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UNIVERSITY TEACHERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (JAFFNA)

REPORT NO. 11
 

LAND, HUMAN RIGHTS
&
THE EASTERN PREDICAMENT

ISSUED: 15TH APRIL, 1993
 

PREFACE
 

CHAPTER 1: THE BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - THE
SAME GAME BUT DIFFERENT RULES

1.1: THE STATE'S RESPONSE
1.2: THE LTTE'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD AND THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

CHAPTER 2: TRINCOMALEE: DESTROYING THE BASIS
FOR A POLITICAL SOLUTION

2.1: THE CURRENT SITUATION: IDEOLOGY AND
INEQUALITY
2.2: LAND ALIENATION IN TRINCOMALEE TOWN
2.3: IMPLICATIONS OF LAND TO ADMINISTRATIVE
STRUCTURES
24: COLONISATION IN THE DISTRICT: THE CASE OF
THE WELI OYA SCHEME
2.5: DISCRIMINATION IN THE USE OF LAND
TEMPORARILY ABANDONED BY OWNERS
2.6: THE LAND PROBLEMS OF RETURNING REFUGEES
AND DISPLACED PERSONS
2.7: SOME SALIENT FEATURES OF GOVERNMENT
POLICY IN TRINCOMALEE
2.8: TAMIL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FATE OF
TRINCOMALEE

CHAPTER 3: MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE INTERIOR
OF BATTICALOA DISTRICT

3.1: FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST 1992
3.2: SUNDAY, 9TH AUGUST 1992: MAHILANTHANAI
3.3: 24TH OCTOBER 1992: PALAIADIVATAI
3.4: AN INCIDENT OF RAPE, 14TH NOVEMBER
1992:AITHIYAMALAI
3.5: ABOUT LATE NOVEMBER 1992: AMBALANTHURAI
3.6: 14TH DECEMBER 1992: SILLIKUDIARU,
NEDUNCHENAI
3.7: A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS 1992:
MANATPIDDY
3.8: EARLY JANUARY 1993
3.9: 11TH JANUARY 1993
3.10: ABOUT 11TH JANUARY 1993: KANCHIRANKUDAH
3.11: 21ST JANUARY 1993: KURINCHIMUNAI
3.12: 1ST FEBRUARY TO 3RD FEBRUARY 1993:
PADUVANKARAI

CHAPTER 4: SITUATION REPORT: BATTICALOA AND
AMPARAI DISTRICTS

4.1: MOULANA ABDUL CADAR'S HEALING MISSION
4.2: THIRUKKOVIL - THAMBILUVIL
4.3: AKKARAIPATTU
4.4: KALMUANI AND SURROUNDINGS
4.5: RETURN OF TAMILS TO AREAS FROM WHICH THEY
WERE DISPLACED
4.6: BATTICALOA AND ENVIRONS
4.7: INTERIOR RICE FIELDS OF THE BATTICALOA
DISTRICT

CHAPTER 5: MUSLIMS IN BATTICALOA AND AMPARAI
DISTRICTS

5.1: SAMMANTHURAI
5.2: KATTANKUDI
5.3: ERAVUR
5.4: INCIDENTS AFFECTING MUSLIMS IN THE
BATTICALOA AND
AMPARAI DISTRICTS

CHAPTER 6: THE DEHUMANIZED ENVIRONMENT AND
CONSEQUENCES FOR MUSLIM-TAMIL RELATIONS

6.1: MUSLIMS: GLOBAL FEARS AND LOCAL
IMPLICATIONS
6.2: THE BLEEDING COMMUNITY
6.3: THE PROXIMITY OF DEATH AND ITS INFLUENCE
6.4: THE LTTE, BIG BROTHER POLITICS, AND THE EAST
6.5: TAMIL MYTHS ABOUT MUSLIMS
6.6: CONSEQUENCES OF THE TAMIL OUTLOOK SHAPED
BY THE NARROW NATIONALIS IDEOLOGY
6.7: THE HOMEGUARD DILEMMA
6.8: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

CHAPTER 7: MASSACRES IN THE POLANNARUWA
DISTRICT

7.1: INTRODUCTION
7.2: THE VILLAGES
7.3: ASPECTS OF DETERIORATION OF COMMUNAL
RELATIONS
7.4: ASPECTS OF THE MASSACRES

CHAPTER 8: HILLCOUNTRY AND NORTHERN NOTES

8.1: DETAINEES IN THE HILL COUNTRY
8.2: LAND AND HILL COUNTRY ISSUES
8.3: JAFFNA: INDICATORS OF NUTRITION AND HEALTH
8.4: KILLINOCHCHI: 12TH FEBRUARY 1993: AERIAL
BOMBING
8.5: CROSSING THE JAFFNA LAGOON
8.6: MANNAR: JANUARY - MARCH, 1993
8.7: THE LTTE AND SINHALES AND MUSLIM CIVILIANS

APPENDIX I: FROM THE WRITINGS OF Y. AHAMED

APPENDIX II: COLONISATION AND DEMOGRAPHIC
CHANGES IN
THE TRINCOMALEE DISTRICT AND THEIR EFFECTS ON
THE
TAMIL SPEAKING PEOPLE

APPENDIX III: LATE 70S AND EARLY 80S: NAKED
ADMINISTRATIVE AGGRESSION - DEVELOPMENT OR
DESTRUCTION?

APPENDIX IV: A NOTE ON LAND ENCROACHMENT

APPENDIX V: THE RESOLUTION BY THE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF JAFFNA, THE LTTE PRESS RELEASE
AND OUR NOTE
 
 
 

PREFACE
 
 

This report deals mainly with the East and takes up from
Report No.9. One of the matters it focuses on is the key issue of
Tamil-Muslim relations (Chapter 7). We regard this
polarisation as one of the major tragedies of the misdirection
of the Tamil struggle. It is only right that whatever vision we
have for the future of Tamil society, it must account for the
unforseen developments over the last decade. It is a society
that is to start with, no longer geographically compact. Is there
room for a coherent Tamil society other than one that is multi-
religious, multi-ethnic and open? (See Y.Ahamed, Appendix I).
Our ancient heritage seems to point that way.

Also taken up are developments in the Trincomalee District
and the interior of the Batticaloa District. The former is now
the focus of secretive administrative manoeuvring and the
second a theatre of military operations. Chapter 2 deals with
the urgent questions confronting the Trincomalee District.
Much of the material on Trincomalee is being carried over into
the next report.

We dealt with some of the issues concerning state sponsored
colonisation of Sinhalese in  Tamil areas  in Chapter 8 of
Report No 7. Questions of extreme poverty and malnutrition in
certain Sinhalese areas do impinge on any complete discussion
of colonisation. We will endeavour to deal with some of the
human aspects of this in future reports. We do not argue
against colonisation per se. The whole question needs to be
gone over thoroughly by institutions better equipped. What we
attempt in Chapter 2, and we think it is urgent, is to show that
what the state is doing in Trincomalee has nothing to do with
justice, poverty alleviation or development. Nor can it ever be
for a policy once described by a key minister in  terms of solving
the Tamil problem by settling ex-convicts and fishermen in
their midst. This raises the question  how far has this country,
and especially the state, moved away from communalism?  We
find the developments in the Trincomalee District and the
contrasting attitudes to Tamil and Sinhalese farmers working
on lands not belonging to them, very disturbing. Chapter 1
reflects on the broader questions concerning human rights in
Sri Lanka.

The present and the last report suggest that the conditions and
security of Tamil detainees of the government forces in urban
areas of the North-East, have improved. But it is still nowhere
near satisfying  the requirements of the Amnesty International.
The outrage of the international community to the massacres
of  Muslims in the Polannaruva District seems to have had an
impact on the LTTE locally [See 8.7]. After the massacre of the
civilian passengers in the Jaffna lagoon on the 2nd January, no
alternative having been worked out yet, civilians continue
travel at considerable risk to their life. Killings by the forces in
the interior of the Batticaloa District have been continuing and
aerial bombing of civilian areas in the North continues to be
callous. On 12th February 1993 a school in full session near
Killinochchi was just missed (Chapter 8).

However, much credit for the sharp (temporary?) decline in the
killing rate should go to organisations as well as groups that
have kept up human rights pressure on both sides. It is in the
wake of these developments that the LTTE leader gave an
interview over the BBC Tamil service under restrictive
conditions on questioning, sought and obtained,in which he
accepted for the first time that he would consider a federal
solution. It may be noted that many other Tamils have been
killed by the LTTE over charges such as compromising the goal
of a separate state and for contesting elections to the
parliament of the foreign country of Sri Lanka. Previously such
offers of a solution have been made through third and fourth
parties. We will not speculate why the LTTE leader went
publicly. But for whatever reason, the offer is welcome.

The derisive, unstatesmanlike response to this offer by
Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe speaking on behalf of the
government at a press conference was most disappointing.
This stance was repeated by President Premadasa in his BBC
phone in. They wanted the LTTE to submit its proposals to the
parliamentary select committee, which, other Tamil parties
and political analysts believe, has come to a dead end. At all
costs, slipping back into the decade old illusion that only violent
pressure on civilians, by either side, would lead to negotiations
on favourable terms, must be avoided.

Our reports deal with several aspects pertaining to violations
and are very unorthodox as human rights documents. In order
to clarify our position,we once more reiterate the purposes for
which these reports are written.
 

1. To expose human rights violations by all forces in order to
bring about general awareness and to make violators
accountable.

2. To bring out the human background to these violations
through a portrayal of individual characters together with an
analysis of social pressures and external circumstances
governing their behaviour. We try to show that the characters
involved, even in the worst violations, are often human, whose
actions are governed by mislaid human potential,past
choices,and oppressive circumstances.

3. To leave behind a historical record of this crucial part of our
history. Since there is no space in our community to discuss and
choose between different options,and the young especially are
giving their life even without knowing our recent history, we
feel it is necessary to leave a record. Moreover, in this country,
we seem to suffer from historical amnesia combined with a
moral vacuum, forcing us to re-live an unpleasant history
again and again. We trust these records will also help benign
minds who in the future would like to make a re-evaluation.

4. As responsible members of an academic institution and
citizens of our community, we would like to express our
opinions and make room for free expression and an edifying
debate. We also seek to highlight the untapped human
potential in all communities in our country, for both internal
regeneration and to make a success of living in one plural
nation.
 
 
 

CHAPTER 1: THE BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - THE
SAME GAME BUT DIFFERENT RULES
 
 
 
 
 

1.1 The State's response

1.1.1 Introduction

The underlying causes of human rights violations in Sri  Lanka
are far from disappearing or changing their form. The
alienation of a variety of minority groups together with
sectional interests cutting across all communal and religious
boundaries exist, in combination with hardships arising from
corruption, maladministration and the hierarchy of economic
domination serving narrow global interests. Power, which is
mediated through these interests,would,whenever the need is
felt, not shrink from violations. This much is almost
tautological and is an everyday occurrence in world affairs.
Out of both international and domestic compulsions, the Sri
Lankan state,without addressing the critical structural
questions, has been fairly successful in adopting a managerial
response to criticisms about its human rights record. This
means becoming more subtle and scaling down several of the
uglier and sensational aspects of human rights violations -
such as massacres and mass disappearances. Although several
individuals within the state machinery who have been pushing
this managerial response are taken to be well-meaning, the
underlying discontent and the structural problems are so
severe that this response will be limited in scope. It is likely to
go no further than a temporary,but uneasy,equilibrium.

The recent Amnesty International report on Sri Lanka
(February 1993) contains the words, "Since mid - 1991, the
Government of Sri Lanka has displayed much greater
openness to scrutiny by international human rights
organisations. This is a welcome development which

Amnesty International hopes will contribute to the
strengthening of human rights protection, and the work of
human rights organisations within the country". The report
then goes on to address inadequacies of the present mechanism
for the avoidance of violations and makes recommendations.

The AI report makes note of the two recommendations rejected
by the government which relate to the issue of impunity. These
were among 32 recommendations made by the AI in 1991 of
which the rest were accepted. The first was the call to repeal
the indemnity act, which provides impunity from prosecution
for the period 1st August 1977 to 16th December 1988 for
members of the security forces and others who acted in 'good
faith' with regard to law enforcement. This interestingly
covers the period starting from the anti-Tamil riots of 1977 to
the eve of the 1988 presidential elections.

The second rejected recommendation had called upon the
government to expand the mandate of the 'Presidential
Commission of Inquiry into the Involuntary Removal of
Persons' to include "disappearances" which took place before
11th January 1991.

This as we shall show has serious implications for the
enforcement of human rights by landing the government in a
muddle of embarrassing contradictions.

The Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka in its statement of
November 1992 makes the following pertinent observations:
"Distressing reports of "disappearances" continue to be
received from the Eastern Province. In the South, the sharp
drop in the number of reported "disappearances" after the
"peak years" of 1988,1989 and 199O is no cause for
complacency. It came about as the result of the capture and
killing of the leadership of the JVP and the consequent bringing
under control of the violent insurgency that had dominated the
political scene during those years. This led to a corresponding
drop in the resort to counter-terror tactics of the security
forces. In fact these unlawful activities by agents of the state or
persons apparently acting with their connivance continued far
longer than the circumstances that gave rise to them, and
appeared to have gained a momentum of their own. They are
by no means unknown today."

We have quoted in this report a member of the Batticaloa Peace
Committee describing the experience on the ground. After
describing the current pattern of violations, which were on a
much reduced scale, and the fairly successful public relations
effort by the authorities, he concluded, "Everything that
happened in the past can happen again. These are like tales
from the dark side." He described their experience as one
where a sudden burst of evil shatters the normal calm. After
the momentary chaos and destruction it is, hey presto, calm
once more. The rest of this chapter will consist of reflections
arising from these themes.

1.1.2 The importance of the struggle for
                 democracy

Though undertaken largely for tactical reasons of survival of
the state, our present and last reports substantiate the
observation of several others, that an effort is being made to
improve the image of state forces in respect of human rights in
the North-East. But the repressive character of the forces
armed with the PTA and a host of emergency measures
remains intact. They have the power to take a persons life or
detain a person indefinitely, often through sheer clumsiness,
without being accountable. The head choppers on yellow motor
cycles are a manifestation of the former. Undisciplined troops
continue to kill civilians with impunity in operational areas.

Nevertheless we welcome the measures to scale down
violations insofar as they reduce suffering and allow room for
the kind of democratic activity that will address the structural
problems that form the basis of organised violations. How far
the current basis of power, its economic underpinnings and its
allied local and global interests, can countenance the
addressing of human rights violations is a question that we will
not go into here. What is very suggestive is, as the AI report
and CRM statement allude to, the great reluctance on the part
of the government to change substantially, the ponderous
repressive apparatus it built up during a particular set of
circumstances. This 'appears to have gained a momentum of its
own' and represents the nervousness of those in power. It has
resulted in a culture permeating all levels of national life,
where a barren authoritarianism jostles uneasily with
debilitating fear. It may not be inappropriate to call it the PTA
culture. At all levels a sense of obligation to morality and the
spirit of the law have sharply declined with the rise of
authority being exercised by fiat without fear of accountability.
The crisis for the state has risen with hopelessness and
injustice. An organised assertion of democratic values remains
the last hope of challenging this drift. We now examine some
aspects of the current state of affairs.

1.1.3 Administrative breakdown

This process which has been going on for decades is closely
linked to the rise of populism in politics. This is nowhere
brought into sharper focus than by the phenomenon of the
presidential mobile secretariat, not lacking in precedents in the
previous decades. It reflects the premise that the
administrative machinery of the state does not do its job any
more and that the president has to come personally and spend
a couple of days in a provincial town to straighten out the
backlog of routine problems that have piled up. Thus a district
kacheri wakes up, goes into full gear for two months or more
to prepare a package to enable the head of state to play Santa
Claus. After two or three days of ceremonies, it is back to
business as usual. Corrupt administrators do not often mind
this. They know how to play the game. But competent
administrators could find that plans and allocations made over
months of hard work can be summarily dashed at the
secretariat. This has been on occasions done through sweeping
and humiliating gestures without allowing a hearing, for sheer
political expediency.

The secretariat which met in Trincomalee shortly after the
Muthur Ferry disaster, said that measures have been taken to
ensure that such will not happen again. It has been known for
nearly two years that passengers travel between Kalpitiya and
Mannar in boats often dangerously overloaded. The ministry
of transport has supervisory responsibility. Will this matter
have to await another disaster or another secretariat in
Mannar?

This breakdown is evident at many other levels which affect
day to day living. Is it practically possible any more for people
to challenge even the more jarringly improper actions of
provincial and district administrators, university councils,
irrigation officials whose actions can result in losses to local
farmers and even clerks who send wrong bills? An interesting
case is that of a newspaper in Colombo, critical of the
government, whose offices were sealed by municipal
authorities alleging non-payment of dues. The paper tried for a
whole week to pay its dues, but was unable to find an official
who would accept payment. When political expediency
exercised undemocratically corrupts a working system, the
corruption becomes institutionalised to serve a variety of
private needs. The clamour for smaller administrative units
and AGA's divisions is a symptom of this breakdown and not a
cure for the disease. In Trincomalee administrative breakdown
is being used as a means to further Sinhalisation through
covert induction of colonists. The resulting situation has been
and will continue to be explosive.

1.1.4 Law and law enforcement

Nothing has done so much to bring the law and the judicial
system into disrepute as the PTA and the practices it spawned.
It enables people to be locked up on the basis of mere caprice,
wasting a valuable period of their life, while the press is fed
with fantasies about their alleged villainy. In the case of most
of the 4OOO Tamils released shortly after the Indo-Lanka
accord of 1987 there were no charges. A senior of Tamil public
servant was then released after nearly four years-no charges.
The hearing of his case had been repeatedly put off for the lack
of one. How would ordinary peasant boys and girls fare in this
situation? Many of them had to bribe their way out rather than
wait interminably for their case to be heard.

The current reality is hardly different. Even the innocent
fearing that the authorities could drag a case on indefinitely
are under heavy pressure to plead guilty to a less serious
charge. Even when a charge does not have a basis, contesting it
takes time,perhaps years. Relatives of detainees claim that
they have been asked for money to negotiate the dropping of
certain charges, which in any case would have been hard to
establish. There is an almost universal belief based on hints of
senior officials, that the leaders of the Up Country People's
Front are being held under the PTA mainly at the behest of
some political rivals.

PTA cases thus mark a new departure in the history of civilised
law. Qualifications for preferred lawyers in the game are not
the usual ones. Courtroom dramas have become more than
ever a charade. Rituals of lawyers have come to represent less
either intellectual asperity or human kindness. The judge,
familiar with the basis of the case, can hardly fail to see
through the words as representing none other than a pre-
arranged drama, reflecting the illicit money that is awash
below his bench. Innocent villagers in the dock not
comprehending what hit them, whose fates are being decided,
gasp in horror when the prosecution speaks and cry in
gratitude when the defence pleads on their behalf. The judge
finally ends the charade "Ñ You have been found guilty of ÑÑ
(tears from the accused)ÑÑBut on consideration of ÑÑ"(joy
and gratitude from the accused, "what a kind man!"). In the
end hundreds of villagers are milked and ruined for no fault of
their own. How long can the judiciary remain free of
corruption in this system? Our system of law which once
enjoyed legitimacy and respect is thus brought into contempt.

Policing: Politically motivated instances of police harassment
and attacks on journalists and printing presses have been
widely reported in the press in recent times. Several instances
of arrest have a purely repressive character without having
any basis in rational law. On 16th February 25 undergraduates
from the University of Peradeniya were detained by the Kandy
police for protesting on educational issues and distributing
leaflets calling for the reopening of universities. An activist
detained for a week by the Counter Subversive Unit of the
police in a provincial capital was questioned not about any
offence,but about his links with two legally registered widely
read newspapers critical of the government, and suchlike.

This arbitrariness of police behaviour in support of ruling
interests also has another side. Repressive laws have also
provided the tools and ideas for systematic corruption.
Allegations that Tamil youth, particularly those arriving in the
metropolis with plans of foreign travel, are detained regularly
for the purpose of extortion, have become widespread. These
have come from responsible sources. According to these
sources an often used modus operandi is to inveigle them into
signing a statement recorded in Sinhalese which they cannot
comprehend, and use it for extorting money. We have also
received reports of such treatment being accororded to Tamils
coming from places like Saudi Arabia and Germany. Others
have said that signatures are obtained on blank sheets and
statements inserted later.

1.1.5 Effect on the armed forces

The Sunday Observer of 14th February 1993 published a reply
by the Chief, Joint Operations Command, to a letter from
Rt.Rev.Thomas Savundranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna. The
latter had made an appeal concerning the plight of civilians in
Jaffna, and in particular the plight of travellers in the Jaffna
lagoon and the naval massacre of 2nd January [Report No.
1O]. The Chief, JOC, said in his reply:

"I believe the "tragic incident" you refer to  was an attempt by
the LTTE to move men and materials in large quantities across
the Jaffna lagoon for their terrorist operations on the
mainland, under cover of darkness on 2nd January 1993, which
was thwarted by a naval patrol in the course of their duty . . .It
is understood that terrorist casualties were heavy and they fled
taking away their casualties. The patrol did not "kill 15
innocent individuals mercilessly and mutilate some seriously
injured." If 6O are reported missing, the LTTE has to be held
responsible. . ."

The Chief,JOC, is known in private as an intelligent and
enlightened man. According to those who spoke to him
privately about the incident, he made no attempt to contest
details that he has so publicly and harshly denied. The truth is
well known publicly, to the media as well as the foreign
missions. The denial serves no purpose. It will only make the
Tamil people angry and increase contempt for the forces.

We have many more instances of callousness of this kind,
devoid of intelligent purpose. When asked at the cabinet press
briefing about the District Education Officer who was killed by
the navy in the lagoon on 2nd January and had an eye gouged
out, the army spokesman replied with his own rumour, as his
having heard that the education officer was executed by the
LTTE. This spokesman, when brigadier responsible for
Batticaloa, was described as a rational person with whom an
intelligent exchange was possible. Then we have the current
brigadier in Batticaloa imprudently using the brute power of
the army to prolong the detention of women abducted and
raped in army custody, so as to give the crime a different
colouring [See 3.5].

All these are instances of the PTA culture deepening an existing
crisis, and preventing the forces in thinking in terms of
accountability. In normal civilised society the final say on these
matters would have rested with judicial authorities following
an inquiry. Here we have the final say resting with military
men stunted by a culture which has taught them to think that
they could do anything, say anything and others have to
swallow it. The PTA and emergency regulations which enable
the forces to take life at will has its own dynamic. If they try to
be normal, decent men in public life, they run into other
problems. There is room to think that the Chief, JOC's reply
was for the purpose of internal consumption, since no other
purpose is served. He evidently has senior colleagues who ask
him, "Whose side are you on?". His public image would have
been better served had he been constrained to anticipate a
judicial inquiry. The power to evade accountability thus
obstructs good men being good in public office. This is the
essence of the PTA culture and it can never bring peace to this
land.

On the other hand sensitive officers, who have thought
through years of bloody failure, are slowly realising success in
winning civilian confidence, and improving the general
situation in their area by deliberately distancing themselves
from the PTA culture. They have adopted leniency towards
informers to the rebels and those who give them food. These
are offenses under the PTA and punishment by summary death
has been covered by the emergency regulations. Such officers
have also taken care not to detain persons beyond the
requirements of an inquiry. The series of repressive legislation
ushered in by the PTA is therefore a burden on the people as
well as the forces.

1.1.6 Questions about democracy & the AI's rejected
recommendations

On the surface things appear normal in parts of the East. But
there is a deep underlying disquiet. Describing the STF's
apparently reformed role, one leading citizen said, "Lionel
Karunasena, D.I.G, S.T.F., has really turned a new leaf. He is
very different from the man I knew two years ago.
Seneviratne, O.I.C, S.T.F., Thirukkovil, is a very
understanding and enlightened man. You very rarely come
across some one in the forces of that calibre. Siriwardene,
O.I.C, S.T.F., 5th Mile Post, Amparai Road, is a fine Buddhist.
He doesn't like to hurt anyone." Then his tone suddenly
changed, "I will never trust anyone in the forces. These fellows
never came to do us any good!" This commonly felt dichotomy
is a long term problem for both the forces and the civilians. The
long standing problems like colonisation, tremendously
important for the minorities, remain unresolved. Instead the
matter is being left to attrition.

More immediate is the practical and emotional need for people
to come to terms with massive death in their midst. In the case
of Tamils, several thousands in the East were murdered by
state forces. A mature self respecting community is naturally
impelled to come to terms with its history, demand justice and
work out the meaning for this massive suffering. This would
take the form of working for a future of promise for the coming
generations. To suppress these longings is to build a stunted
community. Even if presidential commissions, task forces and
law enforcement authorities wish to forget about
disappearances before 11th January 1991, the people will not.
This will result in constant friction with the armed forces.

Recently three persons in an Eastern town, one of them a
school principal, who were distributing forms and collecting
information about loss of life and property were questioned for
3 days at the local security forces camp, being allowed to go
home for the night. It was an attempt at intimidation. But
because of the international machinery at work, they did not
seriously fear for their life. This may be a relatively rare
occurrence. But it is also the thin end of the wedge that
underlines the limits of the state's managerial response to
human rights. There is a good deal of nervousness around.
How far will things be allowed to go?

The time limitation placed on official inquiries into
disappearances is fraught with many contradictions. The
Sunday Times of 14th February 1993 reported in its lead story
that a brigadier and several soldiers from the war-front were
brought to the Joint Operations Command H.Q. at
Anuradhapura and grilled for 3 days by a top level CID team.
The matter pertained to the 1989 abduction of 32 students from
Embilipitiya. The inquiry followed the Human Rights Task
Force, headed by Judge J.F.A.Soza, identifying a colonel (now
brigadier), a captain (now major) and eight soldiers from the
6th Artillery Unit then manning the 'Sevana' camp. The police,
according to the report, have said that there was evidence
linking the army personnel to the abduction of students and
that a charge of abduction, carrying a sentence of up to 7 years
was likely to be framed. They added that although the students
are now presumed dead, there was insufficient evidence for a
charge of culpable homicide.

Although this incident took place at a time prior to the date of
11th January 1991 when the mandate of the presidential
commission into disappearances took effect, the inquiry was
precipitated by intense pressure from the opposition and the
international community. Moreover the political establishment
was not implicated.

If this recently promoted brigadier is found guilty and
punished, he and his friends will look resentfully at other senior
officers who are known to be responsible for worse and are
being let off the hook. A relative of two young men among the
158 detained and taken away from the Eastern University
refugee camp on 5th September 199O told the Amnesty
International that the detainees, who subsequently
disappeared, were taken to the Valaichenai Army camp. [See
report No.7:4]. The brigadier in charge has recently been
posted to a sensitive area in the North with a large refugee
population, which is closely watched by international
organisations. He is not subject to investigation. Asked about
this particular matter, not withstanding the commendable role
it played in the matter of the Embilipitiya abductions, the
Chairman, HRTF, told the Amnesty that they do not actively
investigate 'disappearances'. Then there is the matter of 16O
prisoners killed and burnt on 9th September 199O by personnel
from the Saturukondan army camp, the Kalmunai massacres
of June 199O by troops under a colonel and so on. Those raising
these are mainly Tamils from the East and have so far not
carried enough political clout. But the apparent exception
being made for the Embilipitiya affair is going to make some
officers very bitter and others very nervous.

The matter will not end here. While some officers in the forces
are spoken of as being hatchet men for the political
establishment, the general opinion about the political
leadership among the forces is pretty low. Among the
revelations of Udugampola, DIG of police, is that 65 or more
opposition politicians were killed under cover of the JVP
troubles by armed units taking instructions from senior figures
in the ruling party. Evidently senior officers unable to bear the
fact that a few of their colleagues were bringing discredit on
the forces by performing dirty jobs for politicians of the ruling
party, had complained to Mrs.Bandaranaike, Leader of the
Opposition, who made a statement in parliament in January
199O, [Report No.4]. Later in the year, according to sources in
a prominent daily, a leading police association had passed a
resolution dissociating itself from political killings and alluding
to a few in the force having lent themselves to such use. The
statement after being composed was taken out on the verge of
going to print, following an internal leak and orders from the
management. Thus freedom of expression is a problem even
for the forces.

Thus a few in the armed forces being disciplined for violations,
whether in the South or in the North-East, will eventually turn
the heat on the political leadership. It is hardly surprising that
there has been a good deal of procrastination. A columnist for
the 'Sunday Island' [14th February 1993] has suggested that the
current official verbal, administrative and physical harassment
of the press is aimed at obviating local repercussions of the
anticipated publication of Udugampola's revelations in the
USA.

1.1.7 Freedom of the Press

An organisation that has attracted much official ire in recent
times is the Free Media Movement. The FMM fared
prominently in the centre pages of two successive issues of the
Sunday Observer. One of its leading activists, a senior
respected columnist, was personally taken to task. Ironically
this slot is habitually reserved for attacking leading figures of
opposition parties. That a relatively unknown pressman should
be elevated to this privilege is a comment on the bankruptcy of
the opposition.

Whenever the opposition raises the issue of freedom of the
press the government goes on citing the acts of the present
opposition during its period of office against private
ownership of sections of the press. There is  legitimacy in
questioning the present opposition's attitudes to the freedom of
the press. The qualitative difference between past and the
present actions is that earlier (197O-1977) it was economic
pressure on press men but now it is direct terror unleashed on
individual journalists. In earlier actions the journalist's job
security might have been affected. But today each journalist
has to think about his physical security if he is going to write
something critical about personalities at the top. The situation
today is very tense. Although outwardly we see a number of
papers which are critical of the government, a general feeling
of fear lurks behind.
 
The FMM is itself a courageous response to a crisis that has
been brewing for decades. If it is to gain the crucial
international solidarity it needs, it must also address the
question of how free the press is in representing minority
concerns, and how high the integrity in reporting events in the
North-East.

In Conclusion
Perhaps in the administrative harassment of the press and the
personal attacks, we discern something of the changing rules in
the government's human rights game in response to
international pressure.

But the underlying crisis remains unaddressed. Governments
which have on the surface succeeded in a managerial approach
to human rights have enjoyed a specially favoured position in
global economic relations. The Singapore government has
carefully targeted individuals who raised questions of
morality, conscience and social justice through a mixture of
security legislation, harassment, character assassination, court
action, imprisonment and deportation. It succeeded, and will
probably succeed as long as the country's precariously poised
economic position allows the government to win over the
populace with material rewards. Even then the clumsiness,
crudity, falsehood and vindictiveness have not been lost on the
populace.

Despite the oft stated aspiration, Sri Lanka, governed by a
very different set of circumstances is very unlikely to become
another Singapore. The UNP government which came to
power in 1977 consciously tried to imitate the Singapore model
hoping that a dose of consumerism spread around to detract
from Singapore style repression of labour, would do the trick.
Public discontent, corruption, a resort to refuge in
communalism by the state, the holocaust of 1983, civil war and
the JVP troubles ended the dream.

President Premadasa evidently tried a repeat performance
while at first trying to handle the Tamil question more carefully
so as not to let it jeopardise his economic programme. But the
state continued to suffer from its accumulated inertia as well as
from the personal failings of national leaders.

In response to the recent crises and widespread criticism from
the international community, the government appears to be
reverting to a more measured pragmatic approach. Among its
greatest handicaps for a managerial approach are
administrative breakdown and corruption.

Further, nerves are taut and could snap anytime. Then it may
be another tale from the dark side. The strained and hysterical
quality of attacks on the press is a bad sign.

We have constantly argued that there must be accountability
for what the people have suffered as a result of actions of the
state. In no other way can the state win over the minorities, the
Tamils in particular, and give them confidence. If not the Tamil
youth, who have no major opposition party to give them
confidence, will find the LTTE's kind of destructive approach
the most ready alternative. One of the urgent tasks is the
repeal of the PTA and its train of repressive laws.

This is partly covered by the Amnesty International's two
rejected recommendations. We have argued that not to
implement these recommendations strictly, would result in
acute long term friction between the people and the forces on
one hand, and the forces and the political establishment on the
other.

A democratic consensus remains the only hope for purging the
country of the effects of its ugly recent past, placing respect for
human rights on a permanent basis, making the long overdue
structural changes and evolving social and economic goals for
the future.

1.2 The LTTE's human rights record and the international
community
The recent AI report gives considerable space to 'abuses of
human rights by the LTTE'. It says in the first paragraph, "The
LTTE announced in February 1988 that it would abide by the
Geneva Conventions and its optional protocols I & II. It
continues to claim that it abides by these standards, but
consistent reports from the North-East indicate that it fails to
do so."
It goes on to describe Common Ariticle 3 of the Geneva
Conventions, applying to all parties in an internal conflict. It
stipulates that, "all persons taking no active part in hostilities,
including members of the armed forces who are in detention,
wounded or have laid down their arms, must always be treated
humanely. Such people should never be murdered, mutilated,
tortured or subjected to cruel, humiliating or degrading
treatment. Hostage - taking is also prohibited."

For the LTTE, a so-called liberation group, to be compared in
effect unfavourably with a government, itself having a poor
record, is an unenviable position to be in. This is particularly so
when it is still far from realising its goals. Hardly any other
group in the world, whose reputation turned sour after
attaining power, was in this position. More seriously what
would be the fate of the people of the North-East over whose
destinies it maintains a strangle-hold?

Of course the Tamil people who have endured much suffering
since July 1983 and before still have active groups of
sympathisers in many important capitals around the world. In
order to activate this sympathy, a group that claims to
represent them must have a demonstrably credible and
reasonable set of demands for which support can be mobilised
and other governments made convinced of. It is far from
adequate for LTTE spokesmen to vaguely suggest federal
powers for the North-East, while everything else suggests that
its regime would be oppressive and conflict - prone. Can it
massacre Muslims and insist that they will be respected citizens
of the North-East? Can it maintain thousands of dissidents in
underground bunkers in sub-human conditions and maintain
that its rule would respect human rights and democratic
freedoms? Is it in a position to convince the Sinhalese majority
of the country that their legitimate interests in the North-East
and pluralism will be assured? Making federalism an active
proposition for the North- East means more than affording
photographic opportunities to suggest that the LTTE leaders
are human. It rather requires active campaigning among the
Muslims and Tamils, including dissidents,to convince them
that they have a common stake in its proposals and also the
Sinhalese majority to allay their fears. The LTTE's recent past
appears to militate against such a role.

All that now lies by the wayside. Current negotiations about
opening a safe passage to the Jaffna peninsula, a relatively
straightforward matter, after recent civilian deaths in the
lagoon, have received such prominence and concern because of
the LTTE's indefensible positions, so as to overshadow all long
term issues. If the use by civilians of Elephant Pass gave the
army a military advantage, which is doubtful, the same cannot
be true of the Puneryn crossing. It is practically impossible for
the army to launch an offensive into the Jaffna peninsula
across a stretch of water from its Puneryn camp. Given that the
main issue is to afford the civilians safe passage while a war is
being fought, recent positions have shown again the callous
disregard LTTE has for the civilian population. It again
subverts the LTTE claim of being a liberation group  possessing
a greater sense of responsibility for the civilians than the state.

To those unfamiliar with the long history of the Tamil struggle,
the cause would have thus taken a doubtful appearance, doing
a grave injustice to thousands who have sacrificed so much.
Had the government been more creative, it would have clean
won a major political battle over the Tigers. It's callous and
imbecile insistence on shooting hapless civilians in the Jaffna
lagoon left its own credentials in further doubt.
As long as the Tigers, articulating their associated politics, are
seen to be the representatives of the Tamils, the cause will
seem a doubtful one. If the Tigers go on adopting such
negotiating positions on straightforward humanitarian issues,
which casual observer will after this believe that colonisation,
a life and death problem for hundreds of thousands of Tamils,
is indeed a real problem?

Lacking in human values and a political programme to offer
dignity to the people, the aridity of the Tigers' politics becomes
evident in parts of the North-East, particularly where the
forces have observed discipline for a reasonable uninterrupted
period. Because of its

long history and their experience of oppression, Tamils
instinctively believe in the struggle, although entertaining
doubts and confusion about the LTTE's peculiar cause. But
beyond this, for the East in particular, the LTTE has ceased to
offer hope. Their experience of this group is increasingly
confined to terror and extortion except in areas where they feel
immediately threatened by the forces. Can this lead anywhere?

While the government is being made to respond positively and
become more subtle, not least due to international pressure, a
Tamil militant group cannot go on as if nothing has changed.
The government needs to be challenged politically on a whole
host of unresolved problems. This requires an independent
force in the North-East that can mobilise the people politically.
Tragically, the LTTE's purblind militarism destroyed all
independent political activity and stifled the spirit of the
people. Its constant attempts to recreate conditions of July 1983
provided the state with alibis for not addressing the questions
that so trouble the minorities, while their position constantly
became worse.

If the LTTE hopes to survive, it needs to respond positively to
the demands of the international community. If not it will be a
long night for the people of the North-East.
 

CHAPTER 2: TRINCOMALEE: DESTROYING THE BASIS
FOR A POLITICAL SOLUTION

2.1 The current situation : Ideology and
        inequality

On the surface the situation in Trincomalee appears calm.
There have been no major incidents in recent times. The open
cases of missing persons in the last 6 months are 3 or less
according to the best sources. Those detained are usually
processed within a week and are either released or sent to
detention centres in the South. The esplanade in town is filled
with large crowds in the evenings, and eating houses and bars
are open till late. The Superintendent of Police is acclaimed as
a fair man who tries his best. At sentry points the atmosphere is
relaxed. Yet one is told again and again that the peace is
artificial.

A Hindu schoolmaster in Nilaveli remarked," I have no
problem with language or religion. Language is only a medium
of expression. It does not make one more or less human. It is
the quality of thought that matters. Religion is just a mode of
worship. I visit all places of worship on festival days, whether

Pallivasal(Mosque), Kovil, Church, or Pansale (Buddhist
temple) and eat with the devotees". These are sentiments of a
man, not young, but old enough to remember better times. They
reflect a certain harmony that prevailed in the Trincomalee
District, which extended to the East as a whole, and gave it a
plural character. Cast iron divisions on the basis of language
and religion are recent impositions mainly resulting from state
ideology.

Many traditions of the district going back more than a
millennium centre around Koneswaram temple at
FortFrederick. Names of villages such as
 

Thiriyai and Mallikaitivu are derivedfrom services they
performed for the temple. The role of the tank at Kantalai
which watered the fields at Kantalai and Thambalakamam,
and provided for the maintenance of the temple was
recognised by the government in an agreement in the 195Os.
This safeguarded the water rights to 5OOO acres of these
traditional fields.

The ancient Buddhist temple Vilgam Vihara between Kanniya
and Mudalikkulam (Morawewa) on the Vavuniya Road is
another testament to the plural character of Trincomalee. It
has the Tamil name Rajaraja Perumpalli and carries an
inscription marking the endowments granted to it by the Chola
king Rajaraja about the turn of the last millennium. Although
the Chola Empire was an outgrowth of militant Hinduism in
Tamil South India, religious polarisation does not appear to
have reached this country. Pragmatic Chola kings endowed
kovils as well as vihares in Ceylon [Chola inscriptipns in
Ceylon, Prof.K.Indrapala, University of Jaffna]. There are
strong grounds for believing that Vilgam Vihara was a shrine
of  Tamil speaking Buddhists [cf:Indrapala].
 

Hindu pilgrims of the East to the shrine of Kathirkamam
(Kataragama), in the deep South, passed through Sinhalese
villages in Panamapattu along the southern coast of the
Eastern province who hosted them and even intermarried
among them.
Gomarankadawela( Kumaresan Kadavai) in the north-west of
the district had a bilingual population, which  now,as a
consequence of state ideology, have identified themselves as
strongly Sinhalese. Its Wannihamys, Wannikuralas and Korala
Mahattayas (ancestors of former minister and one time deputy
prime minister, Maitripala Senanayake) often studied in
Tamil.
Subsequently Muslims and  later during the British period,
Tamils from Jaffna and Sinhalese migrated into Trincomalee
for mainly economic reasons and blended into its traditions.

This condition of peaceful co-existence was brought to an end
when state ideology from the 6Os used its administrative
power and from the 8Os brute force, to sunder the historical
continuity of the East. The healthy traditions inherent in this
country's history by which communities had co-existed and
intermingled in a plural environment were violently cast aside.
The thrust was towards mono-ethnicisation and on rewriting
history to suit the dominant state ideology.

