UTHR (J) Jaffna Branch Report No. 8
Date: 4 Nov 91

                         C O N T E N T S

Chapter                                                     Pages

0         PREFACE                                           0

1         THE WAR - ONE YEAR ON                             1

          1.1  Introduction                                 1
          1.2       A Confrontation in Batticaloa           2
                  -The State's Nelsonian Eye
          1.3       The Political Establishment             4
                    and the Media
          1.4       The Glamour of Militarism, Liberal      5
                    Sentiments and People's Aspirations
          1.5       The Government Forces                   7
          1.6       Whither Sri Lanka?                      8

2         BATTICALOA AND AMPARAI DISTRICTS                  10

          2.1       General                                 10

          2.2       Reports                                 13
          2.2.1     The Massacre at Sathurukondan           13
          2.2.2     Savukkady                               15
          2.2.3     Siththandy                              15
          2.2.4     Mrs.Yamuna Venudas                      16
          2.2.5     Father and Son                          16
          2.2.6     Batticaloa : July 1990                  17
          2.2.7     Batticaloa : The disappearances         17
                    of April-May
          2.2.8     Iruthayapuram killings                  19
          2.2.9     Kuthiraivilunthamadu : June             20
          2.2.10    Vantharumoolai: 8th June                21
          2.2.11    Siththandykkudy: June                   22
          2.2.12    Hulannuge: 27th June                    22
          2.2.13    Pottakkulam: July                       23
          2.2.14    Kalmunai: 22nd July                     23
          2.3       The People are for beating: Kiran       24

3.        THE KOKKADICHCHOLAI MASSACRE & AFTER              30

          3.1       The Massacre: 12th June 1991            30
          3.1.1     Kokkadichcholai                         30

          3.1.2     12th June                               32
          3.1.3     After June 12th                         37
          3.1.4     In Batticaloa                           39
          3.1.5     Rape                                    40
          3.1.6     What was behind the incident            41
          3.1.7     How the people fare                     42
          3.1.8     The Politics behind Massacres           43

          3.2       Incidents after the Kokkadichcholai     45
          3.2.1     Palugamam: 28th June                    45
          3.2.2     Massacre at Kinniyadi: 10th July        46
          3.2.3     Chithaandi: 27th July                   47

          3.3       A History of Obfuscation                48

4.        THE MUSLIM SAGA                                   50

          4.1       Aliens in their own Land                50
          4.2       People as targets                       54
          4.2.1     Kottiar Bay                             54
          4.2.2     Polonnaruwa police area                 54

          4.3       How do Muslims perceive their           55
          4.4       Muslims in the South                    60
          4.5       Are Muslims different?                  61

5.        THE NORTH                                         66

          5.1       Jaffna: The Unseen Battle and           66
                    the Propsect of Total War
          5.1.1     The mood of total war                   66
          5.1.2     The South                               67
          5.1.3     The use of bombing and shelling         68
          5.1.4     Disappearances and Massacres            70
          5.1.5     The War against historical memory       70
          5.1.6     Breaking the colts                      72
          5.1.7     Mobilising the civilian population      73
          5.1.8     In conclusion                           74

          5.2       Crackdown in the University of          75

          5.3       Martyred at Silavaththurai              79

          5.4       Jaffna Fort : The Propaganda            80
                    and the message

          5.5       The Vanni                               81
          5.5.1     Disappeared in Vavuniya: 1st February   81
          5.5.2     Uyilankulam: April                      82

                          P R E F A C E

     The theme of this report, as the title suggests is the
     relationship between the large scale violation of human rights
     by government  forces on one hand, and on the other how this
     is used by the LTTE, not just to legitimise its increasing
     repression in the North, but also to interfere with basic
     freedoms in such a manner as to build the ideological and
     social machinery for total war. The conduct of the government
     forces in the East, characterised by arrogance, massacres and
     disappearances, and the LTTE's massacres of Sinhalese and
     Muslim civilians, as we have pointed out in earlier reports,
     reinforce the two pernicious and  opposing ideologies. Our
     inquiries also suggest that the appointment of a commission of
     inquiry into the massacre at Kokkadichcholai has failed to
     arrest the spate of violations by the armed forces, whose mood
     is increasingly characterised by self imposed frustration and

     If one's aim is to divide this country and its people, one
     could adopt destruction as one's main weapon and it is very
     easy when the other side is also like-minded. How much of
     Jaffna society has been destroyed is evident from a remark
     made by a traveller from those now distant parts, "The people
     in general are not at all serious about Eelam. They are afraid
     of the government and are simply thinking of survival. In
     coming to justify this war of survival, as many see it, they
     have also come to accept torture, disappearances, deceit and
     killing as necessary. The level of public morality has
     plummeted to a level, where to talk about ideals like
     socialism, as in bygone days, has no meaning. We need to start
     from slogans about the value of life." Those in other parts of
     the country have been through similar experiences at various
     times and the comment of this observer has thus a wider

     On the other hand those whose stated aim is to unite the
     country and its people, must not just be creative, so as to
     overcome the inertia of recent history, but must also show a
     much greater moral commitment. Sadly, we do not see a
     concerted endeavour in this direction.

     The following remarks are for the reader who will find this
     volume tiresome reading at one sitting. The main theme is
     covered in chapters 2,3 and 5. The priorities can be gleaned
     from the contents page. Chapter 1 reflects on issues brought
     to the surface by a year of war. Chapter 4  deals with the
     dilemmas faced by an important minority among the Tamil
     speaking people - the Muslims. This can be read as an
     independent feature.

     We wish to thank a number of individuals, organisations and
     institutions, without whose help the research for, and the
     production of this report would not have been possible.
                          CHAPTER 1
       THE WAR - ONE YEAR ON : 11TH JUNE 1990-AUGUST 1991

     When the war began a year ago the state appeared to be in a
     strong position. Many thought that the state had learnt from
     a decade of blundering, while the LTTE had made many enemies
     among its own people. The LTTE's triumphal entry into
     Batticaloa in December 1989 resulted in 200-300 TNA conscripts
     being massacred under the gloating eye of the Sri Lankan
     government. So little did the LTTE care for the dignity and
     security of Tamils, that the remains of these hapless victims
     were towed away in municipal rubbish trucks for disposal. It
     was the same wherever the LTTE went. Only, unlike for the
     Easterner, the LTTE had a little tactical concern for the
     squeamishness of the Jaffna man and his expatriate contacts.
     He was thus spared such a public exhibition  as in May 1986
     when TELO cadre were massacred where the public display was
     less in extent. In the North the deeds were done in secret
     places - in lone cemeteries and in the Palk Straits. The Sri
     Lankan forces gleefully obliged with aerial and naval support,
     until 7 months later, on 11th June 1990, the government
     seemingly woke up to discover that  the "law of the land" was
     in need of restoration. It nevertheless set about the task
     turning the law into utter shambles.

     To the Sri Lankan state's misfortune, it was drunk with the
     heady wine of success against the JVP, and its hands were
     dripping with the blood of slain southern youth. President
     Premadasa's promise of June 1990, to do to the LTTE what was
     done to the JVP, was a bad omen. The specificities of an
     ethnic struggle were not appreciated. While those disenchanted
     with the government and the JVP in the South had other
     functioning opposition parties to fall back on, once the
     government by its actions cornered the Tamils collectively,
     the only functioning alternative the Tamils had was the LTTE.
     For those who rejected both, the course was thorny, untried
     and uncertain, often hunted by both the warring parties.
     When the war commenced, it looked as if the LTTE had
     miscalculated. Its initial weakness was evident in the
     precipitate abandonment of well bunkered defensive positions
     in the Batticaloa District. But venality combined with
     obtuseness on the part of the state, linked to the LTTE's
     readiness to prosecute the war without any obligation of
     responsibility and no concern for lives, worked to the
     latter's advantage. Needless to say that the Tamil people lost

1.2  A Confrontation in Batticaloa - the State's Nelsonian Eye:
     The scene was the Town Hall in Batticaloa, about a week before
     the tragedy in Kokkadichcholai of 12th June 1991. Addressing
     the people of Batticaloa, the Prime Minister asked them to
     forget the past and informed them that normality had been
     restored. With the PM on the platform were service chiefs
     serving in the region, with some clergy and others sent up to
     improve the decor. Some of the leading citizens who had been
     assured that the occasion would be more than a monologue were
     dismayed when the PM proceeded to walk off the platform on
     finishing his piece. In a gesture of apology, the DIG of
     Police who accompanied the PM stopped him next to a Jesuit
     Priest who was introduced.

