeded ahead of the university vehicles. After the final check post in Eravur, the escort left, and the van proceeded on its own. The following story was given by a Jaffna University graduate working in Batticaloa:
I was seated in front with my brother- in -law who was next to the driver. Just before we reached the bend (400 yards from the security post and visible from it), a shot gun was fired, catching, the driver full in the face. My brother-in-law became soaked in the driver's blood. The van went straight, got off the road at the bend and after some distance, was stopped by an electric post. The driver had died immediately. Several of us clambered out. I squeezed out through a window. I ran westwards towards the lagoon. As I was running, I tripped against a clump of grass and fell down. This saved me, as just then a pursuer opened fire and the shot went over me. I got up and made it to the shore of the lagoon. Evidently our pursuers had lost interest in those who got away, and were busy with those trapped in the van.
At the shore of the lagoon, I discoverd a lady and a 20 year old girl, who had run into the water and whose feet were stuck in the slime. I pulled them out and the three of us walked along the lagoon shore to Thannamunai. I later discovered that my brother-in-law had escaped and was picked up by a bus. As I got up from my fall and was making it to the lagoon, I saw a ball of smoke and realised that the van was being set on fire. I know that about 15 of the passengers with injuries were later warded at Batticaloa hospital. I figure that about 20 dead and injured would have been burnt with the van.
Who was behind the attack: Following the incident, no one was questioned and no inquiry was held. The late Minister of Defence when questioned at a press briefing maintained that the attackers were civilians and that homeguards had not been involved. But the people had seen much and drew their own conclusions.
It is understood that when the AGA reported the matter to the security point on the Eravur Kudiyiruppu border, he was told that this was the boundary of the forces there and that they were not supposed to go beyond.
The attack had taken place about 400 yards from the security post. At least two shots were fired which would have been clearly heard at the post. Not only was no attempt made to offer help, but no attempt was made to stop other vehicles going past their check point.
From the point of the attackers, they had chosen ideal conditions. They had lain in wait in a Tamil area abandoned during the arson and killing that followed the Eravur massacre. Thus their presence was not anticipated. It is logical that they were aware that the armed escort sent by the Chenkaladi army post would stop at the end of Eravur. Who could have given them such information The attack was significantly carried out from a point close enough to the security post to ensure that the attackers would probably not be disturbed by Tigers. Further, in the Sri Lankan context, it is very seldom, if ever, that civilians had been instigated into violent acts without inspiration from an armed group.
The vehicles from the university had not seen the van that fell victim, because it had gone off the road at the bend and was hidden behind the lush greenery that followed in the train of the rainy season.
The known facts and the cover up by the government led ordinary people to believe that the forces were involved, and that it was, by default or otherwise, part of government policy. [Top]
When the army entered Batticaloa in June, the town did not witness the sensational massacres that took place elsewhere. But people were picked up and burning bodies started appearing at the rate of about 5 a day. The largest single incident in town was the appearance of 27 bodies down Bar Road. Three battalions of soldiers had moved into Batticaloa. One remained and two went back having finished their "job" Brigadier A.N.U. Seneviratne remained in charge of Batticaloa, with Brigadier Karunatilleke at Valaichenai. During the early days, the army refused to entertain civilian delegations. A leading army officer is quoted as having said, We are different from the IPKF. They came to maintain peace. But we came to fight. At that stage the LTTE had vanished. Of killing there was a good deal. But of fighting, almost none!
An elderly person gave an experience to illustrate on what delicate threads lives of young boys hung in those days. He was passing an army checkpoint when a Roman Catholic priest who had finished a service came with a boy. The soldier at the checkpoint detained the boy and asked the priest to go. The priest tried explaining that the boy had just come from church worship. The soldier again asked him to go. The priest then appealed to others passing through, This fool does not understand English or Tamil. Can someone tell him in Sinhalese? The layman being a retired government servant went up to the soldier. The latter told him that he had no business here. The old man tried to explain calmly. The soldier being unyielding, the priest darted inside and grabbed the boy from his captors. Within those few moments the boy was already bleeding from two head injuries. The old man said, If someone was detained and you did not get him out immediately, you had to assume that he was finished! This was a commonly held view based on tragic experiences, capped by burning bodies. Often the myth that soldiers are foolish brutes and officers are not too bad, served both sides.