What happended is well-known. From the early 8Os Tamils
were subject to violence by politically instigated hoodlums
backed by the forces. In the wake of the July 1983 holocaust and
its sequel, many Tamils physically witnessed known people and
even close relatives being hacked to death. As a reaction many
young joined a number of militant groups. Almost every Tamil
family had a close militant connection, frequently a son or a
brother. In addition to fighting the Sri Lankan forces many of
them were also party to internecine strife and reprisals against
Sinhalese civilians. A responsible government which had upon
the arrival of the IPKF in 1987 accepted its past mistakes,
should have, however late, initiated a politics of healing.

With the onset of the war of June 199O the Tamils were at their
weakest since July 1983. In place of a politics of healing, the
political weakness of the Tamils and their lack of
representation in the  provincial council or parliament is being
used to lay the foundations for endless strife. Under the guise
of resettlement the administration and the military are
working fast to settle Sinhalese in a manner that would trap
Tamils into insecure pockets. In the absence of Tamil
representation, the laws of the land concerning property
ownership, distribution of crown land and places of worship
are being broken with impunity. Most of this activity is
shrouded in secrecy.

There are many visible signs of this policy. For a district with a
Tamil character, from Kantalai to Trincomalee, along the main
Kandy Road, there are hardly any signs in Tamil except in a
pocket or two. At Thambalakamam, a Tamil village, in front of
the army camp a considerable Buddhist temple has sprung up
where earlier there were only shrines to St.Mary and Pillaiar
(a Hindu God). The next step is not hard to guess. New names
like Lucky Wijyapura and Ranmuthugama (formerly
Muthunagar) have suddenly appeared without any reference
to history or tradition

2.2 Land alienation in Trincomalee Town.

Questions of land have been dealt with by the government
unilaterally during an extended period of transition in the
country's affairs. Meanwhile the government repeatedly
pledged to solve the minority question and did next to nothing.
In the early stages the matter was dealt with by administrative
sleights of hand by bending or breaking the rules where
convenient. When the Government Agent and the Land Officer
get together a good deal of mischief could be done under
wraps. It is hardly surprising that Trincomalee, a majority
Tamil speaking area, is the only district in the island which
never had a Tamil government agent. The present land officer
is regarded as one ideal for his given job. In 1979 when land
alienation to Sinhalese under Bandaragoda,GA, was getting
out of control, a group of Tamils set fire to the land office in
protest,in a bid to slow down the alienation. Bandaragoda is
described as a perfect gentleman who believed that every man
was communally inclined. Under his administration in
Trincomalee, Sinhalese officers were appointed to
predominantly Tamil AGA's Divisions, including Town and
Gravets, as Additional AGA's and Additionsl Grama Seveka
officers. Trincomalee is the only District which had these
communally based special appointments.

The present war has made the government's task far easier,
since a very large number of Tamils are refugees or have been
forced to flee the district. Recently an attempt to regularise
encroachment of land by the sea used in temple festivals
(Thirthakkarai) was stopped only through taking up the matter
at the highest level in Colombo. Earlier land in Fort Frederick
(Papanasam Theertham) used on Hindu festive occasions at
Koneswaram temple, was suddenly turned into a parade
ground for the army. Nearly all decisions have been
unfavourable to the Tamils. Lands vacated by Tamils owing to
insecurity have been suddenly christened with Sinhalese names
unknown to the general public. We shall now look at some
specific instances of this policy; some of them refer to decisions
taken at a land conference in late December with leading
officials from Colombo in attendance.

2.2.1 Sobithagama, Love lane

The area known as Love Lane, just north of the town, once
consisted of 33 lots amounting to 70 acres, all owned by Tamils.
In August 1939, just about the outbreak of World War II , the
British administration aquired these lands as part of its
expansion of naval  facilities in Trincomalee, for use as storage
facilities and such like.  When the British quit in 1958, the
government of Ceylon did not use this land for any public
purpose.  The land was left idle.  For the last 20 years, to this
date,  Sinhalese encroachers have settled in the area with
encouragement from ruling interests in Colombo as suggested
by new names like Sirimapura, Nelsonpura and Sobithagama.
The almost total devastation of the area shows what this
policy meant.

33 Muslim and 14 Tamil families who were living on the landin
question  had to flee in the aftermath of the June 199O war. The
local Buddhist priest used his influence to have the land
released to his temple. Thereafter he alienated the land to 34
Sinhalese families. The former residents now in refugee camps
complained. The land authorities decided that it was 'not
practicable' to evict the present occupants to make room for the
former. But for the sake of propriety it was decided to cancel
alienation done by the priest and for the selection to be made at
an interview by officials 'with the consent of the priest'!

2.2.2 Forty two houses in front of Sirimapura, Love Lane
Housing Scheme NO.2.

In 198O the NHDA decided to build houses for Sinhalese at
Love Lane and named it the Nelsonpura scheme. This being a
majority Tamil area, the MP, Sampanthan, protested.
Premadasa, then prime minister, personally intervened and
ordered that the Nelsonpura scheme could be proceeded with
only after an equal number of houses had been built for Tamils.
Hence the scheme above was set in motion by the NHDA under
the Aided Self Help Programme. In the wake of July 1983, the
Tamil occupants fled and the houses were taken over by
Sinhalese. When the IPKF arrived in 1987, the squatters fled
and the Tamil owners come into reoccupation. Following the
June 199O war, the Tamils fled once more and Sinhalese took
occupation. Now 22 of the former Tamil owners have returned
from India.

The land authorities discussed the 'complex' problem and left it
for an 'amicable' settlement between the parties!
2.2.3 Encroachments in Love Lane area now named
Wijesekerapura

Since a Land Ministry circular forbade regularisation of
encroachments after 27.1O.89 it was decided to hold  a land
Kacheri. A notice was issued to hold interviews for land
alienation. Three senior citizens pointed out in a petition that
the names Wijesekarapura and Sobithagama have no legal
status, the ordinance invoked (Land Development Ordinance
or Crown Lands Ordinance)  was not stated, nor were the total
area of the estate and of each allotment given. A further point
made was that the land to be alienated is required by law to be
first cleared and should not be squatter occupied. They also
observed that an applicant was envisaged to be any one who
has been a resident for 5 years according to the notice. They
concluded that the motivation behind the exercise was merely
an administrative means of getting round the circular and
regularising encroachment by those who had no permanent
abode in Trincomalee. For these and other reasons they called
for a cancellation of the exercise.

2.2.4 Mattikali:

This land is on the edge of town on the left as one enters
Trincomalee through the Kandy Road, just before Orr's Hill
and the main Police station. At the land conference the
secretary ruled that this land should be put to urban use as a
middle class residential area planned by the UDA. He also said
that encroachments should be prevented. But the land is being
rapidly encroached upon by Sinhalese, no one knows from
where. A Sinhalese when asked believed that it was land which
once belonged to a Sinhalese, Balasooriya, and was donated to
Sri Jayasumanarama  Buddhist temple by him more than 7O
years ago. He cited a current court case as an indication of this.

A senior Tamil citizen when asked about it said that the land in
fact belonged to Shanmuga Boys Home, an orphanage, and
Justice Krishnathasan. He also said that the court case involves
a small piece of land at Mattikali accommodating the YMBA
(Young Men's Buddhist Association) and a garage, the plaintiff
being Balasooriya's grandson. The case,he added,is against the
YMBA and the Buddhist priest. The inmates of Shanmuga Boys
Home abandoned the site in the wake of the 1983 communal
riots.

Such problems are common in Trincomalee where the
ownership of several lands is being decided by squatters who
indirectly have the blessings of the authorities. Another
example is land now termed Vijithapura -part Kovil land and
part private land - now occupied by Sinhalese fishermen. As we
have seen the tendency of the authorities is to decide in favour
of squatters and hold that it is impracticable to move them.
Regularisation is a technicality easily dealt with. This is not
squatting under normal conditions, where there is a case for
sympathetic consideration. But this is squatting under military
occupation by persons coming from far away, in conditions
favourable entirely to one ethnic group.

2.2.5 Palampottaru Stage II, Pattinipuram

Between Thambalakamam and Palampottaru (Monkey
Bridge), the land to the east of the road up to the railway tracks
was the Tamil settlement of Pattinipuram (Palampottaru stage
1). The action of the Sri Lankan forces from the mid-8Os
rendered the lands practically inaccessible to Tamils. On the
opposite side were lands designated for the scheme
Palampottaru Stage II that was not implemented [See
Appendix IV]. Now new houses for Sinhalese settlers have
been put up with help from NGOs LEADs and Sarvodaya,
according to well placed sources. LEADs is expected to put up
3OO or more houses. According to sources close to the LEADs,
the organisation has so far put up 85 houses, 58 for Sinhalese
and 27 for mainly members of the deserving gypsy(Kuravar)
community. For each house Rs 15OOO/- came from the
Rehabilitation ministry housing grant to displaced persons,
and the balance Rs 1OOOO/- from LEADs. Many of these
settlers were persons who had lived on encroached lands in
that area prior to the arrival of the IPKF and had then lived in
refugee camps for Sinhalese.

2.2.6 Main features of land settlement and its implications:

Land aqiored by Sri Lanka Ports Authority :   In the early
eighties more than 5000  acres of land was vested with the
SLPA. [see Appendix III ].  From the very beginning Tamil
leaders protested that the SLPA would never use so much land
and that the move was meant to facilitate unfair land
alienation at a later date.  In fact the SLPA barely used 100
acres at any  time.  Following the outbreak of war in June 1990,
a number of Sinhalese encroached on these lands without any
obstruction.  It was reported at the land conference of 6th
January 1993, with the minister of lands in attendance, that a
number of persons were living on SLPA land, some on plots of
the order of 1 acre and that the SLPA had agreed to release 700
acres.  A proposal was made to regularise the encroachments
and to limit  further alianations to 40 perchese (1/4 acre).  The
cost of land in the area nearer town is 3 to 4000  rupees a perch,
so that some encroachers could receive up to Rs 500 000/-
worth of land!  Once more the matter was taken up at the
highest levels in Colombo and the verbal undertaking was
given  to limit any  alianation  to 20 perches.

We have seen that there is an underlying trend in and around
Trincomalee with the assistance of the whole state machinery
at its disposal. The state is bent on Sinhalisation of the whole
area. The general approach is that any Sinhalese coming to
Trincomalee to do business should by hook or by crook be given
a permanent home. This is done under conditions where Tamil
land owners cannot exercise their ownership. Other than
through squatting, the Ministry of Fisheries for instance, has
acquired land in Pallaththottam (3rd mile post) and settled
Sinhalese fishermen. In the case of Vijithapura above Fisheries
has made a request to acquire land which consists of both
private and temple land. 50 families, nearly all Sinhalese,
either government officers or connected with the forces, were
given housing land in the vicinity of Dhoby tank near the
railway tracks. This was done after June 1990.

There is also land hunger locally which is not addressed. 5OO
families of sanitation, health and UC labourers in town have
only recently been offered alternative land, mostly outside the
UC area, because of their present land being required for
hospital expansion. They are people of Indian origin who have
been there more than 4O years. Their area is now very
crowded with often 5 families in an allotment meant for one.

It is important to note that, private land owners in Trincomale
are neither rich by national standards nor hold large extents of
land. The richer among them would hold at best 2 or 3 acres
through which they derived an income from coconuts and such
like. One could hardly compare their wealth with their
counterparts in other parts of the country. Their lands are
being acquired for a song while they are being reduced to a
very straitened existence, not to benefit the local landless but to
settle persons from the south and others like fishermen who
have come there seasonally for about 1O or 15 years at best.
Even if the  government was genuinely concerned about the
land problem faced by people in the South, it would have given
them land not by moving them to a distant place in
controversial circumstances, but by using state land near their
homes or by acquiring land from the local land-owning class.
The motivations here are therefore mischievous.

Message-Id: <slnet.3295@sparcy.stanford.edu>
Date: 05 May 1993 18:49:24 -0800 (PST)
To: Sri Lanka Net <slnet@sparcy.stanford.edu>
From: JHOOLE@hmcvax.claremont.edu
Subject: UTHR (Jaffna Branch) Report 11 - Part 1 of 5
 

UNIVERSITY TEACHERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (JAFFNA)
 
 

REPORT NO. 11
 

LAND, HUMAN RIGHTS
&
THE EASTERN PREDICAMENT

ISSUED: 15TH APRIL, 1993
 

PREFACE
 

CHAPTER 1: THE BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - THE
SAME GAME BUT DIFFERENT RULES

1.1: THE STATE'S RESPONSE
1.2: THE LTTE'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD AND THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

CHAPTER 2: TRINCOMALEE: DESTROYING THE BASIS
FOR A POLITICAL SOLUTION

2.1: THE CURRENT SITUATION: IDEOLOGY AND
INEQUALITY
2.2: LAND ALIENATION IN TRINCOMALEE TOWN
2.3: IMPLICATIONS OF LAND TO ADMINISTRATIVE
STRUCTURES
24: COLONISATION IN THE DISTRICT: THE CASE OF
THE WELI OYA SCHEME
2.5: DISCRIMINATION IN THE USE OF LAND
TEMPORARILY ABANDONED BY OWNERS
2.6: THE LAND PROBLEMS OF RETURNING REFUGEES
AND DISPLACED PERSONS
2.7: SOME SALIENT FEATURES OF GOVERNMENT
POLICY IN TRINCOMALEE
2.8: TAMIL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FATE OF
TRINCOMALEE

CHAPTER 3: MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE INTERIOR
OF BATTICALOA DISTRICT

3.1: FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST 1992
3.2: SUNDAY, 9TH AUGUST 1992: MAHILANTHANAI
3.3: 24TH OCTOBER 1992: PALAIADIVATAI
3.4: AN INCIDENT OF RAPE, 14TH NOVEMBER
1992:AITHIYAMALAI
3.5: ABOUT LATE NOVEMBER 1992: AMBALANTHURAI
3.6: 14TH DECEMBER 1992: SILLIKUDIARU,
NEDUNCHENAI
3.7: A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS 1992:
MANATPIDDY
3.8: EARLY JANUARY 1993
3.9: 11TH JANUARY 1993
3.10: ABOUT 11TH JANUARY 1993: KANCHIRANKUDAH
3.11: 21ST JANUARY 1993: KURINCHIMUNAI
3.12: 1ST FEBRUARY TO 3RD FEBRUARY 1993:
PADUVANKARAI

CHAPTER 4: SITUATION REPORT: BATTICALOA AND
AMPARAI DISTRICTS

4.1: MOULANA ABDUL CADAR'S HEALING MISSION
4.2: THIRUKKOVIL - THAMBILUVIL
4.3: AKKARAIPATTU
4.4: KALMUANI AND SURROUNDINGS
4.5: RETURN OF TAMILS TO AREAS FROM WHICH THEY
WERE DISPLACED
4.6: BATTICALOA AND ENVIRONS
4.7: INTERIOR RICE FIELDS OF THE BATTICALOA
DISTRICT

CHAPTER 5: MUSLIMS IN BATTICALOA AND AMPARAI
DISTRICTS

5.1: SAMMANTHURAI
5.2: KATTANKUDI
5.3: ERAVUR
5.4: INCIDENTS AFFECTING MUSLIMS IN THE
BATTICALOA AND
AMPARAI DISTRICTS

CHAPTER 6: THE DEHUMANIZED ENVIRONMENT AND
CONSEQUENCES FOR MUSLIM-TAMIL RELATIONS

6.1: MUSLIMS: GLOBAL FEARS AND LOCAL
IMPLICATIONS
6.2: THE BLEEDING COMMUNITY
6.3: THE PROXIMITY OF DEATH AND ITS INFLUENCE
6.4: THE LTTE, BIG BROTHER POLITICS, AND THE EAST
6.5: TAMIL MYTHS ABOUT MUSLIMS
6.6: CONSEQUENCES OF THE TAMIL OUTLOOK SHAPED
BY THE NARROW NATIONALIS IDEOLOGY
6.7: THE HOMEGUARD DILEMMA
6.8: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

CHAPTER 7: MASSACRES IN THE POLANNARUWA
DISTRICT

7.1: INTRODUCTION
7.2: THE VILLAGES
7.3: ASPECTS OF DETERIORATION OF COMMUNAL
RELATIONS
7.4: ASPECTS OF THE MASSACRES

CHAPTER 8: HILLCOUNTRY AND NORTHERN NOTES

8.1: DETAINEES IN THE HILL COUNTRY
8.2: LAND AND HILL COUNTRY ISSUES
8.3: JAFFNA: INDICATORS OF NUTRITION AND HEALTH
8.4: KILLINOCHCHI: 12TH FEBRUARY 1993: AERIAL
BOMBING
8.5: CROSSING THE JAFFNA LAGOON
8.6: MANNAR: JANUARY - MARCH, 1993
8.7: THE LTTE AND SINHALES AND MUSLIM CIVILIANS

APPENDIX I: FROM THE WRITINGS OF Y. AHAMED

APPENDIX II: COLONISATION AND DEMOGRAPHIC
CHANGES IN
THE TRINCOMALEE DISTRICT AND THEIR EFFECTS ON
THE
TAMIL SPEAKING PEOPLE

APPENDIX III: LATE 70S AND EARLY 80S: NAKED
ADMINISTRATIVE AGGRESSION - DEVELOPMENT OR
DESTRUCTION?

APPENDIX IV: A NOTE ON LAND ENCROACHMENT

APPENDIX V: THE RESOLUTION BY THE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF JAFFNA, THE LTTE PRESS RELEASE
AND OUR NOTE
 
 
 

PREFACE
 
 

This report deals mainly with the East and takes up from
Report No.9. One of the matters it focuses on is the key issue of
Tamil-Muslim relations (Chapter 7). We regard this
polarisation as one of the major tragedies of the misdirection
of the Tamil struggle. It is only right that whatever vision we
have for the future of Tamil society, it must account for the
unforseen developments over the last decade. It is a society
that is to start with, no longer geographically compact. Is there
room for a coherent Tamil society other than one that is multi-
religious, multi-ethnic and open? (See Y.Ahamed, Appendix I).
Our ancient heritage seems to point that way.

Also taken up are developments in the Trincomalee District
and the interior of the Batticaloa District. The former is now
the focus of secretive administrative manoeuvring and the
second a theatre of military operations. Chapter 2 deals with
the urgent questions confronting the Trincomalee District.
Much of the material on Trincomalee is being carried over into
the next report.

We dealt with some of the issues concerning state sponsored
colonisation of Sinhalese in  Tamil areas  in Chapter 8 of
Report No 7. Questions of extreme poverty and malnutrition in
certain Sinhalese areas do impinge on any complete discussion
of colonisation. We will endeavour to deal with some of the
human aspects of this in future reports. We do not argue
against colonisation per se. The whole question needs to be
gone over thoroughly by institutions better equipped. What we
attempt in Chapter 2, and we think it is urgent, is to show that
what the state is doing in Trincomalee has nothing to do with
justice, poverty alleviation or development. Nor can it ever be
for a policy once described by a key minister in  terms of solving
the Tamil problem by settling ex-convicts and fishermen in
their midst. This raises the question  how far has this country,
and especially the state, moved away from communalism?  We
find the developments in the Trincomalee District and the
contrasting attitudes to Tamil and Sinhalese farmers working
on lands not belonging to them, very disturbing. Chapter 1
reflects on the broader questions concerning human rights in
Sri Lanka.

The present and the last report suggest that the conditions and
security of Tamil detainees of the government forces in urban
areas of the North-East, have improved. But it is still nowhere
near satisfying  the requirements of the Amnesty International.
The outrage of the international community to the massacres
of  Muslims in the Polannaruva District seems to have had an
impact on the LTTE locally [See 8.7]. After the massacre of the
civilian passengers in the Jaffna lagoon on the 2nd January, no
alternative having been worked out yet, civilians continue
travel at considerable risk to their life. Killings by the forces in
the interior of the Batticaloa District have been continuing and
aerial bombing of civilian areas in the North continues to be
callous. On 12th February 1993 a school in full session near
Killinochchi was just missed (Chapter 8).

However, much credit for the sharp (temporary?) decline in the
killing rate should go to organisations as well as groups that
have kept up human rights pressure on both sides. It is in the
wake of these developments that the LTTE leader gave an
interview over the BBC Tamil service under restrictive
conditions on questioning, sought and obtained,in which he
accepted for the first time that he would consider a federal
solution. It may be noted that many other Tamils have been
killed by the LTTE over charges such as compromising the goal
of a separate state and for contesting elections to the
parliament of the foreign country of Sri Lanka. Previously such
offers of a solution have been made through third and fourth
parties. We will not speculate why the LTTE leader went
publicly. But for whatever reason, the offer is welcome.

The derisive, unstatesmanlike response to this offer by
Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe speaking on behalf of the
government at a press conference was most disappointing.
This stance was repeated by President Premadasa in his BBC
phone in. They wanted the LTTE to submit its proposals to the
parliamentary select committee, which, other Tamil parties
and political analysts believe, has come to a dead end. At all
costs, slipping back into the decade old illusion that only violent
pressure on civilians, by either side, would lead to negotiations
on favourable terms, must be avoided.

Our reports deal with several aspects pertaining to violations
and are very unorthodox as human rights documents. In order
to clarify our position,we once more reiterate the purposes for
which these reports are written.
 

1. To expose human rights violations by all forces in order to
bring about general awareness and to make violators
accountable.

2. To bring out the human background to these violations
through a portrayal of individual characters together with an
analysis of social pressures and external circumstances
governing their behaviour. We try to show that the characters
involved, even in the worst violations, are often human, whose
actions are governed by mislaid human potential,past
choices,and oppressive circumstances.

3. To leave behind a historical record of this crucial part of our
history. Since there is no space in our community to discuss and
choose between different options,and the young especially are
giving their life even without knowing our recent history, we
feel it is necessary to leave a record. Moreover, in this country,
we seem to suffer from historical amnesia combined with a
moral vacuum, forcing us to re-live an unpleasant history
again and again. We trust these records will also help benign
minds who in the future would like to make a re-evaluation.

4. As responsible members of an academic institution and
citizens of our community, we would like to express our
opinions and make room for free expression and an edifying
debate. We also seek to highlight the untapped human
potential in all communities in our country, for both internal
regeneration and to make a success of living in one plural
nation.
 
 
 

CHAPTER 1: THE BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - THE
SAME GAME BUT DIFFERENT RULES
 
 
 
 
 

1.1 The State's response

1.1.1 Introduction

The underlying causes of human rights violations in Sri  Lanka
are far from disappearing or changing their form. The
alienation of a variety of minority groups together with
sectional interests cutting across all communal and religious
boundaries exist, in combination with hardships arising from
corruption, maladministration and the hierarchy of economic
domination serving narrow global interests. Power, which is
mediated through these interests,would,whenever the need is
felt, not shrink from violations. This much is almost
tautological and is an everyday occurrence in world affairs.
Out of both international and domestic compulsions, the Sri
Lankan state,without addressing the critical structural
questions, has been fairly successful in adopting a managerial
response to criticisms about its human rights record. This
means becoming more subtle and scaling down several of the
uglier and sensational aspects of human rights violations -
such as massacres and mass disappearances. Although several
individuals within the state machinery who have been pushing
this managerial response are taken to be well-meaning, the
underlying discontent and the structural problems are so
severe that this response will be limited in scope. It is likely to
go no further than a temporary,but uneasy,equilibrium.

The recent Amnesty International report on Sri Lanka
(February 1993) contains the words, "Since mid - 1991, the
Government of Sri Lanka has displayed much greater
openness to scrutiny by international human rights
organisations. This is a welcome development which

Amnesty International hopes will contribute to the
strengthening of human rights protection, and the work of
human rights organisations within the country". The report
then goes on to address inadequacies of the present mechanism
for the avoidance of violations and makes recommendations.

The AI report makes note of the two recommendations rejected
by the government which relate to the issue of impunity. These
were among 32 recommendations made by the AI in 1991 of
which the rest were accepted. The first was the call to repeal
the indemnity act, which provides impunity from prosecution
for the period 1st August 1977 to 16th December 1988 for
members of the security forces and others who acted in 'good
faith' with regard to law enforcement. This interestingly
covers the period starting from the anti-Tamil riots of 1977 to
the eve of the 1988 presidential elections.

The second rejected recommendation had called upon the
government to expand the mandate of the 'Presidential
Commission of Inquiry into the Involuntary Removal of
Persons' to include "disappearances" which took place before
11th January 1991.

This as we shall show has serious implications for the
enforcement of human rights by landing the government in a
muddle of embarrassing contradictions.

The Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka in its statement of
November 1992 makes the following pertinent observations:
"Distressing reports of "disappearances" continue to be
received from the Eastern Province. In the South, the sharp
drop in the number of reported "disappearances" after the
"peak years" of 1988,1989 and 199O is no cause for
complacency. It came about as the result of the capture and
killing of the leadership of the JVP and the consequent bringing
under control of the violent insurgency that had dominated the
political scene during those years. This led to a corresponding
drop in the resort to counter-terror tactics of the security
forces. In fact these unlawful activities by agents of the state or
persons apparently acting with their connivance continued far
longer than the circumstances that gave rise to them, and
appeared to have gained a momentum of their own. They are
by no means unknown today."

We have quoted in this report a member of the Batticaloa Peace
Committee describing the experience on the ground. After
describing the current pattern of violations, which were on a
much reduced scale, and the fairly successful public relations
effort by the authorities, he concluded, "Everything that
happened in the past can happen again. These are like tales
from the dark side." He described their experience as one
where a sudden burst of evil shatters the normal calm. After
the momentary chaos and destruction it is, hey presto, calm
once more. The rest of this chapter will consist of reflections
arising from these themes.

1.1.2 The importance of the struggle for
                 democracy

Though undertaken largely for tactical reasons of survival of
the state, our present and last reports substantiate the
observation of several others, that an effort is being made to
improve the image of state forces in respect of human rights in
the North-East. But the repressive character of the forces
armed with the PTA and a host of emergency measures
remains intact. They have the power to take a persons life or
detain a person indefinitely, often through sheer clumsiness,
without being accountable. The head choppers on yellow motor
cycles are a manifestation of the former. Undisciplined troops
continue to kill civilians with impunity in operational areas.

Nevertheless we welcome the measures to scale down
violations insofar as they reduce suffering and allow room for
the kind of democratic activity that will address the structural
problems that form the basis of organised violations. How far
the current basis of power, its economic underpinnings and its
allied local and global interests, can countenance the
addressing of human rights violations is a question that we will
not go into here. What is very suggestive is, as the AI report
and CRM statement allude to, the great reluctance on the part
of the government to change substantially, the ponderous
repressive apparatus it built up during a particular set of
circumstances. This 'appears to have gained a momentum of its
own' and represents the nervousness of those in power. It has
resulted in a culture permeating all levels of national life,
where a barren authoritarianism jostles uneasily with
debilitating fear. It may not be inappropriate to call it the PTA
culture. At all levels a sense of obligation to morality and the
spirit of the law have sharply declined with the rise of
authority being exercised by fiat without fear of accountability.
The crisis for the state has risen with hopelessness and
injustice. An organised assertion of democratic values remains
the last hope of challenging this drift. We now examine some
aspects of the current state of affairs.

1.1.3 Administrative breakdown

This process which has been going on for decades is closely
linked to the rise of populism in politics. This is nowhere
brought into sharper focus than by the phenomenon of the
presidential mobile secretariat, not lacking in precedents in the
previous decades. It reflects the premise that the
administrative machinery of the state does not do its job any
more and that the president has to come personally and spend
a couple of days in a provincial town to straighten out the
backlog of routine problems that have piled up. Thus a district
kacheri wakes up, goes into full gear for two months or more
to prepare a package to enable the head of state to play Santa
Claus. After two or three days of ceremonies, it is back to
business as usual. Corrupt administrators do not often mind
this. They know how to play the game. But competent
administrators could find that plans and allocations made over
months of hard work can be summarily dashed at the
secretariat. This has been on occasions done through sweeping
and humiliating gestures without allowing a hearing, for sheer
political expediency.

The secretariat which met in Trincomalee shortly after the
Muthur Ferry disaster, said that measures have been taken to
ensure that such will not happen again. It has been known for
nearly two years that passengers travel between Kalpitiya and
Mannar in boats often dangerously overloaded. The ministry
of transport has supervisory responsibility. Will this matter
have to await another disaster or another secretariat in
Mannar?

This breakdown is evident at many other levels which affect
day to day living. Is it practically possible any more for people
to challenge even the more jarringly improper actions of
provincial and district administrators, university councils,
irrigation officials whose actions can result in losses to local
farmers and even clerks who send wrong bills? An interesting
case is that of a newspaper in Colombo, critical of the
government, whose offices were sealed by municipal
authorities alleging non-payment of dues. The paper tried for a
whole week to pay its dues, but was unable to find an official
who would accept payment. When political expediency
exercised undemocratically corrupts a working system, the
corruption becomes institutionalised to serve a variety of
private needs. The clamour for smaller administrative units
and AGA's divisions is a symptom of this breakdown and not a
cure for the disease. In Trincomalee administrative breakdown
is being used as a means to further Sinhalisation through
covert induction of colonists. The resulting situation has been
and will continue to be explosive.

1.1.4 Law and law enforcement

Nothing has done so much to bring the law and the judicial
system into disrepute as the PTA and the practices it spawned.
It enables people to be locked up on the basis of mere caprice,
wasting a valuable period of their life, while the press is fed
with fantasies about their alleged villainy. In the case of most
of the 4OOO Tamils released shortly after the Indo-Lanka
accord of 1987 there were no charges. A senior of Tamil public
servant was then released after nearly four years-no charges.
The hearing of his case had been repeatedly put off for the lack
of one. How would ordinary peasant boys and girls fare in this
situation? Many of them had to bribe their way out rather than
wait interminably for their case to be heard.

The current reality is hardly different. Even the innocent
fearing that the authorities could drag a case on indefinitely
are under heavy pressure to plead guilty to a less serious
charge. Even when a charge does not have a basis, contesting it
takes time,perhaps years. Relatives of detainees claim that
they have been asked for money to negotiate the dropping of
certain charges, which in any case would have been hard to
establish. There is an almost universal belief based on hints of
senior officials, that the leaders of the Up Country People's
Front are being held under the PTA mainly at the behest of
some political rivals.

PTA cases thus mark a new departure in the history of civilised
law. Qualifications for preferred lawyers in the game are not
the usual ones. Courtroom dramas have become more than
ever a charade. Rituals of lawyers have come to represent less
either intellectual asperity or human kindness. The judge,
familiar with the basis of the case, can hardly fail to see
through the words as representing none other than a pre-
arranged drama, reflecting the illicit money that is awash
below his bench. Innocent villagers in the dock not
comprehending what hit them, whose fates are being decided,
gasp in horror when the prosecution speaks and cry in
gratitude when the defence pleads on their behalf. The judge
finally ends the charade "Ñ You have been found guilty of ÑÑ
(tears from the accused)ÑÑBut on consideration of ÑÑ"(joy
and gratitude from the accused, "what a kind man!"). In the
end hundreds of villagers are milked and ruined for no fault of
their own. How long can the judiciary remain free of
corruption in this system? Our system of law which once
enjoyed legitimacy and respect is thus brought into contempt.

Policing: Politically motivated instances of police harassment
and attacks on journalists and printing presses have been
widely reported in the press in recent times. Several instances
of arrest have a purely repressive character without having
any basis in rational law. On 16th February 25 undergraduates
from the University of Peradeniya were detained by the Kandy
police for protesting on educational issues and distributing
leaflets calling for the reopening of universities. An activist
detained for a week by the Counter Subversive Unit of the
police in a provincial capital was questioned not about any
offence,but about his links with two legally registered widely
read newspapers critical of the government, and suchlike.

This arbitrariness of police behaviour in support of ruling
interests also has another side. Repressive laws have also
provided the tools and ideas for systematic corruption.
Allegations that Tamil youth, particularly those arriving in the
metropolis with plans of foreign travel, are detained regularly
for the purpose of extortion, have become widespread. These
have come from responsible sources. According to these
sources an often used modus operandi is to inveigle them into
signing a statement recorded in Sinhalese which they cannot
comprehend, and use it for extorting money. We have also
received reports of such treatment being accororded to Tamils
coming from places like Saudi Arabia and Germany. Others
have said that signatures are obtained on blank sheets and
statements inserted later.

1.1.5 Effect on the armed forces

The Sunday Observer of 14th February 1993 published a reply
by the Chief, Joint Operations Command, to a letter from
Rt.Rev.Thomas Savundranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna. The
latter had made an appeal concerning the plight of civilians in
Jaffna, and in particular the plight of travellers in the Jaffna
lagoon and the naval massacre of 2nd January [Report No.
1O]. The Chief, JOC, said in his reply:

"I believe the "tragic incident" you refer to  was an attempt by
the LTTE to move men and materials in large quantities across
the Jaffna lagoon for their terrorist operations on the
mainland, under cover of darkness on 2nd January 1993, which
was thwarted by a naval patrol in the course of their duty . . .It
is understood that terrorist casualties were heavy and they fled
taking away their casualties. The patrol did not "kill 15
innocent individuals mercilessly and mutilate some seriously
injured." If 6O are reported missing, the LTTE has to be held
responsible. . ."

The Chief,JOC, is known in private as an intelligent and
enlightened man. According to those who spoke to him
privately about the incident, he made no attempt to contest
details that he has so publicly and harshly denied. The truth is
well known publicly, to the media as well as the foreign
missions. The denial serves no purpose. It will only make the
Tamil people angry and increase contempt for the forces.

We have many more instances of callousness of this kind,
devoid of intelligent purpose. When asked at the cabinet press
briefing about the District Education Officer who was killed by
the navy in the lagoon on 2nd January and had an eye gouged
out, the army spokesman replied with his own rumour, as his
having heard that the education officer was executed by the
LTTE. This spokesman, when brigadier responsible for
Batticaloa, was described as a rational person with whom an
intelligent exchange was possible. Then we have the current
brigadier in Batticaloa imprudently using the brute power of
the army to prolong the detention of women abducted and
raped in army custody, so as to give the crime a different
colouring [See 3.5].

All these are instances of the PTA culture deepening an existing
crisis, and preventing the forces in thinking in terms of
accountability. In normal civilised society the final say on these
matters would have rested with judicial authorities following
an inquiry. Here we have the final say resting with military
men stunted by a culture which has taught them to think that
they could do anything, say anything and others have to
swallow it. The PTA and emergency regulations which enable
the forces to take life at will has its own dynamic. If they try to
be normal, decent men in public life, they run into other
problems. There is room to think that the Chief, JOC's reply
was for the purpose of internal consumption, since no other
purpose is served. He evidently has senior colleagues who ask
him, "Whose side are you on?". His public image would have
been better served had he been constrained to anticipate a
judicial inquiry. The power to evade accountability thus
obstructs good men being good in public office. This is the
essence of the PTA culture and it can never bring peace to this
land.

On the other hand sensitive officers, who have thought
through years of bloody failure, are slowly realising success in
winning civilian confidence, and improving the general
situation in their area by deliberately distancing themselves
from the PTA culture. They have adopted leniency towards
informers to the rebels and those who give them food. These
are offenses under the PTA and punishment by summary death
has been covered by the emergency regulations. Such officers
have also taken care not to detain persons beyond the
requirements of an inquiry. The series of repressive legislation
ushered in by the PTA is therefore a burden on the people as
well as the forces.

1.1.6 Questions about democracy & the AI's rejected
recommendations

On the surface things appear normal in parts of the East. But
there is a deep underlying disquiet. Describing the STF's
apparently reformed role, one leading citizen said, "Lionel
Karunasena, D.I.G, S.T.F., has really turned a new leaf. He is
very different from the man I knew two years ago.
Seneviratne, O.I.C, S.T.F., Thirukkovil, is a very
understanding and enlightened man. You very rarely come
across some one in the forces of that calibre. Siriwardene,
O.I.C, S.T.F., 5th Mile Post, Amparai Road, is a fine Buddhist.
He doesn't like to hurt anyone." Then his tone suddenly
changed, "I will never trust anyone in the forces. These fellows
never came to do us any good!" This commonly felt dichotomy
is a long term problem for both the forces and the civilians. The
long standing problems like colonisation, tremendously
important for the minorities, remain unresolved. Instead the
matter is being left to attrition.

More immediate is the practical and emotional need for people
to come to terms with massive death in their midst. In the case
of Tamils, several thousands in the East were murdered by
state forces. A mature self respecting community is naturally
impelled to come to terms with its history, demand justice and
work out the meaning for this massive suffering. This would
take the form of working for a future of promise for the coming
generations. To suppress these longings is to build a stunted
community. Even if presidential commissions, task forces and
law enforcement authorities wish to forget about
disappearances before 11th January 1991, the people will not.
This will result in constant friction with the armed forces.

Recently three persons in an Eastern town, one of them a
school principal, who were distributing forms and collecting
information about loss of life and property were questioned for
3 days at the local security forces camp, being allowed to go
home for the night. It was an attempt at intimidation. But
because of the international machinery at work, they did not
seriously fear for their life. This may be a relatively rare
occurrence. But it is also the thin end of the wedge that
underlines the limits of the state's managerial response to
human rights. There is a good deal of nervousness around.
How far will things be allowed to go?

The time limitation placed on official inquiries into
disappearances is fraught with many contradictions. The
Sunday Times of 14th February 1993 reported in its lead story
that a brigadier and several soldiers from the war-front were
brought to the Joint Operations Command H.Q. at
Anuradhapura and grilled for 3 days by a top level CID team.
The matter pertained to the 1989 abduction of 32 students from
Embilipitiya. The inquiry followed the Human Rights Task
Force, headed by Judge J.F.A.Soza, identifying a colonel (now
brigadier), a captain (now major) and eight soldiers from the
6th Artillery Unit then manning the 'Sevana' camp. The police,
according to the report, have said that there was evidence
linking the army personnel to the abduction of students and
that a charge of abduction, carrying a sentence of up to 7 years
was likely to be framed. They added that although the students
are now presumed dead, there was insufficient evidence for a
charge of culpable homicide.

Although this incident took place at a time prior to the date of
11th January 1991 when the mandate of the presidential
commission into disappearances took effect, the inquiry was
precipitated by intense pressure from the opposition and the
international community. Moreover the political establishment
was not implicated.

If this recently promoted brigadier is found guilty and
punished, he and his friends will look resentfully at other senior
officers who are known to be responsible for worse and are
being let off the hook. A relative of two young men among the
158 detained and taken away from the Eastern University
refugee camp on 5th September 199O told the Amnesty
International that the detainees, who subsequently
disappeared, were taken to the Valaichenai Army camp. [See
report No.7:4]. The brigadier in charge has recently been
posted to a sensitive area in the North with a large refugee
population, which is closely watched by international
organisations. He is not subject to investigation. Asked about
this particular matter, not withstanding the commendable role
it played in the matter of the Embilipitiya abductions, the
Chairman, HRTF, told the Amnesty that they do not actively
investigate 'disappearances'. Then there is the matter of 16O
prisoners killed and burnt on 9th September 199O by personnel
from the Saturukondan army camp, the Kalmunai massacres
of June 199O by troops under a colonel and so on. Those raising
these are mainly Tamils from the East and have so far not
carried enough political clout. But the apparent exception
being made for the Embilipitiya affair is going to make some
officers very bitter and others very nervous.

The matter will not end here. While some officers in the forces
are spoken of as being hatchet men for the political
establishment, the general opinion about the political
leadership among the forces is pretty low. Among the
revelations of Udugampola, DIG of police, is that 65 or more
opposition politicians were killed under cover of the JVP
troubles by armed units taking instructions from senior figures
in the ruling party. Evidently senior officers unable to bear the
fact that a few of their colleagues were bringing discredit on
the forces by performing dirty jobs for politicians of the ruling
party, had complained to Mrs.Bandaranaike, Leader of the
Opposition, who made a statement in parliament in January
199O, [Report No.4]. Later in the year, according to sources in
a prominent daily, a leading police association had passed a
resolution dissociating itself from political killings and alluding
to a few in the force having lent themselves to such use. The
statement after being composed was taken out on the verge of
going to print, following an internal leak and orders from the
management. Thus freedom of expression is a problem even
for the forces.

Thus a few in the armed forces being disciplined for violations,
whether in the South or in the North-East, will eventually turn
the heat on the political leadership. It is hardly surprising that
there has been a good deal of procrastination. A columnist for
the 'Sunday Island' [14th February 1993] has suggested that the
current official verbal, administrative and physical harassment
of the press is aimed at obviating local repercussions of the
anticipated publication of Udugampola's revelations in the
USA.