     The elderly Jesuit, a member of the Batticaloa Peace
     Committee, told the PM firmly, "You must not believe what is
     in the papers. There is a lot of fear in Batticaloa. As long
     as there is fear and uncertainty there can be no normality.
     About 12 persons have disappeared in the last week." He then
     proceeded to name persons, some of whom had been picked off in
     public view. One of them, Mariyadas, a mechanic, had only the
     previous evening repaired the Police Superintendent's type-
     writer. There followed an exchange where the PM attempted to
     push the line that now there was nothing to fear, things are
     looking brighter and that disappearances would taper off. A
     few feet behind in the PM's entourage was a general who,
     listening to this exchange, had been getting  worked up.  As
     the PM moved off to his next audience, the general came
     towards the priest, his forefinger wagging. "Father, you must
     know there is a war going on", he blurted, "In a war people
     die. People disappear. Look what happened in Japan!". One
     wonders who calls the shots here, the General or the PM?

     Next week the Kokkadichcholai massacre happened and others
     less known followed. The PM too returned. The manner in which
     he was prevented from meeting the victims, even in Batticaloa
     town, made it obvious that he was not calling the shots. In
     the meantime the list of missing persons with the Batticaloa
     Peace Committee, mostly from an area within a 10 mile radius
     of Batticaloa, climbed to about 2500.

     It was evident that the army was in no mood to reflect on its
     collosal failure. It was operating in the same frame of mind
     as when confronting the JVP in the South. This is also
     reflected in a recent interview the Army Chief, General
     Hamilton Wanasinghe, gave `The Observer'. He said that unlike
     the Sinhalese public which supplied information that helped to
     crush the JVP, the Tamil public is not doing so because of a
     fear of the LTTE. The corollary to this, as the late Defence
     Minister, Gen.Ranjan Wijeratne, said almost explicitly during
     the anti-JVP campaign, is that the state must become a greater
     source of terror to the ordinary people than its adversary.

     A senior member of the Batticaloa Peace Committee said that
     they did not raise issues when the LTTE was in charge, nor did
     they do any documentation on human rights violations by the
     group, because it pretended to be everything and was not
     interested in talking to or tolerating anyone else. That some
     officers of the state now appeared to be responsive was
     appreciated, although little that was tangible had happened.
     If the state was creative, it should have built on this by
     conferring dignity and accountability to the people, thus
     rebuilding its legitimacy in the nation building process,
     rather than contemptuously reiterating how the people were
     silent under the LTTE's regime.

1.3  The Political Establishment and the Media
     What is even worse is that the political establishment has not
     found the capacity to tell the people the truth that great
     blunders have been made, not just by past governments, but by
     this government as well, and that this history will have to be
     re-evaluated and its direction changed. Instead it has allowed
     the army and ordinary people to take the punishment for its
     absence of direction, while it plays its desultory games. The
     current one is an attempt to prove that Mrs.Bandaranaike
     through her electoral ally Chandrasekaran of the UPF, supplied
     arms to the LTTE - a charge very remote from known facts. Such
     are only seen as ploys to divert attention from  shameful
     dealings of the governments.

     In the current drift, what the Sinhalese public is told is
     extremely unhelpful. While the press is taken to task for the
     slightest adverse comment about leading politicians, the
     Sinhalese press in particular, is full off chauvinist crap
     that can only be described as rabble rousing. Attempts to send
     food to starving Jaffna folk were decried as feeding the
     Tigers and individuals involved in such attempts are ascribed
     sinister connections without a shred of factual support.

     Armed forces personnel fed on such crap can only be more
     undisciplined and alienating in their actions. Such reporting
     is obviously a contributory factory to the shelling of the
     civilian population in Jaffna and the indignity to which
     ordinary Tamils are subject even in Colombo, through sheer
     ignorance and prejudice.

     In keeping with a politics that denies the people dignity and
     intelligence, the state of hysterical insularity among the
     Sinhalese people, combined with indiscipline among the forces,
     is dangerously reminiscent of the state of mind resulting in
     the tragedy of July 1983. Chauvinism - whether of the
     Sinhalese variety or the Tamil - makes a people small,
     foolish, and then violent.

1.4  The Glamour of Militarism, Liberal Sentiments and
     Aspirations of the people:
     During July  1991 the LTTE launched its largest operation to
     dislodge the army from the Elephant Pass camp. Preparations
     had been going on for a few months by welding girders and
     improvised armour plating onto tractors which were used to
     make suicidal thrusts to breach defences. It also showed that
     with the community cornered by ruthlessly crushing any
     political alternative, rendered fools, and the young
     brainwashed into thinking that they had only alternative forms
     of death to choose between, the LTTE could wage a war without
     any concern for lives. Victory or martyrdom - both abounded to
     the greater glory of the leadership.

     By now the LTTE was being credited with being a conventional
     army carrying the Tamil struggle to a new glorious peak. For
     those whose eyes have been largely on the military aspect of
     the struggle, the LTTE'S performance at Elephant Pass was
     symbolic of a strong liberation movement, enjoying massive
     support from the people. These were also sentiments of  the
     very  people who have ignored ordinary Tamils  their tragedy,
     their helplessness caught between the callousness of two
     forces, and the resignation with which they watch their young
     being cajoled, spirited away and then cornered into an abject
     fate. Despite their stated repugnance for violence, without
     depth of understanding, many socalled liberals become admirers
     of violent success and contemptuous of ordinary people and
     their less romantic aspirations. Their shallowness is such
     that they forget  the lessons of history where the sudden
     collapse of societies after astounding military successes, has
     shown them to have been hollow within. What is of greater
     significance is the corrosive influences that are legitimised
     within a society ever trapped into opting for pure
     militarisation, spurning every sane alternative and pretending
     that such do not exist.
     Thus those, including editors in the South, who have been
     obsessed with the military scene and have persistently ignored
     the Tamil people, suddenly plunge into awe for the LTTE,
     silence  their war drums and speak of finding a political
     solution. Elephant Pass suddenly wakes the government and the
     opposition  into mooting a parliamentary select committee to
     seek a political solution after years of head smashing and
     foot dragging. Thus the inertia of the Sinhala chauvinism of
     the southern polity in the end only leads naturally to
     admiration and legitimisation of the destructiveness of the

     One need not go far to discover the ignorance of those who
     romanticise the LTTE. If the people of Jaffna are squarely and
     wholeheartedly behind the LTTE, why does everything in Jaffna
     have to be a lie - from senior academics who say, `one day we
     must all become great heroes', and are then not prepared to
     take up stands when students are taken away over false
     allegations, saying it is dangerous to talk about it, or send
     their own children to Colombo; to the Diocesan Council of a
     church that wants the government to appoint a commission to go
     into disappearances in the South as if it cared for the
     Sinhalese while actually being silent on the continuing
     massacres of Sinhalese and Muslims by the LTTE; to the leading
     Hindu religious personality who privately laments the politics
     which drives our youth along the path of suicide and then
     speaks on LTTE platforms?

     Ordinary people  who feel the tragedy in their bones, despite
     the burden imposed on them by the community's history and by
     external factors, through all the ambivalence and confusion
     long for the time they can live in truth.

     Every life that is snuffed out, whether martyr, traitor or
     civilian, makes it more difficult for the LTTE to adopt a
     reformist course and face up to its responsibility for this
     tragedy. What has been evident is a rise in hysteria and
     sadism in the group which binds the Tamils in a fatal plunge.

     This is nowhere more evident than in the movement's
     unspeakable attitude to Muslims. Some of the worst blunders
     made by the Sinhalese polity in respect of Tamils are being
     inflicted on the Muslims by a group styling itself a
     liberation movement of Tamils. Can any political force
     exercise benign power in the North-East through humiliating
     the Muslims and ruling by coercion alone?