Massacre at Thannamunai: The next serious occurrence around Batticaloa, took place in Thannamunai, just north of Batticaloa. The exact location was Pillaiyarady, near Sathurukondan. Early in the morning about 7th August 1990, a cyclist who had come into town with injuries was taken to the Roman Catholic Church authorities. He reported that the army had moved in and massacred about 200 people and that their bodies were being burnt. When the army was contacted, they denied that such had taken place. After further insistence by civilians, the injured man who was both tired and confused was sent with Colonel Percy Fernando to the area. It was around 3.30 p.m. The man, in his state, was unable to locate the places where dead bodies were supposedly set on fire. The party returned to town a short time later, before nightfall.
The army wanted Mr. Arunagirinathan, chairman of the Batticaloa citizens committee to sign a statement to the effect that there had been no massacre as alleged. The chairman signed the statement and resigned from his position. It was then claimed in the Defence Ministry press briefing that citizens committee members who were taken for an inspection had said that there was no evidence of such an incident.
As things calmed down, nuns from the Holy Family convent and church officials went back to the area to restart the convent and the Boys town. They stumbled into about 100 skeletons.
Twelve bodies in Iruthayapuram: Although Batticaloa with its numerous sentry points appeared calm on the surface and there appeared to be a move towards not killing suspects detained, things could hardly be other than deceptive.
On 30th March 1991, a police patrol on bicycles through Iruthayapuram was fired at killing one policeman. According to the Virakesari (2nd April), uniformed persons arrived that evening and took several persons into custody. On the following morning, Sunday, twelve bodies were found dumped with stab wounds, and some with gun shot injuries. At the time of going to press, 7 bodies had been identified by relatives at the Batticaloa mortuary, whither they had been conveyed by the ICRC.
Iruthayapuram had witnessed a massacre prior to the Indo Lanka Accord. The recent massacre will persuade the people that the Sri Lankan forces are incapable of maintaining order and will add to the furthering of anarchy in the East. The militant strategy is also significant. Civilian cover was used to kill one policeman and go into hiding. There was no strategy or wish to protect civilians from reprisals.
The Army's trip to Mudalaikudah: Mudalaikudah (Crocodile Bay) lies in the hinterland across the lagoon from Batticaloa. Access is by ferry. The area is no mans land with no permanent army presence. The villagers are normally left alone. The LTTE comes occasionally. But when the army comes, pandemonium reigns.
A woman described a visit on one such occasion earlier this year. She had entered Mudalaikudah by ferry when gun shots were heard. Then there was panic as people were urged to run for it because the army had come. It was later learned that there had been no confrontation with the LTTE. TELO cadre who came with the army, it is said, had killed some alleged LTTE sympathisers. The woman saw 3 bodies on the road. The armys visit was brief.
A note on the Army Operation in Vaharai: In UTHR (J) Report No. 6 , (Section 6.5), we quoted local sources to the effect that over 100 civilian refugees were killed when the army moved in during January. When we tried to check this out from leading civilians in Batticaloa, no one was aware of deaths on that scale.
This points to some of the difficulties about getting accurate information about the East. Many persons who used to play a role had lost hope to a point that few are aware with any certainty, about what happens beyond their village or town. Documentation of information is not done at the level of organisation existing in 1987. When it comes to an incident in a remote area, some person who escapes from the noise and confusion would give an impressionistic picture. It is often difficult to go beyond that. Regarding Vaharai, one individual said that he was aware of 4 refugees from one particular village being killed. Refugees in the jungle would have been from several villages. It would thus not be possible to get an accurate picture unless there is an organisation having contacts in all villages actively involved in documentation.
In Trincomalee, people have been so intimidated by security forces, that there is little information on what had happened there. Another angle to this situation is that several persons who used to take risks in highlighting human rights violations have been killed after 1987, both in Batticaloa and in Trincomalee, by more than one Tamil militant group. [Top]
During the IPKF presence, the LTTE had good relations with the Muslims of Kattandudy, where they used to take shelter. When the LTTE assumed control in December 1989, the LTTE was said to be extremely well behaved during the first two weeks. Hopes were then very high. But from then on things gradually soured below the surface. The high taxes demanded by the LTTE placed the population which largely depended on trade under strain. The LTTE began taking a repressive approach to any form of independent Muslim activity. There were small incidents of acts against LTTE supporters and subsequent reprisals.
But the local leadership represented by the Federation of Mosques and Muslim Institutions (FMMI) took a pragmatic approach to the LTTE and constantly intervened to smoothen out matters. The FMMI was under considerable pressure from young activists who felt that it was a disgrace to palaver the LTTE unless it was prepared to respect Muslims and recognise their right to some autonomy. The FMMI together with other Muslim leaders constantly put friendly pressure on the LTTE to make such a commitment. At one point, in cracking down on all independent forms of Muslim expression, the LTTE banned the FMMI.