1.1.7 Freedom of the Press

An organisation that has attracted much official ire in recent
times is the Free Media Movement. The FMM fared
prominently in the centre pages of two successive issues of the
Sunday Observer. One of its leading activists, a senior
respected columnist, was personally taken to task. Ironically
this slot is habitually reserved for attacking leading figures of
opposition parties. That a relatively unknown pressman should
be elevated to this privilege is a comment on the bankruptcy of
the opposition.

Whenever the opposition raises the issue of freedom of the
press the government goes on citing the acts of the present
opposition during its period of office against private
ownership of sections of the press. There is  legitimacy in
questioning the present opposition's attitudes to the freedom of
the press. The qualitative difference between past and the
present actions is that earlier (197O-1977) it was economic
pressure on press men but now it is direct terror unleashed on
individual journalists. In earlier actions the journalist's job
security might have been affected. But today each journalist
has to think about his physical security if he is going to write
something critical about personalities at the top. The situation
today is very tense. Although outwardly we see a number of
papers which are critical of the government, a general feeling
of fear lurks behind.
 
The FMM is itself a courageous response to a crisis that has
been brewing for decades. If it is to gain the crucial
international solidarity it needs, it must also address the
question of how free the press is in representing minority
concerns, and how high the integrity in reporting events in the
North-East.

In Conclusion
Perhaps in the administrative harassment of the press and the
personal attacks, we discern something of the changing rules in
the government's human rights game in response to
international pressure.

But the underlying crisis remains unaddressed. Governments
which have on the surface succeeded in a managerial approach
to human rights have enjoyed a specially favoured position in
global economic relations. The Singapore government has
carefully targeted individuals who raised questions of
morality, conscience and social justice through a mixture of
security legislation, harassment, character assassination, court
action, imprisonment and deportation. It succeeded, and will
probably succeed as long as the country's precariously poised
economic position allows the government to win over the
populace with material rewards. Even then the clumsiness,
crudity, falsehood and vindictiveness have not been lost on the
populace.

Despite the oft stated aspiration, Sri Lanka, governed by a
very different set of circumstances is very unlikely to become
another Singapore. The UNP government which came to
power in 1977 consciously tried to imitate the Singapore model
hoping that a dose of consumerism spread around to detract
from Singapore style repression of labour, would do the trick.
Public discontent, corruption, a resort to refuge in
communalism by the state, the holocaust of 1983, civil war and
the JVP troubles ended the dream.

President Premadasa evidently tried a repeat performance
while at first trying to handle the Tamil question more carefully
so as not to let it jeopardise his economic programme. But the
state continued to suffer from its accumulated inertia as well as
from the personal failings of national leaders.

In response to the recent crises and widespread criticism from
the international community, the government appears to be
reverting to a more measured pragmatic approach. Among its
greatest handicaps for a managerial approach are
administrative breakdown and corruption.

Further, nerves are taut and could snap anytime. Then it may
be another tale from the dark side. The strained and hysterical
quality of attacks on the press is a bad sign.

We have constantly argued that there must be accountability
for what the people have suffered as a result of actions of the
state. In no other way can the state win over the minorities, the
Tamils in particular, and give them confidence. If not the Tamil
youth, who have no major opposition party to give them
confidence, will find the LTTE's kind of destructive approach
the most ready alternative. One of the urgent tasks is the
repeal of the PTA and its train of repressive laws.

This is partly covered by the Amnesty International's two
rejected recommendations. We have argued that not to
implement these recommendations strictly, would result in
acute long term friction between the people and the forces on
one hand, and the forces and the political establishment on the
other.

A democratic consensus remains the only hope for purging the
country of the effects of its ugly recent past, placing respect for
human rights on a permanent basis, making the long overdue
structural changes and evolving social and economic goals for
the future.

1.2 The LTTE's human rights record and the international
community
The recent AI report gives considerable space to 'abuses of
human rights by the LTTE'. It says in the first paragraph, "The
LTTE announced in February 1988 that it would abide by the
Geneva Conventions and its optional protocols I & II. It
continues to claim that it abides by these standards, but
consistent reports from the North-East indicate that it fails to
do so."
It goes on to describe Common Ariticle 3 of the Geneva
Conventions, applying to all parties in an internal conflict. It
stipulates that, "all persons taking no active part in hostilities,
including members of the armed forces who are in detention,
wounded or have laid down their arms, must always be treated
humanely. Such people should never be murdered, mutilated,
tortured or subjected to cruel, humiliating or degrading
treatment. Hostage - taking is also prohibited."

For the LTTE, a so-called liberation group, to be compared in
effect unfavourably with a government, itself having a poor
record, is an unenviable position to be in. This is particularly so
when it is still far from realising its goals. Hardly any other
group in the world, whose reputation turned sour after
attaining power, was in this position. More seriously what
would be the fate of the people of the North-East over whose
destinies it maintains a strangle-hold?

Of course the Tamil people who have endured much suffering
since July 1983 and before still have active groups of
sympathisers in many important capitals around the world. In
order to activate this sympathy, a group that claims to
represent them must have a demonstrably credible and
reasonable set of demands for which support can be mobilised
and other governments made convinced of. It is far from
adequate for LTTE spokesmen to vaguely suggest federal
powers for the North-East, while everything else suggests that
its regime would be oppressive and conflict - prone. Can it
massacre Muslims and insist that they will be respected citizens
of the North-East? Can it maintain thousands of dissidents in
underground bunkers in sub-human conditions and maintain
that its rule would respect human rights and democratic
freedoms? Is it in a position to convince the Sinhalese majority
of the country that their legitimate interests in the North-East
and pluralism will be assured? Making federalism an active
proposition for the North- East means more than affording
photographic opportunities to suggest that the LTTE leaders
are human. It rather requires active campaigning among the
Muslims and Tamils, including dissidents,to convince them
that they have a common stake in its proposals and also the
Sinhalese majority to allay their fears. The LTTE's recent past
appears to militate against such a role.

All that now lies by the wayside. Current negotiations about
opening a safe passage to the Jaffna peninsula, a relatively
straightforward matter, after recent civilian deaths in the
lagoon, have received such prominence and concern because of
the LTTE's indefensible positions, so as to overshadow all long
term issues. If the use by civilians of Elephant Pass gave the
army a military advantage, which is doubtful, the same cannot
be true of the Puneryn crossing. It is practically impossible for
the army to launch an offensive into the Jaffna peninsula
across a stretch of water from its Puneryn camp. Given that the
main issue is to afford the civilians safe passage while a war is
being fought, recent positions have shown again the callous
disregard LTTE has for the civilian population. It again
subverts the LTTE claim of being a liberation group  possessing
a greater sense of responsibility for the civilians than the state.

To those unfamiliar with the long history of the Tamil struggle,
the cause would have thus taken a doubtful appearance, doing
a grave injustice to thousands who have sacrificed so much.
Had the government been more creative, it would have clean
won a major political battle over the Tigers. It's callous and
imbecile insistence on shooting hapless civilians in the Jaffna
lagoon left its own credentials in further doubt.
As long as the Tigers, articulating their associated politics, are
seen to be the representatives of the Tamils, the cause will
seem a doubtful one. If the Tigers go on adopting such
negotiating positions on straightforward humanitarian issues,
which casual observer will after this believe that colonisation,
a life and death problem for hundreds of thousands of Tamils,
is indeed a real problem?

Lacking in human values and a political programme to offer
dignity to the people, the aridity of the Tigers' politics becomes
evident in parts of the North-East, particularly where the
forces have observed discipline for a reasonable uninterrupted
period. Because of its

long history and their experience of oppression, Tamils
instinctively believe in the struggle, although entertaining
doubts and confusion about the LTTE's peculiar cause. But
beyond this, for the East in particular, the LTTE has ceased to
offer hope. Their experience of this group is increasingly
confined to terror and extortion except in areas where they feel
immediately threatened by the forces. Can this lead anywhere?

While the government is being made to respond positively and
become more subtle, not least due to international pressure, a
Tamil militant group cannot go on as if nothing has changed.
The government needs to be challenged politically on a whole
host of unresolved problems. This requires an independent
force in the North-East that can mobilise the people politically.
Tragically, the LTTE's purblind militarism destroyed all
independent political activity and stifled the spirit of the
people. Its constant attempts to recreate conditions of July 1983
provided the state with alibis for not addressing the questions
that so trouble the minorities, while their position constantly
became worse.

If the LTTE hopes to survive, it needs to respond positively to
the demands of the international community. If not it will be a
long night for the people of the North-East.
 

CHAPTER 2: TRINCOMALEE: DESTROYING THE BASIS
FOR A POLITICAL SOLUTION

2.1 The current situation : Ideology and
        inequality

On the surface the situation in Trincomalee appears calm.
There have been no major incidents in recent times. The open
cases of missing persons in the last 6 months are 3 or less
according to the best sources. Those detained are usually
processed within a week and are either released or sent to
detention centres in the South. The esplanade in town is filled
with large crowds in the evenings, and eating houses and bars
are open till late. The Superintendent of Police is acclaimed as
a fair man who tries his best. At sentry points the atmosphere is
relaxed. Yet one is told again and again that the peace is
artificial.

A Hindu schoolmaster in Nilaveli remarked," I have no
problem with language or religion. Language is only a medium
of expression. It does not make one more or less human. It is
the quality of thought that matters. Religion is just a mode of
worship. I visit all places of worship on festival days, whether

Pallivasal(Mosque), Kovil, Church, or Pansale (Buddhist
temple) and eat with the devotees". These are sentiments of a
man, not young, but old enough to remember better times. They
reflect a certain harmony that prevailed in the Trincomalee
District, which extended to the East as a whole, and gave it a
plural character. Cast iron divisions on the basis of language
and religion are recent impositions mainly resulting from state
ideology.

Many traditions of the district going back more than a
millennium centre around Koneswaram temple at
FortFrederick. Names of villages such as
 

Thiriyai and Mallikaitivu are derivedfrom services they
performed for the temple. The role of the tank at Kantalai
which watered the fields at Kantalai and Thambalakamam,
and provided for the maintenance of the temple was
recognised by the government in an agreement in the 195Os.
This safeguarded the water rights to 5OOO acres of these
traditional fields.

The ancient Buddhist temple Vilgam Vihara between Kanniya
and Mudalikkulam (Morawewa) on the Vavuniya Road is
another testament to the plural character of Trincomalee. It
has the Tamil name Rajaraja Perumpalli and carries an
inscription marking the endowments granted to it by the Chola
king Rajaraja about the turn of the last millennium. Although
the Chola Empire was an outgrowth of militant Hinduism in
Tamil South India, religious polarisation does not appear to
have reached this country. Pragmatic Chola kings endowed
kovils as well as vihares in Ceylon [Chola inscriptipns in
Ceylon, Prof.K.Indrapala, University of Jaffna]. There are
strong grounds for believing that Vilgam Vihara was a shrine
of  Tamil speaking Buddhists [cf:Indrapala].
 

Hindu pilgrims of the East to the shrine of Kathirkamam
(Kataragama), in the deep South, passed through Sinhalese
villages in Panamapattu along the southern coast of the
Eastern province who hosted them and even intermarried
among them.
Gomarankadawela( Kumaresan Kadavai) in the north-west of
the district had a bilingual population, which  now,as a
consequence of state ideology, have identified themselves as
strongly Sinhalese. Its Wannihamys, Wannikuralas and Korala
Mahattayas (ancestors of former minister and one time deputy
prime minister, Maitripala Senanayake) often studied in
Tamil.
Subsequently Muslims and  later during the British period,
Tamils from Jaffna and Sinhalese migrated into Trincomalee
for mainly economic reasons and blended into its traditions.

This condition of peaceful co-existence was brought to an end
when state ideology from the 6Os used its administrative
power and from the 8Os brute force, to sunder the historical
continuity of the East. The healthy traditions inherent in this
country's history by which communities had co-existed and
intermingled in a plural environment were violently cast aside.
The thrust was towards mono-ethnicisation and on rewriting
history to suit the dominant state ideology.

What happended is well-known. From the early 8Os Tamils
were subject to violence by politically instigated hoodlums
backed by the forces. In the wake of the July 1983 holocaust and
its sequel, many Tamils physically witnessed known people and
even close relatives being hacked to death. As a reaction many
young joined a number of militant groups. Almost every Tamil
family had a close militant connection, frequently a son or a
brother. In addition to fighting the Sri Lankan forces many of
them were also party to internecine strife and reprisals against
Sinhalese civilians. A responsible government which had upon
the arrival of the IPKF in 1987 accepted its past mistakes,
should have, however late, initiated a politics of healing.

With the onset of the war of June 199O the Tamils were at their
weakest since July 1983. In place of a politics of healing, the
political weakness of the Tamils and their lack of
representation in the  provincial council or parliament is being
used to lay the foundations for endless strife. Under the guise
of resettlement the administration and the military are
working fast to settle Sinhalese in a manner that would trap
Tamils into insecure pockets. In the absence of Tamil
representation, the laws of the land concerning property
ownership, distribution of crown land and places of worship
are being broken with impunity. Most of this activity is
shrouded in secrecy.

There are many visible signs of this policy. For a district with a
Tamil character, from Kantalai to Trincomalee, along the main
Kandy Road, there are hardly any signs in Tamil except in a
pocket or two. At Thambalakamam, a Tamil village, in front of
the army camp a considerable Buddhist temple has sprung up
where earlier there were only shrines to St.Mary and Pillaiar
(a Hindu God). The next step is not hard to guess. New names
like Lucky Wijyapura and Ranmuthugama (formerly
Muthunagar) have suddenly appeared without any reference
to history or tradition

2.2 Land alienation in Trincomalee Town.

Questions of land have been dealt with by the government
unilaterally during an extended period of transition in the
country's affairs. Meanwhile the government repeatedly
pledged to solve the minority question and did next to nothing.
In the early stages the matter was dealt with by administrative
sleights of hand by bending or breaking the rules where
convenient. When the Government Agent and the Land Officer
get together a good deal of mischief could be done under
wraps. It is hardly surprising that Trincomalee, a majority
Tamil speaking area, is the only district in the island which
never had a Tamil government agent. The present land officer
is regarded as one ideal for his given job. In 1979 when land
alienation to Sinhalese under Bandaragoda,GA, was getting
out of control, a group of Tamils set fire to the land office in
protest,in a bid to slow down the alienation. Bandaragoda is
described as a perfect gentleman who believed that every man
was communally inclined. Under his administration in
Trincomalee, Sinhalese officers were appointed to
predominantly Tamil AGA's Divisions, including Town and
Gravets, as Additional AGA's and Additionsl Grama Seveka
officers. Trincomalee is the only District which had these
communally based special appointments.

The present war has made the government's task far easier,
since a very large number of Tamils are refugees or have been
forced to flee the district. Recently an attempt to regularise
encroachment of land by the sea used in temple festivals
(Thirthakkarai) was stopped only through taking up the matter
at the highest level in Colombo. Earlier land in Fort Frederick
(Papanasam Theertham) used on Hindu festive occasions at
Koneswaram temple, was suddenly turned into a parade
ground for the army. Nearly all decisions have been
unfavourable to the Tamils. Lands vacated by Tamils owing to
insecurity have been suddenly christened with Sinhalese names
unknown to the general public. We shall now look at some
specific instances of this policy; some of them refer to decisions
taken at a land conference in late December with leading
officials from Colombo in attendance.

2.2.1 Sobithagama, Love lane

The area known as Love Lane, just north of the town, once
consisted of 33 lots amounting to 70 acres, all owned by Tamils.
In August 1939, just about the outbreak of World War II , the
British administration aquired these lands as part of its
expansion of naval  facilities in Trincomalee, for use as storage
facilities and such like.  When the British quit in 1958, the
government of Ceylon did not use this land for any public
purpose.  The land was left idle.  For the last 20 years, to this
date,  Sinhalese encroachers have settled in the area with
encouragement from ruling interests in Colombo as suggested
by new names like Sirimapura, Nelsonpura and Sobithagama.
The almost total devastation of the area shows what this
policy meant.

33 Muslim and 14 Tamil families who were living on the landin
question  had to flee in the aftermath of the June 199O war. The
local Buddhist priest used his influence to have the land
released to his temple. Thereafter he alienated the land to 34
Sinhalese families. The former residents now in refugee camps
complained. The land authorities decided that it was 'not
practicable' to evict the present occupants to make room for the
former. But for the sake of propriety it was decided to cancel
alienation done by the priest and for the selection to be made at
an interview by officials 'with the consent of the priest'!

2.2.2 Forty two houses in front of Sirimapura, Love Lane
Housing Scheme NO.2.

In 198O the NHDA decided to build houses for Sinhalese at
Love Lane and named it the Nelsonpura scheme. This being a
majority Tamil area, the MP, Sampanthan, protested.
Premadasa, then prime minister, personally intervened and
ordered that the Nelsonpura scheme could be proceeded with
only after an equal number of houses had been built for Tamils.
Hence the scheme above was set in motion by the NHDA under
the Aided Self Help Programme. In the wake of July 1983, the
Tamil occupants fled and the houses were taken over by
Sinhalese. When the IPKF arrived in 1987, the squatters fled
and the Tamil owners come into reoccupation. Following the
June 199O war, the Tamils fled once more and Sinhalese took
occupation. Now 22 of the former Tamil owners have returned
from India.

The land authorities discussed the 'complex' problem and left it
for an 'amicable' settlement between the parties!
2.2.3 Encroachments in Love Lane area now named
Wijesekerapura

Since a Land Ministry circular forbade regularisation of
encroachments after 27.1O.89 it was decided to hold  a land
Kacheri. A notice was issued to hold interviews for land
alienation. Three senior citizens pointed out in a petition that
the names Wijesekarapura and Sobithagama have no legal
status, the ordinance invoked (Land Development Ordinance
or Crown Lands Ordinance)  was not stated, nor were the total
area of the estate and of each allotment given. A further point
made was that the land to be alienated is required by law to be
first cleared and should not be squatter occupied. They also
observed that an applicant was envisaged to be any one who
has been a resident for 5 years according to the notice. They
concluded that the motivation behind the exercise was merely
an administrative means of getting round the circular and
regularising encroachment by those who had no permanent
abode in Trincomalee. For these and other reasons they called
for a cancellation of the exercise.

2.2.4 Mattikali:

This land is on the edge of town on the left as one enters
Trincomalee through the Kandy Road, just before Orr's Hill
and the main Police station. At the land conference the
secretary ruled that this land should be put to urban use as a
middle class residential area planned by the UDA. He also said
that encroachments should be prevented. But the land is being
rapidly encroached upon by Sinhalese, no one knows from
where. A Sinhalese when asked believed that it was land which
once belonged to a Sinhalese, Balasooriya, and was donated to
Sri Jayasumanarama  Buddhist temple by him more than 7O
years ago. He cited a current court case as an indication of this.

A senior Tamil citizen when asked about it said that the land in
fact belonged to Shanmuga Boys Home, an orphanage, and
Justice Krishnathasan. He also said that the court case involves
a small piece of land at Mattikali accommodating the YMBA
(Young Men's Buddhist Association) and a garage, the plaintiff
being Balasooriya's grandson. The case,he added,is against the
YMBA and the Buddhist priest. The inmates of Shanmuga Boys
Home abandoned the site in the wake of the 1983 communal
riots.

Such problems are common in Trincomalee where the
ownership of several lands is being decided by squatters who
indirectly have the blessings of the authorities. Another
example is land now termed Vijithapura -part Kovil land and
part private land - now occupied by Sinhalese fishermen. As we
have seen the tendency of the authorities is to decide in favour
of squatters and hold that it is impracticable to move them.
Regularisation is a technicality easily dealt with. This is not
squatting under normal conditions, where there is a case for
sympathetic consideration. But this is squatting under military
occupation by persons coming from far away, in conditions
favourable entirely to one ethnic group.

2.2.5 Palampottaru Stage II, Pattinipuram

Between Thambalakamam and Palampottaru (Monkey
Bridge), the land to the east of the road up to the railway tracks
was the Tamil settlement of Pattinipuram (Palampottaru stage
1). The action of the Sri Lankan forces from the mid-8Os
rendered the lands practically inaccessible to Tamils. On the
opposite side were lands designated for the scheme
Palampottaru Stage II that was not implemented [See
Appendix IV]. Now new houses for Sinhalese settlers have
been put up with help from NGOs LEADs and Sarvodaya,
according to well placed sources. LEADs is expected to put up
3OO or more houses. According to sources close to the LEADs,
the organisation has so far put up 85 houses, 58 for Sinhalese
and 27 for mainly members of the deserving gypsy(Kuravar)
community. For each house Rs 15OOO/- came from the
Rehabilitation ministry housing grant to displaced persons,
and the balance Rs 1OOOO/- from LEADs. Many of these
settlers were persons who had lived on encroached lands in
that area prior to the arrival of the IPKF and had then lived in
refugee camps for Sinhalese.

2.2.6 Main features of land settlement and its implications:

Land aqiored by Sri Lanka Ports Authority :   In the early
eighties more than 5000  acres of land was vested with the
SLPA. [see Appendix III ].  From the very beginning Tamil
leaders protested that the SLPA would never use so much land
and that the move was meant to facilitate unfair land
alienation at a later date.  In fact the SLPA barely used 100
acres at any  time.  Following the outbreak of war in June 1990,
a number of Sinhalese encroached on these lands without any
obstruction.  It was reported at the land conference of 6th
January 1993, with the minister of lands in attendance, that a
number of persons were living on SLPA land, some on plots of
the order of 1 acre and that the SLPA had agreed to release 700
acres.  A proposal was made to regularise the encroachments
and to limit  further alianations to 40 perchese (1/4 acre).  The
cost of land in the area nearer town is 3 to 4000  rupees a perch,
so that some encroachers could receive up to Rs 500 000/-
worth of land!  Once more the matter was taken up at the
highest levels in Colombo and the verbal undertaking was
given  to limit any  alianation  to 20 perches.

We have seen that there is an underlying trend in and around
Trincomalee with the assistance of the whole state machinery
at its disposal. The state is bent on Sinhalisation of the whole
area. The general approach is that any Sinhalese coming to
Trincomalee to do business should by hook or by crook be given
a permanent home. This is done under conditions where Tamil
land owners cannot exercise their ownership. Other than
through squatting, the Ministry of Fisheries for instance, has
acquired land in Pallaththottam (3rd mile post) and settled
Sinhalese fishermen. In the case of Vijithapura above Fisheries
has made a request to acquire land which consists of both
private and temple land. 50 families, nearly all Sinhalese,
either government officers or connected with the forces, were
given housing land in the vicinity of Dhoby tank near the
railway tracks. This was done after June 1990.

There is also land hunger locally which is not addressed. 5OO
families of sanitation, health and UC labourers in town have
only recently been offered alternative land, mostly outside the
UC area, because of their present land being required for
hospital expansion. They are people of Indian origin who have
been there more than 4O years. Their area is now very
crowded with often 5 families in an allotment meant for one.

It is important to note that, private land owners in Trincomale
are neither rich by national standards nor hold large extents of
land. The richer among them would hold at best 2 or 3 acres
through which they derived an income from coconuts and such
like. One could hardly compare their wealth with their
counterparts in other parts of the country. Their lands are
being acquired for a song while they are being reduced to a
very straitened existence, not to benefit the local landless but to
settle persons from the south and others like fishermen who
have come there seasonally for about 1O or 15 years at best.
Even if the  government was genuinely concerned about the
land problem faced by people in the South, it would have given
them land not by moving them to a distant place in
controversial circumstances, but by using state land near their
homes or by acquiring land from the local land-owning class.
The motivations here are therefore mischievous.

Even  in naming places a procedure has to be followed. Under
the Renaming of towns and villages Ordinance the Home
ministry must first receive a request and advertise it. If there
are objections then there is a procedure to resolve it. Here
hatchet men in the local adminstration and Buddhist monks
pull names out of hats. Moreover, amidst a civil war situation
where the people see the armed forces as aliens, naming places
after soldiers who were killed, shows the blindness and
insensitivity of government policy. On the other hand it also
shows that the government does not have any concern even for
these dead soldiers. If it did, they would have named in their
memory, places close to their native homes, where it would
have a meaning.

All this activity involving wide discretionary powers in
regularising encroachments, urban development, cancelling
permits of absentees, such as government servants who were
given residential land, and reallocating the land, is going on
without reference to the war, to the fact that a large section of
Tamils are refugees who cannot make a decision about their
land, and have no representation. The changes are such as to
make Tamils feel more threatened and less willing to live in
Trincomalee.

It is believed that the manner in which Sinhalese are being
settled in the town area, while Tamils are encouraged to move
out has two motives. One is to break the control Tamil
speakers have in the urban council. The other is to divide the
Town and Gravets AGA division into a Sinhalese and a Tamil
division.

We are able to see something of what is going on here because
there are senior citizens doggedly fighting a rearguard action
and there is documentary evidence to be examined. If one
extends what is going on here to the whole district, the picture
becomes much more frightening. With the carving up of new
Sinhalese AGA's divisions things will become harder to probe
until confronted with a fait accompli-at election time or during
a bout of communal violence.

When a state violently and in a brutal manner continues to
follow a policy  which earlier forced Tamil youths to take up
arms, ordinary people because of their powerlessness, would
legitimise any act,however inhuman, which gives an
impression that it counters the strategy of the all- powerful
state. The whole exercise of finding a political solution and
portraying the current war as fighting terrorism becomes a
facade [See 2.5].

2.3 Implications of land on administrative structures: The
creations of new ethnically dominated AGA divisions.

Since the outbreak of war the move to rapidly induct Sinhalese
into the Tamil AGAs division of Thambalakamam, with a view
to creating two AGAs divisions, is under way. Already it has
two AGAs (now Divisional Secretaries) a senior Sinhalese
assisted by a Tamil. Morawewa (Mudalikkulam) was a 4O%
Tamil speaking division with the AGA's office at Pankulam.
With the introduction of the Air Force farm near the head
works in the late 6Os, Tamils have been subject to violence. In
the 8Os nearly all of them fled as refugees. Now the AGA's
office has been shifted to Mahadivulweva (Periyavilankulam)
and the division is virtually Sinhalese. The objection is not to
do with having Sinhalese public servants. But from the mid
8Os experience has shown that key officers are picked persons
with the qualities for the task at hand. Often a pliant Tamil
public servant can do equally well. Consequently the level of
corruption in areas subject to an ideological programme is
notably higher.

A good exsample is the  land officer referred to  above.  He had
been a surveyor in Trincomalee for a long time.  In 1982 he had
faced interdiction for bribery.  Recently, he was made a land
officer and given crucial  responsibilities  influencing the future
of Trincomalee.  The appointment was not calculated to give
confidence to the Tamil speaking people.  The administrative
machinery and the military co-ordinating officer are said to be
in close consultation with him.
Mass deportations of the autumn of 1983:

What we have been saying is that the Sinhalisation of the
administration is not a neutral affair of changing Tamil heads
or pen pushers for Sinhalese ones. It is a prelude and a means
to an ideological programme adversely affecting and
impinging on the rights of the Tamil speaking peoples. A stark
manifestation of how the fixing of the administration was used
took place about November 1983 in the wake of the July 1983
violence.

A number of Tamils of recent Indian origin from the hill country
and the deep South, who were victims of the communal
violence of 1977, settled in the Tamil districts of the North-
East, including Trincomalee. Communal attacks with the
backing of the armed froces began in Trincomalee on 3rd June
1983, well before the July holocaust. Subsequently many Tamils
of both local and Indian origin were living in refugee camps.
Those of Indian origin displaced from places including
Pankulam, Alles Gardens and Kappalthurai (near 6th mile
post, Kandy Road) were in refugee camps at Nilaveli,
Sambaltivu, Pankulam and Trinco town among others.

An order went down the line through Captain Marshall of the
Navy, Co-ordinating Officer/Trincomalee, to the AGAs, to
compile separate lists of Tamil refugees of Indian and local
origin. Senior Tamil officers, such as the Additional GA, were
kept in the dark. Later, one night, hand picked Sinhalese staff
officers from the Trincomalee Kacheri were asked to go with
the lists in the company of the forces to the refugee camps
above. They were asked to get hold of the AGA concerned  or
the Grama Sevaka of the division if the AGA could not be
located.
The names of Indian Tamils were read out, after the night
callers had aroused the refugees from their sleep. Terrified
families meekly came forward and got into commandeered
CTB buses as they were ordered. Even if some of the family
were not present, the rest were ordered to get in, their pleas
being of no avail.

The GA/Trincomalee, a Sinhalese, was then out of town. About
mid-night the Tamil Additional GA was aroused from his sleep
by a telephone call from Captain Marshall. The Additional GA
was told of the plan then under execution. The call, he was
given to understand, was to keep him informed for courtesy's
sake.

Several bus loads of Indian Tamils were driven under armed
escort to various parts of the hill country and dumped in places
with which they had no connection. Many families who had
already suffered from the violence of 1977 and '83 agonised for
weeks not knowing what became of their kin from whom they
were forcibly parted. Most deportees collected whatever relief
payment was available and eventually found their way back to
Trincomalee.

Captain Marshall, a Burgher, himself acted under orders from
the government in Colombo and was deeply unhappy. He was
powerless when naval ratings under his command ran amok in
Trincomalee town during July 1983.

This gives a picture of what the administrative machinery was
primed to perform. The official culture has not changed. But
brazenly crude manifestations such as these deportations and
the national security minister's remarks below are unlikely to
surface today. We are faced with the same game in more subtle
forms. It is significant how Tamil officials can be unethically
bypassed when needed.

With a GA and the AGA who understand their ideological task
well, a new Sinhalese AGA's division created will first become
a no-go area for Tamils. Special arrangements can be worked
out and what happens then is anyone's guess. Now Sinhalese
who had lived on encroached land have been brought back into
the Thambalakamam area and have quickly received the
benefits of displaced persons. In many such situations, Where
they come from?  From where and when were they displaced?
Why did they not go back to their original homes? What is the
rationale behind settling them in a Tamil area? are questions
no one can ask. Only the GA, AGA and the GS concerned will
know the special arrangements. Again there are Tamil AGAs
divisions like Mutur which have not received their housing
entitlements after their far-more-valuable houses were bull-
dozed. At each succeeding elections there have been new voters
lists more unfavourable to the Tamil speaking people, whose
dependability have diminished with the rise of cloak and
dagger methods by the state [Appendix IV gives a note on land
encroachment].

2.4 Colonisation in the district: The case of the Weli Oya
Scheme

This is perhaps the archetypal cloak and dagger scheme to
crush a minority through a mixture of administrative and
military manipulation. There is so little accountability in its
execution that its protagonists could reap massive dividends in
corruption.

Manal Aru ( Sand River) runs through the Mullaitivu, Vaunia
and Trincomalee Districts. The area was virgin land. Before
July 1983 there were two projects in the area, Kent Farm and
Dollar Farm, run by Tamils partly with a view to getting young
men involved in agriculture and partly to rehabilitate Hill
Country Tamil victims of the 1977 communal violence.
Otherwise the area came under the proposed System L of the
Mahaveli Project, one of the last stages, and was not even part
of the accelerated programme formulated in 1978. With the July
1983 violence the Tamils were driven out of the area. Then a
plan to physically divide the North and East was set in motion.

Once again the timing, like June 199O, was crucial. The
moment, like with the deportations above, was chosen when
the Tamils were at their weakest. They were reeling under the
violence of July 1983. The sixth amendment wiped out their
parliamentary representation by the TULF. Under Gamini
Dissanaike as minister for Lands & Mahaveli development,
the lands were brought under the Mahaveli Authority in the
spring of 1984  by his ministry under an extra-ordinary gazette
notification. With Manal Aru renamed Weli Oya, a project in
that area was commenced. Although the lands acquired were
from the Tamil districts of Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and
Trincomalee, the administration was transferred to
Anuradhapura. The military took control and the area became
a no-go-zone for Tamils. Even administrative officials of the
three Tamil districts of which it was part could not enter the
area without military clearance.

The progress was then monitored by JOSSOP at
Anuradhapura under Mr.Bandaragoda [See 2.2],Additional
Secretary , Ministry of Mahaweli development and former
GA, Trincomalee. Very little was known about what was going
on  Weli-Oya until the Tigers carried out a massacre of about a
hundred men brought in for the project in Novemeber 1984. It
was also about the time Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister for
National Security, boasted that his Government would solve
the minority problem by settling Sinhalese toughs such as ex-
convicts and fishermen in all Tamil areas. It turned out that
most of those there together with most persons killed were in
this category - being ex-convicts or prisoners reprieved if they
would go to Weli-Oya.

To this day persons sent there live in fear of Tamil militant
attacks, spending the night near army sentry points.  According
to a source who had spoken to officials on the project, there
were recently 3564 families on the scheme looking after 1O
OOO acres of coconut. There are no houses for these. The
buildings of Kent and Dollar farms are used by the Mahaveli
board as offices. There are some quarters for board officials.
According to our information, the incentive for the settlers is Rs
5O OOO/- for those settling permanently, 5 years of dry
rations and 3 1/2 acres of high coconut land. There are no
schools in the project area. The nearest schools are at
Parakramapura, 4 miles from the Mahaveli Office and
Padavisiripura a further 8 miles away. For military purposes
the project area is considered a district, with a co-ordinating
officer in charge.

A senior Tamil leader who had gained indirect access to the
records at Anuradhapura through more than one agent, said
that the figure of 3564 families is an exaggeration way off the
mark.  The true figure, he said, was about 300.  He said
"Although very attractive incentives are offered people are
generally  unwilling to go.  Real figures are systematically
esaggerated so that when things are quiet more Sinhalese
could be settled without any fuss.  There are no schools in the
area because, even if teachers could be persuaded to come,
there are hardly enough children for a school."  Indeed, the
government would be loath to admit that it is maintaining a
military district with a couple of battalions, if not a brigade, to
protect a few hundred Sinhalese families.

How are people chosen for such projects? It is likely that
prisoners still have this option. There are also politicians from
the ruling party recruiting through agents. One man who was
working as a watcher opted for one such project. He was first
taken to Polonnaruwa, then to a border area, and was
promised Rs.5O,OOO/- with other benefits if he would
remain. After a week he returned home saying that this life was
not for him. The sums involved are notably very large
compared with what a Tamil refugee who lost everything at
the hands of state forces could ever hope to receive. The
payment is part of the price for being cannon fodder and a
civilian shield for the armed forces.

In Weli Oya itself a good part of the funds are believed to come
from the defence budget. By the manner in which the project
has been administered, it is to be expected that some funds
would have been diverted into the project from the Mahaveli
Authority, the Rehabilitation Ministry and the Coconut
Cultivation Board.
It is well known that defence ministry requirements in this
country however sketchily and vaguely stated are seldom
challenged or checked, and are audited very leniently. This also
allows wide scope for misuse. The defence budget now at an
annual Rs.24 billion (US $55O million) is a fifth of the national
budget.

2.5 Discrimination in the use of land temporarily abandoned by
owners

Much paddy land was temporarily abandoned by Tamil
owners who fled as refugees. We learn from several sources
that some of these lands in relatively secure places are being
cultivated by Sinhalese in arrangement with the armed forces.
One such area is Pankulam where some of the lands along the
main road, near Pilliar Kovil are being so cultivated. These
lands are irrigable and can yield 2 or 3 crops a year. The Tamil
owners have, at the time of writing, not been given security
clearance to return. Another is Mulltipotana,
Thampalakamam West Unit 9 of the Kantalai scheme.
Originally 72 Tamil families were given allotments, which
expanded to encompass about 250 acres with natural increase,
encroachment and regularisation.

It is now reported that arrangements are being made to return
the Tamil refugees to Mullipothanai in May 1993. There are
now altogether 216 families.

There is on the other hand a sharply contrasting attitude to
lands in the Batticaloa District. Many lands there  are at
present inaccessible to Muslim as well as some Tamil owners
not on good terms with the LTTE. Several of these lands are
now known to be leased out by the LTTE. These are cultivated
by farmers not for the joy of it, but because they have no other
livelihood. After they had sunk in borrowed capital and put in
hard work, risking their lives and risking damage during
military operations, the army has recently been confiscating or
burning paddy harvested on such lands. The highest military
officials have justified this in the name of depriving the LTTE
of food and resources. What is really happening is that unlike
their Sinhalese counterparts, hard working Tamil peasants are
being driven farther into bankruptcy. The latter problem does
not appear to exist in the Trincomalee District. According to
Muslim sources in Mutur, the LTTE is demanding written
permission from Muslim owners for the cultivation of their
lands in the interior by others.

It has recently been reported that several Tamil farmers in the
interior of the Batticaloa District allegedly cultivating lands
leased out by the LTTE, have been taken away by the army and
have not been accounted for.

2.6 The land problems of returning refugees and displaced
persons

The government is under pressure from various sources to
resettle Tamil refugees and those who returned from India. But
this is being done in a manner that leaves Tamil refugees
anxious and deeply suspicious. Up to Uppuveli just north of
town, shells of Tamil houses destroyed between 1983 and 87
are a prominent eye sore. Hardly any Tamils were being
resettled there. Nearly all those settling in that area are
Sinhalese and there are constant moves to regularise
encroachments. Several houses built by the NHDA and the
provincial administration once occupied by Tamils are now in
occupation by Sinhalese.

Then between Sambaltivu and Nilaveli  to the north, including
6th mile post, security approval had not been given for Tamils
to reoccupy their lands and damaged houses. But the Kuchaveli
refugees in Nilaveli were in February being urged to return,
Kuchaveli being further north of Nilaveli. But their village
which faced much deliberate destruction is now dominated by a
sprawling camp of the army, navy and police containing the
Roman Catholic Church. There is then an unresettled gap
between Nilaveli and Kuchaveli. These arrangements raise
many obvious unanswered questions. The refugees would feel
more secure if the resettlement proceeds by continuous stages
starting from Trincomalee town. Several refugees have found
their properties in town encroached by Sinhalese and are
afraid to take legal steps to dislodge them. While gaps were
being left in resettlement, there is seeming connivance by the
authorities in encouraging Sinhalese encroachments under
protection of the forces and consequent moves to regularise
them. These have given rise to both anger and resentment
among Tamils. To them, the formula followed appears to be:
Destroy Tamil houses, Help Sinhalese to build houses and
create conditions where many Tamil refugees cannot or will
not return.

Against new houses being put up for 'rehabilitated' Sinhalese,
new Buddhist temples and existing Buddhist temples gaining in
political and material power,most Tamils outside town
languish in huts and refugee camps. Several Hindu temples
have been damaged, some badly (e.g Sivan Kovil; Madathady,
Veeragathypillaiyar Kovil and Krishna Kovil in Trinco town).
The unfairness becomes further evident, considering that in
most villages outside town, few Tamil houses are left standing.
Some refugees said that they had rebuilt their houses during
the IPKF presence after they were destroyed by Sri Lankan
forces between 1983 and 87, only to have them looted and
destroyed once more after June 199O. Tamil houses along the
road from Kiliveddi to Muthur and beyond were looted by the
forces and levelled down with bulldozers or explosives. The
Muslim village of Jinnahpuram was  similarly treated, because
having to live with the LTTE by night and army by day, the
army was annoyed with their 'lack of co - operation'. Those
who had got back to their lands in the Mutur area were
entitled to their meagre housing allowance from the state
which they did not receive for nearly two years. They are more
hopeful now after the matter was represented at the Mobile
Presidential Secretariat in February.

Tamil community leaders feel that if the government has
security reasons for its attitude towards resettling Tamil
refugees, it must say so openly, and not use the current
weakness of the Tamils to alter the demography and destroy
the Tamils' economic and cultural life.
 

2.7 Some salient features of government policy in Trincomalee

We have referred to the secretive induction of Sinhalese into
the district along main roads and in a manner so as to isolate
Tamils into pockets. Even if a military motivation is cited, the
government will not be open about it. Because it would contain
the assumption that the Tamils will continue to be rebellious,
cannot be trusted and therefore must be herded into enclaves
where they could be monitored. This would amount to an
admission that the government is in fact seeking a military
solution to the minority question and that the president's
repeated pledges to the international community and to donor
nations that he is earnestly seeking a political solution to the
problem, will be seen as eyewash. It would further imply that
the government is not interested in earning the trust of the
minorities and whether in military, political or administrative
terms, they will remain second class citizens.

The crucial aspect of the ethnic question in Sri Lanka relies on
the character of the state and its ideology. It is not that
ordinary Sinhalese people wanted to marginalise the Tamil
people. The ordinary Tamil people who live in the South do not
feel threatened by their Sinhalese neighbours. But they are
aware of the government's ability to threaten their security
with direct or indirect involvement of its machinary. All the
violence unleashed on them in the past involved conspicuous
complicity  of the government and its machinery. Ordinary
Sinhalese people are simply the pawns of  these bigoted
politicians. Hence it is superficial to argue that since the Tamils
are at present living in the South there is no ethnic problem. As
we have shown above, the state has not changed its character
apprecialbly in this respect. The armed forces are very much
ethnically based. Those seriously concerned about a political
solution need to take into account these realities and work
towards temporary structural reforms, such as might help in
overcoming barriers to a settlement imposed by past actions of
the state.