1.5  The Government Forces
     If these forces showed some confidence in March and some
     tendency to strike an enlightened course of not punishing the
     Tamil people, these signs have been overshadowed. The gains
     then made by stopping the aerial bombardment of Jaffna and
     easing the supply of food and medicine have been thrown away.
     The new bout of killing civilians through massacres in the
     East marks a disintegration of discipline in the ranks, and an
     incapacity for conceptual reassessment at the top. The fact
     that the appointment of a commission to go into the massacre
     at Kokkadichcholai has made little impact in the day to day
     behaviour of the army is indeed disturbing. The officers, even
     if they have the will, appear too frightened to probe deeply
     and impose discipline [see reports].

     In village after village in the East it becomes very evident
     that the cause of the army's discomfiture is the license it
     received to breach the law and inflict pain without
     accountability. In many villages the young are missing. The
     army did not give them the option of staying at home. Many of
     the remaining adults have been beaten repeatedly, often to the
     point of disablement.
     The only redeeming feature is that several of the intelligent
     officers have understood the problem at far greater depth than
     the political establishment or the press in the South. An STF
     officer told a citizen in the East, "The root of the problem
     is the inconsistency of the government. They have their talks
     and make their pacts and accords. When these break down we are
     sent in again. We lose our men and do the same horrible things
     to the Tamils. Whom can the Tamils then trust?  They cannot
     trust the government and they cannot trust us. So they have to
     be with the LTTE."

1.6  Whither Sri Lanka?
     We have stressed in previous reports that the most hopeful way
     forward is for the democratic forces in the South to rise to
     the occasion and force the government to take responsibility
     for the Tamil people. If the government takes the initiative
     to respect the human rights of its people and give them
     dignity as people of this country, the humiliation of having
     to bow to ambivalent strictures regarding human rights from
     other powers can be avoided. One of the first tasks is to
     defuse colonisation as a running sore. The Sinhalese
     settlement in Weli-Oya has been much vaunted as a scheme to
     sunder the contiguity of the Tamil region. High ranking STF
     men have admitted privately that there are `political reasons'
     why security is being witheld for Tamils to go back to
     Pottuvil, Veeramunai, Malwattai and Central Camp, from where
     Tamils were killed or driven away by the forces last year.
     [see Special Report No.3]. Such moves by the government are
     stupid besides being wicked, because they perversely
     legitimise any action in these areas from attacks on troops to
     massacring civilians.  The LTTE gains in legitimacy when
     people  come to believe that only the LTTE and its methods can
     teach the government a lesson and make it wilt. There must
     also be a credible inquiry, with a view to providing redress
     on account of those thousands brutally murdered by the forces.
     A chauvinistic politics has taught Tamils to blame everyone
     but themselves. The motivating slogan of this politics is that
     the Sinhalese cannot be trusted. The consequent disintegration
     of trust among Tamils themselves is seldom acknowledged. To
     stubbornly insist that Sinhalese cannot be trusted is not just
     a slap in the face to those who attempt genuine
     reconciliation, but leaves the Tamils with just two
     destructive alternatives. For this politics to succeed, it
     must constantly work to close every new crack in the ideology
     of Sinhalese chauvinism in order to go on maintaining that
     Sinhalese cannot be trusted. This is part of the logic behind
     massacring Sinhalese and conniving at massacres of Tamils
     through provoking the worst instincts of the state and the
     people. On the other hand if the state shows greater restraint
     and sophistication, it could seriously embarrass the LTTE
                           CHAPTER  2


2.1  General

     The major event in this region during the period covered by
     this report is the massacre at Kokkadichcholai, where ever a
     hundred civilians, mostly women, children and elderly persons
     were killed and burnt by troops. There had been many incidents
     during this war resulting in a large number of disappearances,
     and several massacres with comparable or greater loss of life.
     But this has been the first to receive widespread publicity,
     and a presidential commission has been appointed to go into

     This situation contrasts with that prevailing particularly in
     the Amparai District last year, where isolated communities
     were served by priests travelling long and lonely roads on
     motor cycles. Not only were such clergymen vulnerable (e.g.
     Fr.Selvarajah Saverimuttu of Sorikalmunai), but many of the
     massacres which then took place have not come to light. [See
     Special Report No.3]. Thus the press in the South was able to
     pretend that the army had fought a disciplined war, until, and
     very unfortunately, Kokkadichcholai happened. What we show
     here and in the next chapter, is that the incident at
     Kokkadichcholai was part of a pattern of army indiscipline and
     lawlessness. As a nemesis of its own methods, a feeling of
     weakness and defeatism has crept upon the army. The general
     sentiments such as the  need for a political solution, that
     this war is not against the Tamil people etcetera are not
     being transformed into concrete deeds in every day happenings,
     by at least introducing  an  institutional input into the
     military machinery, to ensure that its conduct is consistent
     with those political goals.

     Because of the importance gained by the Kokkadichcholai
     incident, we cover it in a separate chapter. The appointment
     of a commission, despite a great deal of visible obfuscation,
     does provide an opportunity to bring about some institutional
     change for the benefit of the people. It is also hoped that
     this will not be treated as just an isolated incident.

     Both the STF and the army which control this area, have become
     prisoners of the consequences of their own  atrocious conduct,
     particularly last year. They have found themselves fitting
     into a mould of coercion, casualties and reprisals in an
     unstable environment.

     Because of the ingrained habit among the forces of punishing
     the Tamils, and of frequent nastiness towards the young, there
     is a simmering militancy among  Tamil youth leading to steady
     recruitment by the LTTE. For there is no other force to give
     them creative direction and hope for the future. In many
     villages, particularly in the interior, there are few young
     males left.  We take one village, Kiran, [Section 2.3] and
     describe the experiences of the people there. We also give a
     typical incident in one interior village, Palugamam, of the
     kind that is bound to have serious repercussions for the
     Tamils as well as the army. This is one among several which
     happened after the appointment of the commission.

     In the STF controlled areas too there is a great deal of fear
     among the young. Young persons are regularly picked up from
     market places and off the roads and are beaten in camps during
     questioning. In the lanes one does come across young persons
     asking `Are the commandos on the roads?' before proceeding.
     During June, in Kallar, an O'Level student left home in a
     group of 14 LTTE recruits, after telling his mother that he
     would rather die fighting,  than die sitting at home - an
     understandable sentiment among most recruits. The mother not
     just lost her son, she is now harassed by the STF and other

     There is a particular spot on the outskirts of Batticaloa
     where persons sent extortion letters are asked to report to
     the LTTE. Some are taken westwards in the night, across the
     main road a short distance from the army camp,to where they
     are held. Soldiers sitting in their camps by night know that
     the LTTE is out there, moving freely. They become angry and
     blame the people rather than their methods. Massacres are
     often the outcome of such anger.

     Most members of the middle class in this region are very
     resentful of extortion by the LTTE. For this impoverished
     middle class, receiving an extortion letter not just causes
     fear and anxiety, but leads to so many other problems. For one
     thing they just cannot afford it - a retired teacher from
     Thurainilawanai with unsettled daughters, left for Batticaloa
     after receiving a note of demand for one lakh of rupees.
     Further, if they go to the particular area to meet the LTTE,
     the news spreads. They are then harassed by the forces and the
     other groups would demand from them the same amount paid to
     the LTTE.

     Extortion is an important cause of people in the region being
     deprived of necessary services. Early this year, the last
     Tamil doctor in Kalmunai left after receiving an extortion
     note. In Batticaloa, it is said that the services of many NGOs
     have suffered because many of their senior Tamil employees
     have received extortion notes, and are thus not willing to go
     too far from Batticaloa. Thus after the incident at
     Kokkadichcholai, only two church organisations took relief
     into the area. The other NGOs distributed relief from
     Thalankuda, on the other side of the lagoon.