When Yogi visited the East subsequently, the local leaders explained to him the tense situation created by the banning of the FMMI. They told him that they had no wish to defy the LTTE and that they could carry on as before if Yogi officially lifted the ban imposed by the LTTE. This was done by Yogi. But Yogi also maintained a silence on other Muslim demands. However, normal relations continued. Newton, Karikalan, David and Ranjith Appa were among the LTTE leaders maintaining frequent, friendly contact with the Kattankudy elders.
The June War : With the beginning of the June War, the importance of Kattankudy to the residents of Batticaloa District increased. With the direct routes leading out of the district becoming closed, the Tamil traders and lorries unable to go out, Kattankudy traders who were able to fetch goods from Kalmunai became the source of food for the entire district. People from outside regularly flocked into Kattankudy to purchase food items.
Jinnah Hadjiaar was a mill owner living near the Manjanthoduwa border, who knew Ranjith Appa. After the outbreak of war, Hadjiaar had innocently told Ranjith Appa, You must look after the people of Kattankudy and see that they come to no harm.The general tendency in Kattankudy even at that time was to rationalise the massacre of Muslim policement at Rufus Kulam, together with their Sinhalese colleagues.
The residents of Kattankudy were taken by surprise, when the LTTE came into the village on 26th June, imposed a curfew, stood on both sides of the road and proceeded to loot the shops. One person who came out unawares was killed. The looting was part of a pattern everywhere in the district, including several Tamil villages. 93 shops were looted. What offended the Muslims most was that 3 shops adjoining a Mosque and maintained in support of the Mosque, were burnt. The Mosque itself was saved by the people dousing the fire after the LTTE had left. This spate of looting left residents of the district with almost no access to food.
The local leaders had maintained friendly relations with officials in the Roman Catholic Church, to whom they made representations. Within a week of the looting, LTTE leaders Newton and Ranjith Appa came to the village, had a meeting with 15 elders and conveyed their apologies for the mistake. They gave assurance of the LTTE's future good behaviour.
While the Muslims remained hopeful, another blow came on 12th July when the LTTE massacred at least 68 Muslims at Kurukkalmadam, 3 miles south of Kattankudy. (See next section for report). Though these persons killed were from Kattankudy, there was then, still a tendency to find reasons for the incident. There was a story around that the LTTE had done it because a Muslim deserter from its ranks had led the army to its Kanjikudichcharu hideout.
The Massacre of 3rd August: The massacre of 3rd August (See UTHR (J) Nos. 4 & 5 for reports), finally persuaded the local people that there was no hope of accomodation with the LTTE. Like the one of 12 th July, this too was totally unprovoked. The local leaders explained that the secretary, FMMI, issued a statement because there was a great deal of confusion about who was responsible. Among local residents itself there was a story that the army, which was camped at the Araipattai and Navabkudah ends of the main road, was responsible. The leaders explained that they knew the LTTE and had seen who was responsible.
Just prior to the massacre, Ranjith Appa had gone to the house of Jinnah Hadjiaar and asked for his son in law. The son in law's small son had said that he was in the bathroom. Since Ranjith Appa was a familiar visitor, there was no alarm. When the son-in-law came to meet Ranjith, he was shot dead in the sight of his wife and son. The party then proceeded to two Mosques and massacred over 120 persons at 8.30 p.m. The massacre took place at the time of Sujuth - prostration, the most sacred of moments.
The leaders admitted that there were subsequently isolated instances of mob violence against Tamils. But the FMMI did largely restore calm. Since the Muslims felt helpless, it was decided that they should accept the government's offer to train home guards. One leader explained, We did not want an extremist organisation starting here. So we decided that the FMMI would nominate persons for homeguard training. Whenever the government decides to settle the problem, let them take back the arms they issued. The problem is then off our hands.
While homeguards may have been an expedient to restore calm, as elsewhere, they were of no use in defending the people, but were rather a nuisance to them, an easy target for the LTTE to boost their image, and a source of terror to sundry Tamils within their reach particularly after an LTTE action. They became a part of the problem. In the sequel the LTTE killed Muslim stragglers. The homeguards responded in similar fashion. According to Muslim leaders 40 Muslim fishermen have been killed in several incidents. Following the killing of some Muslim fishermen last September, persons identified as Muslim homeguards abducted 17 Tamils and murdered then on the sea shore. This happened about 19 th September, leading to an outcry to ban homeguards.