On the other hand if the government continues to pursue the
present course it is only destroying the basis for peaceful
solution and forcing the Tamil people into a very desperate
position. Where the Sinhalese are concerned, it would mean
that instead of seriously addressing their deep rooted socio-
economic problems, the government is callous enough to use
their poverty as a military weapon, through planting them as
colonists in a war-zone.

Again where Tamil refugees abroad are concerned, it would
appear that host countries are simply trying to wash their
hands off them without ensuring that political and economic
conditions are right for their return. The reality on the ground
in Trincomalee is that many of these Tamil refugees were
contented farmers who built up wealth and stability over a
decade or more. Their houses worth two lakhs or more were
destroyed by the forces rendering them penniless. The
government has through manipulations we have cited, shown
that it is not serious about their returning to their lands and
livelihood in security. Their housing allowance from the
government is only a small fraction of the houses it destroyed.
Is this fair by the refugees?

2.8 Tamil responsibility for the fate of Trincomalee

We have in earlier reports criticised the military strategy,
particularly of the LTTE, which for its short term ends such as
recruitment, placed the Tamils in a helpless exposed position
having to stomach the depredations of the Sri Lankan forces.
Most exposed were the Tamils of the East. Back in 1989 when
the LTTE entered into a partnership with the Sri Lankan
government, its supporters in Jaffna boasted that the first task
was to get rid of the IPKF and next the inevitable war with the
Sri Lankan forces to attain the separate state of Eelam. In
trying to be smart without reference to principle the LTTE and
the Tamils have been taken through a series of somersaults and
humiliations. The people of Trincomalee and the East in
general saw nothing but disaster in this approach from the
very beginning. If the strategists in Jaffna ever thought little
about Trincomalee, they are not thinking about it at all now.
The key issue seems to be how to let people travel between the
Jaffna peninsula and the mainland without jeopardising the
LTTE's income.

The general approach of the LTTE in particular was that the
structural problems confronting the Tamils could be resolved
by talking through the gun. The need for sound and capable
political leadership was neglected. The LTTE regarded such
leaders as a challenge to their sole dominance and hence an
anathema. In this destrctive approach the initiative was
handed over to the government and the forces, who not just
had more guns, but resorted to every other form of trickery at
their disposal. By massacring Sinhalese, it made it much easier
for ordinary people, who happened to be Sinhalese, to
rationalise the injustice being inflicted on the Tamils.

Abandoning the political approach and consistently placing its
own survival first, the LTTE threw away every opportunity to
stabilise the position of Eastern Tamils. The LTTE refused to
accept the fact that its intolerance of other militant groups, and
the consequent weakening of the struggle and gains by the Sri
Lankan forces were the primary reasons, which legitimised the
arrival of the IPKF among the Tamils. Even at this stage it
could have accepted its errors and have forged a common front
uniting Tamils and Muslims in the interim administration.
During its war with the IPKF it blocked attempts by the IPKF
and the provincial administration to rehabilitate and stabilise
the position of Tamils who endured much destruction during
1983-87. Its only reason was that someone else would have
received credit for benefits acquired by Tamils. In early 1988 an
IPKF vehicle involved in the resettlement of Tamils in
Pankulam was blasted with a landmine, resulting in people
being beaten and the exercise largely abandoned. Attempts to
resettle refugees in Thuwarankadu, Kanniya and
Thambalakamam met with obstruction from the LTTE,which
by then was in league with the Sri Lankan government. For the
Tamil refugees these years became wasted years, with even the
ruins of Uppuveli near the town remaining as the Sri Lankan
forces had left them in July 1987.

In an ambience where the LTTE competed with other groups
which mistakenly tried to imitate the LTTE and degenerated to
new depths a number of Tamil civilians were killed by Tamils.
Among them were some of the ablest and loyal sons of
Trincomalee, whom the Tamils could ill afford to lose.
B.Vijayanathan a doughty fighter of high integrity was killed in
August 1988 either by the LTTE, or more likely the LTTE with
the help of the EROS. The killers of Ganeshalingam, a highly
respected administrator killed in early 199O, are not known.
But a pro-Indian group is suspected. Dr.Gnanasekaran, a man
both dedicated and remarkably unselfish in his actions, was
killed in September 1989. Almost certainly some high ranking
leaders of the EPRLF were involved.

In leaving Tamils without representation at this crucial
juncture, much mischief was wrought by the LTTE in
partnership with the government. At the February 1989
parliamentary elections the EROS put forward several
candidates backed by the LTTE's guns. Others contesting the
elections were threatened and sometimes killed by the LTTE.
We pointed out in Report No.2 that the EROS shamelessly
carried on without condemning the use of violence to prevent
the people from choosing candidates of their choice. These 12
EROS MPs went to parliament and walked out when the LTTE
pulled the leash, just after June 199O. They effectively accepted
that the LTTE elected them and saw no obligation towards the
people who gave them their vote. Presently the Trincomalee
District has a Sinhalese SLFP member identified with the
extremist Hela Urumaya and a Muslim member. Of the two
EROS MPs elected, largely through Tamil votes, one, a Tamil,
is said to be doing business in London. The other, a Muslim,
went back to teaching.

The North-East Provincial Council,the first step in an exercise
of devolution, was dissolved by the government after the
commencement of the war with the LTTE, acting on a request
by the LTTE made before the war.

This lack of representation at crucial fora has greatly
facilitated the changing of the ground situation to the
detriment of the Tamils. Ironically, it is former Tamil MPs from
the TULF who are working hard behind the scenes for the
Tamil speaking people of Trincomalee. A brash and violent
militant politics which arrogantly claimed to have the answers
to everything, finally showed itself weak, cowardly,
sycophantic and totally irresponsible.

It looks as though everyone is still learning lessons that they
are finding hard to swallow. The Sri Lankan government is yet
to learn the consequences of trying to resolve minority
questions through force and deception. The IPKF interlude has
been forgotten. Through all this suffering Tamil society still
remains corrupt and insensitive.
 

CHAPTER 3: MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE INTERIOR
OF BATTICALOA DISTRICT
 

3.1 First week of August 1992:

Ninteen people including a 12 year old boy working in the fields
in Karadian Aru were taken by the Amparai detachment of the
army and were held in a closed lorry. After news came of
General Kobbekaduwa's death in Jaffna, soldiers treated the
men very roughly, assaulted them and trampled over them on
the floor of the lorry. During the 8 days of this manner of
treatment with hardly any food, two of the farmers were taken
away unconscious into the jungle after a severe beating.
Others presumed they were killed. The soldiers apparently
tried to take the men to the Amparai camp and were in turn
directed to Batticaloa. The surviving prisoners were brought to
Major Zacky at Batticaloa prison. The prisoners were in such a
poor state that the major refused to accept them and instead
called in the Peace Committee.

The Peace Committee accepted them and took them to
St.Michael's College, stinking and  ravenously hungry. They
were allowed to bathe, given a heavy rice meal and sent home
in a Red Cross lorry the following day. According to one source
the two who were presumed killed were later found alive in the
jungle.
In early 1991, the chances of these men being kept alive would
have been very slim. That most of them survived owes no little
to persistent international pressure.

3.2 Sunday, (The Day following the death of General
Kobbekaduwa) 9th August 1992; Mahilanthani (Batticaloa-
Polannaruwa border):

First reports in the Island of 12th August, quoted Joseph
Pararajasingham, MP, saying that at least 24 persons were
hacked to death by armed raiders in this remote Tamil village.
The dead included 9 children and six elderly women. 1O
persons were admitted to Polannaruwa base hospital and were
later transferred to Kandy and Colombo for medical
treatment. 12 victims were from the same family. 26 Tamil
families later sought refuge in Pethalai refugee camp,
Valaichenai.

An 'Island' report the following day said the death toll rose to
35. A search party led by the village GS(head man) had found
on the 12th morning, the bodies of 9 persons abducted by the
armed raiders. The bodies, including those of two young
women and two children , were found in a jungle clearing in a
highly
decomposed state. Two of those hospitalised had succumbed to
injuries. Two thirds of the villagers were Tamils of hill country
origin, rendered refugees by the 1977 anti-Tamil violence.

Eye witnesses said that the raiders were dressed in military
type uniform. There were incidentally 2 army camps near the
village. The final death toll stood at 39. In an incident which
took place in the area 1O days earlier the LTTE attacked a joint
army and police patrol killing 33 servicemen.

Sixteen soldiers from the army camp at Poonani were given to
the custody of the Military Police following an identification
parade. The men according to press reports will be tried before
a civil court in Batticaloa.

3.3 24th October 1992: Palaiadivattai (Vellavely, near
Palugamam) & Kaluvanchikudy:

The STF had extended its area of control northwards to
Kaluwanchkudy in the Batticaloa District about July 1992. To
its former area which in the north consisted of the strip east of
the lagoon up to Kallar, it had now added Kotaikallar,
Onthachchimadam and Kaluwanchikudy, as well as Mandur
to the west  of the lagoon. These areas had earlier been under
the army. Shortly after it assumed control,acting apparently on
a tip-off, the STF ambushed and killed 3 Tigers who were
coming into Kottaikallar by boat in the night, from across the
lagoon. One of the boys killed was from the same village.
According to our sources the second in command at
Kaluwanchikkudy was the same person in command at Periya
Nilavenai when 35 refugees were lined up in front of a Buffel
armoured car and massacred on the beach at Kallar in July
199O [Report No.7].

On 24th October an STF patrol was going along the main road
in Kaluwanchikudy. Several young boys, many of them good
students  who had sat for their A.Levels, were spending their
time farming on a plot of land-a very constructive hobby. One
of the boys had long ago left the EPRLF and was of a nervous
disposition. Seeing the patrol, he began to withdraw in a
seemingly surreptitious manner. An STF man saw this and
fired into the air, and asked the boys to come to the road.

An LTTE boy had been sleeping in a hut in the adjacent
compound which is behind the farm away from the road. These
boys were unaware of his presence there. Upon hearing the
shots, he sprang out of the hut, threw a grenade and scooted
off. The STF fired, but missed him. The eight boys who were
farming were brought to the road and beaten. Five of them
were then shot dead. None of those killed had any links with
the LTTE. Among those killed was Kulendran, an A/L student,
whose brother Ravi was Inspector of Posts and
Telecommunications (IPT) in Batticaloa. He contacted
Brigadier Angamana, then in Batticaloa, who was known to
him. According to local sources, the brigadier contacted the
STF, found out what had happened and conveyed his
sympathies to Ravi. The irony of this was that exactly five
years before on 23rd october 1987, in the IPKF massacre in
Kaluwanchikudi, 16 people were killed and over 2O houses and
3O shops were burnt. All the five who were killed had then lost
at least one close relative. Actually Ravi's elder brother,
Balendran, was also killed in that incident. Former M.P
Rasamanikkam's son was another victim.

Vellavely: About the same time a military operation was
launched from several fronts in the Vellavely area with the
forces advancing from Thanthamalai as well as from several
other points. The paddy fields had been sown for the
'maripoham' (rainy season cultivation - sown in September
and harvested in late January or early February), wadi's
(temporary groups of thatched huts) had been erected and
farmers were living there to protect their crops.

When the forces, consisting of parties from the army and
apparently, the STF, moved in, about 1O civilians were killed
in the hamlets of Kanchirankudah, Pavatkodichchenai,
Sammanthiaru, Kalaipottamadu and Thayilamunai in the
Paliadivattai  area. There had been an incident in the area two
days earlier. According to one report, up to 1O Tigers were
killed during the earlier incident. According to another, two
groups of advancing forces exchanged fire by mistake. Both are
stories passed on by local villagers. We have been unable to
ascertain whether it was one, the other or both. Whatever it
was, there would have been a general panic in the area. It is
reported that several of the civilians killed were taken to
Kalluwanchkudy, placed  alongside the 5  boys killed in the first
incident, dressed in cyanide capsule necklaces, videoed and
reported as Tigers killed. Further information on the incident
was given in the Amnesty International Report of February
1993.

Most people from the interior, where the farmers were killed,
went as refugees to Kothiavalai and occupied the school
building. They have not received rations after 22nd November
1992. In January, they had to move out of the school building.
Thirty two (32) wadis of the farmers had been burnt.

3.4 An incident of Rape,14th November 1992: Aithiyamali:
 
When people were getting ready for bed after supper, soldiers
from the local camp went into houses and took away 4 or 5
women saying that they were wanted for questioning. Two
among the women were mother and daughter. One was an 18
year old living near the Roman Catholic Church. The soldiers
were drunk,wearing olive green shorts and were carrying
guns. The father of the 18 year old tried to follow the party and
retreated when bullets were fired over his head.

The father went to Batticaloa the following day, complained to
the Peace Committee and met Brigadier Gunawardene in the
company of Prince Casinader, M.P. According to a member of
the Peace Committee, the brigadier went to Aithiyamalai by
helicopter and reported back to the Peace Committee that the
facts of the complaint were essentially correct. He also,
according to this source gave them to understand that in the
interests of protecting the good name of the army, the charade
of holding the girls for an inquiry will be kept up. The girls were
to be released in two days. The action taken by the brigadier, it
is learnt, was to transfer out the officer - in- charge and some
of the men - a present rather than a punishment.

The women, reportedly, were raped. Rape it is understood
ceased when the brigadier intervened.

3.5 About late November 1992: Ambalanthurai:
The army established camp in Ambalanthurai about October
1992 ostensibly to control the movement of paddy. The army
captain in charge, was considered a good man by the people of
the area. He had given strict orders to his men not to bother the
women of the area and had told the villagers not to hesitate to
come to him anytime.

On a night in late November 1992, some soldiers forced their
way into a house in Thirukkudiyiruppu and were about to
molest the lady of the house. Her husband ran out of the  house
screaming and jumped into the well. The lady and their child
also screamed. The captain came running and caught the men.

Following day the culprits were punished by being made to run
on the bunds of the paddy field at high-noon.

3.6 14th December 1992: Sillikudiaru, Nedunchenai,
Othiyankudah, Panchenai
                 (5 miles from Palugamam):

As the army went into the area early in the morning, some
Tigers ran away. The army went about shooting farmers who
had not succeeded in making an exit, killing about 8. Wadis
were set on fire.
3.7 A few days before Christmas 1992: Manatpiddy:

Acting evidently on information an ambush was set up for the
Tiger area leader David. David was going to Ambalanthurai
riding a motorbike. His escort was allowed to pass. As David
appeared, the ambush party opened fire, killing David and a
young civilian on a bicycle, carrying manure , who just
happened to pass that way. David's injured pillion rider rolled
off into some bushes, radioed for help and kept the ambush
party at bay. Others arrived and retrieved the leader's body.

A reason attributed by locals for several successful ambushes by
the forces is the role of Mohan, a former member of the
PLOTE, a native who knows the area well, now works with the
army and is said to play a prominent role in these operations.
More on Mohan in 6.2.

3.8   Early January 1993: Between Karaveddy and Navatkadu:

One Tiger and a go between were killed in an army ambush.
The Tiger, described as a 'medical student in the University of
Jaffna', was said to be on a tax - collecting mission.

3.9 11th January 1993: Kaluwankerny ( a fishing  village East of

Vanthrumoolai):

The army surrounded the village and about 4OO persons were
taken to the beach. Following screening with the help of TELO,
all were released and the army appeared to withdraw. Then
men came on yellow, silent but powerful, motorcycles, went to
a particular house and dragged out two young men. One was
knifed to death and the other was shot dead. The men on motor
cycles then went away as swiftly as they had come. They then
returned, apparently after the army had re-positioned itself.
One motorcyclist got down, and with a fell stroke severed the
head of the slain leader who had been knifed. He then took the
head and stuck it on a stick that was part of a fence. The motor
cycles then sped away for the second time.

The two killed had belonged to the LTTE and were on a tax
collecting mission. The village mourned the loss of the leader,
as having been a man who was reasonable and considerate in
fixing taxes in relation to others. It appears that during the
screening information had been passed on to the army or the
TELO.

The motorcycle squad was a new weapon deployed by the
forces, one of whose main functions is to strike terror. The
particular act described was sickening. It is an insult to the
people to see one of their sons treated in this manner and if
anything would only alienate them further. The two concerned
could easily have been arrested. The notion of this particular
squad militates against the portrayal of normality and the rule
of the law in the East.

Some describe the motor cycle squad as potent weapon and
others claim that it has suffered an abnormally high casualty
rate. According to one report 8 men on 4 yellow motorcycles
were going to their base at Thoppimalai, off Kiran. While
passing through a stretch frequented by the LTTE, one motor
cycle slipped and toppled with the riders. The others went by
without stopping. The fallen were killed by the LTTE. Our
informant got this report from an old man who was proud that
his nephew had done the deed. The pride was not on account of
his nephew having slain a man, a Sinhalese or a soldier. But it
was on account of this squad having become so odious.
Whatever the short term gains, using such methods is no way
to win over a people who feel cornered.

3.1O About 11th January 1993: Kanchirankudah, Theyilamunai,
Munaikkadu:

Selvam (alias Kanesh) had left the LTTE a long time ago. He
was of late a farmer, married with a child. From his home in
Mahiladithvu, he crossed by ferry to Kanchirankudah to go to
his fields. It was about 7 A.M. The army that was waiting in
ambush
caught hold of him, blindfolded him and kept him prisoner.
 From the Kothiavalai refugee camp, a 19 year old boy came to
Kanchirankudah to cross over to Munaikkadu in order to visit
a relative. He too was caught and similarly kept. About 8.3O
A.M, Ragel(4O), a burgher from Dutch - Bar, Kallady, married
with children, a blacksmith by profession, arrived in
Kanchirankudah with a help-mate  in his 2Os. On his way to
his work-shop which he visited periodically, he stopped at a
boutique about 5O yards to his shop. He then asked the old man
of the boutique if the army was around. He was told that the
army was waiting in ambush. Ragel, wheeling a bicycle and
dressed in shorts, told the old man that he would not proceed
and turned back. Hardly had he gone 1O yards when the
soldiers opened fire. Ragel fell, shot in the head. His help-mate
put up his hands, was shot through the elbow and was taken
prisoner. Soldiers then walked up to Ragel, picked up his body
and threw it into the bushes. At about 1O A.M, apparently
angry that the quarry for whom the ambush was set up did not
turn up, they shot dead the 3 Tamil prisoners at point blank
range and went away.

Altogether 9 civilians were killed during this operation which
lasted from about 1Oth-12th January. Besides the 4 at
Kanchirankuda, 2 were killed at Munaikkadu and 3 men at
Theyilamunai. Among the casualties were Illanko, a teacher,
killed at Theylamunai and Thillamplalm Ravi. Also killed at
Theyialmuanai were 3 cows and 4 goats.
The dead from Kanchirankudah were brought to Batticaloa
hospital at 7.3O p.m. Selvam was later buried at
Mahiladithivu.

3.11 21st January 1993: Kurinchamunai (on the Shramadana
Road to Pavatkodichchenai):

It was early in the morning when fresh bread was being
brought to the tea boutique. Two Tigers who had come to buy
bread  were drinking tea in the boutique. At the same time an
old woman who had come with a child was on the road buying
bread. Unknown to them, the forces, acting apparently on a
tip-off, had arrived and were waiting in ambush some distance
away. One of the Tigers came out to buy bread, and the forces
opened fire. The Tiger and the child were killed and the old
woman was injured. The boutique keeper was later beheaded
by the forces. The old woman was subsequently admitted to
hospital.

3.12 1st February to 3rd February 1993: Paduvankarai:

About 4OO soldiers took part in an operation lasting about 3
days. While moving from Kombankuthiolai to
Pavakkodichchenai in Paduvankarai, all farmers and villagers
whom they came across were taken prisoner. The women
were left alone. One milk man who had injuries from former
beatings was questioned intensely. The nervous milk man
mumbled incoherently. All were released except the milk man.
 
 

CHAPTER 4: SITUATION REPORT: BATTICALOA AND
AMPARAI DISTRICTS
 

4.1 Moulana Abdul Cader's Healing Mission : Kattankudy &
Akkaraipattu

Sorely missed in the East are leaders respected and listened to
by both the Tamil and Muslim communities who can act as a
bridge to bind them as partners and overcome the recent legacy
of violence. Both communities at the bottom feel a need to live
together and know that to allow present differences to fester
will be fatal to both. Who would have dreamed that the
leadership vacuum can sometimes be filled by self effacing
traders who feel the public pulse and can act fast when an
opportunity presents itself. The occasion was the visit of
Moulana Abdul Cader from Pakistan sharing what many
acknowledged as God's gift of healing. He saw Muslims in
Kattankudy from 21st to 23rd January 1993. There had for some
days been a number of requests from Tamils to see him. Muslim
and Tamil traders from the Batticaloa Traders Association got
together and did the needful. A number of Tamil traders went
to the Muslim village of Kattankudy and worked as volunteers.

On the 24th January 1993, Tamils came to Kattankudy in their
thousands from far afield as Kalmunai, Kallar and
Valaichenai. The organisers were keeping their fingers crossed
wondering how those whose near ones were killed in LTTE
massacres would countenance this invasion by Tamils. What
happened next was almost a miracle. Muslims rushed to the
village border, greeted the Tamils, and led them to the
Moulana, bearing on their shoulders, those who could not
walk. The Muslim trader who spoke to us was deeply moved,
"The greater enthusiasm was shown by those who had
suffered at Tamil hands," he said, "This  was spontaneous. It
was not artificial, like the government agent calling a peace
meeting of Muslim and Tamil elders where good intentions are
exchanged."

For one day the two communities were as though the last
seven years had not intervened. The old Moulana himself said,
"Whatever becomes of your personal illnesses, let this be a day
of healing between the two communities. Let not any bitterness
come betwixt you hereafter."

A week later, it was the same story at Akkaraipattu. A Tamil
foreman after the event told a Muslim shop keeper, one of the
organisers, "What a fine thing it was. I have never seen such in
my life before."

Everyone agreed that the atmosphere had been greatly altered
for the better. The businessman from Kattankudy added, "We
are advising people to take the usual precautions, so as not so
expect too much and face disappointment".

4.2 Thirukkovil - Thambiluvil:
For some months now disappearances have been non-existent
and those detained are usually released quickly in a day or two.
Most of those strongly suspected of LTTE involvement are sent
to the detention centre in Kalutura.
Seneviratne, the STF officer in charge has come out well in
public esteem for his enlightened approach. Some months ago
a man was caught supplying food to the LTTE. He was warned
and released. About May 1992, an LTTE boy was caught with
2OO sarongs. When the manager of the local co-op was
questioned, it was found after his initial denial that he had
recorded a loss of 2OO sarongs. He was told by Seneviratne
that he understood his position, and if demands are made on
him in the future, to give what is asked, but to report the
matter to him. The manager was not harassed further. These
could in earlier times have resulted in summary death.

During October - November 1992, the LTTE descended on the
villages in a concerted attempt at extortion. Letters of demand
for sums ranging from 1 lakh to 1O lakhs were sent to a
number of citizens. LTTE boys moved from house to house
after dark, demanding board where it was feasible. This was
the time farmers received  cash after disposing of their
summertime harvest. Those receiving notes of demand were
often people on modest salaries. One familied man earning
Rs.5OOO/- a month received a note of demand for Rs.5 lakhs
(5OO,OOO). For the recipients of these notes and their
families it was terrifying agony, ever waiting for the nocturnal
knock on the door. Several of the recipients who showed
reluctance were led away into the jungle by night. Some were
dragged protesting, while their wives came out crying and
tried to drag them back. Some who did not have the
astronomical sum demanded, sold several of their cows to
collect a small fraction of it - hoping that the LTTE would
understand their plight and be satisfied with what was given.

A number of persons complained to the STF which wanted
them to go to the place where the LTTE wanted them to come
with the money. The OIC who was following with an STF
party assured the nervous civilians that if the need arose it
would be the STF rather than the civilians who would be the
first to die. After going some distance, this unconvincing
arrangement was called off. It was then arranged that those
who felt threatened would go to their homes by day and spend
the nights in a house close to the STF camp. The mood among
several civilians was reflected by a farmer angry that their
cultivation was now limited, and when the harvest was
brought in after all the hard work, the LTTE came and
demanded far above what they could afford. The farmer told a
friend, "These fellows are ruining us. We have little choice but
to be with the STF and supply information."

Nevertheless the LTTE presence continued. An LTTE party
came to a house and wanted to spend the night there. The
owner of the house told the leader, "There are children in this
house. They will go to school in the morning and tell some of
their friends. Eventually the STF would hear of it and that
would not do good to either of us". The LTTE left. Once an
LTTE boy who delivered a  letter of demand, was a few
minutes later killed in an STF ambush. The recipient of the
letter spent nervous nights wondering whether the LTTE
suspected him of being an informer.

The STF stationed sentries in an attempt to check LTTE
movements. In some instances sentries fled after a brief
exchange of fire. The LTTE eventually left, often taking a
fraction of what they had demanded. They are expected to
return when the cash from the next harvest comes in.

During Thai Pongal (14th January), two LTTE persons who
had fetched a large quantity of cake were killed in an STF
ambush. The STF is said to be using defence ministry funds to
put up a sports stadium and other facilities at Thambiluvil
Central High School. The second in command is personally
training school bands. Lionel Karunasena, DIG,STF, had
personally intervened at high level to expedite loans to
farmers.

More unhealthy perhaps in the long term is that the STF is
utilising the leadership vacuum that exists among Tamils in the
East and more particularly in the Amparai District. Following
allegations that the treasurer of the local parents' welfare
society was not straight in financial matters, the OIC,STF, has
assumed responsibility for collecting money and putting up a
school library. Such a role, even if undertaken with the best of
intentions, would leave the society stunted.
 
One incident that made an impact on the minds of the local
people was the massacre of a large number of surrendered
policemen by the LTTE in June 199O. These policemen were
first assembled at Vinayagapuram, just south of Thirukkovil.
Six months earlier 15O TNA cadre from the village who
surrendered to the LTTE are believed to have been killed.
Many from the area concluded that if the LTTE came to power
this is how their rule would be. On the other hand several sons
of the village are in the LTTE. The past oppressive role of the
STF and the overall politics of the state, together with what is
happening elsewhere in the East have combined to leave a
hard core of distrust towards the intentions of the state. For
the present the STF has its group of informers and so does the
LTTE. This state of tension will continue until the problem is
resolved at national level.

4.3 Akkaraipattu

Here again there are no disappearances. Apart from this the
public has many reservations about the current role of the STF
in contrast to neighbouring areas. This suggests that STF
behaviour locally shows a crucial dependence on the person in
charge. People are still said to be arrested on the flimsiest of
grounds, badly beaten and kept  for long periods on the basis of
false confessions obtained under duress. A boy of 13 was picked
up about November 1992 and is said to be detained on the
grounds of having confessed to giving 3 packets of Nespray to
the LTTE.
Dayalan (15) of Veeramunai, a refugee from August 199O had
been living with his mother in Thirukkovil from that time. In
October 1992 he was returning after visiting his sister in
Kalmunai when he was picked up by the STF, Akkaraipattu. He
was not produced for a month and had suffered a broken arm.
In early February he was still being held on the basis of a
confession he had allegedly made.
A general complaint is that confessions are recorded in
Sinhalese and the confessor has to sign what he cannot read.

Rasalatchumi of Kolavil had a number of children. One of her
sons had joined the LTTE and whether he is dead or alive is not
known. On hearing about this she and her children were
harassed by frequent visits from the STF. Their well-sweep
was dismantled and carried away. Rasalatchumi was forced to
leave the area. The neighbours found this conduct of the STF
very distasteful.
In contrast to the behaviour of the STF at Thirukkovil, in
Akkaraipaththu its behaviour is very similar to the general
conduct of the Sri Lankan armed forces.
 
4.3.1 Cases of detainees from Akkaraipattu, August 199O -
February 1991

Sellappah Rasaputiran(2O)RKM Rd, Akkaraipattu 7, Eldest of
8 brothers. Father died. Left school after standard 5 and
worked as assistant to a mason to support family. Arrested by
STF on 24th September 199O during cordon and search
operation with help from Muslim homeguards. Tortured for 2
months in Akkaraipattu. Pricked in genitals and fingers.
Administered phalanga. Iron nails driven into hand nails and
nails pulled out. Wrist broken. Hung upside down and beaten
with iron rod and a piece of timber. Several of his companions
disappeared. Sent to Colombo and released in November 1992.
Now disabled.

Kanthan Nagalingam(2O)
Navatkadu, Kolavil, Akkaraipattu 3:
Lost father 15 years ago. Youngest of 4, Good student.
Obtained a B and 3 passes at A.Levels and was preparing to sit
the second time. Taken in a round up with hundreds of others
by the STF at 3.3O p.m on 3rd September 199O. Kept 29 days,
beaten for two days with clubs and iron rods. Facilities very
poor until the ICRC came on 18th September. Sent to New
Magazine Prison and released in September 1992. Now a
physical wreck, sickly and unable to continue studies.

Thambipillay Sundaramoorthy (2O), Navatkadu, Kolavil:
Second in a family of 8. Father died 8 years ago. Gave up
education to become a labourer. Arrested 2Oth January 1991,
beaten and asked to sign a document not read to him. After 3
months, sent to STF, Kadawatte and kept in a dark bunker for
one full month. Then sent to Kalutura and released two weeks
after previous detainee.

Thiagarajah Senasuthan(15), Mother - Thirumalar, Kolavil
South:
Father shot dead by the forces while worshipping at Hindu
temple, 2.OO p.m, 7th August 199O. Senasuthan arrested 14th
February 1991, confessed to providing the LTTE with 2 fowls.
Sent to Kalutura. Not released.

23 year old husband of Pushpalatha Sangar:
Taken 7 months after marriage on 12th September 199O.
Pushpalatha saw him badly injured at the STF camp 12 days
later. Sent to Kalutura and not released.

4.3.2 Muslims and Tamil-Muslims relations

A major complaint by the Muslim community in Akkaraipattu,
most of whom are farmers, is the severe restrictions they face
in going to their fields. Tamils can now work in fields with STF
permission. But a ban exists on working in fields that are easily
accessible from the jungles, such as Kanjikudichcharu. A
Muslim spokesman, much respected by the Tamil community
said that in July 199O the LTTE gunned down 38 Muslim
farmers working in their fields in Sagamam and along
Amparai Road. Another 14 were killed in Akkaraipattu town.
About the same time 18 Muslim farmers were killed in
Mullikulam, Attalachchenai. To this day there is great fear of
going to the fields, leading to considerable impoverishment.
 

Muslims and Tamils mix freely in the bazaar area and Tamil
workmen go into Muslim areas. But there is real and
understandable fear of the Muslims venturing into Tamil
areas. Many old friendships have resumed, and there is
considerable openness. There are however undercurrents that
surface in certain issues.
 

The old hospital was occupied by the forces, and the hospital
was shifted to a place on the Amparai Road opposite a Tamil
area with a Mosque behind the hospital. This appeared to be
an area common to both communities. However a new
hospital was built in the Muslim quarter along Kalmunai Road.
There is a Tamil fear that pressure is being applied to up-grade
the second and run down the hospital in the common area. It is
similarly alleged that the Regional Development Bank is being
shifted into the Muslim quarter. The thrust of these allegations
is that an attempt is being made to strangle the Tamils. For
Tamils, who have suffered unprecedented loss of life in recent
times, it may appear to be so. But the matter does not appear to
be so simple.
 

A highly respected Muslim elder, blamed some members of his
community for these developments. He said, "Some Muslim
politicians had the AGA's office shifted into the Muslim area.
The Tamil MP, instead of solving the problem by asking for the
office in a common place, used that opportunity to carve out a
separate Tamil AGA's division. Left to the politicians, they
would divide the communities for their own reasons. I fully
agree that the hospital should be in a common area."
 

But politicians as actors are also products of their social
environment. Although the Muslims are numerically greater in
the district and may therefore enjoy greater political clout,
these developments cannot be viewed independently of the
deep sense of insecurity harboured by Muslims. About the
hospital, one Muslim responded, "In July 199O the LTTE
infiltrated through the Tamil area, passed the hospital and
attacked people in the Mosque. How can the hospital be safe
for Muslims?"
 
Until the Tamils distance themselves from the LTTE's brand of
politics, and adopt one that wins the trust of Muslims, division
will progress to the discomfiture of both communities.

We record here with regret the passing of Syed Meera and
Eastern Ibrahim, two leading citizens of Akkaraipattu
respected by both communities. Mr. Meera was a retired
school principal and member of the Peace Committee. Mr.
Ibrahim, an activist in the Amparai District East Coast
Farmers Association, tirelessly wrote articles decrying the
idiocy of the current politics of division which had its advocates
on both sides. We have been privileged to have the benefit of
both their thoughts and criticism.

4.4 Kalmunai and surroundings

4.4.1 General

No reported disappearances in STF custody in recent months.
The forces are said to be disciplined. Public relations - good.
Those taken into custody are questioned and released quickly or
are sent to detention centres in the South. The STF has camps
in addition to Kalmunai at Karaitivu, and Periyanilawanai. A
report on Sammanthurai is given in a separate chapter. The
LTTE presence is mainly for extortion of money. Some Muslim
businessmen are being held for ransom.

Tamil refugees are being progressively resettled in places from
which they fled or were driven out during the second half of
199O. At least, the Tamils tend to believe that the STF is
serious about providing them with security. Refugees have
been returning to Sorikalmunai and Veeramunai from whence
they were driven out in August & September 199O. The Tamils
who fled from mixed or Sinhalese areas further west in the
interior of Amparai district see no prospect of going back.
Amparai town itself which had a Tamil Vidyalayam with over
6OO Tamil children, is now, according to a leading Sinhalese
resident, having only about 25 Tamil families.

Tamils generally seem to move around more freely than
Muslims. A Muslim resident of Nintavur said that it is too risky
for them to go into Karaitivu, citing an incident that took place
some months ago. He said that a Muslim youth of Nintavur on
returning from Saudi - Arabia went into Karaitivu to deliver a
parcel from a Tamil colleague to his family. His corpse was
recovered some days later. Over the last 2 1/2 years there have
been a number of stories of this kind from both sides. Both sides
are in general agreement that the STF has tried to be
impartial. A Muslim remarked that because the STF had in
earlier years appeared to be pro-Muslim in tactically using
Muslims to try to combat the Tamil insurgency, many Muslims
see an impartial STF as being pro-Tamil. A Muslim intellectual
from Kalmunai who had been close to  Tamils in both his
personal and working life remarked, "As long as kidnapping,
extortion and disappearance of Muslims result from the
activities of Tamil militants, complete trust and friendship will
be kept at bay".

4.4.2 Refugees from 4th Colony, Central Camp:

About 38OO refugees from this agricultural scheme are
refugees in Kalmunai. 47O are camped north of Wesley
College. 217 are with relatives. Following the massacre of
policemen by the LTTE on 11th June 199O, these people were
attacked by Sinhalese hoodlums, apparently with the backing
of police and home - guards. 3 families were done to death.
They believe that the attackers were not Sinhalese who were
their neighbours from 3rd Colony to the west, but came from
further interior. Several Sinhalese from 3rd Colony, they said,
did help them. The LTTE did not operate in their area, they
said. They seemed to place more trust in their Sinhalese
neighbours in the 3rd Colony, than in their Muslim neighbours
in the 5th Colony.

Although Kalmunai is 4 miles from Colony 4, these refugees
had on 13th June 199O first fled north to Mandur and reached
Kalmunai on 2Oth August 199O via Kallar.

Educational facilities in Colony 4 had been up to elementary
level. Those going to higher levels had to come to Kalmunai.
Their community had produced 3 university graduates, all of
whom are working in the Kalmunai area.

The youths we spoke to felt that the STF was reasonable. The
STF had done several round ups. Most of those detained were
released in a day or two. They felt that when wrong
information was given about persons, the STF has to do its
duty in questioning them. There have been 5 long term
detainees from among the Colony 4 refugees, they added. 3
were detained in 1991, 2 in 1992 and none so far in 1993.

The refugees were still anxious about returning to Colony 4,
although the STF had offered them protection. The reason,
they said, was that had there been any of their property to
safeguard, they would have taken a risk and have gone there.
But all their property had been either looted or destroyed.
Many of them did go to Colony 4 during day time and return to
Kalmunai for the night. But now with zero capital, they were in
no hurry to go there and live. To do that they would wait until
it was more patently safe.

 
4.5 Return of Tamils to areas from which they were desplaced

As mentioned earlier, few if any Tamils will return to once
mixed or Sinhalese areas in the interior from which they fled.
But no attempt has been made to move Sinhalese into
abandoned Tamil villages - at least in the Amparai and
Batticaloa districts. The STF has so far been encouraging
Tamils to return to villages abandoned by them. This apparent
reversal of policy seems to have taken place sometime in 1991.
The survivors from Malwattai, now refugees in Thirukkovil
and Karaitivu are expected to return. Pottuvil refugees who
are now in Komari were to have returned, but are said to have
been delayed by the massacres of Muslim bus passengers at
Hulannuge in 1991 and between Komari and Pottuvil last year.
It must also be remembered that about 2OO Tamils in Pottuvil
were killed by the forces in the wake of June 199O, most of
them taken from a refugee camp. Consequently the situation
was complicated by many youth joining the LTTE. Tamil
government officers living in Komari, report for work in
Pottuvil by day. Following the second bus massacre mentioned
above, Muslims going from Akkaraipattu to Pottuvil have to
take the circuitous route through Lahugala.

In Report No.8 we quoted senior STF sources as having said
that there were 'political' reasons why the Tamils would not be
encouraged to go back to several of the areas from which they
were displaced. This only reflected what had been happening
on the ground since June 199O. Whatever the reason for the
change, if indeed it is the case as seems likely, it is to be
welcomed. At this point of time, there does not appear to be a
catch. The long term questions will be dealt with in chapter 6.
The situation in Trincomalee is very different.
 

4.6 Batticaloa and environs
Speaking in general about the district, a senior member of the
Batticaloa Peace Committee said, "We have had bad incidents
in recent times as we have ever had, although numerically on a
smaller scale. There have been murders and killing of civilians,
passed off as killing of Tigers in action, and even rape. There is
no accountability, no legal process. The same covering up
machinery goes to work in the same manner when something
happens. Almost anything that happened before could happen
again." [See Chapter 1]

Referring to arrests he said, "The situation earlier was that if
1O were arrested 9 of them were never seen again. Now out of
a 5O taken, generally all would be found. All releases of
detainees are done through the Peace Committee and proper
release papers are given. This minimises their chances of being
harassed again. But beyond this there is much that is wrong.
Every prisoner arrested is beaten. People are detained on very
trivial charges and kept for ages, often without investigation
or inquiry."

Giving examples, he said, "A man who was an occupant of a
refugee camp with a pregnant wife was detained. I repeatedly
raised the matter with the Superintendent of Police, (now
Senior Superintendent) causing him some annoyance. The wife
went through a time of agony and a difficult caesarian without
her husband's support. On one occasion the wife was in
hospital at an advanced stage of her pregnancy. She was then
shocked to see her husband carried into the hospital by
policemen. They had beaten him badly and were bringing him
in for treatment. Once the SP arranged for the wife and her
mother to be taken to prison to visit the husband. He was
released 8 months later, no charge and no comment.

"There was a young man whose school friend joined the LTTE
and was the bodyguard of an important leader. On his way to
Colombo, the bodyguard called on the young man, spent the
night at his house and went to Colombo the following day.
Intelligence of this reached the army. The army asked the
young man to report. The father first went to the army with the
elder son and was turned back. He then went with the son-in-
law and was turned back again. The third time he went with
the young man concerned. The young man was kept for some
time and beaten. When  released to the Peace Committee the
young man came with his head swollen on one side. The officer
releasing him was heard lecturing him, "The next time you will
be punished more."

"All this shows a latent tendency to lawlessness and that
people have no right to check violations. The lives of young
men continue to be ruined for no reason and out of sheer
stupidity. Apart from this there have been several
improvements. The release of persons is generally fast.
Prisoners are no longer held in the Forestry Camp, which was
known as Belsen. But in no instance is the family of a detainee
informed of the arrest. When inquiries are made, the police
could deny it for 3 to 5 days. They make the plea, which may be
true only in very rare instances, that knowledge of an arrest
may vitiate the utility of a piece of information divulged by the
prisoner.