     Most of those who received extortion notes appear to be
     sitting tight, accumulating grey hairs. To them it must surely
     be a strong temptation to go abroad and become vocal LTTE
     supporting expatriates, rather than serve the people at home.
     Isolated Muslims are being picked off by the LTTE. Notices
     have appeared to the effect, "Pardon for Kattankudy, Death to
     Eravur and Inquiry for Oddaimavady".  Some Muslims were told
     by a well-disposed Tamil who went for an extortion interview,
     that he was promised a bungalow in the Muslim village of
     Kattankudy in return for paying the LTTE. As for the LTTE's
     intentions, the Muslims fear the worst. The Muslims have thus
     been given no choice but to depend on the forces.

     Tamils too on the other hand have come to depend on the
     forces. Tamils travelling from Batticaloa would not pass
     through Eravur unless there is an army picket on the road. The
     LTTE also appears to have taken up the position but it would
     not allow any civil administration to function unless it is
     given full control. Thus army and police pickets have been
     needed even to bring food into Batticaloa, after the LTTE
     burnt 3 food lorries near Kiran last November. Bus services
     and train services have also needed pickets to function.

     Thus early in the morning to late in the evening one finds
     lines of anxious young men along Trincomalee Road, stepping
     gingerly on the tarred edges of the road, an automatic in one
     hand and a rake in the other, to ferret suspicious looking
     bits of soil for mines. As experience has shown, these are
     also the times they are most vulnerable. When there are no
     pickets, the traffic ceases. When a mine explodes, the local
     people see the other face of the army.

     2.2  Reports
     2.2.1  The massacre at Sathurukondan:  9th September 1990:
     The village of Sathurukondan, Kokuvil and Panniyachchiady lie
     just beyond Iruthayapuram, the northern suburb of Batticaloa.
     Kokuvil is an ancient village. But much of this area was
     settled recently as demand for land in Batticaloa increased.
     During the evening sunset, the view from the huge lotus tank
     at Kokkuvil is one of astounding beauty, with a large variety
     of wild birds flitting along undisturbed. It is a refreshing
     sight for a Jaffna man, coming from a place where the lotus
     has ceased to bloom and the ponds devoid of life. The tank at
     Kokuvil was full at this time of the year because the fields
     in the vicinity lie uncultivated. It is only now that the
     survivors have began to trickle back, following the tragedy of
     last September. What follows complements our earlier account
     of the tragedy. The date given in Report No.7 is also

     At 5.30 p.m. on 9th September 1990, armed men in uniform and
     in civilian clothes came into the area and ordered everyone to
     come on to the road. They were then marched to the army camp
     in the vicinity after being told that they would be questioned
     and released. Since these were troubled times, many had gone
     into the town and those remaining were mostly elderly, women
     and the very young.

     What follows is taken from an account recorded on tape, given
     by the only survivor, Kanthasamy Krishnakumar (21). The
     recording was made before leading citizens in Batticaloa: "50
     commandos walked about 150 of us to the Saturukondan army
     camp, which we reached about 7.00 or 8.00 p.m. Four were
     separated from the rest, attacked with swords and kris knives
     and were pulled away out of the camp. All were then taken to
     one place, attacked and burnt with tyres..."

     Krishnakumar who was injured, managed to roll out of sight in
     the semi-darkness, crept away to a house and asked for water.
     He then went to his village and stayed in an empty house, and
     later found his way to his cousin's in Batticaloa town.

     The list of victims totals 184 (Sathurukondan - 38, Kokuvil -
     47, Panniachchiady - 37 and Pillayarady - 62). Of this number,
     there were 47 children below the age of 10 and several women.

     2.2.2 Savukkady : 20th September 1990:
     31 were taken by the forces from this seaside village between
     Eravur and Batticaloa, and are since missing.

     2.2.3 Siththandy:  21st August 1990:
     At 5.00 p.m. army personnel from the Morrakkaddanchenai camp
     took away 44 persons from the refugee camp at Sri Murugan
     Temple, Siththandy, who are since missing. These were mostly
     students, labourers and fishermen.

     This and the two preceding items suggest that the taking away
     of 179 persons from the refugee camp at Vantharumoolai Eastern
     University, was one publicised instance of a practice
     widespread in the Batticaloa District about that time. The
     testimony of the freak survivor at Satturukondan paints a very
     grim picture of what could have happened to the others as
     well. The widespread nature of these disappearances, together
     with the numbers involved, point to connivance at high level.

     2.2.4  Mrs.Yamuna Venudas: December 1990:
     Venudas was a TULF activist from Batticaloa, nominated by the
     LTTE to the Interim Council in 1987, later persecuted by the
     IPKF, and when the current war began, went into the interior
     with the LTTE. His wife Yamuna of Thambiluvil continued to
     work as a bank clerk in Batticaloa. Last December, by prior
     arrangement, she crossed the lagoon and went to
     Kokkadichcholai with some others to see her husband. According
     to some sources she was brought back close to the jetty in a
     vehicle and that this had been seen from a distance by the
     army. Yamuna never returned home. At the time of her
     disappearance, one of her little children was with her mother
     in Thambiluvil, and the other in Batticaloa. Later in April
     Karikalan's brother Satkunanandan also met a similar fate
     because of a family connection with the LTTE.

     2.2.5  Father and Son: August 1990 & 20th December 1989:
     This is one of many stories that illustrate how death has
     stalked many families from several angles. Aruliah
     Rajasundaram (65) of Eralakulam, was the father of six. His
     son Yesurajah (28 in 1989) was in the PLOTE and had left for
     Colombo when the group was banned in December 1986. He
     returned after the Accord to run a shop. His neighbour and
     rival had a brother in the LTTE, and following harassment by
     the LTTE he joined the ENDLF. By this time he was married and
     was the father of 3 girls. as the IPKF withdrew to Trincomalee
     Yesurajah was invited to go with them. Being a familied man,
     he decided to remain.

     Following the LTTE's entry, he was taken from Chenkaladi, for
     questioning on 20th December 1989 on the promise that he would
     be released after questioning. Then for 3 days, the family was
     refused any information regarding his fate. On hearing that
     the LTTE had killed at least 20 persons and buried them in a
     particular area, Rajasundaram, Yesurajah's father, went with
     some help to dig up the graves in the night. One grave
     contained a bearded man of about 60. His identity card in the
     shirt pocket described him as a Vattavithanai. He is said to
     have spoken on EPRLF platforms.

     On the LTTE's entry into Batticaloa, 200-300 TNA members were
     killed in town. Another 100 are known to have been killed in
     Iralakulam, on the way to Trincomalee. During the period of
     `peace' which lasted until June 1990, a further 300 are said
     to have disappeared from around Batticaloa, which was under

     After the war began, in September, Rajasundaram obtained
     permission from the army at Commathurai and went with a friend
     on bicycles to fetch a young person from the Eastern
     University refugee camp. Rajasundaran was shot dead on the way
     by soldiers. His friend escaped and brought the news.

     2.2.6  Batticaloa: 7th July 1990:
     The LTTE had fled Batticaloa abandoning a vehicle in the
     Teachers' Training College premises. Out of fear, those in the
     training college pushed this out onto Station Road. On finding
     out about the vehicle, the army took in 7 youths about the
     place on 7th July, which was a Poya day, sacred to the
     Buddhists. As the day ended at mid-night, seven gun shots were
     heard. Next morning 7 bodies were found on the road.

     About this time, a 15 year old nephew of Fr.Ambrose was riding
     down Boundary Road on his blue bicycle. He was stopped by
     soldiers who sent him to his parents' shop nearby to buy
     cigarettes. The soldiers then took him along to the camp. The
     boy never reappeared. But his blue bicycle continued to be
     seen regularly, ridden by soldiers.

     2.2.7  Batticaloa: The disappearances of April-May 1991:
     These were highlighted in Report No.7. On the morning of 24th
     April 2 bodies were found near the police post at
     Iruthayapuram. On the same day, two girls returning from
     tuition classes  were taken in a white van. In the evening,
     their bodies were found near the new bridge, where there is a
     police post. Two bodies were found near Lady Manning bridge in
     Kallady. Their heads had been removed by a v-shaped cut about
     the neck. One body was found in Mankerni. The two bodies found
     near the Peththalai V.C. are believed to be the work of a
     Tamil militant group operating with the forces.  Two bodies
     were found in Kaluwanchikudy. The 3 found in Kaluthavalai are
     believed to be the work of the LTTE.

