3.1 Saved by his dog
3.2 Shot by home guards
3.3 Taken from the Eastern University
3.4 Hide and Seek in Batticaloa Prison
3.5 Left for dead in Kallar
Karuppiah Madhavan (40) from Nawalapitiya had married Sothimani of Eravur 4, and was the father of Selvi (13), Illankovan (10) and Senthilkumaran (8). The children were living with his mother and were schooling in Nawalapitiya. He had previously worked as a foreman for the Swedish firm Skanska on the Mahaveli project and later at Puttalam. They were barely settled in Eravur for 7 months. He was last working for Daya Stores, Batticaloa.
On 12th August, the day following the massacre of Muslims in Eravur, the army surrounded his house and dragged out Madhavan with his wife. Both were assaulted. As the army dragged Madhavan to a place 1/4 mile away, he shouted at his wife to run away to safety. The soldiers proceeded to kick him with their boots and assault him with rifle butts. He received injuries on his head and chest and lost some of his teeth. The soldiers inquired about Kuttithamby and Suresh. Madhavan said that he was new here and knew few people. He was losing his senses during the assault as breathing became difficult. Then an officer arrived and Madhavan explained to him in English. The officer asked him to be off or that Muslim thugs would kill him. Madhavan said that he had to go home and look for his wife. The officer followed him as he crawled home on his knees. Instead of helping him to walk, the soldiers tried to hold up his tummy. Finding Manonmani missing, he shouted for her. His voice was mostly a gasp. He went over the neighbourhood on all fours calling his wife. The officer warned him again that Muslim thugs would get him. With injuries on the head, teeth broken, a stab on the chest with a small knife, and boot nail injuries all over, including the abdomen, Madhavan went north at crawling pace, followed by his dog Jimmy.
By sheer force of will, he reached Rameshwaram, which was empty and devastated, at about 2.30 p.m. He was now 3 miles from the Eastern University and physical as well as mental exhaustion caused him to faint. As he regained consciousness, he noticed that he was surrounded by crows and dogs, eager for his exposed flesh. Jimmy was close to him, frantically barking and keeping the predators at bay. Madhavan observed, "Even other creatures became corrupted by mankind, and had developed a taste for human flesh. If not for my faithful Jimmy, I would have been finished."
He continued,"I then heard the thundering noise of army trucks from the direction of my home in TC quarters, Eravur. I felt better and slowly walked another mile. I met two persons having a drink of coconut. They had come to look over their houses. On seeing me they offered me a drink of coconut and took me to Eastern University on a bicycle. That was the last time I saw my faithful Jimmy. I reached the university about quarter past six. Two days later my neighbours who were in the camp told me that Manonmani had been seen cut and thrown into a well. They had found her slippers and her rolled up sari. Silly girl. I suspected when I asked her to go away that she would not. She must have waited to see what became of me and Muslim thugs would have got her."
Madhavan was hospitalised in Batticaloa for 16 days. He has now aged, is semi‑disabled and wears the scars of his ordeal. He is now in the Batticaloa Hindu College refugee camp and is looking for help in starting a small shop. [Top]
Mrs. Thangamma Thavarasa of Eravur 4 fled her home with her family to Vantharumoolai (Eastern University) on 12th August, soon after the massacre of Muslims. On 30th August she left for home with two other women by a jungle path, to look over their belongings. Having walked two miles, they encountered Muslim home guards who were recently deployed, and began to run away. The home guards followed shooting and asked them to put up their hands. The women were then dragged and abused in filth. They were made to line up and remove their jewels. One home guard then proceeded to shoot the pleading women, reloading his gun each time. Thangamma was shot in the chest below the right shoulder and fainted. Selvam Arokiam survived with a shot in the throat and Pamanasom Esamma died immediately. After recovering consciousness Thangamma held her chest wound and walked to Vantharumoolai with Arokiam. On the way Arokiam collapsed. Hearing distant gunshots Thangamma's daughter Thavendri had come hither to find out. On seeing her mother, she shouted Amma and ran to her. She went back to the university and brought help. Both ladies were taken on bicycles and received first aid at the camp hospital. The ICRC took them to Batticaloa hospital the following day. Arokiam died en route.