"Justice Soza who heads the Human Rights Task Force is
helpful - but not everyone agrees. The HRTF provides us with
lists of people in prisons. The Peace Committee has stopped
going to the HRTF, as Justice Soza cannot spend much time in
any one office. But we send all our complainants to the HRTF.
The HRTF's mandate is very narrow and it has no power to
over-ride obfuscation by the forces.

"The public is not afraid of the forces as they used to be. I
recently saw kids gathering around a traffic policeman in front
of a school-something that has not happened for nearly 1O
years. People are generally friendly with the police. I am sure
the police have instructions to be courteous. It is all a bit like
tales from the dark side. Suddenly an evil spirit appears like a
dark hovering cloud, there is chaos and destruction. Then it
vanishes and it is day again."

The assessment is confirmed by many others. A young couple
living on the edge of town saw a face appearing at the window
and became anxious. Then came a voice saying, "We are the
police, do not be afraid. We are only here to see that the Tigers
do not come and harass you for money." They later discovered
that he was a Sinhalese policeman who speaks excellent Tamil.

Other sources said that persons could be detained either by the
Police, The Counter Subversive Unit of the Police or by an
unspecified group operating from Batticaloa Prisons under
Major Zacky. If it is a normal police case the detainee would be
produced before a magistrate within 24 hours. The CSU need
not produce a person for 2 months, and under the Emergency
Regulations could hold a person under a detention order
signed by the SP. Major Zacky appears to operate
independently of both the army and the police. The army
detaining someone would normally send him to one of the
parties above. Major Zacky is said to have been the superior
officer of the notorious Captain Munas. The latter is no longer
in Batticaloa. It is common knowledge in Batticaloa that a
well-known TULF party official was amid some fanfare
escorted from his home for a colourful but harrowing
interview with Major Zacky, after which he was escorted back
home the same night. What role will this huge security
apparatus play in future local party politics?

4.7. Interior Rice Fields of the Batticaloa District

The military operations going on here have been described in
Chapter 3. While there have been some notably good officers
the general character of these operations is callous and
undisciplined. In several instances civilians have been shot
virtually on sight, and there appears to be little effort at
sparing civilians when setting up ambushes. In these areas the
army and the STF have shown their familiar colours. Those
familiar with the action in these parts tend to be distrustful of
the relative calm in the Amparai District and in the towns. The
good reputation the STF has recently acquired in the Amparai
District is not subscribed to by people in these parts. There is a
general belief that the killing increased after the STF came to
Kaluwanchikudy.

Cultivation of fields involves several activities that need to be
co-ordinated. When sowing starts, large landholders who
normally live in towns, go to the fields set up cadjan wadis,
supervise the fertilising and sowing and then return to town,
leaving others to tend the fields. Small holders would normally
stay on and look after their own fields. Under these persons
there would be their younger brothers or sons who tend to the
cattle, milk them, and take part of the milk as wages. They also
have to ensure that the cattle do not go into the fields of others.
Cattle that stray into others' fields are tied up and the matter is
referred to the Vatta Vithanai who imposes a fine on the
owner. It is said that during military operations,upon receiving
intelligence that the army is coming, those in the fields run
away. Then the cattle go out of control and cause much
damage to the crops. An impression formed by people of that
area is that the current military operations result from a
deliberate plan to break the economy of the Batticaloa District
- which is rice.

The matter does not appear to be so simple. A sizeable portion
of the rice fields belong to Muslims in Kattankudy and Eravur
who are unable to use them because of the LTTE threat. Eravur
is almost totally dependent on agriculture, and its inhabitants,
unable to earn a livelihood, have become destitute. Like many
Tamils who imagine that the Muslims are having it awfully
good, these poor Muslims trapped in their small villages
imagine that the Tamils never had it better, since they are now
able to cultivate their lands and supposedly acquire additional
wealth. In their anger they accuse the Tamil people of
cultivating the LTTE for this purpose. The legitimate
complaints of these Muslims who are prevented from working
have been voiced and the government was under pressure to
respond in some way. There was also a feeling among the
forces that the LTTE received a considerable boost from its
control over the rice growing region.

A system of permits was recently enforced by the army to
cultivate and transport rice. Those cultivating Muslim lands
were thus obliged to seek permission from the owner and pay
rent.

According to a cultivator from Munaikkadu, 25% of lands there
belong to Muslim podiars in Kattankudy. Some of these lands,
he said, are cultivated by persons paying rent to the Tigers. But
those who are friendly with Muslims have regularised their
cultivation by paying rent to Muslim owners. This has been
corroborated by a spokesman in Kattankudy.

About the system of taxation by the Tigers, he had this to say:
Rice is measured in the units of 1 Moodai = 12 Marakkal = 72
Koththu. 1 acre of land brings in about 3O Moodais of rice. The
Tigers tax them at the rate of about 5 to 1O Marakkal for an
acre (2 to 4%) for those owning more than 5 acres and Rs.5O/-
for a cow for those having more than 5 cows. There is no tax
for those having 5 acres or less and for those with fewer than 6
cows.

He said that these taxes were not crippling, and were not
unreasonable.

There is also little evidence of a centrally directed government
plan to destroy the rice economy. Not all officers seemed to
think that control over rice fields was crucial to the Tigers. It
would have been operationally easier for the Tigers to leave
cultivators alone and tax them  in cash after the harvest was
disposed of. An officer in charge of a camp close to Kiran is well
regarded in his area. On seeing people going with rice bags he
tells them, "Take them carefully without spilling so that we
cannot follow you. When you give the stuff to the Tigers, tell
them that they could always come here without their
weapons."
 

The truth is that no one profits appreciably from these rice
fields. The Muslims get nothing or little. Tamil cultivators go
to the fields hoping to earn something rather than stay at home
and receive rations if they happen to be displaced. In doing so
they risk their lives for a pittance. Many of them have lost their
crops during operations and a number of them their lives. In
killing and driving Muslims to desperation the Tigers have
killed a goose that laid the golden egg. If Muslim cultivators
were out in the fields with their Tamil co-workers there would
have been far greater pressure on the army not to disrupt
cultivation through
military operations. In the past the Tigers had received regular
payments from Tamil cultivators and Eravur Muslims. The
Tigers are now driven to harass and antagonise an
impoverished population with little to give.
 
 

CHAPTER 5: MUSLIMS IN BATTICALOA AND AMPARAI
DISTRICTS

5.1 Sammanthurai

5.1.1 Introduction

Sammanthurai is among the best organised of Muslim
communities in the East. Its system of local government by its
own democratically elected body, functioning also as the Board
of Trustees of its religious institutions, is admired by
surrounding villages. Each division elects is leaders who then
choose their trustee board. The trustee board functions as the
parliament. The parliament delegates functions to its members,
which include judicial matters. The work is voluntary, and the
working of the system requires persons willing to sacrifice
much of their time. The parliament reflected the character of
the village - portraying an air of dignity and generosity. The
parliament wields considerable authority and has men of all
ages.

The board of trustees was quick to point out the good relations
they have traditionally maintained with neighbouring Tamil
communities. When Karaitivu suffered from communal
violence in 1985, the people of Sammanthurai sent lorry loads
of supplies to Karaitivu. Mustaq Ali of Sammanthurai took
custody of stray cattle belonging to owners in Karaitivu and
handed them over to representatives from Karaitivu. Muslaq
Ali was later killed by Tamil militants. They are also proud that
Tamils who bring grievances against individual Muslims to
their courts are given justice. They produced records where a
Tamil, Rasiah, was in dispute with a Muslim over a piece of
land. The law courts ruled in favour of the Muslim. Rasiah
then resorted to the Sammanthurai tribunal. The latter ruled in
favour of the complainant and ordered the Muslim to pay him
Rs.7O,OOO/-. In another case a Tamil complainant was
awarded Rs.12,OOO/-, a part of which is recorded as having
been settled.

We put down some points that came out of the discussion,
together with facts from the book 'Eelathil Innumoru Moolai'.
Over the years there had been, it is said, a transfer of Tamil
paddy lands to Muslims  for reasons discussed in Report No 7,
some aspects of which are also dealt with in Chapter 6 of this
report. This is an issue that played a role in misdirecting the
militant struggle in the Eastern province. There had been a
long series of armed provocations, humiliations and killings
inflicted on Muslims. From the time of the arrival of the IPKF
there had been killings of Muslims in ones, twos and threes in
their homes and in paddy fields. Through all these the leaders
point out, they restrained the people from taking reprisals.

5.1.2 The IPKF presence
On 25th March 1989 M.A. Mustaq Ali, a young graduate
M.A.M.Yassin and B.AM.M. Falil who were in conversation
on the street were shot at by Tamil militants Jeeva and Asokan
from Veeramunai. The first two were killed and Falil was
crippled. Mustaq Ali was a brother of the MP, M.A.Abdul
Majeed, known for his friendship with Tamils. Mustaq Ali had
close friends in the forces including a senior army officer in
Amparai, as a result of his being a sportsman together of his
public school education. This appears to have marked him out
as a target.

On 4th May 1989, two students, Najib and Pais, together with
a van driver Jabar returning to Sammanthurai were shot dead
by Tamil militants. They were of a party of students who had
passed their O.Levels and had gone out to a scenic place to
make a video of a drama promoting communal harmony, to be
released at the coming religious festival. While returning after
filming, the party was waylaid and attacked by Tamil militants
killing the three above. Others in the party were stabbed or
injured. The militants had accused them of having gone out for
military training and are believed to have been drunk. The
camera-man, a Tamil from Karaitivu, was spared.

When complaints were made to the IPKF, it was mostly
indifferent or blamed the incident on the LTTE.

The incident of 14th May 1989 was decisive in discrediting the
IPKF. B.M. Salim was in his tractor ploughing the field of
M.A.Adam Bawa in Neyankadu. The latter was standing by.
Four militants, including Karthigesu and Periyathamby, came
with SLR rifles and two of them drove the tractor away to
Karaitivu. The two Muslims were shot dead at 6.OO p.m. On
the 16th some Muslim youths disregarded the counsel of
restraint, went to the fields and beat to death two lonely
Tamils, including a Vattavithanai.

On the 17th at 2.OO p.m. the TELO leader Jana came into
Sammanthurai in a Pajero jeep belonging to the provincial
council with 13 well armed youths. They began assaulting
civilians to the screams of women. A few minutes later there
was wild firing from automatics. People ran amidst panic. Five
Muslims were injured in the incident. Among the attackers
were Asokan, Jeevan and Pathman from the TELO.

In the meantime Tamils in the enclave of Veeramunai had
taken refuge in schools and temples. A group of Muslims who
went there returned after setting fire to a cowshed and a
haystack. Another group going to the Tamil division set fire to
4 out of 19 houses. The families in those houses were given
protection by Muslims including Salman, T.A. Allilebbe and
Sulthar.

 From 5.OO p.m that evening the IPKF came in a large number
of vehicles along the Mandur, Sorikalmunai, Savalakadai
Road, and sealed off Sammanthurai with armoured vehicles at
junctions. The story also spread that a large number of Tamil
militants had arrived with guns. In the night Muslim houses in
divisions 4 and 5 were looted and set on fire, the goods being
taken along the Sorikalmunai Rd. Shortly after mid-night
sounds of gun shots, automatic fire and mortar shells were
heard. I.H.Mohamed and A.Adam Bawa were killed in the
incident.

Muslims in Sammanthurai sought refuge in 17 refugee camps.
People fled from the neighbouring Muslim settlements of
Cherman Vattai, Malgampitty, Nainakadu, Hyauththu Nabi
Kudi, Hijrahpuram and Eththalaikkulam seeking refuge in
Nintavur and Sainthamaruthu. These  villages which were
looted and destroyed remain uninhabited to this day.

On 29th May, S.H.F.Fareed (University of Jaffna),
S.Adambawa and YMohideen were shot dead in the night at
Mavadippalli. From 21st to 31st May, 4 Muslims were
abducted and killed. It was at this time that President
Premadasa called for a withdrawal of the IPKF and the LTTE
expressed its sorrow at the incident and called for an inquiry.

On 29th July, the IPKF left the area after leaving the newly
formed Tamil National Army, made of conscripts and led by
other militant groups, in charge. Acts of violence against
Muslims continued, with 4 deaths up to 17th Novemeber. At
this time the IPKF had withdrawn from the Amparai District
and was at Periya Nilawanai. The TNA entered the Karaitivu
Police station on the pretext of a search, disarmed them, sent
away the Tamil policemen, made 42 Muslim reserve police
constables lie on the ground and shot them dead. Only 3
survived.

5.1.3 The LTTE takes over

The TNA's exit and the LTTE's arrival were for a start
welcomed by the Muslims. The LTTE set up offices and
promised that there would be justice and that in future there
would be no room for corruption, killings or misgovernment.
Complaints were dealt with promptly and severely with
beatings and torture. But when killings of Muslims were
reported, the standard reply was that the remnants of the TNA
were responsible. There was no let up in murder and robbery.

On 14th January 199O Ameer Ali(2O) was killed in the fields
and so was A.L.Meera Lebbe 4 days later. No action was taken.
On the other hand Muslim youth continued to be taken away
for interrogation and torture on the suspicion of possessing
arms. A hunt was launched for the official body guards of
legally elected provincial council members. At 12.3O noon on
3Oth January, the home of provincial council member M.Y.M
Mansoor was surrounded. He was shot below the hip and
taken away in a poor state after a brief call at Kalmunai
hospital where no medical attention was given. What became
of him is not known to this day. Another P member M.Z.M.
Kariapper narrowly escaped although his house was
surrounded.
 

5.1.4 The war of June 199O:
During the massacre of policemen at Rufus Kulam by the LTTE
of 11th June 199O five policemen from Sammanthurai
(A.M.Ameer Ali, M.M.Haniffa, U.Salim, A. Abdul Jaffer, and
M.Y.M. Hassim) were among the victims. The Sri Lankan
forces came into Sammanthurai on 14th June.
The elders refute the charge that the Muslims in any planned
manner used the occasion of the army's entry for revenge
against Tamils. They point out that 4 Muslims were among
those killed and burnt when the Sri Lankan army set about its
orgy. One of them was a deaf electrician. The Tigers continued
to be in the surroundings. On the night of 2Oth July A.S.
Mohamed Hadjiaar, the LTTE's only Muslim nominee for the
still born interim council of September 1987 together with his
friend Mohideen Hadjiaar were shot dead in the former's
home. Though close to the Tigers Mohamed Hadjiaar is said to
have quarrelled bitterly with the Tigers over the shooting on
3Oth January of M.Y.M.Mansoor, M.P.C.. The following day
six were shot dead in the fields.

On 23rd July 199O, there were in the night breaking noises and
small explosions in the house next to the former LTTE office.
People took refuge in the mosque. A little later Sundaram,
Sinnavan, Raju, Sarachchandran and their leader Kumar
entered the mosque and opened fire. They left shooting when
the army returned fire from a long distance. Two men
S.M.I.Haji and M.B.Aliyar were killed in the mosque. Two
men, five women and a child were injured. A further two were
injured outside. On 25th July 3 farmers were killed on the way
to their fields.

On 12th August 199O, 8 labourers with the driver were going in
a tractor towards Chalambakkerni in connection with
harvesting rice. They were confronted by gunmen who
proceeded to knife them. 4 were killed and 5 escaped with
injuries.

When the injured got back to Sammanthurai, they named some
youths from Veeramunai as being among the attackers. An
angry crowd rushed to the temple and the school in
Veeramunai where Tamils from the same village and those
living in other surrounding villages had taken refuge. This led
to the tragedy reported in Special Report No.3.

The elders stated that this was the first time following a long
series of provocations that Muslims had laid hands on people
in Veeramunai. As provocations they cited the role of youths
from Veeramunai and the Tamil enclaves of Sammanthurai in
the humiliations and killings they had endured during the IPKF
presence and subsequently, the attackers in the incident of 17th
May 1989 using the communication system at the Veeramunai
temple to give instructions to their cadre, widespread reports
of goods looted from Muslims in Tamil houses and the
appearance of Tamils having had foreknowledge of some
attacks (e.g.23rd July 199O). Even so, they said, they had
repeatedly urged restraint and given shelter to Tamils when
there was danger. On 17th May 1989, given the severe nature
of the provocation, the elders, with some good fortune, had
ensured that not one Tamil was hurt. Indeed even on the 12th
August 199O, they said, things happened before anyone could
assert control. Some of the elders had contacted the forces in
an attempt to get them to intervene.

One elder contested a point in Special Report No.3 cited as
suggesting connivance of the armed forces with the attackers
on 12th August. He said that the forces' vehicle mentioned was
going in search of those who had attacked the farmers and not
to monitor the attack on the temple. He added that he had been
at the police station in connection with the first incident and
had seen no signs of police connivance with the second
incident.
They also said that the looting of Tamil property had been done
largely by the forces, and the goods carried away in lorries to

Amparai.Whatever remained was left unattended, and as far
as was within their means they had discouraged looting. They
said that they had never stood in the way of the Tamil struggle,
having provided material help and refuge for all groups before
the IPKF arrived. Subsequently the LTTE had received help
from certain villagers.

Further incidents:

Two farmers on 3rd September 199O and two on 2Oth
Novemeber lost a leg each as the result of anti-personnel mines
placed by the LTTE in their rice fields. On 2Oth May 1991 the
LTTE fired on farmers returning after sowing their fields,
killing 9 farmers and injuring two. Six were killed on 8th
August 1991.

5.1.5 Comments by members of the Trustee Board on Special
Report No.3

One member observed that even Tamils who are critical of the
extremism of the Tigers, in the final analysis, support the main
nationalist trends in Tamil politics. This, he said, mars their
objectivity when it comes to the specific questions and
dilemmas confronting Muslims. The report in question, he
added, falls deeper into this morass as it progresses.

They said that it was wrong as alleged in the report that
leading citizens of Sammanthurai had cultivated the LTTE. In
fact when LTTE leaders Yogi, Karuna and Karikalan came
there, (early 199O or December 89) they had made it clear
where they stood. At a public meeting, their respected elder, Al
Haj Moulavi M.B.Aliyar, had told them, "The Muslims do not
oppose the Tamil struggle, nor would stand in the way of
Tamil aspirations. Life was given to man by Allah. It is
therefore his, and not man's to take. Do not kill and repeat
what other Tamil groups did". This was said in response to a
speech by an LTTE leader who pointed to their cyanide
capsules as symbols of greatness and authority.

The motor cycle received by the local LTTE leader Kumar was
not given to them by the citizens of Sammanthurai, but was
purchased with tax imposed on goods sold by the local MPCS.

As another instance of their restraint and generosity, they said
that the TNA on 17th October 1989 had killed 39 policemen
from Sammanthurai. But as the LTTE advanced shortly
afterwards, several TNA conscripts on the run had come
helpless into Sammanthurai. The Sammanthurai folk had
safely conducted them to Veeramunai.

A total of 132 citizens of Sammanthurai had been killed from
1984 up to August 1991 : 7 before the IPKF arrived, 65 during
the IPKF presence (39 killed by the TNA on 17.11.89), 6 during
the period of LTTE control, 6 policemen in the LTTE massacre
of 11th June 199O, and 48 during the current war-mostly
farmers working in paddy fields.

5.1.6 Colonisation and agriculture
It was pointed out that Sammanthurai faced considerable
anxieties from state aided colonisation of Sinhalese. The late
minister, Cyril Mathew, in his infamous book had designated
Sammanthurai on his map as a site for a Buddhist vihare.

7OOO acres of land belonging to citizens of Sammanthurai
were acquired by the state for sugar cultivation and were
subsequently given over to Sinhalese. About 5 years ago 75O  3
acre plots in Thottachlinungi, Puthukkadu, belonging to people
in Sammanthurai were acquired by the state.

They also had difficulties because those managing the
irrigation of water to their fields were not directly accountable
to them.Water which should have been released to them on 7th
January was released considerably later. This meant that
farmers in Mandur, 3O miles further down the channel, would
have faced further delays. [More on the crucial water
resources in Special Report No.3]

5.1.7 Note:
 We do not dispute any of the facts given to us by the elders of
Sammanthurai. Nor do we doubt their generosity and
goodwill. Our conclusion in Special Report No.3 of the passive,
if not active, connivance of the forces in the attack on
Veeramunai of 12th August 199O was largely based on three
pieces of testimony from a number of witnesses. The STF did
not intervene for about 1 hour after the attack commenced-an
event marked by gun shots and screams. When the STF came
there was no attempt to apprehend the attackers. The
attackers left casually, apparently exchanging signs of
acquaintance with the STF. As a rule people who have suffered
in this manner do not sit together and invent stories. In our
experience no victim of violence has tried to mislead us,
although they may shield certain facts.

It is a general fact of life in the East that Tamils are sceptical
about reports of suffering by Muslims, while the reverse also
holds. What the people of Sammanthurai underwent over
more than 5 years is a moving story that should be made
known to Tamils. Death has come to other communities, both
Tamil and Muslim, in greater number. But Sammanthurai's is
a story of constant terror over several years, waiting for the
unknown, not knowing whether someone going to the fields
would return - a state of affairs shared particularly by Eravur
and some of the interior Tamil villages.

The book 'Eelathil innumoru moolai' was written with a
feeling of helplessness. A feeling that a people who are
generous, cultured and had organised their life exemplarily,
after the way in which they had suffered were being portrayed
in a manner that was careless and insensitive. But once this
feeling of being unfairly treated cools, they might like to re-
examine some of the judgements in the book. There is a
tendency to collectively accuse the Tamils around of planning
the destruction of Sammanthurai and being party to several
acts of violence against Sammanthurai.

The fact that Tamil families in the vicinity of the mosque, left
their goods with Muslims and went away a few hours before
the mosque was attacked by the LTTE on 23rd July 199O is
treated as a strong suggestion that they were party to the plan.
Perhaps they may have sensed that it may not be good to hang
around. By what the LTTE did, they had everything to lose-
from their homes, their goods and their livelihood. They could
have hardly approved of the LTTE's action. They too were
living in fear. 25O Tamil youth were picked up by the forces,
who then disappeared. Like the question of the land mine
planted in front of one's house, there is always a dilemma
whether to tell or not to tell. There is danger both ways.
Reconciliation finally means that both parties have to accept
their human weaknesses and open their hearts and minds to
each other.

5.2 Kattankudy
5.2.1 The FMMI Report

It is now more than two years since we established direct
contact with Kattankudy and followed up the course of events
from about June 199O. Our attention keeps getting drawn to
the question of how it all began by the people themselves.
Trying to say anything about it is tantamount to entering a
minefield. In Report No.5 we published a Tamil account of the
events of the night of 22nd April 1985 associated in Tamil minds
with the call to arms from the mosque followed by Muslims
marching towards Manjathoduwa to confront Tamils in
positions at the border. At the head of the procession the
Tamils reported seeing a police armoured car with blue lights
flashing, associated with a special unit of the Sri Lankan
constabulary, whose task was to drive a permanent wedge
between the Tamils and the Muslims. The Tamil defenders no
doubt were convinced that they were protecting their own
community. Muslim accounts are equally clear that their young
men marched with sundry weapons to confront Tamils with
sundry weapons, to defend what was theirs. They clashed,
buildings and properties were torched, several on both sides
were injured and both sides went back, each acclaimed a hero
of his and a villain of the other's. About 14 civilians from both
communities were killed during the incidents.

If this incident was a tragic farce, events took a graver turn as
time went by. We cannot and will not try to do full justice to the
incident. It should have been the subject of an independent
commission of inquiry at that time. The state deliberately
created a vacuum in the East to further its own machinations
by destroying the process of the law, that was the basis of a
common community life for the diverse peoples of the East.
This vacuum has become worse with time. Each local
community had its affairs governed by an ethnic citizens'
committee to fill a local role in the kind of situation associated
with Lebanon. Each citizens' committee faithfully recorded the
losses and injury to members of its own community and
appealed to the external powers that be to right its perceived
wrongs. This is sadly true of all citizens' groups whether Tamil
or Muslim. The demand for division and subdivision has
assumed a life of its own, with new AGAs divisions demanded
by both communities on the grounds that each is at a
disadvantage in its administrative unit if the AGA or the chief
clerk is from the other community.

Likewise, as Tamil associations have done, the Federation of
Muslim Mosques and Institutions of Kattankudy submitted to
the Working Group of the UNCHR a report in October 1991.
Besides facts and statistics, it gives the Muslim angle on
several events. It tells us that in the months running up to 22nd
April 1985, the Kattankudy Muslims, a trading community,
were subject to a series of robberies by Tamil militants which
created an atmosphere of provocation. The week preceding
22nd April had been a tense one and each community was
expecting something to happen. It thus becomes plausible that
the call from the mosque had a strong defensive component.
On the Tamil side, there was nervousness because of tensions
in the Amparai District.

Another major event during the IPKF presence, was the LTTE's
massacre of Muslims in Kattankudy about New Year 1988,
after one Muslim member of the LTTE was killed. The FMMI
report gives us names of 85 Muslims killed. Tamil sources said
that six Tamil labourers were killed during this time by home
guard elements.
The report gives details of loss of life and property among
Muslims of Kattankudy from 1985 to October 1991 and gives us
an insight into their feelings of alienation and anxiety: 1985-2O
lives lost due to violence, 1986-1O, 1987/88-85, 1989-1O, 199O-
222 (Kurukkalmadam massacre-72, Mosque massacres-1O4).
1991(up to October)-22, Isolated cases and abductions-1O,
Total-379.

Some of these incidents were accompanied by reprisal violence
against Tamils, though on a much smaller scale. The  first thing
to remember about Kattankudy is that its people had no
nationalist or separatist agenda. Its community leadership was
strongly influenced by traders who had their trading interests
in Batticaloa town. Moreover those owning fields outside the
village had to depend on Tamil labour and supervision. The
community leadership are realists and are the last people to
want quarrels with Tamils. Like other Muslim communities in
the East they had time and again demonstrated that they do
not share the agenda of the state and have quickly moved to
defuse friction with Tamils. Muslim violence has generally
been a response to hopelessness in the face of rising
provocation.

There is a qualitative difference between Tamil and Muslim
casualties. The former are mostly victims of the Sri Lankan
forces who are perceived as outsiders. A significant number
were also victims of internecine killings. The 379 Muslims killed
in Kattankudy were nearly all killed by their Tamil bretheren
who hope to dominate a political entity in which Muslims have
to live. This is a serious complication.

When prominent Tamil and Muslim citizens meet after an
incident it was usually a matter of you control your boys and
we will control ours? Batticaloa town had many times more
articulate and professional men than Kattankudy. Their
citizens' committee (now the peace committee) has compiled
and circulated highly professional reports on violations against
Tamils from the mid-8Os. Why they failed to include the
neighbouring Muslims as part of their work and make them
feel a part of the community is something we cannot answer.
But it represents a historic failure of nation building. The less
sophisticated Muslims have felt unrepresented. Out of
necessity they have been pushed into producing reports of the
same genre-something they learnt from Tamil
citizens'committees. The logic of "you control your boys and we
will control ours" is being pushed to its logical conclusion with
all its depressing contradictions.

5.2.2 The demand for new AGA's divisions

The FMMI report reproduces a request of October 199O
calling for the number of AGA's divisions in the district to be
increased from 1O to 15 with the number of Muslim AGAs
divisions increased from 1 to 4.

With regard to Muslims living in Tamil dominated divisions
the complaints are familiar: A lack of Muslim representation in
the administration and hence decisions taken unilaterally to
their

disadvantage; Obstruction of additional residential areas for
Muslims necessitated by population increase; & Difficulty in
obtaining a fair share of relief during times of natural disaster
or civil commotion.

An example it gives is that all income generating government
investment has been sited in Tamil areas: eg 1. Tile factory
(Karadiyanaru) 2.Milk processing centre(Chenkalady), 3.
Government press (Kumburumoolai)  4. Fisheries Harbour
(Pethalai) 5. Paddy Processing Plant (Kaluwankerny) 6.
Industrial Estate (Saturukondan).

Some of these complaints are valid, while others are more
complex. The last example does not represent straightforward
discrimination. Traditionally the Muslims have lived in small
enclaves and have had their economic life outside these. The
problem is thus one of whether Muslims are guaranteed access
and participation in these ventures rather than whether they
are sited in a Muslim or Tamil area. If one follows this logic,
one gets mired in petty ventures like having a post office each
for Eravur and Chenkalady, when a common one would do, so
that there would be one Muslims post master and one Tamil
post master. In Akkaraipattu, a relatively small town, they are
on course to have a Tamil hospital and a Muslim hospital.
Again the economic life of the two communities is so integrated
that carving out ethnic administrative divisions will result in
friction.

We have argued that much of this is the result of the Tamils
failing to give confidence to the Muslims and made worse by
anti-Muslim violence. Finally the state is placed in the position
of the monkey dividing the cake.

5.3 Eravur

Eravur's troubles began in 1985 well before the current war,
when tensions between Muslims and Tamil militants first
broke out. Then 35 Muslim farmers from Eravur working in the
fields at Kommathurai and Illuppadichchenai were attacked
and killed by Tamil militants according to local sources. At
Karuvacholai 9 farmers with their hands tied were shot and
killed on the lagoon shore. The party bringing their bodies for
burial about 6.OO p.m was fired at while passing
Arumugaththan Kudi, where one was injured. This was
followed by rioting.

Muslim farmers from the following outlying villages (all
within 12 miles of Eravur) fled to Eravur leaving their houses
and property. These villages are: Mavadi-Odai, Veppa-
Vedduwan, Kasar-Kudah, Illuppadichchenai, Kokku-Thangia-
Madu, Kooththuchchenai, Rugam, Oorugamam, Thumpavan
Cholai, Koppaveli, Sivaththa-Bokkadi(Red Bridge),
Pavatkodichchenai, Sillikudiaru and Komparchenai. Several
mosques were attacked. Koppaveli Pallivasal(Mosque) was
damaged. Muslims have since then abandoned these villages,
populated either exclusively by Muslims or together with
Tamils, resulting in the displacement of 5OO families. To date
it is only in Rugam that Muslims have returned. The families
then displaced account for about 5% of the population of
Eravur. Peace was then restored after intensive efforts by their
leaders Dawood and Rahuman. But the end result was a
certain economic impoverishment.

Following the outbreak of the current war, both
impoverishment and loss of life were unprecedented. [See
Report No. 7 for an account of the massacre of 12th August
199O]. By 12th August 199O, 13O persons had been killed. This
resulted in 41 widows, 7 widowers and 146 children who lost a
parent. Of the dead 61 were females. 12 families of 23 persons
were wiped out. 27 children were orphaned. Further to this
13O,36 persons were abducted and are now missing, bringing
the dead to 166. Another 43 were badly injured.

The number killed or missing since the 12th August is placed at
about 18O by leading citizens of Eravur bringing the total to
over 3OO. 11 of those massacred at Allichipotanai in the
Polonnaruwa district last May (1992) were settlers from
Eravur, adding further to the refugee influx into Eravur. Many
of those killed since 12th August 1992 have been travellers or
farmers, bringing economic activity to a virtual standstill. The
border areas of the village have also been abandoned. The
strain on the infrastructure of the village is thus considerable.

According to community elders 9OOO acres of paddy land
belonging to the village are inaccessible to them. Such was the
anger and helplessness that many villagers accuse Tamils of
using the LTTE to acquire produce from Muslim lands in
addition to 4O,OOO of their cattle. They also feel that Western
aid agencies have given them step-motherly treatment.
Moreover what is happening on the international scene adds
to the general Muslim suspicion of all Western organisations.

Unlike Tamils, they added, they are prisoners for all but 3 days
of the week when army pickets are on the trunk road. Even
then they pay higher fares to travel in vehicles that take
Muslims - Rs2O/- to Batticaloa and Rs 1OO/- to Colombo.

Attacks by the LTTE, they said, have almost stopped in recent
months. There was much talk of overtures from the LTTE. But
the massacre near Polonnaruwa of 15th October 1992, which
took them by surprise, brought a new sense of despair.
 
 

5.4 Incidents affecting Muslims in the Batticaloa and Amparai
Districts

2nd April 1992: Sathurukondan:

LTTE cadre in mufti, with grenades but without guns stopped
the Batticaloa bound train a few miles short of Batticaloa
about mid-day. The Muslim passengers (mostly going on to
Kattankudy) were ordered to alight. Tamil passengers blocked
the entrance and pleaded with the LTTE cadre to leave the
Muslims alone. The LTTE left, their plans thwarted.

2nd June 1992: Between Komari & Pottuvil:

A bus with both Tamil and Muslim passengers plying between
Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil was stopped by armed LTTE cadre.
The Tamil passengers were asked to alight. All of the Tamils
alighted except Rajakulendran, a government officer in
Pottuvil. Rajakulendran stood at the entrance refusing to get
down and pleading with the would-be-assailants to spare the
Muslims. The

LTTE opened fire killing Rajakulendran and 19 Muslims who
were in the bus.

Since then the bus service has ceased. Muslims travelling
between Pottuvil and Akkaraipattu have to take a much longer
and expensive route rather than the direct coast road. Tamil
government officers who are refugees in Komari, cycle to
Pottuvil for work and return by nightfall.

5 days after the incident above, on Sunday 7th June, two
persons from Komari and a Pottuvil refugee in Komari
disappeared. This is believed to be the work of the STF. The
first two were close relatives of LTTE cadre.

It has also been said by local sources that Rajakulendran had a
quarrel with the late Pottuvil school principal Mr. John.
Mr.John disappeared in July 199O after being abducted by the
police in Pottuvil. [See Special Report No.3]. John's widow's
brother was a local LTTE leader at the time of the incident
above. Muslims later issued hand bills expressing their
appreciation of Rajakulendran's sacrifice.

15th July 1992:Kirankulam (Ambalanthurai Junction,near
Kurukkalmadam):

A Muslim reconciliation party with others were travelling
south early in the morning from Kattankudy to
Maruthamunai, with a motorcycle and a bus following.The
reconciliation party of relatives visited Kattankudy to mend
relations between an estranged couple. The van was stopped
by gunmen at Kirankulam. The driver reversed at full speed.
The motorcyclist, left his motorcycle and got into the van. The
gunmen opened fire. The driver escaped by rolling off the van
into a roadside pool. One ran and warned the bus and was
injured while so doing.

19 died in the massacre-13 from Kattankudy and 6 from
Maruthamanai.Among the dead was an expectant mother,
Aliyar Thovfeeka(31), from  Maruthamunai. Her husband, a
native of Kattankudy, with whom she was to be reconciled, had
travelled to Maruthamunai earlier. Among the dead were
Seeni Mohamed Jaseema(18) and her brother seeni Mohamed
Naleem(4) from Kathankidy, and Sahu Ibrahim Sameera(1O)
and her brother Sameer(5) from Maruthamunai. Five adult
women and five elderly men were among the dead.

The Muslims of Maruthamunai, a trading community
consistently well disposed to Tamils, became restive. The STF
acted fast, called a meeting of town elders, and brought the
situation under control by telling them that ordinary Tamils
were not responsible for the outrage.

At Kattankudy, the police acted effectively and stopped the
beating of Tamils by some Muslims. When some Muslim youth
stoned the police, the army was called in, and order was
restored.

Even among Muslims doubts persisted as to who was
responsible for the massacre. There was some suspicion that
the TELO was responsible. Other sources said that the scene of
the massacre was one frequented by the LTTE and the TELO
would never have gone that way before 8.OO A.M.

They point out that the LTTE had robbed several motor-cycles
there at gun-point. A judge's escort vehicle was blown up near
there. Kurukkalmadam, where Muslims were massacred by the
LTTE in July 199O, is also in that area. Furthermore, on the
very day of the incident, about mid-day, school children saw
about 75 armed LTTE cadre casually pass that way.

21st July 1992: Siththandy:

Late in the morning, the Colombo bound train was stopped by
armed LTTE cadre. Once more the Muslim passengers were
ordered to alight. The Tamil passengers stood at the doors and
pleaded with the LTTE, advancing a variety of arguments from
the moral to the purely practical (What would then happen to
the Tamils when the train reached Valaichenai (a largely
Muslim area)?). A game of brinkmanship went on with the
LTTE coming up to the doors and making threatening gestures
from one side of the train.The passengers started running
away as a mixed group from the other side. The LTTE followed
and opened fire at a group of Muslims who were exposed. 9
were killed of whom 3 were from Kattankudy. Among the dead
were Salim and Siddik from Eravur. Among the victims from
Kathankudy was Mohamed Yoosuff Abdul Haneff(42), father
of 5 and deputy principal of Kathankudy Central High School.

25th July-November 1992:

5 fishermen from Kattankudy abducted at sea and believed to
have been murdered on 25th July. The victims were
H.M.H.Mohamed (5O), A.A.Gaffoor (32), M.I.A.Rahaman
(4O), M.L.M Fareed (23) and A.Ayub Khan (25).Mohamed
Cassim, boy of 19 and a cattle dealer was murdered at
Kankeyan-Odai, Kattankudy on 18th August. A TV set with a
bomb planted inside was handed over to an electrical repair
shop in Batticaloa owned by a Kattankudy man on 28th
October 1992. One repairman, Alliyar Thajudeen(22), was
killed when the bomb exploded. The police are holding two
Tamil boys who had allegedly confessed to planting the bomb.

26th December 1992: Meyankalkulam, North of Valaichenai:

Five persons travelling in a Maruti jeep were killed in a land-
mine explosion close to the army camp at Meyankalkulam. The
dead are Y.B.Ahamed Lebbe(47), Additional G.A. Batticaloa;
A.K. Uthman, AGA Valaichenai-Oddaimavadi Muslim
Division, M.Meera Mohideen(47), Attorney at law;
S.A.M.Mahmood JP, School principal & the driver
S.Mahendran. The party was on its way to the Mahaweli
settlement scheme at Rididenna Jayanthia in Uthman's official
vehicle.

Ahamed Lebbe BA, SLEAS was a leading educationist, writer
and was next in line to become Government Agent, Batticaloa.
Uthman was the first university graduate from Meera-Odai,
Mohideen was a part-time lecturer at the Ceylon Law College
in addition to his normal practice and was formerly a leading
member of the SLMC. Mahmood was a poet of distinction.
Among the dead were foremost Muslim citizens of the area-
adding fuel to a widespread belief among Muslims that Tamil
groups were systematically eliminating Muslim
leaders.Extracts
 

from the writings of Ahamed Lebbe representing his wide
interests are given in Appendix I.

J.L.M. Mustafa of Oddaimavady writing in the January issue
of 'Muslim Kadchi' raises the point that the mine explosion
took place near an army camp on a day when troops were
picketing the roads. But S.L.M. Haniffa writing in 'Sari Nihar'
of January - February reports that the killers had withdrawn
through the jungle, killing on the way a wood-cutter Shahul
Hameed. This, if correct, points fairly decisively to the LTTE.
(The report of the Daily New's Batticaloa correspondent
(28/12) described Hameed as a passer-by who was also killed in
the blast.)
Ravindra Wickremasinghe writing in the 'Island' of 27/12
quotes military sources as believing that the intended target
was an army vehicle that had gone that way a few minutes
earlier. This, if wrong, and the intended targets were the
Muslim officials, raises, as Mustafa points out, some difficult
questions. He says that in Oddimavadi, where the vehicle was
parked, the mission of the government officers was widely
known the previous day. But Oddimavadi is almost entirely a
Muslim area. A commission, now inquiring into these deaths,
will in time throw more light on the incident. However both
Muslim writers quoted are convinced that the officials were
the targets. A number of GAs(4), Additional GAs(2), AGAs
(more than five), both Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil, have been
killed in the North-East since 1985.
 

CHAPTER 6: THE DEHUMANIZED ENVIRONMENT AND
CONSEQUENCES FOR MUSLIM-TAMIL RELATIONS
 
 

In tragic life, God wot,
No villain need be,passions spin the plot,
We are betrayed by what is false within.
 -George Meredith, From 'Modern love.'

6.1 Muslims : Global fears and local implications

A leading Tamil religious figure in the East is said to have
remarked privately, "Muslims in the East feel more insecure
than the Tamils". But there is a general reluctance to say such
things publicly and challenge myths about Muslims. Both the
Tamil ideological outlook and the violence that is being done to
Muslims in other parts of the world have conspired to lend an
air of legitimacy to murder and expropriation that has been
inflicted on  Muslims of the North-East. Bosnia is being carved
up by two nominally Christian powers. Bosnian Muslims see
the Western initiated arms embargo as having favoured the
Serbs and the Croats. The US led Western powers now
imposing a new world order, have failed to act convincingly to
restrain its protege Israel's flagrant repression of Palestinians
or to make it cede the territory acquired by force - or indeed
aggression hatched in 1967 with US connivance. But Western
military action against Iraq which in 1991 is said by aid workers
to have claimed a large number of lives and recent air attacks
are widely seen by analysts as having gone far beyond the
`freeing of Kuwait'. In our neighbour India, the Ayodhya
controversy had been brewing for some years and it was a time
of great insecurity for her 1OO million Muslims.