In the process the boundary areas between Kattankudy and the neighbouring Tamil villages became deserted. Muslims had to abandon the surrounding villages of Palamunai (800 families), Siharam, Ollikulam, Keechchanpallam, Kankeyan Odai and Manmunai (south of Kattankudy). Some of the residents of Palamunai and Kankeyan Odai have now gone back. The rest of the villages are completely deserted. Kattankudy now had a population of 40,000 confined to one square mile amongst the world's highest population densities.
Muslim stragglers trying to make a living by fetching firewood or by doing small business on bicycles, continued to be picked off by the LTTE. In one incident 8 Muslims are said to have been killed near Kallady, on the way to Batticaloa.
In another incident during the first week of December, two Muslim women of ages 65 and 55 went with two young boys in two bullock carts with drivers, to fetch things from their abandoned house in Ollikulam. All six were killed. A small boy of 8 is said to have been killed when his grandmother tried to hide him in her sari. Only 4 bodies were recovered.
The present : One elder said that he was not angry, but felt broken hearted about Tamil responsibility for the entire tragedy.
Kattankudy which depends heavily on trade has been hard hit by its confinement. 6000 acres of paddy land in Paduvankarai across the lagoon, belonging to its residents, have been abandoned for 5 years. They have also lost access to their coconut estates situated in Tamil areas.
Bishop Kingsley Swamipillai of the Roman Catholic Church gave the following anecdote to explain how Tamils tend to under estimate the difficulties and anxieties of Muslims. At a peace meeting last year Tamils complained how they have to spend Rs.50/ to go from Batticaloa to Araipattai because they cannot go through Kattankudy. They have to cross the lagoon, bypass Kattankudy on the other side, and cross the lagoon again. We have to spend Rs.500/ to go Valaichenai, because we cannot go through Batticaloa, replied the Muslims, We have to go to Kalmunai and then to Valaichenai via Amparai and Maha Oya. The Bishop added that this was an eye opener to many Tamils.
Among the handful of Muslim students attending Eastern University is one young boy offering Mathematics, acknowledged as brilliant by his teachers. His future is as bleak as that of many of his Tamil counterparts. He comes by van from Kattankudy. Gets down just after Kallady bridge, follows classes at the university's Uthaya Motors premises, and returns without loitering in Batticaloa. His opportunities for further studies are remote.
It is evident that the Muslims are as anxious as Tamils to restore normal relations. The trend of current politics on the part of both the government and the LTTE would be to keep the communities divided.
At the level of NGO's there appears to be little communication between those working among Tamils and those serving Muslims. While the former are largely funded from the West, the latter receive funds from Muslim sources. If there is better communication and a pooling of resources at that level, it would also help to bring some thaw at ground level. It is often the case that the NGO's serving Tamils are often subject to stories about the villainy of Muslims, and receive little information on the difficulties faced by them. This has added to the process leading to a feeling of isolation felt by the Muslim community. [Top]
On the way from Batticaloa to Kalmunai, there is a village every two or three miles and each has peculiar traditions of its own. Kurukkal Madam lies just south of Araipattai. It is a village where both aspiration and attainment in the field of education are high and many of its present and former inhabitants are in government service or in the professions. The admission figures from the village to the Eastern University are said to be very creditable. As the name suggests, the level of Hindu piety is also high in the village. The militant tradition in the village is said to be low in comparison with the neightbouring villages of Ambalanthurai, Kirankulam and Chettipalayam. About 11 of its members were in the PLOTE and TELO. After the LTTE decimated other groups in 1986, nearly all these persons left the East. Subsequently almost no one from the village joined the LTTE, and thus it experienced little trouble from the forces that came. Understandably, some suspicion and illfeeling was directed towards Kurukkal Madam from neighbouring villages.
The_Massacre_of_Muslims: Following the end of the first week of July, a convoy of Kattankudi resident Muslims was proceeding thither, from Colombo, via Kalmunai. In the convoy were also lorries carrying a large quantity of goods. The convoy was stopped in Kurukkal Madam by the local LTTE group led by Mani a somwhat notorious figure. The captives were herded into a single house. A witness put their number at 60 to 80. It was widely understood that the initial motive was robbery.
How the decision to massacre was taken appears a little involved. A number of refugees from Karaitivu, Kalmunai and Pandiruppu were present at Kurukkal Madam. Muslim informers and helpers were associated in their minds with the widespread atrocities of the Sri Lankan forces. In terms of support and recruitment, however irresponsible, the LTTE had some populist advantage to be gained in the bloody assuaging of anti Muslim feelings. But it is unlikely that a local leader would have taken such a decision upon himself, since there was apparently no clear line at that time about Muslim civilians. Muslim sources in Kattankudy name a senior LTTE leader in the Batticaloa hierarchy as having given the order to kill. The Muslim civilians were later taken out and reportedly killed nearby. Witnesses saw old women and children among the victims. Among the motives suspected by residents is that of putting them into trouble when the army arrived. It was by then clear from what had happened elsewhere that the LTTE had no intention of stopping the army.