Thangamma was discharged 10 days later and now lives at 7, Pioneer Road, Batticaloa. She faces many problems common to that area. Her son Thavendran (26), was taken by the STF from Eravur on 5th June 1987 and is missing since then. Her daughter Thavendri formerly worked for Adam Lebbe at Gaya Bakery, Eravur. Adam Lebbe is himself in difficulties and is unable to help. Her eldest daughter Mrs. Sakthivel had lost her husband and has two boys and a girl (11,10 & 9years) to mind. Thangamma had also brought up an orphan, now aged 9, for 6 years. Her skill at rolling cigars is profitable in the villages, but not in town. She now earns a meagre sum selling pieces of chewing tobacco in the market at 50 cents a piece. She thinks that dying would have been easier. [Top]
Thavarani Thambirajah (22) has been through much looking for her brother Uthayakumar (23). They are natives of Kommathurai. On 5th September the army surrounded the Eastern University. Thavarani saw her brother for the last time when the boys were separated from the girls. Uthayakumar was one of the 159 taken away after being pointed out by informers. Uthayakumar first worked as church keeper at the Chenkaladi Methodist Church, then at the dispensary of Dr. Ragunathan of Eravur and later with the Director at the Methodist Educational Centre, Chenkaladi. He was known to many leading persons who would vouch for his character. His misfortune may have been that he was known in Eravur.
The family went to the Roman Catholic Bishop. The Catholic Club circulated appeals to army camps. They went to the Morakkatanchenai army camp in early February this year and were given a date to call again. The mother went on 10th February and spoke to an official through a TELO interpreter. She was told that the army had not been able to check yet, and promised to give her further information by post. Nothing was heard. They lodged an appeal with the ICRC on 14th March. Among the children there is one other boy and 5 girls. [Top]
During the third week of January this year the army did a round up at Santhiveli and Kaluwankerny and altogether 10 prisoners were taken. They were sent to Batticaloa prison and were beaten on the way. All were subsequently released, two on 1st February and the rest, later. Many of the prisoners were middle aged (35 ‑ 45 years) and had 3 ‑ 6 children. Before their release they had some novel experiences. This was a period during which greater leniencey was exercised. It is not representative of what took place earlier or what may come after.
The prisoners were often kept awake by screams in the night. Many of the torturers were said to be Muslim deserters from the LTTE. Sometimes they were driven in a van with tyres and petrol cans and their eyes tied, after threats to burn them, and then brought back after a 5 minute drive.
The ICRC used to come once a week and they used to be shown only a section of the prisoners. When the ICRC spoke to them individually, prisoners were usually afraid to speak of those not shown. Once when the ICRC arrived, 13 prisoners were quickly hustled away by the guards and only 8 shown. When the ICRC spoke to them they made a routine denial that there were other prisoners. But one boy signalled with his fingers. The ICRC visitors also apparently noticed that there were more shirts hanging than there were people. The ICRC left. The 13 were brought back by the guards. The ICRC officials then suddenly returned and took down details of the 13 they had not seen earlier. The prison officials were angry about the ICRC's discovery. They suspected one prisoner who knew English and had with the permission of the guards, helped the ICRC to fill up forms about other prisoners. After the ICRC left, this prisoner was assaulted.
The prison facilities, it is said, were not bad. They were given good food, including noodles. [Top]
A young man holding a very responsible job in the East left Kalmunai on 21st June 1990 when army reprisals were at its peak, and proceeded northwards with his younger brother. At Kallar they were stopped by the army, and the younger brother was asked to proceed with some of the others. The young man was then mercilessly assaulted and was left for dead against a fence. After the army left, the owner of the house came to look, and saw a movement of the young man's hand. His people were contacted in due course and he was warded in Kalmunai hospital.
Subsequently, he was taken twice by the police and released after being assaulted. His identity card was also taken. He now has a dent at the back of his head, two fingers broken by the police and hurriedly set in the local hospital, and a voice defect. He was asked to see a neuro‑surgeon. But there are no neuro‑surgeons in the East and he still finds it difficult to travel to Colombo. [Top]
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