The British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd during a visit to
India late last year had declared a common cause with India in
fighting Islamic fundamentalism without even understanding
the precarious internal political environment. With all the
injustice, hypocrisy and resentment that is part of the world
order, there appears to be subtle hint that Muslims, who are
being beaten everywhere are the main cause of ills. With the
recent massacres of Muslims in the Eastern Province,it is
hardly surprising if Muslims there see this as part of a global
conspiracy against them, leading to an enhanced feeling of
helplessness.

In essence the global political environment reinforces the anti-
Muslim traits in Tamil ideology,  which in turn does not allow
Tamils to see the disastrous implications of the politics based
on that ideology. At the same time the global environment
reinforces the Muslim's perception that they are being pushed
around by every one. It leads them to believe that in order to
survive, they need to assert themselves in  whatever way they
can.

6.2 The bleeding community:
In the context of the East, a persons politics and outlook are
not influenced by the proximity and consciousness of death
alone, but more importantly by the perception of whether the
future would bring hope and healing, or the same desultory
tread of death.

 From the end of 1984 the Sri Lankan forces began large scale
massacres of Tamils in the East. Nearly all Tamil villages from
Verugal to Muthur in the Trincomalee District were destroyed.
A resident of Thirukkovil recounted the first army massacre in
1985. The army came along the main road after their
training,in a convoy including armoured cars from the interior
jungles. They entered the twin villages of Thirukkovil and
Thambiluvil shooting at anyone within sight. 12O mainly
young were killed that day.

It was the same year that Tamil militants turned their guns on
the Muslims. From mid - 1986 the LTTE in its rise to dominance
began hunting down members of previously fraternal Tamil
militant groups, excising the larger portion of the Tamil
militant strength in the East. A direct result was the STF
advance into Kokkadichcholai in January 1987 and a massacre
of 12O  civilians.
Members of both communities continued to die in reprisals
during the IPKF presence. The anti- Muslim feeling among
LTTE cadre surfaced in December 1987 in a massacre of 85
residents of Kattankudy. The redeployment by the IPKF of
groups once decimated by the LTTE made anti - Muslim feeling
one of the key elements in their competition with the LTTE,
although the latter had to tactically rely on the Muslims in
order to survive. For, during the IPKF presence the threat from
the Sri Lankan state was marginalised. Killings, harassment
and extortion of Muslim farmers in the Ampari District began
on a much larger scale during the IPKF presence - albeit then by
groups close to the IPKF.

As the IPKF withdrew in late 1989, the Tamil National Army
(TNA) conscripted by pro - IPKF groups surrendered to the
LTTE in large numbers, many of whom were then massacred.
No complete record of this is yet available. Once more 15O
youth from Thirukkovil - Thambluvil went missing and are
presumed killed - this time by the would be saviours of Tamils.
They were TNA conscripts. Between 8O -12O members of the
TNA were massacred and buried at Amirthakali at the end of
Bar Road, Batticaloa.

Following the new outbreak of war in June 199O, the Sri
Lankan forces set about massacring thousands of Tamils. Anti -
Muslim feeling among LTTE cadre surfaced in massacres of
Muslims at Kurrukkalmadam, Kattankudy, Eravur and more
recently in the Polonnaruwa District. Each incident claimed
about 1OO or more civilians. Tamils were also killed in
reprisals by Muslims in smaller numbers.

6.3 The proximity of death and its influence

One need not be selective in moving around in the Eastern
province to discover that sudden death has been close to
ordinary people- a cousin or an uncle when not in the
immediate family. Our reports have recorded statements of
people who have experienced all manner of death - widows of
breadwinners killed by the armed forces, the mother of a
missing TNA conscript, a Muslim intellectual from Eravur,
most members of whose extended family were killed by the
LTTE [Special Report 3, Reports 7 and 8]. During normal
conversation, one suddenly finds that behind a placid face there
lurks a deep tragedy.

An old lady in Thirikkovil had one of her sons gunned down by
the STF in 1985 while getting about his normal business.
Another son Stanislaus Yovan, a cultivation officer, who went
to the fields was detained in 1985 and released from Boosa in
1987. He spent his time attending to the interests of his sisters,
such as building dowry houses for them. In the autumn of 1992
his kidneys failed and he died -a direct result of torture by the
armed forces more than six years ago.
In the case of a Muslim intellectual living in Kalmunai, closely
identified with the Tamil cause, his brother Sufian, an English
teacher, his cousin Issadeen, the latter's wife Sithi and a young
boy were abducted by a splinter group of the PLOTE close to
the IPKF  in November l989. They are now presumed dead.

Venuthas was a lawyer in Batticaloa who withdrew in to the
interior with the Tigers when the war broke out in June 199O.
His wife Jamuna, a bank officer from Tambiluvil, would have
nothing to do with the Tigers. She was returning after seeing
her husband in the environs of Chenkaladi, when she and some
old folk in her company were gunned down by the armed forces
[Report No.8]. This happened in December 199O. In December
1991 Venuthas when travelling in an LTTE vehicle was killed in
an army ambush. Puvanasundaram, a teacher and brother in
law of Venuthas, was knocked  down by an LTTE vehicle and
killed as the LTTE was pulling out of Batticaloa in June 199O. A
sister of Venuthas now has many to look after,including the
children of the deceased, to think of marriage.

A farmer was a supporter of the TULF. During the run up to
the parliamentary elections of February 1989, he had helped
the late TULF leader Amirthalingam to campaign in his home
area of Unnichchai, Vathakkamadu. During that time
Thavarasa, Paskaran and Thurayan of the EPRLF had asked
his EROS leaning younger brother for his family's tractor to
use for their own election campaign. This was refused.

In December 1989, the IPKF was pulling out of Batticaloa and
the EPRLF was getting ready to follow. The farmer's brother
Sivaprakasam (36) and Thuraisingam (28) came home late
after guarding their crops from wild elephants,and fell fast
asleep in a hut near their house. Intruders came in the night
and shot dead the two brothers. Their sister, Balambikai (3O),
a law student, hearing the noise , ran out of the house to where
her brothers slept. She too was shot dead.

When their funerals were held in Munaikkadu, the EPRLF
ordered them, 'no luxuries'. The farmer remains a
bachelor,looking after his other sisters and the responsibilities
of the  dead.

These are few instances of many tragedies in the East. In the
case of the Muslims, the dominant threat was external - from a
Tamil politics gone mad. The injury to the Tamils went deeper.
Apart from the threat from the state there was a powerful
element of auto - genocide, both combining to foment a
powerful destructive influence. We will take some instances of
how this works itself out.

Two LTTE members recently died in an ambush shortly after
they had eaten in the house of a widow. The LTTE leader,
Suresh, in the Kokkadichcholai area is the son of the late
ayurvedic physician Dr.Kandiah. Dr.Kandiah, Suresh's elder
brother and the husband of the widow mentioned, were killed
in the STF's Kokkadichcholai massacre of January 1987.

The story of Mohan who is credited with a considerable share
in the army's recent successes, illustrates  how the accumulated
evil in the history of a community is working itself out. This
story is now part of the folklore of Batticaloa's rice wadis. It
should be treated as apocryphal. A good deal of it is factual.
Parts of it may be speculative. The reader should be able to
judge.

Mohan was born in Kothiavalai, one of the villages around
Kokkadichcholai. As a young man he was described as a
vagabond, who used to steal cattle and sell them to others
faraway. Occasionally, the Vithanai (head man of the village)
used to lay hold of him and give him a thrashing. When the
militancy came to the East, Mohan joined the PLOTE and led a
local group. From the end of 1986, they led a tenuous life,
hunted by the LTTE which had killed several members of other
groups, and living off the land. His group, the PLOTE, later
continued to be in the East without coming under the IPKF
umbrella, but in a kind of truce with others who had enough on
their hands.

As the TNA collapsed in December 1989 after the IPKF pull out,
and as the LTTE moved in with the Sri Lankan forces, Kalir, an
ENDLF member of the North - East provincial council, and
Ganeshalingam, secretary to the provincial council in
Batticaloa, escaped into the interior with a large sum of
money. They spent a night in the village of Sillikudiaru on their
way to Trincomalee through  interior jungle tracts. Mohan
with a party of the PLOTE killed the sleeping fugitives and took
charge of the money. By this time Mohan was married. Mohan
sent his wife to Colombo with the money  to arrange for their
exit to Canada. The wife vanished to Canada with the balance
money. In the meantime Mohan left the PLOTE. Villagers
believe that the PLOTE may have sacked him for not giving the
money to his group.

Stranded and hunted with nowhere to go, Mohan came under
the umbrella of the Sri Lankan forces and is said to be attached
to the infamous unit in Batticaloa prison. His intimate
knowledge of the area made him important, and it is said that
he goes to operational areas by helicopter. He is credited with
a sharp nose for money. The Vithanai who used to beat Mohan
as a boy fled to Batticaloa and then to Colombo.

In the sequel to his wife's abandoning him, Mohan married
again in Kokkadichcholai. The LTTE kidnapped his second
wife. Mohan sent a message to the LTTE saying that if his wife
was not returned before a particular time, he would kill
particular family members of LTTE cadre. Mrs. Kandiah, the
local LTTE leader Suresh's widowed mother was assaulted by
Mohan. Mrs. Kandiah was hospitalised with a fracture and
now lives in Batticaloa town.

A man from Kokkadichcholai collected Rs.4O OOO/- to send
his son to the Middle-East for employment. Hearing this
Mohan demanded money. The man and his wife went to
Sillikudiaru with the money. When Mohan came there in the
morning,the man ran out with his money. Mohan shot him
dead. The wife came running and she too was shot dead.
Mohan kept the money. Mohan is now said to own
considerable paddy lands, including a plot which once belonged
to the Society of St.Joseph in Pattipalai.

A businessman Rasan and his wife  and their seven children
lived in Kokkodichcholai. A 16 year old son of his was in the
LTTE. Mohan demanded Rs.5O OOO/- from him which was
given. Sometime later another 5O OOO was demanded. The
man told Mohan that he could not afford the sum and instead
offered to pay Rs 25 OOO/-. Mohan said that he wanted this
sum brought to him by his daughter within 3 days. The
daughter told the parents that if they were to go on like this
they would not only lose their money, but also their honour. On
her suggestion they all agreed to take their lives, and sat down
to a poisoned meal. The three died on 8th July 1992. A child at
home whose food was poisoned escaped. The dead are
survived by six orphans.

Thus for Tamils life has been brutalised by a politics of
fratricide which destroyed the moorings provided by a sense of
community. A grieving Muslim has his next door neighbour. A
Tamil cannot be sure of that. Several Tamils in the East have
observed that Tamils move around with apparent freedom not
because they believe it to be safe, but because they have reached
a state where they care not whether they live or die. They have
been denied the creative possibilities of life. Instead their anger
has been mistakenly directed at the Muslims.

Accumulated anger resulting from killings has on both sides
time and again burst out in a desire for revenge. This is not the
only possible human response. Many have responded to the
violent death of persons close to them, not with hate, but by
dedicating their lives to work towards an order that will end
communal and national divisions, so as to ensure that coming
generations will not re-live the same tragedy. This requires a
healing influence. We saw this at work in Kattankudy and
Akkaraipattu in late January, when the Moulana's happy
influence brought among Muslim victims of Tamil violence the
desire to help fellow Tamils. For the long term we need to
break out of the desultory and divisive politics of the present
and find a politics of healing. This is what the leadership of
Konrad Adenauer provided for many Germans following the
self-destruction of Nazi rule. Where do we begin? First we
need to go beyond good sentiment and understand current
realities.
 

6.4 The LTTE, Big Brother Politics and the East

Some revealing things said by LTTE spokesmen during Bishop
Kenneth Fernando's visit to Jaffna last January received press
publicity. Anton Balasingam said that one should not compare
the LTTE and the government (in terms of holding them
morally responsible for their actions) because unlike them (the
LTTE) the government is responsible for all the people of this
country. The LTTE leader made the point that by the
government restricting essential items to Jaffna and by banning
travel in the Jaffna lagoon, it was the ordinary people who
were suffering while the LTTE had what it needed.

These sentiments, though not new, were strange things to say
for the leaders of an avowedly separatist war, the rationale for
which being that the government had shown itself unfit and
incapable of assuming responsibility for the Tamil speaking
peoples, compelling them thus to take their future into their
own hands. Moreover a liberation struggle is about
articulating a higher morality and greater responsibility. What
the LTTE's conduct has shown is a total absence of either.
Anton Balasingam said earlier in 1992 something the LTTE had
often said in deed: That is if the army came into Jaffna, once the
army is in they would withdraw into the jungles and there
would then be many civilian casualties which the government
would not like! Its message was 'we will provoke you and do
what we like, if the Tamil people suffer you get a bad name!'
Its programme was as we have pointed out before not about
giving people a healthy, morally liberated life and freedom
from fear, but to use every destructive means to secure power.
Moreover its whole history of imposing repeated death and
humiliation on the people for its survival speaks not of an
assertion of sovereignty or independence, but
rather a demand for small brother status, in turn with the
Indian and Sri Lankan states. Liberation means a strong and
generous people. But the LTTE's military record and the quotes
above suggest that its credentials in opposing state power are
less convincing than those in opposing its people. As we have
written at length elsewhere, it sought a fiefdom in which big
brother would let it enjoy unrestricted power. Within this an
avoidance of accountability meant that it would not tolerate
equals, but only smaller brothers.
Being unclear about what it had to offer the people of Jaffna it
was less so about what it had to offer the Muslims and Tamils
of the East. The current war began by calculatedly unleashing
the state forces on Eastern Tamils following the murder of
policemen. All talk about liberating the East has now vanished.
The East is being used for recruitment and extortion. The Tamil
people are being offered no meaning for the massive death
they have endured. The dead served the LTTE's politics. The
families of those who died in the name of liberation have been
placed in a position where they could do the dead no greater
honour than to have the Grama Sevaka certify them on a piece
of paper and use it to try for teaching positions, clerical posts in
government service and jobs in garment factories. They would
then in a manner suggesting gratitude be paraded before TV
cameras during visits of state dignitaries, who themselves
have much to answer for. Why did the Eastern Tamils come to
this and why all this hatred of Muslims?

The experiences of Eastern LTTE leaders Kadavul and Francis,
as we have written in previous reports, showed early that the
Jaffna leadership of the LTTE could not countenance
independently minded Eastern leaders not playing the small
brother role. When Kadavul refused to attack the TELO in mid-
1986, the leadership had to send Kumarappa and Pottu of
Jaffna origin to enforce its will. The LTTE thus developed
without any strong person from the East in its hierarchy. Once
it destroyed the other groups, so weakening the struggle, the
security that people earlier enjoyed was quickly stamped under
the boot of the Sri Lankan forces. The Eastern Tamils in
particular therefore generally welcomed the IPKF. Even with
occasional reprisals once the LTTE was at war with the IPKF,
the need for the IPKF presence was not doubted. It was at this
time the Muslims who helped the LTTE to survive in the East.

Although friction between the two communities, in earlier
times resulted in isolated incidents,these differences were
quickly ironed out in order to continue the intercourse
necessary for their common existence. But after 1985 when
armed militant groups began to appear prominently on the
scene, what would have earlier been minor incidents, which
would have died down with a bit of stone throwing, became
serious incidents resulting in much loss of life. Later with the
Sri Lankan state kept at bay during the IPKF presence, old
prejudices against Muslims and the perceived Muslim threat
became more the dominant influence among militants in the
East. By the time the IPKF arrived in 1987 all militant groups
were in many ways discredited. Those with the IPKF actively
played up anti-Muslim feelings resulting in serious incidents at
Kalmunai (September 1987) and Sammanthurai (May 1989).
The LTTE was at this time using the Muslims for its survival.
But lacking leaders of stature from the East, it was unable and
unwilling to combat anti- Muslim feeling among its Eastern
cadre. Lacking in any liberating outlook and unsure of what it
had to offer the people of the East, and yet wanting to use
Eastern youth, the Jaffna leadership found it prudent to allow
its weak Eastern henchmen to use anti - Muslim feelings.

Another aspect we need to look into is the nature of the various
groups and their rhetoric. All the groups rhetorically accepted
the distinctiveness of the Muslim community's interests and
tactically understood the need to win them over to their side.
But in practice they have shown that their political
programmes were superficial and  have seldom been able to
guide their actions. In the case of Muslims, the natural
prejudices of their cadre determind their behaviour in
particular  localities than their professions. In the early days
the groups EPRLF, EROS and PLOTE had a large number of
cadre from the East. That was reflected in their behaviour and
in several incidents where these groups were involved in
activities against  Muslims. The leaderships tried to dissociate
themselves from such activities and felt embarrassed, but were
unable to have much of an impact. The TELO being purely a
military organisation later became prominent in  such activities
(In recent times they have been trying to harness anti-
Christian sentiments  growing  among  Hindus partly as a
result of the aggressive  and insensitive approach of some of
the several non- mainline church groups present in the East).
The LTTE's presence in the East being small in the early days, it
found it tactically prudent then to avoid overt anti-Muslim
activity. The LTTE's attitudes were very much governed by its
military  and survival needs. During the IPKF's presence it was
useful for them to have good relations with the Muslims. But
with their authoritarian outlook they could not tolerate signs
of independence from any  community.

Thus when the LTTE took control of the East from the IPKF in
early 199O, contrary to Muslim expectations attacks on
Muslims did not cease. When Muslims complained, these were
blamed on the by- now- non-existent TNA. [See 'Eelathil
innumoru moolai', Publication Bureau, Juma Mosque,
Sammanthurai]

That their instrumentalist approach to social issues centred
around their survival needs explains their contrasting roles at
different times. To continue the military campaign in the
Eastern Province using guerilla tactics they need  a sympathetic
section of the population. In the North the militants were able
to keep the Sri Lankan army in  barracks for a considerable
time. But in the East such is practically impossible, as the
terrain consists of vast open spaces. If the army could maintain
a certain minimum discipline and deal with the people
considerately,  the people would start feeling the futility of the
war and slowly begin to distance themselves from the
militants. Eastern Tamils had traditionally resented the
authority of the more influential Jaffna Tamils. If the Eastern
Tamils and Muslims got together, they may be able to manage
their own affairs and the leadership of Jaffna would be
challenged. If Eastern Tamils were to swallow their
resentment and depend on the Jaffna leadership, they had to be
made to feel their Muslim neighbours as the greater threat.
Therefore it was necessary for the LTTE not to allow the
situation to stabilise. By harnessing local anti Muslim feelings
they were able to recruit a large number youths which pushed
anti Muslims feelings to the fore. The retaliations of the
Muslims, forced the Tamils to look for saviours and thus
legitimise the role of LTTE. All this worked well in the short
term. But in the long run it did irreparable damage to all the
people in the Eastern Province.

The same workings had their counterpart within the LTTE
organisation as well! The Eastern cadre were instinctively
suspicious of the Jaffna leadership, and resented instructions
coming from Jaffna. Of course the matter would have been
different if there had been a strong respected leader from the
East in the hierarchy. On top of this, as our reports show, life
for LTTE cadre in the eastern jungles is hard and fraught with
constant danger. In this respect hatred of Muslims and the
freedom to  act against them came in useful as a motivation.
The difficulties faced by the Jaffna leadership trying to control
Eastern cadre in a local leadership vacuum is evidenced in a
number of stories of LTTE members wanting to surrender. 25
of them surrendered to the TELO at Chenkaladi in April 1992.
Some of those disillusioned with the group have given the
overbearing and insulting behaviour of Jaffna cadre as a
reason.

Whatever the role of the Jaffna leadership in earlier massacres
of Muslims, recent massacres seem to have posed an acute
embarrassment to the Jaffna leadership. Apart from slowly
losing ground militarily, the LTTE's record on human rights
has resulted in sharp diplomatic reverses. LTTE lobbyists in the
West are being increasingly told that theirs is a fascist group.

Considering the LTTE's intrinsic weakness and its heavy
reliance on international propaganda, its international
lobbyists, both expatriates and churchmen, have undoubtedly
told the leadership in Jaffna that its massacres of Muslims is
causing insuperable problems. Some of the overtures made
verbally and through hand bills to Muslims in the East appear
to reflect the leadership trying to assert some control. The fact
that Muslim residents who have returned to Mannar Island
have so far been left alone suggests some change. In another
instance two Muslim boatmen trading between Mannar and
Kalpitiya got into difficulties and came ashore on LTTE
controlled territory. The LTTE men checked them and let them
go saying that 'they had no new orders on what to do with
Muslims'.

The expulsion of Muslims from the North appears to be an act
where the leadership had played to Eastern sensibilities. A man
who was taken by the LTTE into the Eastern jungles for
ransom and released said that whenever the cadre spoke of
Muslims, their faces 'assumed a horrifying appearance'.
Having used anti-Muslim feelings, the Jaffna leadership is on
the horns of a dilemma. There have been fewer attacks on
Muslims in recent months. It also provides an opportunity for
those of goodwill who want to protect the long-term interests
of the East to build bridges.
 
 

6.5 Tamil Myths about Muslims

In this section we briefly elaborate observations made in
Reports 7 and 8  which we have been able to check in greater
depth by talking to people, both Tamil and Muslim.

6.5.1 Land accumulation:
 Those successful in trade in the East have largely been
Muslims. Those accumulating money have to invest it, and
these Muslims invest in land in their neighbourhood. Tamils
receiving a good price for their land have moved out into areas
where land was cheap, giving rise to new villages. This is very
similar to businessmen from the islands off Jaffna buying up
land in Jaffna town. But unlike in Jaffna when over a number of
years a whole GS's division is bought over by Muslims, there is
a visible change of identity. Apart from this there have been
some incidents of communal violence involving a relatively
small number of people in which neither party came out clean.
Tamils tend to put the two distinct phenomena together and
build a myth of Muslims intimidating the Tamils through
violence and acquiring their lands cheap.

On talking to  Tamils at some length, many of them actually
blame themselves, rather than the Muslims, and accept their
weaknesses. Several of them also accept that not being traders,
it was better for them to sell their small plot of land in town,
give up a menial job, and use the money for more beneficial
activity elsewhere. They also often fail to see that the bulk of
the Muslims are as poor as they are. Eravur Muslims are
among the worst hit in the East today.

6.5.2 Muslims are monolithic, closed and conspiratorial:

Nothing is further from the truth. Every Muslim village has its
own identity and its own interests. Even when two Muslim
villages are adjacent to each other, their perceptions are often
different. In Kattankudy, dominated by its commercial class,
one finds a studied pragmatic approach, trying to discern what
the LTTE really wants from them, can they be pacified by
money and so on. In Eravur it is the helpless anger of a peasant
population, boxed in and prevented from earning its
livelihood. Behind the anger there is almost a plea, "If you get
a chance, please ask them (the LTTE) to leave us alone". The
two Muslim communities we have come across with any
decision making structure are the ones at Sammanthurai and
Kattankudy. These are not military structures. A variety of
opinions are voiced and there is a sense of decency and fair
play. In most of their communities, Muslims will be the first to
admit that it is hard to get any two persons to agree.

Among Muslims one generally finds less prejudice and greater
openness. There is less evidence of rigid slogans used by many
Tamils such as 'every action of the Sinhalese state is aimed at
destroying the Tamils' and trying to fit all the facts into that
framework. Even when the LTTE had massacred Muslims, a
number of Muslims try to inquire into whether there could
have been a provocation such as the SLMC leader's most
recent speech. He was even blamed for the expulsion of
Muslims from the North. The right to dissent is also evidenced
by the multitude of political parties functioning among them,
launching spirited attacks on each other. This is not the
atmosphere in which conspiracies are hatched.
 

6.5.3 Muslims deliberately engineer violence against Tamils
and use for this an organisation called the Jihad. Muslims
are informers.

There is no evidence of an organised force among Muslims, by
the name Jihad or otherwise. If there was such an organised
force it would have made itself felt in Muslim politics. Even
before the Tamil militant movement became a fully organised
force, the TULF which had its backing had virtually become the
only political party in the North. By 1981 anyone challenging
the TULF electorally was risking his life. This is far from being
the case among Eastern Muslims. The SLMC is not the only
political force. People living in the area do write to the national
press dissociating themselves and large sections of Muslims
from the SLMC. Muslims in general talk more freely than the
Tamils.

Because of attacks on Muslims in recent times there was a
desire to set up a force to protect Muslims. At the same time, on
the realisation that Muslims have to live among Tamils,
influential sections of the Muslims regarded such a force as a
potential disaster. They were not people who could think of
going to the West and sending money home for such a force to
run riot, and be shielded from the consequences by
geographical separation. They had to trade and farm in the
Eastern Province and could not afford to alienate Tamils.

It is for this reason that they accepted home guard units to
operate under the control of the state and to be disarmed by the
state. These units were given inadequate training and are now
a dwindling force. There are tensions, much anger and a
feeling of powerlessness among Muslim youth following
attacks on Muslims. But the larger tendency has been not to
challenge the Tamil militant movement and to learn to live
with it. This cannot be taken for granted if attacks on Muslims
continue.

Violence by Muslims has on the whole been reactive and
confined to the immediate aftermaths of attacks on Muslims.
Even the role of some Muslims as informers operating
alongside the forces with other Tamil groups was largely
confined to the second half of 199O in the wake of
provocations. Even then the large scale disappearance of
Tamils cannot be attributed to Muslims. The armed forces
wanted Tamils to disappear.

At present Muslims who are confined to their villages have
hardly any information to give. But because the LTTE created
so much division among Tamils by its murders, plenty of
information reaches the forces from Tamils themselves, not
just in the East, but apparently in Jaffna itself. Branding of
Muslims as informers is a refusal by the LTTE and the Tamils
to face the consequences of their own divisive politics.

6.6 Consequences of the Tamil outlook shaped by narrow
nationalist Ideology

Under the impact of death and suffering imposed by communal
violence the Tamils developed an outlook to the effect that the
Sinhalese state was incorrigibly evil and that anything it did
was ultimately intended to destroy the Tamils. Separation for
the North-East was an outcome of the resulting outlook. It did
not allow for a rational framework in which individuals and
groups could deal with the state. Tamil government servants
and Tamil members of national  parties carried with them an
uneasy feeling of guilt, which was expiated in hyper-critical
rhetoric about the state uttered in private. The Tamil
newspapers and journals published from Colombo, while on
one hand accepting self-censorship about some of the worst
attributes of the government, promoted the dominant Tamil
ideology in very subtle but effective forms.

All this did not allow for the fact that the state is a dynamic and
not a static entity, that has to respond to whole host of
pressures, both internal and external - not least human rights
pressure. Sri Lanka is only geographically an island. If indeed
the belief that the state was hopelessly and fatally genocidal
was serious, there would have been no rationale for Tamils to
deal with the state,as people, public servants or as politicians.
But this dichotomy has existed where individual Tamils
subscribed to a politics which held that the state was
unmitigably genocidal, and continued to have close dealings
with the state on the grounds that their role and influence
could bring about some good. Thus from the politics of the
TULF down to the LTTE and in the bearing of individual
Tamils, there was an unbridgeable variance between political
rhetoric and actual practice. Nearly everyone goes about or
does his work with an uneasy feeling that he is vulnerable to
accusations of treachery. A number of Tamil militant groups
were cornered by the LTTE into direct association with the
government. They in turn rationalised their position in terms of
doing something for the people. Those who speak of them with
contempt often do so out of a feeling of subconscious unease
with themselves. This atmosphere does not allow Tamils to
open up and discuss their long-term interests rationally. This
ideology has made it un-Tamil and even an act of treachery to
question the desirability of the North-East merger or to face
the fact the Tamils are often endangered and killed through
deliberate and inexcusable provocation of the forces by the
LTTE. When Muslims are massacred Tamils who know better
find it tactically prudent to blame it on the government and
provide reasons for it. The discourse confined by this Tamil
ideology has a far reaching consequence. Although there is
much uneasiness among the Tamils regarding the behaviour of
the LTTE and its excesses they view such consequences as a
political mistake rather than as an outcome of the nature of the
Tamil nationalist ideology. As a result even articles appearing
in Tamil magazines which are critical of the LTTE confine
themselves to the same boundary prescribed by Tamil ideology
mixed with a bit
of progressive rhetoric.

It is a widespread Tamil belief that the Muslims are closed and
conspiratorial. Little did the Tamils realise that these were the
very qualities they themselves portrayed to outsiders. this
powerful inwardness and subjectivism was a direct
consequence of their poolitical outlook. It did not allow them to
understand the true position of the Muslims. Instead the
Muslims were condemned or dismissed as traitors by
definition.

It is only in the North-East that Muslims are present as
communities with a territorial identity and are in a position to
articulate this politically. Elsewhere Muslims are in scattered
groups and hence need to identify with one of the national
parties. In turn through religious links, the national parties
made contact with Eastern Muslims and tried to use them.
Tamils in turn who had personal links with politicians in the
national parties argued that in view of the perceived Muslim
threat the Tamils should support a national party and use it.
The inherent conflicting interests of the Muslims and the
consequent dynamics needed to be understood.

When the cry of separation was raised in the North-East, many
had reservations over what would become of Tamils in the
South. The reservation was answered by supposing that the
Tamils in the South, with the exception of Hill Country Tamils,
had ties in the North-East and could return thence. But
Muslims in the South had no links with Eastern Muslims. That
Eastern Muslims if they were to join the separatist cry could
not give a similar answer to their co-religionists in the South
whom they perceive as having same ethnic origin, was not
appreciated.

6.7 The home guard dilemma

The arguement for an armed group to protect the Muslims
arose from a perception that the Sinhalese had the national
forces, seen virtually their force, to protect them and that
Tamils had their armed groups. It was the experience of the
Muslims that no other force, whether the IPKF or the Sri
Lankan forces, had protected them. Strangely, but not
surprisingly, the government accepted the logic of this
argument. It revealed that the Sri Lankan state instinctively
saw itself as a Sinhalese state, responsible only for the
Sinhalese as did the minorities.
 
The late minister Ranjan Wijeratne announced shortly after
June 199O that the government would recruit and train
Muslim home guards for deployment in Muslim areas and
likewise for Tamil areas. In Sammanthurai, the Trustee Board
called for volunteers and only 9O came forward as home
guards. They were given 3 days training and deployed with
shot guns. When they reported for work, the STF often gave
them menial tasks such as sweeping the compound. Their small
salaries of less than Rs.3O/- a day were also paid irregularly.
Now there are only 29 home guards left.

On the other hand through experience, such communal armed
groups came to be detested, not least by their own community.
Although Tamil groups came into being in the early 8Os when
the Tamils felt threatened and unprotected, in time they came
to have deep reservations about them. In a number of areas
people came to the point of saying that they would rather put
up with the IPKF or even alien Sinhalese state forces rather
than  with their own boys who took up arms to protect them.

Although some Muslims are confident that they could raise
their own force and control them, others familiar with the
Tamil experience are far from happy about the idea. One
Muslim said that shortly after Muslim home guards were
raised in Nintavur, there were six violent robberies. Further,
such communal forces have been a hated destabilising
influence. Tamil groups functioning with the IPKF used that
cover for criminal activity, particularly against Muslims.
Muslim home guards under the umbrella of the Sri Lankan
forces, no sooner they were formed, came to be seen as proxy
killers by the Tamils.

This may suggest a better trained and disciplined multi -
communal force that could be expected to protect any
community as a professional task. The Civil Volunteer Force
(CVF) was formed with such an intention to assist the policing
of the North-East. Although trained by the IPKF this force was
supposed to have been paid by the government of Sri Lanka
from which it had received its commission . They in fact
received their letters of appointment from Mr. Anandarajah,
then D.I.G. of Police, North-East.

They were promised full recognition in time and all benefits
enjoyed by the police.

But when the LTTE took over the North-East from the end of
1989, they were helped by the Sri Lankan Forces to hunt down
Tamil CVF members. 5O of them were gunned down in the
lagoon at Savalakkadai by an air force helicopter. Muslim CVF
members were among the policemen massacred by the LTTE in
June 199O. Surviving Muslim CVF members are presently
deployed in police stations. According to Muslim spokesmen
the Muslim CVF members killed have received no recognition,
nor have their families received any of the benefits given to
families of killed policemen. It must also be pointed out that
several Tamil policemen who survived the massacre were
killed by the forces in reprisals. In the final analysis what the
minorities have experienced, even as servants of the state, is
that the government carries no responsibility for them, and
that they could be dispensed with according to the vagaries of
its peculiar brand of politics.

We also know that multiplying the types of forces and the
number of men under arms has severe drawbacks vividly
experienced in recent times. It could finally be said that there is
no alternative to ensuring that the regular forces not only
represent all communities, but are seen to act impartially. The
problem here is that although the government has recently
been calling for Muslims and Tamils to join the regular forces,
very few of the former and hardly any of the latter have in fact
joined. We thus come back to the character of the state and the
experience of minorities in the forces. Moreover when the
state goes on without reference to attributes of principle or
character, making prominent use for transient gain of  figures
from the minorities such as Mohan, Munas and Suresh
Cassim, seen  genarally as criminals, it becomes an insult to the
minorities. There seems to be no answer to this dilemma
without some drastic reform in the character of the state.

6.8 Looking to the future

We have pointed out that both communities, however much
they have been alienated from each other, feel an instinctive
need to reconcile and live together. It is not only the Muslims
who have suffered economic hardship because of current
divisions, but also the Tamils themselves. This was pointed out
by a Muslim. About 4OOO Tamil peasants around
Vantharumoolai and Kaluwankerny used to go down
seasonally to Akkaraipattu to harvest Muslim fields and thus
earn a substantial income. These people are now desperately
poor.

A feeling among many Tamils that they need a militant force to
check the Muslims and a Muslim feeling that they need an
armed force of Muslims to protect themselves from Tamil
militants are tragic illusions that feed each other, profiting only
those who have a stake in the politics of division.

Eastern Tamils tend to feel that they need the North-East
merger and hence the Jaffna Tamils to protect them from the
Muslims and Sinhalese. This too is an illusion. It has never
happened in the past and is not happening now. The crux of the
problem is poor organisation and the economic weakness of
Eastern Tamils. The Eastern Tamils see the Muslims as using
this weakness of theirs against them today. Equally, dominant
interests in the stronger society in Jaffna have used it in the
past. Unless there arises a vibrant introspective politics in the
North matched by one in the East that ceases to be passive, the
very same thing could happpen again. Jaffna folk have seen
their interests not in terms of trade or cultivation, but in finding
avenues of employment for their educated. For this reason they
never clashed with Muslim interests. An added cause for a
feeling of insecurity among Eastern Tamils is the poor
performance of their children in recent A.Level examinations,
particularly in outlying areas. This is an area where graduates
from the North could have helped both Muslims and Tamils by
improving teaching standards. The current war has seen a high
exodus of young graduates to the West.

On the other hand, particularly because of recent attacks on
Muslims, Muslims feel uncomfortable with the North-East
merger. The militant group that has been conducting large
scale massacres of Muslims is after all one that is led from
Jaffna.
Many of these problems will vanish or appear in a different
light if the Tamils and Muslims of the East re-establish good
relations. This must be seen as the principal task. If not they
have every thing to lose. They hold much in common including
the crucial problem of state sponsoerd colonisation. The fate of
the North-East merger will depend on whether the Tamils,
particularly those in the North, can articulate a new politics
that will give confidence to the Muslims, Sinhalese and and
Tamil dissidents. The LTTE has spurned every opportunity it
had of doing this. Antipathy between Eastern Tamils and
Muslims should never become a reason for the merger. On the
other hand if the Eastern Tamils gain confidence, they
themselves may feel that a separate Eastern Council is
workable. To gain such confidence the Tamils should work out
a viable economic role for themselves. To try to compete with
the Muslims in trade may be unprofitable and frustrating. But
there is so much more that could be done in the East.

We have said that the greater responsibility for re-establishing
good Tamil-Muslim relations lies with the Tamils. The happy
events in Kattankudy and Akkaraipattu during late January
have given a strong hint of what is needed. Both communities
have remained studiedly ignorant of the horrors  and the
experience the other community has been through. The other
community's area is thought of at best as a mysterious land on
the horizon which mother told you never to stray into. They
need to talk to each other about their experiences so that
illusions can be dispelled and wounds  healed.

In Sammanthurai and Eravur which now face some isolation,
there is a great desire to have Tamils come and talk to them as
human beings rather than from behind a gun.
An organised institution that is in a position to take an
initiative is the Church. For a start groups of church leaders
with lay persons and leading Hindus could visit Muslim areas
frequently and just have informal discussions. Next avenues
could be found where ordinary people from both communities
can become involved in common activities which benefit both
communities. There would always be a threat of disruption. A
mechanism must be evolved where leaders of both
communities together will condemn and expose any disruptive
activity or violence done to any one community. There is some
risk, but this may be the right time to begin - a time when
international human rights pressure is beginning to bite.
If there is no initiative, the tragic and fatal drift apart of both
communities with separate AGA's divisions, separate
hospitals, post offices and MPCSs, will continue. The East
instead of a community would then become a patchwork of
armed ghettoes with the Sri Lankan forces keeping a strange
kind of peace.
 

NOTE:
We have been using the term Muslim as one that is well
understand in this country in terms of its context. Those who
practice Islam in this country broadly fall into three ethnic
groups - the Ceylon Moors, Indian Moors and Malays. The
Ceylon Moors are descendents of Arab traders who settled in
this country from the 8th century A.D or earlier. They form 7%
of the country's population. The Indian Moors are Moor
immigrants from India whose proportion declined from 0.8% in
1911 to 0.2% in 1971. The Malays came here mostly during
Dutch rule (17th and 18th centurys A.D.) from the East Indies
and mostly reside in the Western Province. Muslims in the
North-East are nearly all Ceylon Moors.

 
CHAPTER 7: MASSACRES IN THE POLANNARUWA
DISTRICT
 

7.1 Introduction

29th April 1992:
The Muslim village of Alinchipotanai was attacked by 3O-4O
members  of the LTTE about mid-night on 29th April 1992. 27
policemen and 12 homeguards attached to the police post fled
into the jungle-the only resistance being offered by the Sub-
Inspector who was badly wounded. In the orgy of killing and
looting that followed, 69 died, five of them babies. Of the 148
families in the village 4O were directly affected.

The attack ended about 3.3O A.M. The army which was
camped in Welikanda 8 miles away arrived in the village
between 7.OO & 7.3O A.M.

About 6.OO A.M. Muslim policemen and homeguards who had
fled to the jungle during the LTTE attack returned to lead
reprisals against the neighbouring Tamil village of Muthugala

(125 families, about 65O people). Once again there was killing
and looting. 24 men and 25 women were killed instantaneously.

Of the 17 hospitalised, one later died. Sinhalese homeguards
from Madurangala and policemen from Karapola were
involved in one incident where 6 Tamils were killed and
dumped into an irrigation canal. Much later, about 11.OO A.M
Mahaveli Development Board officials arrived in a vehicle and
with the help of a villager called out other survivors who were
hiding in the jungle.

About 7.OO A.M the Tamil village of Karapola, a mile from
Alinchipotana was attacked by Muslim homeguards from the
latter. The attackers broke into 3 groups and attacked people
on the road and inside houses. The number killed was 38 (17
men,15 women and 6 children) When a couple complained at
the local police post, they were blindfolded, beaten and tied up.
The policemen then went to the couples house nearby, picked
up 6 men who had taken refuge there, kept them in the sun and
beat them up. A police party from Welikanda, alerted by the
Mahaveli
Authority, came to the village with an ambulance about 1O.OO
A.M.

There were two other events of significance. A team of doctors
had arrived from Polonnaruwa to perform post mortems at

Alinchipotanai. Though requested by the police, the doctors
declined out of fear to perform post mortems in the Tamil
village. They had been told by the police that they should reveal
to no one what they had spied. The bodies from the Tamil
villages later taken to Polonnaruwa hospital by the army were
found to have besides cuts and bullet wounds,in some cases,
portions of the ears and noses ripped off for the ear-rings and
nose rings.