Those in Kurukkalmadam left in fear. Many left as refugees wading across water to Ambalanthurai. Several of them came back a few days later.
The_army_arrives: When the army arrived a few days later, a young man was in his house with his parents. A cyclist on the road, on seeing the army left the bicycle on the road and ran away. The army came into the house and took the young man and put him into a tractor containing six young boys with hands tied and eyes blindfolded, brought from Chettipalayam. The young man's parents went up and pleaded. The mother was beaten. An officer who came behind released the young man. Later six bodies were found burnt, placed radially around a tyre. The army had also done its usual looting of TV sets and watches.
The local residents had further instances of the Tigers wanting to put them into trouble. On one occasion, a Tiger was standing near a house containing civilians while a patrol was coming, ready to run away. On another occasion a landmine was placed opposite the post office, then containing refugees. The mine did not go off when a patrol passed by. The LTTE later removed the mine.
Whenthings settled down, it turned out that a number of people from the surrounding areas had been killed, while none had died from Kurukkal Madam itself. That strengthened the prevalent religious beliefs! [Top]
Many of the buildings in town were destroyed when the army shelled the area before moving in from Amparai. There used to be a big LTTE camp in the area. The shells were fired from Periya Porativu as the army moved along the Gonagolla Kaluwanchikudy road. There were initially the usual symptoms of Sri Lankan army occupation. But we shall confine ourselves to what happened subsequently, and for a change, to the rare positive side.
The battalion that came into occupation subsequently was commanded by Colonel Halangoda. The conduct of this unit is spoken of with high praise by local civilians and others in neighbouring areas. This period provided the civilians with both dignity and confidence. The standards set were very unusual for the Sri Lankan army.
On one occasion an army patrol as well as the LTTE ended up in the market at the same time. The troops were ordered not to fire for the fear of hitting civilians. The confrontation ended peacefully. In another incident an army patrol was ambushed in Kottai Kallar, south of Kaluwanchikudy. Two soldiers were killed. The army behaved itself and there were no reprisals against civilians. The villagers were asked to tell the LTTE that there was no objection to their coming into the village, provided they did so without arms.
When in mid December 1990, the STF was on a vindictive binge in Kallar and Periya Nilawanai further south, resulting in many disappearances, the army at Kaluwanchikudy was warning people not to proceed south as the STF was on a spree. Colonel Halangoda left earlier this year on an overseas scholarhip. Because of a total political vacuum, such achievements are too often shortlived. Good officers, although they can decisively influence the character of their unit, cannot compensate for poor political wisdom. [Top]
According to residents in Kallar, the worst incident with the IPKF was the kicking to death of a young boy by soldiers in public view. This happened after the outbreak of the October 1987 war. Later things were quiet. About July 1989, 26 boys from Kallar were conscripted for the ill fated TNA. The TNA was posted in the Methodist Church Community Hall, and were described as not aggressive. Strangely enough, many Tamil youth then took up residence in Amparai town to evade conscription. They were then well received, though Amparai became a death trap the following June.
In November 1989, the TNA confronted the LTTE at Thumpankerni, beyond Palugamam. 7 were killed. The rest, including those from Kallar, were taken prisoner and are missing since then.
The June War: On June 16th, the day on which the army arrived, a man was hacked to death on the causeay to Kottai Kallar. Five youths, including Suntheralingam, Paskaran, Sasikaran and Gunam, were taken by the army in a roundup and are missing. Subsequently, refugees from Veeramunai, Central Camp, Division 8, Malwattai and Mallikaitivu came to reside at a camp in Kallar. In late July, 35 of these refugees were rounded up by the STF and Muslim vigilantes, taken to the Kallar beach, and shot dead. Local residents were called in to carry the bodies into vehicles.
During those days the STF used to fire at people from a distance without verifying their targets. In September, a CTB driver, Eliyathamby Rasiah and conductor Arumugam Anandan, both from Kallar, on their way to work in Kalmunai, were shot dead by the STF. This happened at 6 a.m. in Periya Kallar. A retired gentleman, Kanthappar Vyramuththu was shot dead while crossing the road.