     The most prominent among those who disappeared was the LTTE
     leader Karikalan's brother, Satkunanandan, who worked in the
     Telecommunications department. There are circumstances here
     that give a pointer to who was behind the outrage in
     Batticaloa town. One is that about this time (24th April), the
     A.L. examinations were being conducted in the North-East and
     the question papers were stored at Hindu College, opposite the
     Telecom. Being anxious to show that normality prevailed in the
     East, the government wanted the examinations to go on without
     interruption. Thus Batticaloa town was under heavy security at
     this time, and a heavy guard was placed around Hindu College
     and the Telecom.

     Being an essential service, the Telecom personnel, including
     Sathunanandan, were living in the building with permission
     from the forces. There were also other factors. Those living
     at the Telecom had a pet dog. On the night of 22nd April, this
     dog was poisoned. There were also six watchers who slept in
     the building. Curiously, on the night in question (23rd),
     these watchers did not sleep in their usual place. They had
     gone to another section of the building. Satkunanandan was
     taken away on this night by hooded men.

     In another aspect to this tragedy, on the 23rd, a young man
     beat his neighbour's cow, which raided his plot of sweet
     potato. In the ensuing quarrel, the TELO got involved and the
     young man was taken away accused of an LTTE connection. He was
     seen with his eyes blind folded near a well known security
     establishment, by a responsible close relative who did not
     recognise him immediately. The young man's body was found in
     the lagoon the next day, in the company of Satkunanandan's.

     Our informant when asked how he was certain that the person
     mentioned belonged to the TELO, said that the PLOTE did not
     operate in that part of Batticaloa town. He further added that
     the TELO man was operating with the notorious Captain M, who
     is widely credited with a number of operations of this kind,
     and many murders. A senior figure in Batticaloa described
     Captain M as a man of obscure origins, who was promoted to the
     rank of an army captain after the commencement of the war, and
     now operates a special unit based in Batticaloa prison. Other
     leading security officers, including the Brigadier, had
     pretended that they knew nothing of these killings. Is Captain
     M some kind of a scape goat, or is he a captain given so much
     power and autonomy that even a Brigadier nominally responsible
     for security in the town cannot call him to account? If the
     police had really wanted to investigate, they had plenty of
     leads. They could for instance have started with questioning
     the Telecom watchers. But their function is evidently not to
     uphold the law of the land.

     According to leading citizens, there is widespread fear even
     to admit that a close relative or even a son is missing. This
     is because of an attempt by the forces to obscure and confuse.
     People complaining of someone taken are asked how they were
     certain that the person concerned was dead. Dead bodies had
     been found floating in sacks. One such sack floating in the
     lagoon was found to have contained the body of a dead dog.
     People are then made to wonder if other sacks too had
     contained dogs, and whether their relative may after all be
     alive. This leads to a hope that the best chance of seeing the
     person alive is to keep quiet and not make afuss.

     2.2.8 Developments concerning Iruthayapuram killings:
     We earlier reported the repraisal killing of about 12 persons
     by the police in Iruthayapuram at the end of March. We add
     some information that turned up subsequently. Following the
     killing of a policemen, the police took in 15 civilians that
     morning. This was reported to the Superintendent of Police,
     Batticlaoa - Mr.Moonesinghe. The SP then proceeded to the
     Iruthayapuran police station, and returned after ensuring that
     the 15 or so persons were released.

     After the SP went away, the Iruthayapuram police took in
     another lot of persons. On this being reported, it is said
     that the SP visited the station twice more, but did not find
     the people who were hidden away, presumably in bunkers. Next
     day the bodies appeared.

     Officially, the police have maintained that there is no proof
     of police involvement. But privately, some leading citizens
     were told that the 70 or so policemen were taken to Amparai
     and questioned individually without any further light being
     shed. They are then said to have been transferred to Mannar,
     where several of them reportedly died in attacks by the LTTE.

     Assuming that all this which came from police sources has a
     bottom of factual content, it points to a situation where some
     service chiefs at least have serious misgivings, but are
     afraid or are reluctant to probe too deep. Hiding prisoners
     during ICRC visits is after all an old ruse. It is likely that
     the SP took the word of some of the senior officers at
     Iruthayapuram rather than himself have done a search.

     2.2.9  Kuthiraivilunthamadu: 1st week of June:
     Kuthiraivilunthamadu is between Kanjirankudah and the Sagamam
     tank, a mile from the first and two from the latter, lying off
     the road from Akkaraipattu to Komari, via Konavil and
     Panamkadu.  At 8.00 a.m. on the morning concerned, a land mine
     was exploded under an STF vehicle and 3 commondos were killed.
     In reprisals the STF killed six persons, of whom two were
     working in rice fields, and two others, Suntharamoorthy and
     Thangarasa from Thambiluvil were travelling in a bullock cart.
     Several persons were taken from Kannakipuram and were later

     2.2.10  Vantharumoolai: 8th June:
     There was a landmine attack on an army convoy in which about
     3 soldiers were killed. The army unit from Morakkaddanchenai
     then went on a reprisal raid killing 6 persons in
     Vantharumoolai. Another 4 were killed and burnt in
     Palaiadiththottam, Kaluwankerni. Among the latter was
     Chandran, husband of Saraswathy Malar. Two days earlier one
     soldier had been killed, and the principal of Mavady Vembu MV
     was badly assaulted.

     Among the six killed at Vantharumoolai was Sritharan, a
     teacher at St.Michael's Batticaloa, and his brother, the two
     surviving of three boys in the family. Of the two sisters who
     are teachers, Sugunamathy is a  student at the Batticaloa
     Training College. The youngest of the boys, an accountancy
     student from Colombo on holiday, disappeared after being
     picked up by the army last September from the Eastern
     University refugee camp. Sritharan's mother died of sorrow on
     26th July. On 8th June, she was talking about her youngest
     son, when she received news of losing the other two.

     2.2.11  Siththandykkudy: 4th or 11th June:
     This was a Tuesday, one of the two days of the week on which
     the night mail comes to Batticaloa instead of terminating at
     Valaichenai. An army picket was out as usual along the railway
     tracks. Thillainathan, a Plate Layer, was also out examining
     the tracks. Some soldiers asked for his identity card and
     threw it into a nearby well. He was then asked to go down and
     fetch it. As he resurfaced, he was shot in the head, point
     blank. The incident was witnessed by others nearby. There was
     no provocation for the killing.

     This incident and the previous one which took place just
     before the Kokkadichcholai massacre, speak of a general
     climate of indiscipline at a time when normality was being
     claimed. See also 2.3, which speaks of several people
     disappearing in Kiran about this time.

     2.2.12  Hulannuge: 27th June:
     The private bus scheduled to leave Pottuvil for Colombo at
     6.30 p.m, left at 7.00. Though there was only seating for 40,
     there were 60 in the bus. The driver and 4 or 5 persons were
     Sinhalese. The rest were Muslims. There was also one Dane,
     Rassmussa Testerto. About 7.30 p.m. at Hulannuge near Lahugala
     a landmine mised the main body of the bus, but the vehicle
     stalled. When the passengers got down and started running,
     they were fired upon with automatics. According to an eye-
     witness account, the dead were then dragged into the bus,
     which was set on fire. The dead included the driver, the Dane,
     8 ladies and a niece of Dr.Cader, a student of Muslim Girls'
     College, Colombo. Another lady was the sister of Majeed, SP,
     Civil Co-ordinator for the Amparai District. About 11 survived
     with injuries. Ahmed Lebbe, Agriculturl Officer, Akkaraipattu,
     escaped because he had left the bus and was buying cigarettes
     when the bus left.

     Suspicion for this outrage has tended to fall on LTTE
     militants from Komary. Tamils in Pottuvil were driven out by
     the forces last year in the course of which about 200 of them
     were killed. About 120 of them, mostly young men, literally
     vanished in smoke after being taken in a round up in late July
     1990. The Pottuvil refugees now live mostly in Komary, 10
     miles north. A short time earlier, the STF had established a
     camp at the edge of Rufus Kulam, bordering Kanjikudichcharu,
     in the jungles of which the LTTE maintains facilities. The
     attack was also read as an act by the LTTE to signal that they
     were still around.