The army had arrived at Karapola about 6.3O A.M, in 5
vehicles and an evidently high ranking officer had asked an
elder whether he was aware that there had been a massacre at
Alinchipotanai, before going past Muthulala to Alinchipotanai
[(1) below argues that this must have been the case, but does
not mention, as seems likely, the this is the same group of the
army which arrived there about 7.OO A.M or after]. This
would imply that the army both saw and passed the
homeguards and policemen attacking or about to attack the
Tamil villages and did not stop it.

15th October 1992:
 About 3OO members of the LTTE including women cadre
attacked the Muslim villages of Palliyagodelle, Pangurane,
two ancient villages, and their satellite villages Akbarpura and
Ahamedpura, all northwest of Alinchipotanai. Owing to past
LTTE attacks, these villages had a sentry point manned by 1O
army personnel and two platoons making up a total of 52
policemen. These battled the attackers, according to (3), until
their ammunition ran out. One set of attackers looted and
massacred, while others in a cordon around the villages,
warded off reinforcements and airforce helicopters. They left
at 7.3O A.M after airforce planes arrived.

Palliyagodelle had borne the main brunt of the Tiger attack. 9O
injured were taken to Medirigiriya hospital, 8 miles away, 4O
being dead up on admission.

Although men seem to have been the main targets, a number of
women and children were killed. In one case a group of
attackers seeing a woman and her children cowering,
remarked at it and wanted to leave with the loot. One from the
group then shot the mother saying  that she had recognised him
and this may lead to repercussions for his own family. The
mother survived. Some of the attackers were said to be very
young.

All events mentioned are connected. What was very unusual
about the first attack on Alinchipotanai was that civilians from
the neighbouring Tamil villages are said to have come with the
attackers - including women and children. With the Muslim
homeguards and policemen who attacked the Tamil villages
came children to do the looting.

These are the bare facts of the massacres taken from two
reports compiled by fact finding missions sent by the
International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo. They are:

(1) The Welikanda Massacre, (2) The Medirigiriya Massacre.

The two reports establish the basic facts, have placed on record
a number of testimonies from survivors, have ascribed
responsibility for these violations and have made several
useful observations and recommendations.

Independently of this, work has been done by a group of
Muslim intellectuals and students aiming at unravelling the
social intricacies of the area, the impact on these of the clash of
ideologies at national level and the resulting impossible
position of Muslims of the area. The import of this work is long
term in nature.It also lays bare the manipulative actions of the
security forces which helped to drag the Muslims into a conflict
not of their seeking, and finally left them as clay pigeons. We
have been given a draft of this manu-script which we shall
refer to as (3).

When a series of events like this intervene, the idyllic picture of
village life is shattered. The news is flashed across the world's
airwaves by correspondents in Colombo, often quoting official
security spokesmen. Thus the news of the Muthugala and
Karapola massacres of Tamils came nearly a day later than
that of the Alinchipotanai massacre, although when the army
first visited the area the Muthugala massacre was evidently in
progress, and the Karapola massacre was about to happen.

Next the foreign correspondents visit the area and perhaps
some NGOs. Then the world for all practical purposes turns its
back on them. (3) says of Palliyagodelle that it seldom saw any
vehicles except at election meetings and during police missions.
The incidents would somehow leave outsiders with an
impression that the people are themselves hopelessly barbaric.
When two neighbours quarrel, both suffer a loss of dignity.
Ultimately in supposedly the interests of greater causes, people
who asked for so little in life and have suffered so much, are
driven to ruin, scrummaging among the debris of their former
existence. Little is ever understood about the manipulation of
their sensibilities and fears, originating from way beyond the
confines of their villages, which rendered them largely victims.
It is the attempt to tackle this aspect that is most commendable
in (3). The statements recorded in (1) & (2) do assure us that
these people are human.

Drawing largely on these three sources, we put down some
thoughts. Finally the questions arise, do we really understand?
and when talking to these people, were the right queries made
to further understanding?

7.2 The villages

Alinchipotanai, Muthugala and Karapola are 3 villages of the
Polonnaruwa District in the vicinity of the east bank of the
river Mahaveli and about 4 miles NNE of Mannampitiya. In
earlier times these villages were inhabited by people making a
living through chena (cut, burn and sow) cultivation of rice,
only possible during rainy seasons, together with river and
tank fishing. There was then no friction. Following the cyclone
of November 1978 which devastated the East, the 3 villages
changed sites retaining their former names. The Muslim
village of Alinchipotanai moved from the bank of the river
Mahaveli to the former site of one of the Tamil villages. This
was a response to a natural disaster and no hard feelings were
involved.

During the mid-eighties these villages came under the
Mahaveli scheme, with each family receiving 2 acres for rice
cultivation and 1/2 an acre for a homestead. This allowed the
villagers two seasons of cultivation and therefore greater
prosperity. Social relationships and commercial transactions
between Tamils and Muslims continued normally. According to
(3) the prosperity of Tamils declined for reasons of social habits
such as drinking and also because of their inability to trade
directly with the Sinhalese in nearby towns. This meant that
trade was through Muslims who had a commercial
relationship with the Sinhalese. Although lands under the
Mahaveli Authority cannot be sold for a number of years,
several Tamils who fell into hard times, about 5O families in
number, unofficially mortgaged their lands to Muslims. Some
of these families seem to have subsequently left the area for the
Eastern Province, while others worked their lands as labourers
for Muslim creditors. This was perhaps the beginning of an
undercurrent of resentment.

The essentially good relations between Tamils and Muslims
held until the LTTE's massacre of Muslims in Kattankudy in
early August 199O, particularly in the weeks following the
outbreak of war in June 199O, when Tamils moving about the
area were in grave danger from the security forces on the
lookout for Tamils to assuage their anger against the LTTE.
Our Reports No. 4, 5 &7 recorded several disappearances of
Tamils from the area about that time.

(3) says that on several occasions after the July 1983 anti- Tamil
riots, the Muslims had acted as good neighbours to the Tamils.
During this period the armed forces used to harass Tamils
during round ups and sometimes caused grave physical harm.
Tamils often ran into the Muslim village at the approach of the
forces and were duly protected. At the outbreak of the war of
June 199O two bus loads of Tamils going from Jaffna to
Batticaloa were overtaken by events in that area. They left the
main road and drove into Alinchipotanai where the Muslims
provided them with cooking facilities and shelter.

The group of 4 villages including Palliyagodelle were cut off
from Tamils, were sited on the west bank of the Mahaveli and
their external relations were mainly with Sinhalese. These too
were not strong, as the Sinhalese were newcomers brought
under the Mahaveli scheme. The population of 4OOO as
described earlier were poor, & families were large. Education
was up to grade 6, less than 5 persons with GE. A.Level passes
and not a single degree holder. Their income was derived from
farming and livestock breeding. The villages were surrounded
by thick jungle.

7.3 Aspects of deterioration of communal relations

7.3.1 The role of the security forces:
According to the authors of (3) these villages which bordered
the jungle lay astride a communication route from the North to
the East used by Tamil militant groups. Muslims who went into
the jungle in connection with checking livestock, chena
cultivation and firewood collection did often encounter Tamil
militants. As long  as they were believed to keep such meetings
to themselves, which they of necessity did, there was no room
for conflict. It is also likely as elsewhere in the East, that
Muslims provided some essentials to the militants and at least
reluctantly paid taxes. The reluctance appears to have been
greater in Palliyagodelle which was more a Sinhalese area.

 From 1984 a conscious effort was made by the state to use
existing tensions to foment a Tamil - Muslim cleavage as a
means of containing the Tamil insurgency in the East. Matters
were not improved by indiscipline among Tamil groups as well
as by agent provocateurs brought in from outside. The foreign
press associated a prominent Colombo - based Muslim cabinet
member with the latter.
The LTTE's attacks on Muslims culminating in the Kattankudy
and Eravur massacres of August 199O created an impossible
situation. The security forces used the opportunity to start
arming Muslims of the area.

(3) states in effect: "Muslims who showed reluctance to accept
weapons provided by the forces were intimidated by being
branded terrorists. One Muslim youth, it says, was held at the
Mannampitiya army camp for no reason and released 3
months later. Shortly after the arming of Muslim homeguards,
on 22nd November 199O, the LTTE shot and injured two
villagers in Allinchipotanai. The following day the army set up
camp in the village ostensibly to protect the Muslims.

"This was followed by the army going regularly from the
Muslim village to the Tamil villages, harassing civilians and
sometimes returning with young men. The latter were then
subject to physical mistreatment, some of whom joined the
ranks of the disappeared. On another occasion, following some
peculiar circumstances involving a few individuals, 3 Muslim
home guards accompanied the army to a temporary jungle
camp of the militants resulting in one militant killed and the
goods at the camp taken away.

"After deepening the cleavage between the Muslims of
Alinchipotanai and the neighbouring Tamil villages, and
having done everything possible to label the Muslims unfairly
as informers, the army withdrew its camp at Alinchipotanai on
13th July 1991. This was replaced by a police platoon of up to
3O men. During this period Muslims had understandably
become negligent in the payment of taxes demanded by the
LTTE. In some instances idividual Muslims had identified
Tamils connected with the LTTE. Uncharacteristically, the
army took them in and released them. This was seen as
deliberate.

7.3.2 The LTTE:

The drift of the LTTE's approach to the Muslims and its purely
instrumental approach to the Eastern Tamils, whose real
problems were not addressed by the LTTE, have been covered
in a separate section of this report [6.4]. But once on a course of
deliberate brutalization of relations with Muslims, matters like
massacres and 'ethnic cleansing' for 'security reasons', assume
a logical necessity. As  in the case of these massacres, there was
also total callousness towards local Tamils. They were left
unprotected and isolated to face the wrath of all surrounding
interests.

7.3.3 Colonisation:

This is a real problem concerning both Tamils and Muslims in
the East although the LTTE's interest in it was mostly
instrumental. We have observed in Special Report No.3,
Report No.7,and Chapter 2 of this report the general drift of
state sponsored colonisation. The general strategy is to push
Sinhalese colonies eastwards from the interior towards the
coast. In the course of this local Tamils and  Muslims suffer
from triple disadvantages. These are loss of land, loss of
physical security and loss of control over water resources, key
to their economic existence.

The state's agenda progresses through violence,
administrative manoeuvring and attrition. The unplumbed
psychic damage done to the people of the area, the resulting
brutalisation and the actions of state forces have conspired to
set the scene for massive human rights violations.

The villages in question are part of the Mahaveli settlement
scheme that is pushing eastwards using huge sums of
borrowed money from the world bank and the West. The
villages in the incidents are old villages whose inhabitants
received land under the scheme. At the same time there is an
induction of a large number of Sinhalese settlers from
elsewhere. (3) states that Muslims feel that in consideration of
the Tamil insurgent response that would inevitably have
sympathy from the Tamil villages, in this instance the Muslims
were being used as a buffer between the Tamil villages and
Sinhalese settlements. The behaviour of the army, police and
the Sinhalese homeguards towards the Tamil villagers in this
instance is the reflection of an old story. The Tamil villages to
the east of this area, ranging down from Trincomalee to
Valaichenai suffered total devastation from army and
Sinhalese homeguard violence between 1984 and the arrival of
the IPKF. Most Tamil villages were destroyed and their
inhabitants rendered refugees.

The Muslims of the area know that under this dispensation
they would ultimately suffer utter deprivation and perhaps,
even state violence. But now a combination of events - the
manipulation of the state and of Muslim interests in Colombo,
together with the brutal bankruptcy of the Tamil militancy -
have placed the Muslims uncomfortably and unwillingly in the
position of appearing a buffer to serve the interests of the
state.

A particular well-informed account of how state policy works
in the region is given by D.P. Sivaram in his article 'The
strangling of Menkamam' in the 'North-East Herald' of
January - February 1993.

This ethos gave rise to a generation of Tamil youth in the area
who felt that they were with their backs to the wall. The LTTE
thus mobilised youth from rural areas with real grievances.
The late LTTE leader Pulendran is an instance of the archetype
that emerges from a culture that drives people to embrace the
motto 'kill or be killed'.

This is one aspect of the barbarism seen at Alinchpotana and
Palliyagodelle. For the local Tamils of the region, rendered
refugees or living as if under siege, almost  anything connected
with colonisation touches off a violent chord. The international
community which has funded these colonisation schemes in the
absence of political safeguards for the minorities, should share
some of the responsibility for this state of affairs.

7.4 Aspects of the massacres
7.4.1 The Palliyagodella massacre:
he causes of this seem less problematic. Tensions between these
villages and the LTTE had been in the making for years. The
LTTE had been demanding taxes which were grudgingly paid -
these people had absolutely no stake in the Eelam struggle -
and cattle were occasionally taken away. During the
rapprochment with the government, the villagers complained
to the forces about tax demands. On coming and discovering
that the group asking for tax was the LTTE and not the EPRLF
as they had presumed, they chatted with the tax men and
departed. (3) continues, 'Soon after the massacre of Muslims at
Kattankudy and Eravur in 199O, the government issued (more)
shotguns to the villagers. These were more than enough to
sharpen enmity between the LTTE and the villagers, but far
from adequate to defend the latter. The LTTE first launched a
direct attack on the village in September 1991, killing 16
civilians. One of the attackers, possibly the leader, was killed by
the defenders - an achievement that gave satisfaction to the
poorly armed villagers, which in turn would have further
angered the LTTE.

(3) believes that the direct cause of the massacre at
Palliyagodelle was that some homeguards from Palliyagodelle
had taken part in the reprisals against the Tamil villages of
Muthugala and Karapola 5 1/2 months earlier. Two or more
sinhalese from that area were reportedly  abducted by the
LTTE prior to the massacre and were released subsequently. It
is believed that they were used an information source on the
villages and surroundings.

Concerning the role of girls and of very young cadre in the
attack, an observation made by several people and also
suggested by the reporting in (2), is that these were new
recruits deliberately brought in to harden them against taking
human life, particularly of persons who were helpless, as the
group required. Having been taught that all Muslims were
traitors, they would have had little difficulty in killing unarmed
Muslim men against all traditions of heroism. But to their
youthful sensibilities, even at this stage of brutalization, there
seems to have been some inhibition against killing women and
children. One attacker's reason for killing a mother appears to
have been that the mother had recognised him and he therefore
feared repercussions against his own family. The looting
further underlines the level at which this liberation group
operates.

7.4.2 Massacres at Alinchipotanai, Muthugala and Karapola:
What is problematic here are not the massacres themselves, but
the widely talked about role of civilians. The people of
Alinchipotanai believe that the LTTE met some of the villagers
of Karapola in the village itself  and conferred with them about
the attacks that took place 5 days later. A delegation that came
to the Muslims from these villages to discuss the redemption of
mortgaged Tamil lands is seen in retrospect as an LTTE
instigated camouflage operation to divert attention from the
real reason for the LTTE's presence. Soon after they had been
attacked (a partial attack on about a third of the village,
apparently to drive them out) the Muslims quickly formed the
impression that the Tamils were collectively behind the outrage
- an erroneous, but common, mutual impression in the East, eg.
Sammanthurai and its Tamil neighbour Veeramunai through
the vicissitudes of the last few years.

We feel uncomfortable with such conclusions. Two things are
almost certain. Under the bullish dispensation of the Sri
Lankan army and the threat of colonisation, it is inevitable that
the LTTE would have picked up recruits from the Tamil
villages. The two Tamil villages, like the Muslim village are
small, each having 6OO-8OO persons. Any visit by the LTTE to
one of the Tamil villages would have been widely known to the
Tamils, as the Muslims knew and the Sri Lankan police at
Karapola do not seem to have had an inkling of. But the claim
that Tamils in general knew about the coming attack in
Alinchipotanai can be ruled out. Such a claim would have
involved more than 1OOO people keeping a secret that was
bound to cost them dearly. These were two small isolated
Tamil villages in a hostile environment. They would have
known the nature of repercussions. Their testimonies in (1)
show that they were not suicidal maniacs driven by hatred.

The men among the survivors of Karapola said that they were
remaining in the village rather than move to a safe area
because they were anxious not to give the impression that they
were party to the attack on Allinchpotana (Those in Muthugala
were evidently not allowed to move). This can virtually be
taken as proof that the men concerned were not involved, nor
could they have approved of what took place. Anyone who
took part had some chance of being identified, as several of
them were. Those from the village who took part in the night
attack, by the accounts given, appear to have been reckless
using their familiar voices and calling one another by name.

By morning the Tamil villagers would have had some idea of
what happened the previous night in the Muslim village, given
all that shooting. Knowing the possible consequences why did
most of the Tamil villagers sit pretty waiting for the armed
authorities to arrive, instead of taking to the jungle as they did
later? The only possible answer seems to be that the villagers
were in a panic. After conferring briefly they would have
assumed that army would be on the way and anyone found
missing would have become suspect. They would have
concluded that staying put was the best strategy. (1) also points
out that goods looted from the Muslim village, if searched for,
were not found in the Tamil villages.

Normally anyone from the Tamil villages who got wind that
an attack on the Muslim village was being planned would have
expressed their anxiety at least to cadre known to them,
particularly from their village. Such cadre, as we have
recorded in previous reports, are often anxious to shield their
families and their villages. This points to a decision to attack
taken at a higher level.

In such instances the LTTE is even callous enough to assure the
villagers that nothing would happen to them. We have
recorded how the LTTE have in many instances fired at
advancing troops of the IPKF from civilian positions and then
ran away after assuring the protesting civilians that the troops
would do nothing to them.

How about the Tamil civilians who co-operated in the LTTE
attack? One accused by the Muslims is a postman and another
a school mistress or two who taught Muslim children. These
persons had regular human contact with Muslims. They are
accused of having provided information on houses with a large
number of children to be targeted for elimination. For a young
woman to plan the elimination of children she talked and
played with is very unusual. If these allegations have
substance, and these persons had co-operated under duress,
would they not have whispered a warning to some Muslim? Or
were they so terrorised? On the other hand if they had co-
operated cold-bloodedly, they would have harboured some
deep hatred for the Muslims or were hard-core LTTE
operators who could act mechanically. Strangely the postman
had remained with his family at Muthugala and was killed
according to (1)!

The presence of Muslim civilians among those who took
reprisals on the Tamils is explainable in terms of spontaneous
anger. The presence of Tamil civilians among those who
attacked the Muslims is far less easy to explain. Did some of
them lose close relatives to the forces when the army was
stationed in the Muslim village and went about with
homeguards?

There is a great deal that we do not understand. Perhaps
finding out the truth requires long term confidence building
with the villagers and cannot be elicited in a day or two,
however valuable information so elicited may be.

According to (1), Tamil villagers had said that there were Tamil
civilians among the attackers, but they had left the area a long
time ago. The content of that answer has no straightforward
explanation. (2) gives us an instance of defensive answering.
Palliyagodelle had a Tamil barber who was among the victims
of the LTTE massacre. He had been married to a lady from
Eravur, whose son by a previous marriage had spent much
time in Palliyagodelle. Shortly after the June 199O war he
seems to have joined the LTTE. The lady solved the delicate
problem of explaining her loss of contact with him by saying
that he had been killed in the violence around Eravur at that
time. It is suggested that a Muslim lady had recognised this boy
as being among the attackers, and was in turn shot and
wounded by this boy who wished to protect his parents. Such
has been the web of violence in which people have been caught
up doing things they never dreamt of.
 

7.4.3 The conduct of the army:

A three man committee of inquiry consisting of a retired
supreme court judge a senior police officer and a senior army
officer went into the massacres of 3Oth April 1992 and based on
its findings some Muslims who attacked the Tamil villagers
were charged. The report, as far as we are aware, is not public.
We were told by a well placed journalistic source that at the
request of higher authorities it was re-written to move the
colouring of the army's conduct so as the lighten the shade of
complicity and have a heavier shade of negligence, which is not
so culpable. The police were reprimanded. But no  further
action is envisaged.

(1) makes a pertinent observation which suggests that the
ideological basis of the army's role in the region had driven it
to cultivate exclusively Muslims as sources of information and
hence be in a permanent antagonistic position  to the Tamils.
On the other hand, Tamils would not readily give information
unless they see some legitimacy in the army's role.
This will never be as long as the army is seen to spearhead the
ideological agenda of Sinhalese colonisation by force of arms.

It is  notable that the STF in the Amparai District has fared
much better. This was helped by the fact that there is no major
effort at colonisation in the area, and a political decision was
taken to return Tamils to the villages, from which they were
driven out, under STF security. These measures made a more -
even handed role for the STF possible. To a good extent there
is trust in the intentions of the STF, and its sources of
intelligence now are probably mostly Tamil. It thus seems to be
in a better position to take pre-emptive action against any
disruptive moves. This is very different from the situation in
Welikanda. Unless a political decision is taken to ensure that
the minorities are equal partners in the Mahaveli project, their
fears are listened to and the partisan colouring and
secretiveness which recent history has given the project are
removed, the army will be trapped into a position of
antagonism to the Tamil people. Then little will change.
 

CHAPTER 8: HILLCOUNTRY AND NORTHERN NOTES
 
 

8.1 Detainees in the Hill Country

The matter of 4O or so Hill Country Tamil detainees recorded
in our Special Report No.4 turns out to be just the tip of the
iceberg representing a large and potentially dangerous
problem - dangerous because of the manner in which the state
is handling it. Firstly there is the social problem of
unemployment, meaninglessness and a lack of dignity faced by
thousands of hill country youth. It is then estimated by leading
trade union sources that during the IPKF presence 2 to 3OOO
hill country youth went to the North-East to receive some form
of military training and employment under the umbrella of
Tamil groups working with the IPKF. Many of them worked
for the ill-starred Civil Volunteer Force. Several of those who
went to the North-East came back home in disillusionment and
the rest following the collapse of the pro-Indian groups in early
199O.

Even prior to the coming of the IPKF, a comparable number are
said to have joined North-Eastern militant groups. Groups
associated with numbers in decreasing order are said to be the
EPRLF, EROS, PLOTE & TELO. The number associated with
the LTTE is said to be neglegible. It is mainly these boys with
past North-Eastern links who have been detained since June
199O.  Ironically most of the groups with whom they were
associated are now closely aligned with the government or are
in  a position to exert some influence on the government. But
they have not come to the aid of these hill country boys who
once worked for them and later got into trouble.

The other problem is the poor education and training of police
personnel stationed in the hill country. Even ASPs are often
said to be monolingual, not knowing Tamil or English. Their
understanding of the North-Eastern militancy is said to come
mainly from the popular Sinhalese press. Many of them cannot
for instance make a distinction between the LTTE and the
TELO.

A typical case is that of a young boy Kanagasabai who returned
home to Dimbulla in the Nuwara Eliya District after serving in
the TELO, fell out with a friend who petitioned the police and
was arrested in December 199O. The only thing of significance
he had was a military instruction booklet in Tamil issued by the
TELO, which had something to say on attacking police
stations, and which he had kept hidden in a neighbour's line
room. He was severely tortured and the charges framed
against him were fantastic - even more serious than those
framed against leaders of the UPF. On the basis of his alleged
confessions he was accused of involvement with the
LTTE(Kottiya), conspiring to attack a police station, overthrow
the state etcetera. He had in fact confessed to involvement
with the TELO, which the police recorded as 'Kottiya'.

Most of those detained are said to be in similar categories.
According to those who had pursued individual cases, if the
 

matter is not resolved within a month at local police level, the
problem becomes infinitely more complex once the file is sent to
Colombo. The Attorney General's office is said to hand over
bundles of files to different lawyers, who may take them away
and go somewhere on duty, and no proper records are kept. To
find whether the file is in existence and to trace it often takes
months. The AG's office is bound to take charges coming from
provincial police stations seriously, however fantastic they
may be, and the detainees are charged under the PTA. Even
when someone of influence pursuing the matter convinces the
AG's office that the charges are groundless, the detainee is
usually released on a suspended sentence after pleading guilty
to a minor charge. This is done so that the state is not held
liable to compensate the victim. The process often takes well
over a year. Kanagasabai too was eventually released. Even in
several cases where the matter was settled at provincial level,
the detention and release were both found to be unrecorded.

In routine police matters such as theft, the police do not appear
to be making a distinction between these and cases where there
is an alleged threat to the state on account of which the
emergency regulations have been justified. One teacher in
Hatton was arrested in connection with an old friend from
Jaffna and the friend's companion who had both called and had
dinner with him, and were later wanted in connection with a
car theft. Again two innocent CWC members were arrested in
connection with tampering with a cheque. Those detained were
badly beaten. Such routine torture is described as 'extremely
brutal'.

Many hill country boys detained and released have no security
against re-arrest. The number is said to run into several
hundreds and may be in the thousnds. In order to escape
further harassment many of them have reportedly joined the
EPDP, a Tamil group now closely identified with the ruling
UNP. Hill country leaders fear that if the government changes
or if the EPDP goes out of favour, these boys will be back to
square one or worse. These leaders are pressing for a general
amnesty as the only practical and expeditious solution to this
particular problem.

The government's handling of this has only added to the
general volatility that is to be found in the hill country. The
LTTE is said to have recently recruited from hill country folk
settled in the Wanni or from among hill country  young, either
domiciled in or casually visiting the North. These are people
who have not the faintest understanding of what is going on
and have no stake in the LTTE's cause. In the late 8Os several
hill country boys joined the JVP for the mere reason that the JVP
was threatening estate superintendents.

8.2 Land and Hill Country Issues:

Recently some hill country groups, incuding the UPF, have
started raising the demand of natioanlity status and an
autonomous region for hill counry Tamils. This demand has
gained significant sympathy through long experience of
oppression and a feeling that the state is constantly trying to
short-change them. People also see that similar demands made
in the North-East helped to internationalise the Tamil cause,
without being very conscious of both the physical and internal
damage to the Tamils resulting from the associated politics.
Some see the use of such demands as a means to break the
influence of the CWC.
At present, perhaps the more influential sections, see this
demand as dangerous. They feel that the Hill Country Tamils
are socially and economically too weak to withstand the
repercussions. Moreover, they feel, they are physically and
economically intertwined with Kandyan Sinhalese living in the
same area, and that their main thrust should be to achieve
equality with them. They feel that demands, such as for
autonomy, could jeopardise the slow, but steady, gains the
Tamils have been making by putting a weapon into the hands
of Sinhalese communalists.

One Veteran trade unionist said that land for housing and
home gardens was essential. But that a demand to dismember
estates and give lands to Tamil workers or Sinhalese peasants
was a purely emotional issue which was far from being a
solution to the basic problems.

He said, "I personally know that there is much poverty among
Kandyan Sinhalese peasants. Many of them skip several
meals. When Tamil estate workers receive regular wages,
however small, or are given small concessions, emotional cries
are raised by communalists about the government doing
marvels for the Tamils. The SLFP in the 7Os made the carving
up of estates and giving lands to Kandyan peasants an
emotional issue. There was violence against Tamils and many
rowdy scenes [See Special Report No.4], but there was no
serious dismantling of estates. As a reaction, Hill Country
Tamil groups too made a similar demand for land an
emotional issue. Where land was given, experience has shown
that the benefits were illusory.

"When the late General Ranjan Wijeratne was minister for
plantations he distributed lands in some estates performing
badly. One acre per family was given to Tamil workers at
St.Elias estate. Elsewhere lands were given to Sinhalese.
Today very few of these families are in occupation of the lands.
Most of them have sold out to Mudalalis (big businessmen), a
large number of whom in this particular area of commerce
happen to be Tamils. In Norwood, land was taken over and a
Sinhalese village, Jayasirigama, was created. Only about 5
Sinhalese families remain, the rest having sold and left. Land is
damn cheap at Norton Bridge, but hardly anyone is interested
in going there. My family received 2 acres, but nothing has
been done with it. Many Kandyan Sinhalese have been offered
land in the Mahaveli scheme. But very few are interested in
going. The reality is this. When it comes to hard practical
realities, the people do not want land. Only the Mudalalis
want land.

"This is a small country. Modern land usage is capital
intensive. You cannot in this country solve the problem of
poverty by giving large tracts of land like in Canada which are
viable units for modern mechanised techniques. It is neither a
conspiracy nor an accident that large tracts of land coming
under schemes such as the Mahaveli are going to
multinationals. Some other means must be found to relieve
poverty and generate employment rather than giving land,
which costs the state nothing. What is needed is investment
with clearly thought out goals.
 

8.3 Jaffna : Indicators of nutrition and health

Jaffna had previously enjoyed a better level of health than the
rest of the country. With siege and war, this is no longer the
case. According to one of the accepted methods of
measurement, severe malnutrition among children in Jaffna is
now 7-8%, while it is 12.8% for the whole of Sri Lanka. The
figure for Killinochchi is 3%. Low birth weight among babies
(below 5 1/2 lb or 2.5 Kg) has increased from 19% in 1989 to 23%
in 1991 to 25% in 1992.

The worst affected are among the refugee population. About
46% of the population of the North-East are officially
displaced. The Jaffna District has an estimated 42,OOO
refugees in camps among whom 19OOO are children. A total
of about 12O,OOO are displaced. A study of pregnant and
lactating mothers sampled in 12 refugee camps within the
Jaffna municipality in 1991 found all those sampled to be
anaemic. It also found 41% of children below 1 year in age and
73% in the 1-5 year range to be below the third percentile
expected weight for their age against a norm of 34.7% for Sri
Lanka. Other studies showed similar results. A number of
diseases such as dysentry, para-typhoid, malaria and TB are on
the increase.

While not being unduly alarmed, the medical authorities are
concerned about a deteriorating situation and stress the
importance of stabilising the situation and if possible reversing
the decline. They point out that owing to bad communications a
rapid deterioration may suddenly take place without the
outside world becoming adequately aware of it. Jaffna folk
received their December 1992 Christmas mail only in March
1993.

With the government banning movement in the Jaffna lagoon,
questions were raised about the government sending
considerably less than the food requested by the GA/Jaffna and
about significant pilferage. A rehabilitation ministry official
said at a press conference (4/3/93) that the monthly food
requirement asked for by GA/Jaffna is 11,OOO tonnes. The
amounts sent he said were 2635 tonnes in December 1992, 5253
in January '93 and 1143O in February (up to 26th). The shortfall
in December & January, he claimed, was due to the north east
monsoon limiting the unloading days at Pt Pedro and the KKS
port being unoperational. On (18/3) presidential advisor
Bradman Weerakoon told the press that of the Rs 1181 million
worth of food items sent to Jaffna during 1992, there is no
account for food worth Rs.167 million. Minister Ranil
Wickremasinghe attributed the theft to the Tigers rather than
at the point of embarkation in Colombo. Mr. Weerakoon
admitted that there was 'no clear proof' to show that the
Tigers stole the food and that the CID was investigating in
Colombo. While the Colombo press generally blamed the theft
on the Tigers, senior Tamils were convinced that it resulted
from the general corruption in Colombo.

Subsequently several shiploads were sent in February and
March. While the rate of loading at the port of Colombo with
standard mechanical aids was said to be around 25O tons per
day, the rate of unloading at Pt Pedro (in March) was 5OO
tons a day - fully manual with a disintegrating pier and work-
men hopping from barge to barge transporting the cargo. The
effect was a drop in the price of rice in Jaffna from Rs 55 to Rs
42 a kilo - still well above the Colombo price of less than Rs 2O
a kilo. Kerosene dropped from Rs 25O a litre to Rs 125 and rose
to Rs 175 - over 1O times the Colombo price.

Although displaced persons who are normally without a
livelihood are entitled to government rations, they do not
necessarily receive them. A family displaced by military action
arrived in the village of Idikundady, near Navaly. Having
starved for some days, they appealed for assistance where they
could without success. During the month of February 1993,
seven members of the family committed suicide by consuming
ground arali seed. On orders from the authorities, the news
was blacked out of the local media.

8.4 Killinochchi : 12th February 1993 : Aerial bombing & a
narrow escape for school-children:

On the road going east from Karadippokku, near Killinochchi,
an LTTE camp is sited (as is often the case) next to St.
Theresa's school. Shortly after 8.OO A.M when the road was
crowded with civilians and children and the school about to
commence for the day, a new jet bomber (known in the North
as 'supersonics') dropped a bomb ostensibly aimed at the LTTE
camp. The bomb as is usual missed the camp. Also fortunately it
missed the school, falling away from the school on the side
farther from the camp. A number of school children and
civilians were injured by the exploding bomb which left behind
a huge crater. One girl broke a leg when she ran in fear and
had a fall. The navy had been involved in a firefight with the
LTTE the night before, in the Jaffna Lagoon.

8.5 Crossing the Jaffna Lagoon:

With travel in the lagoon officially forbidden and no agreement
reached between the LTTE and the government on the use of
the lagoon by civilians, those travelling from the peninsula use
LTTE supervised trasport for the lack of an alternative. The
modus operandi was for the LTTE to deploy about 1O armed
boats to patrol the waters on a day announced, while civilian
boats do the crossing. On 11th February for instance 12O
passenger boats and 4O boats with goods were involved in
transportation. Due to a shortage of motor boats, some times
one motor boat towed three other boats, taking over 4 hours to
cross instead of the usual 2 1/2. The travellers journeyed in
constant fear amid a heavy exchange of fire between the
armed adversaries. On 14th February the airforce shot and
destroyed several boats parked along the shore.

Although the government tried to restrain travellers with
constant scare stories about heavy armed engagements and
several sinkings of supposedly LTTE craft, and a stream of
civilian casualties reported by Tamil sources, the true nature of
casualties remains hard to probe. The LTTE, for reasons
described in Report No1O, Ch.O, does not wish to alarm
travellers and come under pressure.

A leading government official in Killinochchi said about mid-
February that no bodies of persons killed since the massacre of
2nd January had been brought to the government hospital.
About 1O bodies which reached the lagoon shores later in
January with cut wounds and bullet wounds are believed to be
victims of the incident of 2nd January. The LTTE is known to
have charged Rs 25 OOO/- to transport bodies of some victims
to relatives in Jaffna. It was clear that civilians still travel with
no idea of the real dangers they face.

On 23rd March, a medical student travelling to Vavuniya to
receive his Mahapola scholarship fell victim while crossing the
lagoon. He went on his journey in response to an official
invitation sent by a government which also killed him on the
way. We pointed out in Report No 1O that this is an absurd
position for a government which needs to win the political
battle in order to win peace.

8.6 Mannar: January - March 1993:

On 22nd January, LTTE personnel who came by sea and landed
at Pesalai killed two policemen in an attack. Subsequently army
personnel went on a rampage, killing one civilian in wild firing
and injuring 5 others. The dead man was a Muslim who sold
refreshments outside the UNHCR run refugee camp.

Subsequently Brigadier Karunatilleke who is in charge of the
district, visited Pesalai and addressed the refugees in the
presence of the local UNHCR representative. He accused them
of harbouring the LTTE and warned that the next time they
would come in and shoot.

On the 15th March the LTTE attacked a police patrol moving
from Karisal to Pesalai killing 3 policemen. Subsequently the
army arrived on the scene and did a round up. Vehicles were
stopped and commuters between Mannar and Pesalai were
beaten. A passenger van purchased the previous week for Rs
14O OOO/- was burnt. People were dragooned into forced
labour, cutting palmyrah trees and strengthening the police
post at Karisal with new bunkers.

Subsequently a curfew was imposed and a search operation
was conducted in the area. This time the people had another
speaker, Colonel Chandrabahu. He told them that they need
not give information to the army. But they must not entertain
the LTTE. Security, he told them, was the main reason why
Mannar is not having development, unlike Batticaloa and
Trincomalee, which are, according to him, now having
development.

On the night of 5th April, according to a report in the Island,
7th April, Lieutenant Samarasinghe, Corporal Sumnapala and
Private Karunaratne were killed by seaborne Tigers at 10.45
p.m. The casualties were part of a mobile patrol moving
towards Mannar Island on a causeway. One officer is quoted
as saying,"The Tigers appear to have launched a determined
campaign to disrupt civilian life on Mannar Island".

8.7 The LTTE & Sinhalese and Muslim civilians

The Island of 6th April reported that the LTTE shot and killed
H.E.Ranaweera (45) and Vinnie Ranasinge (19) at
Suriyawewa, Welikanda. The two were bull-dozer operators
working for the State Development and Construction
Corporation. A dawn attack on the army at Kalyanapura, Weli
Oya, by an estimated 15O LTTE cadre on 9th april 1993 claimed
an officer and 18 soldiers wounding several others.
The following excerpt is from a front page piece by Daryll de
Silva in The Daily News of 14th April 1993. It is also significant
that during its recent attacks in Mannar (8.6 above), the LTTE
has not targeted Muslims as it easily could have :
" LTTE watchers believe the incident to be significant. "The
tigers outnumbered the troops by about four to one in this
border area. What is strange is that being there in such large
numbers, they did not pick on civilians, but took the opportunity
to take on a military target that happened to move into their
midst,"

"It has now been established that the LTTE lost Captain
Ariyaman, six lieutenants, and two second lieutenants
(unnamed) on Friday when they could just as easily have taken
on a
civilian target without loss to themselves, observers say. They
 

were convinced that the Tiger group was one that was moving
north when the soldiers were ambushed.
"LTTE observers have also noted that the Tigers have recently
changed their attitude towards the Muslim community. " They
recently released four boatloads of 18 fishermen and released
three other Muslims to the ICRC without causing them any
harm," sources said.

" So Prabhakaran appears to now want to live upto the claim,
he made in his BBC interview-that he had nothing against the
Muslims or even the Sinhala community. This is quite a change
of attitude and all for the better", one observer commented.
 
 

APPENDIX I: FROM THE WRITINGS OF Y. AHAMED

 

 From the writings of Y.Ahamed

We have recorded in the preceding pages the death of
Y.Ahamed, civil servant, scholar and writer, at the age of 47.
The East has in the recent decades been struggling to produce
its own crop of scholars and writers, rooted in its soil and
among its people.It is they who from a knowledge of their
roots and by forging a common Eastern identity, should act as
a stabilising influence and harmonise communal relations.
Y.Ahamed was a notable figure among them, who like several
among his company, had his days cut short. The community as
a whole continues to bleed. Ahamed enjoyed much respect
among Tamils as a fair administrator, and one, who through
his work and writings, worked earnestly for Tamil-Muslim
unity. This makes his loss all the more poignant. The following
excerpts from his writings, translated from Tamil, are given
with the intention of providing some insight into the man, his
mind and what moved his heart.

That he was a man Muslim by faith, thinking instinctively in
terms of a multi-religious Eastern identity, comes out in his
writings. The beginning of his essay on his visit to Kerala,
written in 1986, brings out his love for the East and his disquiet
over the gathering storm clouds:

"My journeys between Mutur and Valaichenai used to be most
uplifting. My heart would go out to the verdant forests
bequeathed by nature, and I crossed several rivers of
indescribable loveliness. The passage through Verugal and
Kilivetti left not one moment of boredom.

"With Communal disturbances in the East of 1985, a dark pall
descended over these travels, which used to bring me great joy.
Many lives were lost in the disturbances in the Batticaloa
District. Although the Trincomalee District was then quiet, by
the end of the year there was violence between Sinhalese and
Tamils. The people living from Verugal through Mutur were
subject to great insecurity. Many Tamil villages were entirely
destroyed. Travelling through those villages became a
terrifying experience.

"My journey to Mutur from Valaichenai now had to proceed
through Polonnaruwa, Habarana to Trincomalee and then to
Mutur by ferry. We had to get down from the bus at sentry
points and get back in after enduring the belittling speech and
insulting manner of those manning the points....."

 From 'Islam is our way and Tamil our tongue

".....By whatever name the Tamil speaking Muslims of South
India and Ceylon are called for reasons of national harmony or
political expediency, their way of life and their history are
intimately and fondly harmonised in the totality of Tamil
heritage.

"There are people of many religious groups who hold Tamil as

their mother tongue. Their faith governs their thinking and
their way of life. But the Tamil language is the medium of their
thoughts. The ethical and religious systems of Hinduism,
Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Islam are fostered by the
adherents of these faiths. The literature and creative writing of
the followers of these faiths is spun with their way of life as its
raw material. There is no disputing this.

"Tamil heritage is one that has been taking shape over several
centuries. The impact of these religions on the growth of this
heritage is one that is a subject of research..... Even when that
heritage sustains a particular character, it needs to
accommodate within itself several distinct traditions. Tamil
heritage is therefore a treasure that is held in common by
peoples with diverse ethnic strains, cultures and religions...."