Kallar used to be a place patrolled by the STF in Periya Nilawanai (Maruthamunai) from the south, and the army in Kaluwanchikudy from the north. The Batticaloa district ends with Kallar. During late September, Sellappah Kanapathipillai (51) a teacher who was listening to the radio in his house with Maruthanayagam, a carpenter, were both taken out and shot by the army. Three relatives who went in search of their bodies never returned. Their bodies were recovered from the lagoon in a decomposed state in Onththachichi Madam. Three women relatives who went to Kaluwanchchikudy to meet the army are said to have been hacked and thrown into a well. The well was later covered up. Three mothers and three sons from Kallar travelling to Colombo by CTB bus in October, were taken at Malwattai by army personnel and Muslim home guards. They are still missing.
Disappearances in December : Two days after STF men were ambushed in Panama (about 7th December), in the south of Amparai District, the much dreaded white van doing nocturnal rounds, made its appearance in the area. On the first day it drove into Kallar at 7.30 p.m., with armed men in plain clothes. It went away at 8.30p.m. taking away six persons. Among them were the son (O.L student) and son-in-law (newly married) of Mr. Kanagasabai, and three members of the Nadarajah family, including Nadarajah himself, hi sbro in law and his son (O.level student). The other was a recently married 27 year old son of Bobby Arulampalam.
Another who disappeared during this period was a graduate teacher Thayalan from Jaffna University. He was taken on the way to the National Savings Bank at Kalmunai. His father, Mr. Tissaveerasingham, principal of Thurainilawanai MV (High School), appealed to the Minister of Education and to the Director of Education, Batticaloa. There has been no response.
Others who went missing during this period are 17 traders from Kaluwanchikudi, Kurumanveli, Eruvil and Palugamam. These persons used to come on bicycles from the north to purchase goods from Muslim traders at Maruthamunai, after passing the STF camp. While this was happening, the army at Kaluwanchikudy was warning people not to go south (See also UTHR (J) No.6).
While this was going on people were wondering why the STF was resorting to reprisals there for what happened far south. The reason now believed by many is based on the discovery that the OIC at Thurainilawanai (Maruthamunai), was the namesake of the commanding officer at Mankulam army camp, which fell to the LTTE less than two weeks prior to the disappearances.
According to local sources, 76 persons have been killed or are missing in Kallar, since the outbreak of the war. The figure includes the 35 refugees massacred in July. [Top]
We add to what has been given in Reports 4 & 5. Following the killing of policemen and 10 soldiers on 11t June, Kalmunai town was subject to intense shelling by the army. On 14 th June a responsible person concerned about the Girls Home, Kalmunai telephoned LTTE's Castro as to what they should do. Castro replied not to worry and that nothing would happen. Despite making plans for their withdrawal, they offered no guidance to the civilians. Since shells were falling all around, it was decided to evacuate the Girls Home. Late that night 150 girs and others walked to Karaitivu through Sainthamaruthu, a Muslim area. As the army got close, confusion also reigned in Karaitivu. Lacking guidance from anyone, plans were afoot to walk the girls 12 miles south to Akkaraipattu. This was abandoned when others in Karaitivu advised them to stay put. The girls got back to Kalmunai in July, when a lorry sent with food by church authorities in Colombo, was made available to transport them.
The massacre of hundreds by the troops which came into Kalmunai has been described in earlier reports. All other independent reports give variations on the figures, but the essential facts stand. The list of dead and missing in and around Kalmunai stands at above 1000. The armys attitude at that time is further illustrated by the following incident. The only son of a professional man was taken by the army in a round up. The parents found out the name of a senior commanding officer and went to the camp at nightfall. They took that risk because every moment mattered. They informed the sentry that they would like to speak to the officer named. The sentry put them through, thinking from their middle class bearing that the officer was known to them. They pleaded with the officer. The officer finally replied, I will release him because he is your only son. If you had another son, I certainly would not release him. There was no question of whether he had LTTE connections. All that mattered was that he was a Tamil. In judging the officer, it must be kept in mind that in an affair of low humanity, he came up at least to this level.
The scars and the atmosphere of terror in Kalmunai will take a long time to heal. With the exodus of a large number of senior government servants, the Tamil middle class has shrunk, making the community feel more abandoned. Kalmunai hospital now has no specialists and its medical staff is depleted. One of its last remaining Tamil doctors, a lady, fled Kalmunai, reportedly on receiving a note of demand for liberation tax. [Top]
At the time we visited Karaitivu, the people were sullen and pessimistic. But it was said that killings of detainees by the STF had reached a very low ebb. STF patrols could be seen on bicycles in lanes, occasionally taking persons for an inquiry while the women screamed. It is said that nearly all those taken would be questioned and released. A few days later, when a bomb exploded in Akkaraipattu market, a number of persons disappeared in an area including Kalmunai and Karaitivu. Although Muslim homeguards are said to have been responsible, they together with the police and the STF are part of the same institution. Pretending that they are distinct, serves well to shuffle responsibility and to confuse. But it at the same time increases distrust and uncertainty.