     2.2.13  Pottakkulam (near Vinayagapuram): Early July:
     We have remarked in earlier reports, that some young men who
     left the LTTE last year, were also in hiding in the jungles
     west of Thirukkovil, in danger from both the LTTE as well as
     the STF. It was only natural for them to scrounge food from
     those who farm in that area. One such group of fugitives was
     having a meal at the field hut of K.Sinnathurai, whose son was
     also in the group, when they were surprised by an STF party,
     who had apparently come on a tip off. Three were killed when
     the STF opened fire, among whom were Paranirubasingam and
     Ruben. Paranirubasingam of Thambiluvil is said to have been
     close to the former area leader Mathan, and was a tractor
     driver before joining the LTTE in early 1990. The others
     escaped into the jungle.

     K.Sinnathurai was reportedly taken to the Thirukkovil STF camp
     after being very badly beaten. His fate is unclear. The
     incident was reported in the press as one where the STF
     successfully ambushed an LTTE party. Our information is that
     the party ambushed did not even have arms. The villagers were
     clear that they were no longer in the LTTE. Still no mechanism
     exists for those with past LTTE links or those wrongly
     suspected of such links, to ensure their safety. Such is the
     state of enlightenment governing this campaign.

     2.2.14  Kalmunai: 22nd July:
     Tamil refugees, mainly from Central Camp Division 4, were
     settled in a piece of land bordered by the Telecommunications
     premises, the Methodist Mission and Carmel Fatima College to
     the West. Towards the onset of the rainy season at the end of
     last year, the Red Cross helped them to put up long huts with
     line rooms for the families, made of coconut thatch. These had
     further been covered with polythene sheets for rain proofing.
     With May came the dry `Kachchan' wind. But the danger was not

     On the morning of 22nd July, about 10.30 a.m the hut bordering
     the Methodist Mission wall caught fire by accident - either by
     sparks from a cooking fire or from an electrical short
     circuit. At this time most of the adults were out on business.
     Those inside were mostly elders and infants. Under the given
     conditions the fire spread rapidly. Those in the surrounding
     areas saw smoke, heard the crackling of bamboo supports, and
     assumed that a gun fight was going on. People thus stayed
     indoors. Some of the refugees who were near enough to take
     alarm rushed to their huts. The belongings of some were saved.
     Others lost everything including children.

     It was left to the STF to offer any concrete help, which
     according to reports was promptly and unstintingly offered.
     STF men rushed into the flames and rescued several elders who
     were trapped. According to some sources 5 infants and a lady
     died in the fire. The wife of a senior church figure who
     visited the scene said that she saw 7 bodies of infants laid
     out. She had also seen on STF man with burn injuries. The
     refugees have now been moved elsewhere.

     2.3  The People are for beating - The story of Kiran
     In order to get a total picture of how people in rural areas
     are affected, we take one village. Kiran is 11 miles north of
     Batticaloa on the Trincomalee road. It is not an interior
     village because it is on the main trunk road to Batticaloa.
     Kinniyadi, Koralimadu and Karuwakerni are nearby villages off
     the main road. But it is a rural area with a very small middle
     class - mostly government servants and teachers. Because of
     its position, the army is very much around, with camps in
     Morakkaddanchenai and in Kiran itself. In recent times the
     village has had the presence of the IPKF, the LTTE and now the
     Sri Lankan army. The people complain that every force tends to
     accumulate the bad habits of the previous forces in addition
     to its own.

     When the IPKF went on the offensive in October 1987, nearly
     everyone was beaten.  When the IPKF began moving towards
     Batticaloa, the people were made to sit on armoured cars and
     in trucks as human shields. Included in the shield were the
     local doctor and the AGA.

     Following the onset of the current war, the army started
     moving towards Batticaloa. On 20th June 1990, several bodies
     with cut injuries were seen on the northern outskirts of
     Kiran. One man said that he had counted 13, but cannot say how
     many were killed by the army, because the bodies were spread
     over a wide area.

     Many refugees then moved into Christa Seva Ashram, under the
     care of Sevak Sam Alfred, and many of them later moved to the
     Eastern University. In August 1990 a rumour went around that
     the LTTE had buried mines in the surrounding area. The army
     was re-established in the area following the LTTE's withdrawal
     after failing to overrun the army camp at Kiran.

     The army then came to the Ashram refugee camp and took away
     about 60 persons. These persons were marched in front as mine
     sweepers, and the army came behind. They were marched along
     several paths and were finally released at Sungankerni. Some
     in the mine sweeping party complained that an ICRC vehicle
     passed them on the main road, but did not stop to ask what
     this strange scene was about. Instead they say that the
     foreign ICRC person exchanged hand waves with the army and
     drove away.

     This incident may have other explanations, since the ICRC
     avoids public confrontations. Unlike in Batticaloa town, the
     ICRC is generally not understood in the villages. Skepticism
     about the ICRC in Kiran has remained, and is thought of as
     being closer to the army.

     Also during August 1990, Perinpanayagam, a father of 3, went
     to Siththandy on business with his 12 year old son. Both were
     taken in by the army at Morakkaddanchenai. The son was later
     released. But the father is since missing.

     On 26th September 1990, Pathmanathan, who worked for the
     Government Press in Kiran set off to Colombo with a clearance
     letter from Captain Wickrematilleke of the Kiran camp (now in
     Mankerni). He was arrested by the army in Valaichenai and is
     since missing.

     During October 1990, 3 young boys, all aged 12, went to the
     outskirts to collect palmyrah fruit. They are missing after
     being allegedly taken by the army.

     On 23rd November 1990, the LTTE and the army battled each
     other at Kiran junction. 4 shells fired by the army fell
     inside the Ashram refugee camp, which them had 500 refugees
     under Sevak Philip. A child of 12 was killed and several were
     injured. The army later provided medical aid.

     About this time, 3 food lorries were burnt by the LTTE at
     Kumburumoolai junction.

     On 26th November 1990, Sundar (22), with two other residents
     of Kiran set off eastward to the interior at nightfall, as the
     LTTE wanted residents to vacate. They were stopped by the army
     at 7.00 p.m. and are since missing.

     Apart from beatings, the situation was relatively calm until
     April 1991.

     On 1st May 1991 John Selvarajah (35) who was carrying his
     infant son was taken by the army with two others during a
     round up. His wife was abused by soldiers in filthy language.
     When those at home protested, they were assaulted with belts,
     gun butts and folded knees. The three were taken to the jungle
     and were beaten and held from 11.00 to 4.00 p.m. One of them,
     Karuval Krishnapillai died under beating. The other two were
     released. Selvarajah is partially disabled, and has not worked
     for 4 months.

     On 11th June 1991, the first anniversary of the war, a curfew
     was declared on the other side of the lagoon, and the army was
     out. Visuwaratnam, Kanthasamy (24) of Koralimadu and Chandran
     were taken in by the army and were tortured for several days.
     They were assaulted, burnt with cigarette buts, creased with
     knives, boiling water poured over their bodies and were often
     kept buried up to their necks.

     Viswaratnam is believed to have succumbed to torture.
     Kanthasamy and Chandran were released through the police after
     40 days of detention. While in camp, they had seen four bodies
     of persons who had died under torture. They have all the marks
     of their treatment, including burise marks down to their legs.
     Kanthasamy is for all purposes a cripple. All his limbs have
     been impaired. The use of his hands is limited. He can only
     move two fingers in his right hand. At the time the three were
     taken, there was no incident involving hurt to soldiers.
     On 13th June 1991 (the day after the Kokkadichcholai
     incident), Sivaguru (26) teacher at Kiran MV, with his student
     Thangarajah Anandan, went towards the sea to purchase fish.
     While returning, they were taken by the army at the Cadju Farm
     at Sinna Vembu, bordering the railway tracks. After this they
     were missing. Six days later, their bodies were exposed after
     being dug up by wild boar.
     10th July - Massacre at Kinniyadi. 13 bodies found and about
     9 others missing. This is covered in the next chapter. There
     was no provocation.