 From "India's great poets, Iqbal and Bharathi"

".....The Himalayan range and the river Ganges are integrally
linked with the fame of the good land of India. These two are
symbols of its strength and purity ...... These two are precious
jewels adorning Mother India. Their pride and grace is
reflected in the poems of Iqbal and Bharathi. Iqbal's "Dharana-
yeh-Hindhi" takes us into the spirit of the Himalayas and the
Ganges. Its fame received a permanent setting by its being
sung on India's day of freedom in its new governing council:

        "......Though we journey through other lands,
                  o ur hearts remain fixed on thee O mother,
        In thee rests our consciousness of being!
        Our Himalaya the greatest mount of all
        The sky gently reposes on her.
        Beautiful Himalaya our indomitable guardian
        A thousand rivers
        Play upon her lap.
        Others envy the wealth
        these living waters yield
        Ours this garden of rich blossoms.....
        Hey thou full flowing Ganges .....

"Is it only Iqbal who has sung so? "So have I", I can hear
Bharathi protesting. Let us hear him:

        "Himalaya, prince of mountains, is our mountain
        The wide earth hath nothing like unto thee
        There is no river like our river Ganga
        Is there another that outshines her glory?

How wonderfully has God united the vision of diverse poets?
Whether in showing attachment to their land or in their
devotion to their community, do not they all open their hearts
to us? Do not their thoughts all flow into the same river? How
great, how broad are their hearts!
(The extracts above are from articles published in the author's '
Moliyum Valiyum')

 From 'Valaichenai - A historical note' - Published in 1992.

 From the preface: The Tamils and Muslims of the Batticaloa
District have lived in unity for centuries. A group bent on
stirring up disunity and finding perverse amusement in doing
so, is ignorant of the history of the Muslims of this district. I
was therefore moved to express by means of this small work,
who these Muslims are, so fraternally and intimately bound to
their fellow Tamils, through ties of blood and speech.....

 From the 'Arrival of Muslims in the East':

"Alexander Johnston tells us that Mohomedans or Yonakas
settled in this island during the eighth century A.D. According
to him they belonged to the Hashim family who took refuge
from the persecution of Caliph bin Marwan. Those who settled
in Puttalam took to coconut growing, paddy cultivation, pearl
fishing, trade and salt manufacture.

"An incident in Puttalam is closely connected with the
Mukkuwas who settled in the Batticaloa District...There is
historical evidence to prove that there ia a strong tie of blood
between the Mukkuwas and the Batticaloa Muslims....

"Mukkuwas lived in the village of Koththanthivu in the
Puttalam District. Manikkathalaivan, the chieftin of a
neighbouring village desired the hand of a Mukkuwa lass,
Nallal. For this cause he took to arms. The Mukkuwas sought
the help of Arab merchants to defeat Manikkathalaivan...
When asked what they desired in return for their services, "We
would like you to embrace Islam" replied the Arab merchants.
This many of them did.

"One historian tells us that of the thirteen Mukkuwa villages in
Puttalam, seven migrated to the Eastern province. The
traditional practices of the Mukkuwas are to this day prevalent
among Kalmunai Muslims.....

"One historical account tells us that the Mukkuwas were
expelled from the Jaffna peninsula in the 5th century A.D. Their
settlement in Batticaloa was resisted by the Thimila tribesmen
who were already there. The Mukkuwas sought the aid of
Muslim warriors to defeat the  Thimilas, who were driven
northwards. An ash coloured stone pillar finally separating the
domains of the two tribes, erected at Thumbukkan Kudah, near
Panichchengkeni, stands to this day. As reward for their
services, the Muslim warriors accepted Mukkuwa women as
wives, thus strengthening their ties of kinship. But  there is no
evidence of instances such as at Koththanthivu, where
Mukkuwas in the East embraced Islam......

"Although Eastern Muslims are descendants of Mukkuwa
women, they today regard themselves a people with a distinct
identity. Their descendants took to trade and to seafaring.
They also served in the army of the king of Kandy. Their quality
as warriors was proven and the Muslim camel cavalry
attained fame in the battle of Wellawaya, during the reign of
Rajasinghe II (1634-84). It is notable that the traditional
pursuits of Eastern Muslims are also those associated with
Arabians.

"Several place names in Batticaloa pertain to the historic battle
between the Thimilas and Mukkuwas in which Muslim
warriors assisted the latter. These are `Vantharumoolai'
(Came-rested corner), `Sathurukondan' (Enemy killed),
`Santhiveli' (Meeting-moor) & `Pathiyai-thookia-palai' (Place
where the Thimila queen was hanged). Eravur is named after
the place where Muslims, previously prevented from settling,
were allowed to settle down as part of their reward.
[Some of this lore can also be found in Nadarajah's,
'Mattaikalappu Manmiyam'].

The writer also gives instances of Muslim settlers, some from
the  Kandyan kingdom, associated with places in the East and
who held office during the British administration. The writer
concludes: "The Muslims of Valaichenai are largely settlers
from Kattankudy. It is said that Arumuga Pattamkatti (a Tamil)
and his wife Valliammai, together with Meeranpodiar (a
Muslim) and his wife Kathisa Umma, came to Valaichenai
from Kattankudy in the same bullock-cart and continued the
rest of their days in like harmony.

"Whatever the truth of this story, it is likely that both
communities settled in Valaichenai (Banana cropping using
chena cultivation) in recent times. The long standing unity
between the Tamil and Muslim communities, the practice of
give and take, and co-operation in professional life, are
qualities which have prevailed unto this day.
 
 
 
 

APPENDIX II

COLONISATION & DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES IN THE
TRINCOMALEE DISTRICT AND  ITS EFFECTS ON THE
TAMIL SPEAKING PEOPLE
 

We have mentioned in Report No 7, Chapter 8, that state aided
/sponsored colonisation is not something intrinsically
objectionable. There is controversy about it conception and
execution in the immediate post independence years that we
cannot resolve. An extract from a speech by D.S.Senanayake
quoted from memory by his grandson which appears in
H.Gunaratne's 'For

a sovereign state' was reproduced in our Report No.7. This, if
correct suggests an ideological agenda from the outset. But
there is also considerable testimony from Tamil officials
involved in these schemes which suggest that these schemes
may have become in time exclusive Sinhalese affairs owing to
default by Tamils. This was the case in the Gal Oya scheme in
the Amparai district where the response to initial offers of land
from Tamils was said to be poor.

However as the evidence suggests, from the 6Os onwards an
ideological agenda became visible together with alarm on the
part of Tamils that went unheeded. The ruling UNP having
acknowledged the need to resolve Tamil grievances concerning

this matter in its manifesto of 1977, once in power, made its
operations disturbingly secretive as we have seen.

We give the facts pertaining to Trincomalee below avoiding
comment as far as possible. These were compiled with the help
of long term residents of Trincomalee.

The policy of all governments in Sri Lanka has been to alter the
demography of the Trincomalee District in favour of the
Sinhalese. With the gaining of independence in 1948, the
government began the Kanthalai colonisation scheme where
Sinhalese from outside the district were settled. This was
followed by the Allai scheme in the early 195Os  and the
Morawewa scheme in the 196Os. The Kanthalai tank
originally irrigated the paddy fields belonging to the
Thamplakamam and Kinniya farmers. This was augmented to
bring in thousands of Sinhalese from outside the district. The
magnitude of the impact of this colonisation could be seen from
the fact that the entire present Kanthalai AGA's Division
formed only a Village Headman's (Presently in Grama Sevaka
officer's) Division, in the then Thampalakamam AGA's
division, in the early 196O's. One Grama Sevaka officer's
division has been made an AGA's division with 23 Grama
Sevaka officers divisions in consequence of the colonization
scheme. It is estimated that about 4O,OOO of the present
Sinhalalese population of 86,OOO in the district came in as a
result of the Kanthalai colonization scheme. It accounts for
about 46% of the Sinhalese population.

The Allai Scheme began by constructing an anicut across the
Verugal river, a tributary of the Mahaweli Ganga. The entire
region that received irrigation waters from this scheme was
called the Koddiyar AGA's division. Koddiyar was also called
Koddiyarpurm. Tamils and Muslims had lived in this area
peacefully from ancient times .There are now three AGA's
Divisions, located here. One is  presently called the Muthur
AGA's Division. The Seruvila AGA's division was created in
the late 196O 's when Mr W. Dahanahake was the Minister of
Home affairs under the 1965- 7O Dudley Senanayake
government. The third is the Verugal AGA's Division, located
at Ichchilampattai. This last AGA's division was created in the
mid 198O's when Mr.K.W Devnayagam was the Home
Minister. It is strange that this division has still not been
recognized as a divisional secretary's division under the recent
administrative changes .

Several new Sinhalese villages have sprung up, swallowing
many ancient Tamil villages consequent to the Allai irrigation
scheme. The AGA's division of Seruvila is located at
Serunuvara, which was originally called Arippu. The old
village of Kallar is now called Somapura. The Tamil village of
Neelapalai is now called Neelapola. Part of Poonagar is called
Mahindapura. Thirumangalai is now called Srimangalagama.
Dehiwatte, Lankapatuna and Pulasthigama are some of the
other new Sinhalese villages in the present Seruvila AGA's
division. This AGA's division has a population of 2O,187 with
17 Grama Sevaka officers divisions. It could be said that 99% of
the 11,665 Sinhalese living in this division were outsiders
colonized by the government.

Morawewa is the Sinhalese translation of the Tamil word
Mudalikulam. The present Morawewa tank was called
Mukalikulam by the local population for a long time. This tank
became the centre of a colonisation scheme in the 196Os and
included Tamils as beneficiaries         [see below]. A new AGA's
division was created in the early 197Os for Morawewa,
bypassing the priority list originally sent by the Government

Agent,Trincomalee, for the creation of AGA's divisions in the
district. The proposal to create an AGA's division at Nilaveli
got shelved as a result of this move.

The Morawewa AGA's Division has a population of 9271 and
1O Grama Sevaka officers divisions. The Sinhalese constitute
56% of the total population while the Tamils constitute 37%. A
considerable percentage out of the present population of 51O1
Sinhalese in the Morawewa are outsiders.

Mahadiulwewa colonisation scheme in the Morawewa AGA's
Division was another state-aided colonisation scheme
undertaken in the 198Os. Funds received from the European
Community were utilised by Mr.D.J Bandargoda, Govt. Agent,
Trincomalee and Mr.Gamini Dissanayake, then Minister of
Lands, Land Development and Mahaweli Development, to set
up this scheme. This tank was called Periya Vilankulam by the
local population.

Padaviya scheme was another major colonisation scheme
undertaken by the state to settle Sinhalese in the Tamil
speaking areas. This scheme was supported by Mr.
C.P.de.Silva who handled the subjects land and irrigation in
the SWRD Bandaranayake government(1956-1959). This
scheme played a key role in the 1958 riots and the activities of
the Land Development Department employees during the riots
had been vividly described in the book "Emergency `58 ", by
Tarzie Vittachi.

Padaviya was the original grazing ground for the cattle of the
local population. Mullaitivu farmers called this area 'Padivil
Kulam" - a tank that has no registration. The colonisation that
was undertaken in this area has resulted in the creation of an
AGA's division at Padavi Sripura, with a population of 11,8O4,
almost all of them are Sinhalese.
A senior highly respected former Tamil public servant from the
late 4Os onwards had worked on several schemes in the
district, including Morawewa, Allai and Kanthalai..  He had
worked with  much  satisfaction as District Revenue Officer
into the 60 under Trincomalee's first two post independent GAs
Speldewinde and Mackaiser.  He said that he did not work on
a communal basis but on the principle of land for the landless.
In the early 6Os he had many Tamils  settled on schemes for
educated youth. Some of them, a number he clarified as
negligible, either sold or abandoned their lands. Further he
said, Tamil manigars leased out temple lands and Sinhalese,
together with Tamils, encroahed on temple lands not cared for.
As small as these phenomena were, they served to create an
impression that there was a lack of demand for land locally.
The resulting migration of Sinhalese into Trincomalee was
thus, he said, partly the fault of the Tamils and their
leadership. He added that this helped to lay the groundwork
for an ideologically motivated induction of Sinhalese which
began in earnest in the 7Os.

Another highly commended public servant, now retired, gave a
picture of some of the complexities involved in tthe creation of
new AGAs divisions and how some became Sinhalised.
Gomarankadawela (Kumaresan Kadavai) and
Morawewa(Mudalikkulam) were originally Katukulampattu
West and Katukulampattu East, which included the present
Kuchaveli division.

When the British closed their Trincomalee naval base in the late
5Os there was tremendous unemployment in Trincomalee.
Rajavarothayam, MP, raised this matter with C.P de Silva,
then minister for lands, and a plan to restore Mudalikkulam as
the Ex Naval Base Workers Scheme was conceived and
implemented in the early 6Os. The scheme included people
living in the area together with retrenched naval workers.
Many of the beneficiaries were Tamils. The implementation, he
said suffered from two drawbacks. One was that the
implementation was half hearted. Some were for instance
given paddy lands, but no housing land (at higher level) and
such like. The other was that the naval workers were used to
life in town, and given in addition the shortcomings of the
implementation, some of them neglected their lands for the
lack of housing, or cultivated while residing mostly in town.

However under Somapala Gunadhira as GA, Trincomalee, in
the 6Os the scheme prospered and food production reached a
peak. The credit for turning Nilaveli into a model farming
village, he said, should go to Gunadhira. At this point 7O% of
those in Morawewa, including the Muslims at Rotawewa,
were Tamil speaking. The closest village to the scheme was
Pankulam, within the GS's division of Panikkattimurippu
which traditionally  had Tamil Headmen(now GS). The old
head man's son with a JSC in English then headed with the
Panikkattimurippu Village Council(VC) which had one
Sinhalese member for Thambankottai and a Muslim member
for Rotawewa.

In the late 6Os the government started the Air Force farm near
the headworks at Morawewa, with a commanding position
over the use of water. From that time Tamils became subject to
small scale attacks by airforce men and Sinhalese hooligans.
The largest number of killings of Tamils took place along the
Anudharapura Road and the matter was raised in parliament.
This was the first instance in the island of the forces being
stationed permanently in the middle of an agricultural scheme.
The proportion of Tamils kept falling. More Sinhalese were
brought in under the Mahadivulweva(Periyavilankulam)
scheme and their proportion rose to 56%. With the violence of
the 8Os the gradual displacement of Tamils became a retreat.
The AGA's office, since the outbreak of war has been shifted to
the Sinhalese area of Mahadivulwewa.
 
How the demography of the Trincomalee District has changed
as a result of state-aided colonization can be seen from the
following population figures:

YEAR    TAMILS  MUSLIMS SINHALESE       OTHERS  TOTAL

1901    17069   8258    1203    1921    28441
        60%     29%     4.2%    6.8%    100%
 

1911    17233   9714    1138    1700    29775
        57.8%   32.6%   3.8%    5.7%    100%
 

1921    18586   12846   1501    1179    34112
        54.5%   37.7%   4.4%    3.5%    100%
 

1946    33795   23219   15706   3506    75926
        44.1%   30.6%   20.7%   4.7%    100%
 

1953    37517   28616   15296   2488    83917
        44.7%   34.1%   18.2%   3.0%    100%
 

1963    54050   42560   39950   1600    138220
        39.1%   30.8%   28.9%   1.2%    100%
 

1971    71749   59924   54744   1828    188245
        38.1%   31.8%   29.1%   1.0%    100%
 

1981    93510   74403   86341   2536    256790
        36.4%   29.2%   33.4%   1.0%    100%

NOTE TO ABOVE TABLE: The sharp rise in the Sinhalese
population between 1921 and 1946 was a result of workmen,
mechanics and artisans seeking employment under the British
navy in the naval dockyard, particularly during World War II.
The rise in the Sinhalese population between 1953 and 1963
owed mainly to the Allai and Kanthalai schemes and the
Morawewa scheme from 1963 to 1971. There is also an
adjusted figure for 1981 which includes a further 14,000 for
Padavi Sripura, earlier enumerated under Anuradhapura.
 
 
 
 

 

In the opinion of many Tamils, the objective of the government
is to break the continuity between the Northern and Eastern
Provinces. That is why the Padaviya and Allai schemes were
started on the northern and southern sides of the district. The
Morawewa scheme and the Kanthalai schemes become
dangerous during periods of ethnic tension. They are located
on the Trincomalee - Vavunia and Trincomalee -Kandy roads.
The Allai and the Padaviya schemes  also cause problems on the

Trincomalee-Batticaloa and Trincomalee - Mullaithivu roads.
Trincomalee is virtually under siege now and there is no escape
route for the Tamil population during communal riots.
 
 
 

The following schedule shows that all the governments that
came to power in Sri Lanka since independence had been party
to demographic changes in Trincomalee.

Kanthalai Scheme                        - D.S.Senanayake
Government
Allai Scheme                            - D.S.Senanayake \ Dudley
                          Senanayake   Government
Padaviaya Scheme                        - S.W.R.D Bandaranayake
Government
Morawewa Scheme                         - Srimavo Bandaranyake
Government
Mahadivulwewa Scheme          - J.R. Jayawardne
Government\Gamini
Dissanayake
Weli Oya                                - J R Jayawardane\R.Premadasa

                  Government
Concentration of Security outfits:

All the security forces have major camps and training
academies in Trincomalee. This is rather unusual. The Sri
Lanka Navy has its largest base outside Colombo in
Trincomalee. This is understandable in view of the natural
harbour found here. The Sri Lanka Navy has its Naval and
Maritime Academy within the Trincomalee Dockyard. The Sri
Lanka Navy also has its large agricultural farm at
Kalumuttiyankulam . The Sri Lanka Air Force has a very large
base at China Bay. The Air Force Academy is also located at
China Bay. The Air Force has another base and a farm at
Morawewa. Agricultural schemes with armed forces camps in
middle were unique in Trincomalee. Tamils were progressively
displaced from such areas .

The Sri Lanka Army has several camps in the Trincomalee
District. The historic Fort Frederick houses one major base.
There is another major camp and the Military Engineering
College at Plantain Point. The buildings that housed the Sri
Lanka Forest College at Monkey Bridge presently house
another major camp of the Sri Lanka Army. There are
innumerable smaller camps all over the district. These major
bases and academies play a vital role at the time a population
census taken every 1O years. All the servicemen, their families
and recruits under training are counted during the census. It
can be easily said hat atleast 1O,OOO of the Sinhalese in the
district's population are military personel or are military -
related. This affects the complexion of the population very
much.
 
 

APPENDIX III

Late 7Os and early 8Os : Naked administrative aggression -
Development or Destruction?

Increase of population in an area through genuine national
partnership in developing its resources is a positive gain. Even
communal ratios in population can gradually change when
there is trust to overcome the possibility of polarisation along
communal lines. But when a state that was responsible for the
July 1983 holocaust talks about ethnic ratios when it is
convenient and concentrates huge resources and assiduous
attention in supposedly developing an area, it breeds suspicion.
What is again most singular about the feverish attempts to
develop  Trincomalee in the late 7Os and early 8Os is that
almost none of it was meant to benefit the local people. They
eventually lost both their wealth and security. There could be
many valid and natural reasons why a government would seek
to develop and maintain a high profile around a place so
famous as Trincomalee. It is the communalism of the state that
vitiates the whole exercise. Under normal conditions the local
people would not mind the state taking over land for
development. But here they with good reason feel threatened
by any activity of the state for which the healthier motivations
now seem secondary - whatever these may have been earlier.

The concentration of virtually Sinhalese, rather than national,
armed forces in the district added to the general  insecurity of
the minorities [See below], leading to vividly devastating
effects from 1983 onwards. These overshadow other possibly
valid reasons for their presence.

When communalism and development mix, the result is usually
futile and a drain on resources. This becomes apparent on
perusing the information booklet on Trincomalee published by
the Office of the Chief Sectetary, North-East Province, in
January 1993. From the mid-8Os to the present, the number of
hectares of paddy harvested during the Maha season dropped
from 40 000 to 15 000. The number of metric tonnes of sugar
produced by the Kantalai sugar factory dropped from about
100 000 to 35 000. Ilmenite produced by the mineral sands
corporation at Pulmoddai dropped from 130 000 tonnes to 60
000 tonnes. Only the catch of fish has not changed significantly.

Again, particularly during this period, gigantic tracts of state
and private lands were acquired by or were vested with state
bodies. The projects for which these lands were earmarked
were envisaged to bring in a large influx of Sinhalese. About
5OO acres of state land in China Bay was released to the
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The entire extent of lan, just
over 5000 acres,  from Maddikali to Palampoddaru (Monkey)
Bridge on the eastern side of the Trinco - Kandy Road was
vested in the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. An extent of over
2OOO acres of land off Marble - Bay, in the Karumalaiyoothu
area in the Town and Gravets AGA's Division was reserved
for the Ceylon Tourist Board for tourist development. Land
acquisition proceedings commenced in the early 8Os to take
over all the land - both private and state lands - on the eastern
side of the Trincomalee - Pulmoddai Road from 3rd Mile Post
(Uppuveli) to the Salappai-Aru Bridge, a distance of 11 miles,
for tourist development. Once completed, this could have
deprived Tamils of several thousands of acres of land
belonging to them in Sampalthivu, Athimoddai,
Nilaveli,Gopalapuram and Irakkandy. An extent of about 5OO
acres (originally leased to the late R.G.Senanayake) at
Kumburupiddy was handed over to the National Youth
Services Council to set up a training centre and a farm. About
2OOO acres at Thiriyai was earmarked for use by the State
Cashew Corporation.

Several state-run industrial projects have been established in
the Trincomalee District. Mineral Sands Project at Pulmoddai,
Sugar Factory at Kanthalai, Fisheries Harbour Project at Cod-
Bay, Bulk Petroleum Depot at China Bay are some of these
projects. As we mentioned earlier these projects
overwhelmingly assisted the influx of Sinhalese into the
Trincomalee District. Development projects not only bring in
additional Sinhalese into the district, they also result in the
renaming or creating of villages. There was a proposal to re-
name Pulmoddai, a traditional Muslim village, as
Kanijavelipura. Pudawaikakku, another Muslim village, was
renamed Sagarapura after settling in a few hundreds of
Sinhalese fishing families. We find a model village called
Dhanyagama in China Bay. This is an NHDA assisted housing
scheme to house Prima Flour Mill employees. A large village
called Agbopura has sprung up near the Kanthalai sugar
factory.
How these projects were to influence the demography can be
seen in the case of the Prima Flour Milling Project, the firm
concerned being a private Singapore based firm. It was
arranged that all appointments to it had to be cleared by
GA/Trincomalee. Security reasons were adduced! Thus a
private firm was
compelled to take nearly 8O% Sinhalese as is employees.

State Patronage of Buddhism:

The then Minister of Industries and Scientific Affairs, Cyril
Mathew, embarked on a massive restoration programme of
ancient Buddhist temples. The Seruvila, Vilgam Vihare and
Thiriyai Buddhist temples were restored with the assistance of
the Town and Country Planning Department, the Department
of Archaeology and the other state agencies. The powerful
minister was the chairman of the restoration committees of
these three temples. In addition as the President of the
Federation of Government and State Corporation Employees
Buddhist Societies. (Rajaye Ha Raajya Sangsdha Sevakayihe
Baudha Samithi Sammelanaya) he began to restore several
small Buddhist temples in the Tricomalee District. The Ceylon
Petroleum Corporation was entrusted with the restoration of
Rankiri Ulpotha Buddhist temple in the Gomarankadwala
AGA's division. The Ceylon Plywoods Corporation handled the
restoration of the Ilanthaikulam Buddhist temple in the
Kuchchaveli AGA's division. The restoration of the temple at
Vannathi Palam (Samanala Amuna) was handled by the
Ceylon Steel Corporation.

Against this the fate of Koneswaram Temple and its precincts
which the Hindus wanted declared a sacred area is well known
[See 2.1 & 2]. This request was based on notions of 'sanctity'
very generously subscribed to by the government for one
particular religion. Finally a massive Buddha statue
dominating the vista was erected near Koneswaram Temple. A
reason commonly ascribed for this action is said to be the
premise that this was once the site of the Gokanna Vihare.
There is no supporting evidence for this contention admitted by
serious scholars or archaeological findings. The weightiest of
reasons adduced for this contention is the 'view' of a former
archaeological commissioner, DrE.Godakumbura, 'that the
Bo-tree in front of the Koneswaram Kovil (later cut down) may
have been the ancient historic Bo-tree that was planted at
Gokanna. Another is the discovery in 1945 by the military
authorities of statues of Vishnu and Lakshmi, Vishnu's spouse.
Dr. Godakumbura had argued that Vishnu, a Hindu god, was
very much a god of the Buddhist- being a guardian of
Buddhism in this country [Sun, 9th December 1968 &
Dr.A.H.Mirando in the Island of 7th april 1993].

Further the official approach to lands owned by Hindu temples
and encroachments on these is casual. Some of them are being
acquired by the state [See 2.6].  Lands owned by temples in this
country, whether Buddhist or Hindu, receive their status and
recognition from local tradition  rather than from land deeds.
Consequently legal  registration has been somewhat lax.  When
in a Sinhalese area a piece of land is said to belong to a
Buddhist temple, no one would dare challenge it.  What hurts
the Tamils in Trincomalee is the state itself stepping in to
aquire Hindu temple lands and give them to Sinhalese.

There are some genuine problems here. These lands donated to
temples by individual devotees over the centuries now amount
to a third or more of the land in Trincomalee town. These lands
cannot be sold and are hence leased out to individuals and are
routinely renewed every ten years for a small sum. Since
Hinduism did not enjoy state patronage, the administration of
these lands was by volunteers, often by retired men. Where
administration  was weak, there was encroachment. Over the
last ten years of violence much of the administration has
collapsed with several temples damaged or abandoned.

There may be a case to examine the ownership and use of lands
by religious institutions on a national, non-partisan basis. But
this cannot be tackled in an atmosphere of religious bigotry
with special rules for Trincomalee. Here it is possible to plant  a
Buddhist temple, shrine or statue anywhere, as has happened
in Fort Frederick, and justify it, if necessary, with some
fictitious or barmy historical reference. Recently a piece of land
in town was designated for use by the Red Cross. One official
in the local land office stalled the project by declaring that the
land was of either cultural or archaeological interest! The
reason was that there were a few bo trees on the land. It now
seems that the land is not to be taken over for a Buddhist
purpose as was feared. But it illustrates the long standing fear
born of bitter experience. The bo tree is  a tree of meditation
common to all Indian religions. Now, non-Buddhists in the
North-East and in Trincomalee, in particular, fear the sight of
this tree which is supposed to have a soothing influence.
Several such trees were destroyed as a social service.
Sometimes police sentries have been placed to protect bo trees
from popular vandalism.
 
 

APPENDIX IV

A note on Land Encroachment

Looked at by itself land encroachment is a purely human
problem and has nothing to do with ethnicity. Those living on
encroached lands are usually very poor, often earning their
bare subsistence through menial work or chena (slash & burn)
cultivation. Without the family or social back-up of established
farmers, their sons and daughters have to find their living as
early as their teens. Young couples themselves, lacking in
means of educational advancement, start life on encroached
land - often crown forest reserves. Despite laws against
encroachment, the problem assumed such a magnitude that the
land ministry issued a general order in 1978 to regularise all
encroachments. This benefitted persons from all communities
living on encroached lands. Thus far it was  non-
discriminatory.

Again the discriminatory aspect entered through the manner in
which the security forces and the administrative machinery
favoured one particular community. Let us look at some of
these.

In the early 60s when Mackaiser was GA/Trincomalee, land
along the Kandy Road from the 4th Mile Post (China Bay
Junction) to Monkey Bridge was designated a middle class
scheme. There was a rush among government officers to
acquire lands which were given generously. But the area
lacking the infrastructure of town life, the owners did not go
into occupation and the lands were neglected. Most of it was
encroached by Sinhalese over a number of years. The owners
showed no interest in taking legal action.

Following the violence of 1977, 284 families of Tamil victims  of
Indian and local origin, with others,  settled in Kappalthurai,
partly on land under a middle class cultivation scheme which
had fallen into some neglect. This land is roughly between the
5th Mile Post and Cottiar Bay. These people had a unique
problem. Although many of them were registered citizens,
persons of Indian origin are alone required to produce proof of
citizenship. Most of these people had lost everything including
their documents. Sympathetic land officials could have acted
differently and defended their action. But officialdom in
Trincomalee dominated by a particular kind of Sinhalese used
these victims' disability, maintained that they were all non-
citizens and refused to regularise their encroachments. As
described in 2.3, these people were herded into refugee camps
during June/July 1983 and many were forcibly deported to the
hill country. Subsequently many of them returned. Their
children were attending the Kappalthurai school which also
had a Sinhalese stream and was opened in 1981. During June
1990 these people were driven out again. Presently, as the
result of pressure mounted through the land ministry of the
North-East provincial administration, agreement has
reportedly been reached in re-accomodating 419  Tamil familes
who fled the area- of both Indian and local origin.

We have encountered Palampottaru stage 1 as Pattinipuram in
2.2.5. These are lands between the part of Kandy Road, from
Monkey Bridge to Thambalakamam and the railway tracks.
These lands were alienated to people of Thambalakamam in
the 60s. A few built houses there. Most owners stayed in
Thambalakamam and did cultivation on these lands during the
winter rains. As security deteriorated these lands came in for
neglect and subsequently some of it is said to have been
encroached upon. The main encroachment took place in
Palampottaru Stage 2 which is on the side of the road opposite
stage 1. The land Kacheri for allocations to stage 2 was held
about 1973 and allottees were chosen from all three
communities. Owing to a complaint about the method of
selection, those selected were not given possession of the lands.
But the matter remained suspended without the selections
being cancelled. In due course, particularly in the late 70s or the
early 80s, Sinhalese squatters came into occupation [See 2.2.5].

The Trincomalee District boundary begins a few miles north-
east of Aluth Oya along the (Kandy) Habarana - Trinco Road.
Lands along the road were being encroached by Sinhalese who
did chena cultivation. During the latter 80s they abandoned
these lands owing to Tamil militant activity. They have
returned recently after army positions along the road were
strengthened.

Sinhalese encroachment along the Allai - Kantalai Road ceased
when a number of Tamil militant groups operated in the mid
80s and when later the IPKF was present. After June 1990 the
Sri Lankan army's position has been sufficiently strengthened
for Sinhalese encroachment to resume. Sources in Trincomalee
believe that they receive material inducement from the state as
well as from interested organisations in the South. Ministerial
circles in the late 60s and early 70s, we reliably understand, had
discussed the colonisation of this area as a means of sundering
the continuity of Tamil speaking areas.

Currently, as we have argued [2.2-4], despite the later land
ministry circular of October 1989 forbidding regularisation of
encroachments after this date, Sinhalese encroachments
continue with the circular easily circumvented [See 2.2.3].
Tamils are of course in no position to encroach, leave alone
reoccupy their own lands.

As Appendix II suggests, encroachments seem to do
comparatively little to alter the demographic balance as those
encroaching are often from around that area. The really
significant changes have come through the big colonisation
schemes. On the other hand regularisation of encroachments
does nothing to solve key long term problems. Its chief merit is
that it costs the state nothing. Encroachers as a class continue
to be poor and deprived with poor education and no social
mobility as also their children are likely to be. As experience
increasingly shows, in a competitive environment, small land
holders lack the ability for profitable capital intensive farming
and are likely to sell their lands for a modest price if some
entrepreneur with money comes along.

Again the environmental aspects have hardly been gone into.
The North-East still has a large proportion of the country's
diminishing forest reserves. These are down from 8O% to 2O%
of the land area in 1OO years. Should these be further
impaired simply for the joy of making some of its districts
Sinhalese majority areas? Conservation of wild-life is again
both a moral as well as an ecological issue so far largely
ignored. The point where the Allai-Kantalai road crosses the
Mahaveli river is one from which the herd and family lives of
wild elephants can be regularly observed. How long will this
last? As mentioned earlier colonisation and land settlement has
been virtually an affair of political gerrymandering with
nothing else taken into account. The associated social problems
and the need for viable employment seem to require very
different solutions [See also 8.2].
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

APPENDIX V

The Resolution by the Council of the University of Jaffna, the
LTTE press release and our note.
 

The Vice-chancellor's Letter:

University of Jaffna,

16th November, 1992
 

 University Teachers for Human Rights - Jaffna Branch

The following resolution was passed at the 142nd meeting of
the Council of University of Jaffna held on January 18, 1992:-

" It has been brought to the notice of the Council of University
of Jaffna that a publication titled " Human rights in Jaffna" has
been put out in the name of the University Teachers for Human
Rights -Jaffna Branch.

The council wishes to inform the public that this publication is
neither a publication of the University of Jaffna nor any of its
teachers are associated with this publication.
 
signed.
                                                        Prof.A. Thurairajah
 Vice - Chancellor.
 
 

Excerpts from the LTTE's Press release:-

54, Tavistock Place,
London WC1H 9RG
United Kingdom
22 -O2 -1993

 Press Release

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) deny
accusations reported in the London daily press the Guardian
and the Independent on Wednesday, 17 February 1993. The
allegations of torture and murder of prisoners said to have
come from reports published by an organisation called the
University of Teachers for Human Rights. It is clear that
accusations are baseless and aimed at discrediting the LTTE in
the eyes of the international community. The organisation
calling itself the University of Teachers for Human Rights
(Jaffna) is not based in Jaffna and we understand that the
reports are written in Colombo and in London without any
knowledge of the conditions prevailing in the Tamil homeland.
Furthermore, in a resolution adopted on 16 January 1992 the
council of the University of Jaffna has informed the public that
the publications of the University Teachers for Human Rights
(Jaffna) are neither those of the University of Jaffna
nor any of its teachers are associated with the publications.
(The
copy of the statement is herewith attached).
 
 
 
 
 

"Whilst it is true that the LTTE is in control of territory in the
North-East, the character of the control exercised by a
guerrilla organisation, cannot be equated to the control
exercised by the established Sri Lankan government
structure.......

..." It is a fact that some Tamil groups are actively engaged
along with the Government forces and have been sent to
infiltrate the areas within LTTE control and gather intelligence
and do sabotage and it has become necessary to apprehend
such spies.

"Despite these conditions of hardship, in areas where the LTTE
has succeeded in establishing a stable administration, adequate
law enforcement machinery has been established. The arrests
are made by the police and records of arrests are maintained at
police stations. Prisoners are kept in custody in accordance
with local and international law until inquiries are completed
and at all times treated humanely. At a particular time not
more than 200 prisoners were kept in detention pending
completion of the investigation of alleged offenses including
treason and spying....

"The LTTE wish to say that it will not be deterred by attempts
of faceless persons or organisations to tarnish its image but
will continue to strive for human rights and the right of self
determination of the Tamil people.

International secretariat,
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Our Note:

1.The Council Resolution:

The resolution passed in January 1992, issued to the Colombo
press shortly afterwards and evidently reissued ten months
later on request, says nothing. No publication with the title
"Human rights in Jaffna" was ever issued by us. If the council
wanted to distance itself from the UTHR(Jaffna), why did it do
so in such vague indecisive terms?

The Vice Chancellor himself was a co-chairman of the national
UTHR which was founded in 1988 and continued to be closely
associated with the UTHR(Jaffna).The first three reports were
issued during the time of the IPKF presence and they
documented human rights violations by the IPKF, other
militant groups and the LTTE. There  were posters in
university campuses in the South praising the vice -chancellor
of Jaffna for his courageous stand in being associated with
these reports. Almost half the staff of the university filled in
membership forms. Following the assassination of Dr.Rajani
Thiranagama and the LTTE taking control of Jaffna, the
willingness to publicly associate with the UTHR(J) sharply
declined and indeed became dangerous.

The war started in June 199O, and one member who returned
from the United States after his short spell at Harvey Mudd
College, California was asked to stay in Colombo by his
colleagues.

Reports 4,5 and Special Reports 1,2 & 3 were released during
this time.
The last outwardly active member of UTHR(J) fled Jaffna in
September 199O narrowly evading the LTTE's attempt to
abduct him.

Higher authorities from the University of Jaffna who visited
Colombo informed the University Grants Commission that the
two members of the UTHR(J) will face danger from the LTTE.

Accordingly when the university resumed sessions in
November 199O these two staff members and a Muslim staff
member were placed on special leave.

On instructions from the university the salaries of these two
staff members were paid by the University Grants Commission
in Colombo up to April 1991.

Since the threat faced by these members was real even in the
South, they had to keep a low profile. But they, with others,
continue to collect information regarding human rights
violations by all forces, including the LTTE. These are
published  and distributed in the name of the UTHR(J).
Although leading members of the UTHR(J) were forced to
leave Jaffna, they had not voluntarily done so. They have
visited the East and parts of the North outside the Jaffna
peninsula to gather information. From their contacts in Jaffna
they continue to receive information which is published in the
reports. The quality and integrity are for others to judge.

In May 1991 the vice chancellor,Jaffna, without explanation
informed these two staff members that they have been vacated
from their positions. One member whose sabbatical (an earned
entitlement) was then due was refused his request to take his
earned leave. Later another letter was sent to one member
stating that his vacation of post was back dated to July 199O.
All these unprecedented steps were taken, without
explanation, against the background of the vice chancellor
repeatedly saying that these two academics could not come to
Jaffna and promising that every thing will be sorted out as
soon as the situation changes.

In the meantime the UGC and the vice chancellor, Jaffna
expressed their wish to find an amicable solution accepting
that the situation is very abnormal. We do not want to go into
detail on these matters as it would place an awkward burden
on the university authorities. Nor can we believe that an
institution conscious  of its obligations as a university and
functioning in a healthy environment, would abandon very
basic administrative norms to deal with academic staff whose
opinions are far from being a threat to civilisation.

In the meantime the trade unions University Teachers
Association, Jaffna, and the University Science Teachers
Association, Jaffna, also came out with statements ostensibly
dissociating themselves from the UTHR(J). Their statements
merely stated in effect that the UTHR(J) has nothing to do with
them. This is infact trivially true. The UTHR(J) never claimed
that it was part of the UTA or the USTA, Jaffna. Merely
dissociating themselves from the UTHR(J) without challenging
what its reports are saying  reflects the real situation in which
the university staff unions, and the university as a whole, are
functioning.
 
The decision of vacation of post against members of the
UTHR(J) is far from settled. The extra- ordinary situation in
which these decisions were taken obliged us to handle this issue
carefully. Although we feel that the general authoritarian
approach of the university administration has also played a
role in this decision, we would still like the university system,
including the UGC, to handle it creatively and solve the
problem. If the higher educational institutions can not function
with a sense of responsibility  respecting proper procedures
reflecting basic principles, then the future looks bleak indeed.

Our Reports 1 to 7 and Special Reports 1 to 3 were already in
existence at the time the decision to vacate the  two members
was taken. The council may, if it so wishes, make its resolution
technically correct by passing a fresh resolution informing the
public that none of its teachers is openly associated with any
reports of the UTHR(J) other than the above.

2.The LTTE's statement.
As for the baselessness of allegations made in our reports, the
LTTE would have done well to address similar, and by the
nature of the bodies making them, far more damaging
allegations made in the Amnesty International Report of
February 1993 and the Article XIX document of August 1992.
Both these were in existence and had enjoyed considerable
circulation at the time the LTTE statement was made. Any
human rights organisation worth its salt would consult a
variety of sources and have good reasons for making such
serious charges. We repeat ours.

We learnt from a number of sources that Thunukkai camp
when in existence had about 3000 detainees. There were
several other camps holding between 30 to  200 detainees. The
public in Jaffna was well aware that a designated LTTE camp
where inquiries could be made had a list of about 2000
detainees in September 1990.The list did not include all the
detainees. Particularly those involved in political work were
not included. Our sources have been former detainees, escaped
and released, LTTE sympathisers uncomfortable about the
atmosphere of lies, and others who have now left the LTTE. As
for the LTTE's treatment of detainees and disarmed members
of other groups, there are several former members of the LTTE
in Europe and North- America who are willing to testify.

The LTTE's arguments against the legitimacy of the UTHR(J)
are two- fold. The first is that unlike its office personnel in
London, others writing from Colombo or London are not
supposed to have any knowledge of conditions prevailing in
the 'Tamil homeland'- presumably meaning the part of the
North under its rule. It is a clear admission that the LTTE is
running a very closed and suffocating set up without coming to
terms with the power of the human spirit, and the natural urge
of conscientious citizens to dissent from its totalitarian regime.
It is also an admission that an organisation like the UTHR(J)
will not be allowed to exist in Jaffna.

The second is based on the legality of our status in the
university which we have already dealt with above. That the
vice chancellor, Jaffna, has to reissue a council statement after
10 months,which is then circulated from the London address
above, says much.

The authors of the LTTE press release have drawn the wrong
inference from the council statement - which does not deal with
'publications' of the UTHR(J), but with just one publication
which does not exist. This contrasts with their care in
reproducing misnomers (University of Teachers ...) and can
hardly be other than deliberate.