We correct some figures given earlier. According to responsible local sources, when the army came into Karaitivu in June 1990, they arrested 64 in a round up, and after 2 weeks, released 5. The others are missing. 16 others died when prisoners were thrust into a room and a grenade was exploded. Of those killed in the explosion were Sri Ram, who was due to enter the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, and his younger brother. His elder brother escaped. The total killed and missing in Karaitivu since the outbreak of war is put at about 150.
These sources also gave the number of Tamils in the area killed in 1985 when the STF attacked in the company of a mob, as 19. A further 15 were missing. The damage to property was enormous.
According to local sources, an incident took place in Karaitivu about a month before the war of June 1990. This was the period during which the two sides were involved in a war of nerves. The government had set up a support police station in Karaitivu, manned by 15 to 20 mainly Muslim policemen. One night these policemen were killed. But no one claimed responsibility. The LTTE was in control at that time.
In what follows, we correct an account given in Report 6 , Section 6.5.
STF round up of Refugee Camp, 12th December 1990 : At 5.30 a.m the STF surrounded the refugee camp at Vipulananda College. Refugees from each village were asked to come out in turn, and were marched past persons described as Muslim informers. 28 persons were taken into custody. The manner in which persons were picked up was reminiscent of what happened in the Eastern University. Of the 28 picked up, 9 were refugees from Attapalam, a Tamil village next to the neighbouring Muslim village of Nintavur.
The STF then moved into the refugee camp premises and surrounded the main school building. Those outside heard a grenade explosion followed by automatic fire and another explosion. It turned out later that 3 LTTE cadre hiding in the ceiling had died.
Of the 28 taken, only one person from Attapalam was released. The rest are missing, mostly without any indication about their fate. Chelliah Namasivayam, one of those detained, is believed by his wife Manonmani to be in Magazine prison.
What the Refugees experienced: In what follows we briefly sketch out the experiences of refugees in the Karaitivu camp. The list is far from exhaustive.
Amparai Town: A leader from a community of Indian Tamil origin living in Iraikamam Rd, Mihindapura, related their experience. They were mainly Health Department labourers living in line rooms. At 3.30 p.m. on 11 th June, 3 policemen came to their quarter, opened fire with their automatics, and started setting fire to their rooms. They caught some boys and threw them into the fire. It may be noted that except for the fact that these people spoke. Tamil, they were as remote from the Tigers as ordinary Sinhalese.
At 7 p.m. the same evening, they were set upon by Sinhalese mobs. Among those killed were members of an entire family. A total of 70 persons from that community were killed. The survivors walked it to Karaitivu via Veeramunai and Samanthurai.
Although their work is of the most menial kind which few is this country would willingly perform, they are desperate to get back to work. The leader said that he could now make brief visits to Amparai. But whether they could live there remains in doubt. They have been told that they could get back to work at their own risk. The health authorities are not prepared to guarantee their safety. Those who visit Amparai town are still subject to threatening remarks.
Muhangala, Ingurana: At 1.30 p.m. on 13th June, a Sinhalese mob attacked them with sticks and poles. Among those killed were 12 children, pregnant women and elderly persons. They walked to Akkaraipattu through sugar cane fields.
Inginiyagala: Approximately 40 Tamils were killed by police and Sinhalese mobs.
Korakovil : 30 killed.
Attapalam: The army rounded up 36 persons on 2nd July and killed 8. Out of the remaining 28, 23 werereleased. The fate of 5 persons is not known. In all, 58 persons are dead or missing. Of this number 22 were adbucted by the army while travelling to Colombo by bus. Those in the refugee camp remain because of Muslim home guards.
Thiraikerni : 41 died on 6th August when the STF came with Muslim home guards. The one person taken prisoner is missing.
Going through all these stories, one sees that a perverse sense of historical memory justifies any act of violence by any one party. There is no creative thrust by those who know better to overcome this politics of destruction. [Top]
The_Police mutiny: Discipline among policemen in the East was bad enough (see Special Report No.3). In Akkaraipattu, things had become unmanageable when a subInspector was in charge of a A?grade Police station. A new crisis developed when Inspector Vahalathanthri was put in charge of the station. The new Inspector broke all the good traditions of the force. He enforced a strict duty roster, inspection parades and banned the use of liquor in the station. He pulled up his men for getting civilians to dig bunkers, telling them that it was work which they ought to do themselves. His men were also reportedly pulled up for mistreating those under detention. Both the Muslim and the Tamil public saw stars. He later told a group of citizens that some were trying to bribe him. But that his father and grandfather had been in the police force, that he was a Christian (Roman Catholic), and that he thus took integrity in duty very seriously. He announced that he would only meet people officially and would not attend private parties. People spoke of him with enthusiasm and could not believe their ears.