     The extent of army indiscipline together with continual
     nastiness is evident. That indiscipline is tolerated is seen
     in the day to day experience of the people. Almost every adult
     in the village has been beaten, and many of them cannot work
     as a result. Army patrols regularly force people to climb
     coconut trees to bring down young coconuts for drinking. Those
     who cannot climb trees are afraid to say so because they fear
     being beaten. Recently, on being asked by soldiers,
     Gurunathan, who had never climbed a tree before, agreed to
     pluck some coconuts. He fell down and lost consciousness. On
     recovering, he found 100 rupees in his pocket. But the
     soldiers were missing. According to Shanmugam, some times
     people accosted by the army are tied to trees and left. He had
     released persons so tied. It is also said that few fishermen
     go to sea on Tuesdays and Saturdays when army pickets are out
     along the tracks for the train to go to Batticaloa. Many
     fishermen had been deprived of their catches on these days
     without compensation.
          There is also grinding poverty in the village, once well
off. This is because even those who can work cannot find adequate
work. Like in many villages in the area, a large number of the
villagers used work in rice fields across the lagoon to the west,
which is more an LTTE domain. Hence those going frequently across
the lagoon become suspect by the army. Unemployment is found
preferable. People in Kiran are conspicuously thin and aged before
their time.
     About 50 have been killed in Kiran since the beginning of the
     war and about 150, mostly school boys, have since joined the
     LTTE, according to the villagers. The biggest reason for this
     is given as regular beating by the army. As the number of
     young in the village noticeably dwindled, the army found
     additional stimulus for beating. "Why are you at home, why did
     you not join the LTTE?", they would ask while beating.
     Sometimes it is, "You give us John or we will beat you," John
     being the local Tiger leader. People say that even when there
     are Tigers in the village during an army round up, they manage
     to beat everyone except the Tigers.
     People of this village have had the world brought to them.
     They have seen a great variety of human beings and of human
     nature. There is no communalism in them. There is little
     bitterness, much open mindedness and no illusions. Despite all
     that they have been through, they are ready to laugh. Laugh at
     what experience has taught them to view as their fate.

                           CHAPTER  3

3.1  The Massacre: 12th June 1991

     3.1.1  Kokkadichcholai:

     In happier times, Kokkadichcholai was renowned for the famous
     Batticloa curd. Pilgrims wanting this commodity from the
     source,  would have travelled six miles south of Batticaloa
     along the Kalmunai road, turned right just past Kattankudy and
     Araipattai, then through the Muslim village of Ollikulam to
     the jetty at Manmunai, and by ferry across the lagoon to a
     point 2 miles East of Kokkadichcholai. Today Ollikulam is in
     ruins, and the ferry does not function. The crossing is by
     fibre glass canoes, generally two or three strapped together
     by cross beams for balance. Passengers are invited to man the
     oars. On a calm morning, the journey is memorable for the
     astounding beauty of the surroundings. Half way across,
     Batticaloa town and its telecommunication tower become
     visible, five miles distant as the crow flies.

     Now and then one does encounter bovine swimmers, a placid face
     with gentle eyes, just above the water, towed by canoes going
     in the opposite direction. Upon inquiry, one is struck by that
     very word that has become a hallmark of Kokkadichcholai. These
     are creatures bound for the slaughter houses of Batticaloa,
     taking their first swim, unaware that it was also their last.

     According to legend, the name of the village comes from the
     Kokkatti tree, whose sap was really blood. From the jetty, one
     then goes westwards through 1 1/4 miles of uninhabited, once
     marshy land, now having on either side of the road, a network
     of square tanks with neglected bunds. This was the prawn
     factory, abandoned since the STF massacre of January 1987. The
     area then realised a death toil of about 120 which included a
     number of employees of the prawn factory. At the end of this
     uninhabited area,  one reaches the Mudalaikudah Methodist
     Church on the left, followed by a junction. The road on the
     left (south) goes to Mahiladitivu, and that on the right
     (north) contains the main part of Mudalaikudah (Crocodile bay
     - it being said that crocodiles hereabouts are not man
     eaters). If one proceeds straight, one reaches the main hamlet
     of Kokkadichcholai 3/4 mile on. It is this hamlet that
     contains the army camp. Although Kokkadichcholai is a
     collective name for the three hamlets, the name refers to the
     main hamlet in local parlance.

     When food is brought for the army, a patrol would commandeer
     a local tractor and set off to the jetty, posting sentries
     along the road, with perhaps half a dozen  men at the
     Methodist Church. Since this is a regular operation, it is
     here that soldiers are most vulnerable, as experience has

     As for the people of this area, the dominant group is the
     Mukkuvar caste - mainly farmers. Under them are the service
     castes-dhobys, barbers etc. The caste system in Batticaloa is
     more easygoing compared with Jaffna, and inter-caste marriages
     are common enough not to be frowned upon. Unlike the Jaffna
     based Tamil nationalism which is based on the old kingdom of
     Jaffna, the root of Tamil nationalism in the East springs from
     the notion of a self contained autonomous system of villages,
     presided over by the Ur-Podiyar, elected from among the
     podiyars. It claims to be egalitarian in spirit and the role
     of the Ur Podiyar is considered more ceremonial than coercive.
     Podiyars in practice were the large landowners. Like the use
     of Singh by the Sikhs, it has become common for people of the
     area to prefix their name with Podiyar. The Muslim villages of
     the area have the same structure, with Tamil service castes
     playing the same role.

     3.1.2  12th June
     The army was out on a mission to collect provisions from the
     jetty. When the tractor was returning with provisions, a
     landmine was set off at a point on the road 1/4 mile from the
     Methodist Church and 1/2 mile from the main hamlet of
     Kokkadichcholai, whither the army was bound. Two soldiers in
     the tractor were killed. The time was 12.45 p.m. Immediately
     south of this point and along the road was an extension of
     Mahiladitivu. Those responsible for the explosion presumably
     escaped through this area. (Going further south, one goes
     through Paddaiandaveli, Pandariaveli, and Kodukkamunai to
     Ambalanthurai). Following the explosion, more soldiers started
     moving from Kokkadichcholai to the scene of the explosion. At
     this camp, there is also a group of 10 militants who had
     recently broken away from the PLOTE. Most of them are from
     that area and have wives, children or parents living there.
     Some of this group too went with the soldiers towards the
     scene. When they were disarmed by the soldiers, they realised
     that a plan was hatched to punish the civilians. They went
     back to Kokkadichcholai (the main hamlet) and warned the
     people to get clear. Those who could not run were taken, and
     some went by themselves  to the local school.

     Sivapragasam Tissaveerasingam, a leading person of
     Mahiladitivu, was attending to his lunch-time chores when the
     explosion was heard. A few minutes later he heard small arms
     fire. He ran to the end of Mahiladitivu and waited there. He
     then saw people running, chased by soldiers firing with
     automatics. He ran a further 3/4 mile south and saw fire
     rising above the village.

     A short distance from Tissaveerasingam's house is a mill
     belonging to G.Kurukulasingam. Many of the people in
     Mahiladitivu who could not, or preferred not to run away,
     gathered at this mill and in the house north, across the
     adjoining lane. Over a hundred people were in this house.
     Among those in Kurukulasingam's house with him were, his wife
     Puvaneswary and their children Rupavathani (6), Nishantan (5),
     Suganthan (3) and Vivekananthan (8 months).Velupillai
     Arunasalam is a carpenter who had gone that morning to
     Manalkadu, on the other side of the lagoon, for his day's
     work. When the shooting began, his wife Alikipodi Revathy and
     daughters Bavani (10) and Tharisana (1 1/2) were among those
     who took refuge in the mill compound, which also contained the
     owner's house. A group of soldiers came running along the
     adjoining lane from the direction of Kokkadichcholai (west),
     entered the mill premises and opened fire. Those inside the
     mill and the compound were all killed, and those in the house
     injured. Four bullet holes which pierced the wall of the house
     are prominently visible. Soldiers then went across the lane
     and shot Nallathamby Subramaniam (80), who was on the
     verandah. This was seen by his daughter Paranchothy. The rest
     who had taken refuge in that house were chased away.