In the night, about 15th March 1991, drunken policemen mutinied. Wild firing, mostly into the air, went on for a long time, causing people to think that there was an LTTE attack. Fortunately for the policemen, there wasn't one. The ASP, Kalmunai, had to come with a party to quell the mutiny. Subsequently many of the policemen were transferred. The Inspector told a person that he would take the challenge and continue to do what he was doing.
In a country where policemen have been promoted on instructions from on high, precisely for being corrupt, Inspector Vahalathanthri deserves both sympathy and good wishes.
The unexpected meeting: A man with a familar face hailed us and proceeded to greet us with touching enthusiasm. He had met us last September when his family were among Sinhalese refugees in Amparai town. He insisted on being the host at a tea shop. As with most refugees, he found it depressing to live on handouts. He left his wife and children in Amparai and had resumed work in Akkaraipattu. Since there were differing versions of the destruction of the Buddhist temple in Amparai, he was asked for his story. Believe me sir, he said, We saw it with our own eyes. The Tigers came in a jeep on 14th June about 3.00 p.m. and stole some of the things in the temple. They took an oil lamp and our sadhus (priest) fan. They also stole a radio cassette presented to the sadhu by the Tamil people in appreciation of what he had done for them. During the TamilMuslim clashes in 1985, the Tamils had sheltered in the temple. Later the Tigers bombed the temple which was once the refuge of Tamils.
That gave another element of complexity to the chequered history of the East. [Top]
A sizeable refugee population still remains in this area. Most of them are from Veeramunai and Pottuvil. The former are in camps. The main body of refugees from Pottuvil is in Komary. In Thirukkovil,Thambiluvil itself, things are relatively calm. At least for 1 ½ months after the incident in Vinyagapuram there had been no further killings. It is known in one case at least in early March, that a person accused of supplying food to the LTTE was warned and sent home. There appeared to be a change. But for how long
The Tamil policemen from the region who survived, are now in a temporary police station next to the STF camp, on probation. Life is hard for them as local people do not take them seriously, and they in turn feel impelled to do things to show that they are real policemen.
Following the news item of early Novemebr on headless bodies, i nthe Island, no further headless bodies have been sighted. The Amparai correspondent to whom the item was sourced, had since also vanished from the pages of the Island. (See Special Report No.3 for background information.) [Top]
About the first week of February, the STF at Thirukkovil picked up and reportedly killed two boys who had allegedly supplied food to the LTTE, in hiding around Kanjikudichcharu. Some said that the boys previously had EROS links. In response to this, a dhoby in Vinayagapuram who did washing for the STF was shot dead on the allegation that he had given information to the STF. Having made inquiries as to who shot the dhoby, the STF went to Vinayagapuram looking for two boys Kuna and Kumar. The boys not being present, the STF took their fathers. One man Shanmuganathan had two daughters at home. Having taken the father, the two girls were locked up. The girls screamed. The STF then let out the girls and chased them away. According to local sources, the STF had said, ?When we acted against the JVP in the South, we finished off entire families. But we are letting you go?. The house was then set on fire. The other man taken was Vadivel, whose house too was set on fire. Nothing more was heard of Shanmuganathan and Vadivel.
It is said that the citizens? committee of Thirukkovil? Thambiluvil raised the matter with the STF. The STF commandant Lionel Karunasena, it is said, appeared to have been upset, and had assured them that this would not happen again. [Top]
The origin of headless bodies : Uthayakumar was a young boy
from Thambiluvil who was looking for a new life. It is said that he was keenly
studying the Bible. Then came the war of June 1990. Young boys were in a panic
over the thought of the armed forces coming in. The LTTE urged them to join
the final battle rather than be killed while staying at home. Uthayakumar with
many frightened boys followed the LTTE into the jungle. The STF then assumed
control promising clemency.
Uthayakumar returned about a month later and was staying at home. He was pointed out to the STF by two informants moving with the STF at that time, and was picked up. One dawn in late July, his severed head and body were found a short distance from the STF camp at Thandiyady, between Vinayagapuram and Komari. His remains were interred by local villagers who had found them. Uthayakumar?s was the first in a list of over 30 headless corpses found in the area. [Top]
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