     Velapodi Alaiyapodi (53), a farmer, was at Coloniadi Mill. He
     saw 7 soldiers coming from the Methodist Church, firing their
     automatics. They encountered Sivapragasam Thirumathi, who was
     chased away. He then saw 5 soldiers entering Kurukulasingam's
     mill, followed by firing noises. After the soldiers left, he
     went there to see what had happened, and noticed 7 corpses in
     the compound and 5 injured persons in the house asking for
     water. He fetched water in a bucket and gave them. Just then
     another group of 6 soldiers arrived, and though Alaiyapodi
     quickly went into the house, he had been spotted. The soldiers
     asked him how many dead bodies there were and how many
     injured. He gave them the figures. He was asked to bring the
     injured out of the house, and to follow them so as to fetch a
     cart to take the injured for treatment. Alaiyapdi went with
     them for a short distance, gave them the slip and came back to
     a house two doors away. By this time several people had
     gathered at the mill to see what had happened.

     Alaiyapodi saw the same six soldiers coming back. They thrust
     about 35 onlookers into the premises and shot the whole lot,
     as well as the 5 previously injured. The soldiers then
     attempted to set fire to the corpses.

     Vyramathu Santhanapillai's daughter -in- law and Alahipodi
     Kunamani's grand daughter, Ponnamma, was beaten while
     protecting her baby. Alahipodi Kunamani's son Kumarasingam
     Shanthilingam was 4 months married. He and his wife were in
     Sempar's compound. The young couple were among those dragged
     to the mill and shot. Vijayakumari (19) was shot in the leg by
     soldiers while running away. Her mother Theivanai was at the
     mill with her 1 year old child. Both Theivanai and the child
     were among those killed.

     Among those killed in the mill, was a mother suckling her
     infant. Evidently, the mother gave the infant her breast in
     order to quieten it in the tense surroudnings, when the end

     Further from the junction and south of the mill was a concrete
     house in which a large crowd of mainly women and children had
     gathered. Among those there were Ponniah Visalatchi (55), a
     Colombo Chetty lady, her step-daughter Kanagasabai Praba,
     teacher at Saraswathy MV and Praba's aunt Usumundapodi
     Soundarmma (60). There were about 50 in the room, together
     with Visalatchi's niece and a 1 1/2 year old child. By the
     time the soldiers arrived here, their murderous passions
     appeared to have cooled. But they were getting other ideas.

     The women were subject to beating and abuse, and were asked to
     go to the Kanniamman Temple, north and towards the junction.
     At the same time a part of the house was set on fire.

     One soldier grabbed Praba, tore her clothes, held her tight
     and began biting her. Soundaramma forced herself in between
     and covered her niece. The soldier went into a rage and
     started kicking Soundaramma. One kick with a booted foot
     struck her in the mouth, causing her to lose 8 teeth. Praba
     managed to get away.

     About this time, the elder daughter of a prominent government
     official was dragged by soldiers into the house. As the crowd
     moved the younger daughter of the same official, a schoolgirl
     at St.Vincent's, Batticaloa, was dragged into a shop on the
     opposite side of the road. A soldier attempted to drag A.Kala,
     after prancing around with fierce gestures and making bestial
     noises. Kala's sickly mother was not there. Once again
     Soundaramma, the sextagenarian matron, strong though  minus 8
     teeth, intervened, grabbing Kala and interposing herself. The
     beast become enraged and the face further contorted with the
     noices even fiercer. Soundaramma was again assaulted, this
     time with a rifle butt, receiving some hard shots on her back.
     Kala was shot at once near the GS's house. She fell to the
     ground. A round of bullets then went over her. She then got

     As the women reached the temple, the abuse became even
     nastier. Variations of an expression many remembered, was that
     they would only entertain the male organs of the LTTE and thus
     deserved to be taught a lesson. On the way, the women met some
     unarmed Tamil militants who were normally with the army, and
     had pleaded with them in Tamil to stop this. They replied
     sympathetically that anything they said would not be heard.
     The women felt that the soldiers were drugged.

     At the temple, Visalatchi who was also fluent in English and
     Sinhalese, spoke to a man who appeared to be an officer, and
     pleaded with him. saying that it is a sin to do such things to
     ordinary people who were like his own.  The man assured her
     that they would be safe in the temple and started walking
     away. The women then spotted 3 soldiers with knives coming
     towards the temple. She rushed after the `officer' and told
     him that his words were of little use because the moment he
     left, others could do whatever they pleased. The man came
     back, spoke to the soldiers and went away. Things were then

     Throughout this period there had been firing and burning of
     huts. Tissaveerasingam, his brother Sivalingam and 4 others
     cautiously approached Mahiladitivu at 3.00 p.m. They retreated
     when the army fired at them. While the women were at
     Kannaiamman temple and soldiers were about making threatening
     gestures with knives and weapons, some unarmed soldiers also
     came there and pleaded with the other soldiers to leave the
     women alone.

     After about 3.00 p.m. looting began in earnest. Soldiers got
     busy removing valuables, including bicycles from houses and
     also trying to burn the bodies. Soldiers were moving about
     very freely on bicycles till after 5.00 p.m. before going
     back. People identified the leader of the operation as a
     bearded man waring a red handkerchief. The menfolk who had run
     away from the village started trickling back towards

     Mudalaikudah (North of the Methodist Church)
     At 12.45 p.m. the time of the explosion, Motchamala
     Kanapathipillai, a teacher at the nursery school at
     Kokkadichcholai maintained by the Red Barna, was cycling home
     eastwards,  her home being next to the Methodist Church. Her
     father, Kanapathipillai, was the circuit steward in charge of
     the church. Her brother, an employee of the prawn factory, had
     been murdered during the prawn factory massacre of January
     1987, Motchamala lived with her father, her widowed sister-in-
     law and her brother's children.

     On hearing the explosion in front of her, Motchamala turned
     back towards Kokkadichcholai. She was shot through the knees
     by soldiers coming out of Kokkadichcholai - by men whom she
     recognised as those who came to her house to ask for water and
     sometimes fruits.

     Later 17 youths were taken, mainly from Mudalaikudah, to the
     crater left by explosion, where they were shot, killed and

     On hearing the commotion, the teachers at the Mudalaikudah
     school kept the children inside and stayed there. Later in the
     evening the army came and dismissed the students after beating
     the teachers.

     3.1.3  After June 12th
     Arunasalm the carpenter was one of those who had waited on the
     other side of the lagoon, anxious for tidings about his
     family. The boatmen who had brought their boats to Manmunai,
     also brought news that much was amiss on the other shore.
     Little did he know that Revathy and the two children had fled
     mortality leaving behind half burnt corpses. On the 13th,
     people began trickling back to Kokkadichcholai, often to burst
     into tears of agony on reaching home.

     The army stayed within the camp on the 13th. Among the early
     visitors on this day were the Tigers, who after their absence
     from the time of the explosion the previous day, had popped in
     to take a photographic record of the handiwork.

     As the sun rose the corpses began to stink, and the stench was
     carried by the dry kachchan wind. About 2.00 p.m. the
     villagers started burying the corpses.

     A helicopter circled the area on the 15th. The army came out
     about mid-day, asked the people what happened and returned.
     They were apparently testing the ground for the next day's
     official visit, which had been announced in Colombo.

     Even as late as the 16th, limbs were found in the crater with
     bits of flesh sticking out. On this day an official party
     including the prime minister, Bradman Weerakoon and MP's
     Casinadar, Joseph and Karunakaran were brought to the
     Kokkadichcholai army camp by helicopter. The army maintained
     that those killed were Tigers and that it was unsafe to go to
     the villages. Joseph asked Karunakaran, "You are a member of
     a militant group that is now with the army. Tell me, are those
     who died Tigers?" Karunakaran replied, "No".

     The prime minister's party was airlifted back to Batticaloa
     and taken to the rest house. 100 yards away some of those
     affected were waiting at the Kachcheri, Batticaloa's
     administrative centre, to talk to the prime minister. This
     was, according to reports, disallowed on the grounds that it
     was unsafe  to go there. The Prime Minister, who earlier that
     month had said that normality prevailed in Batticaloa, was
     now unable to meet people at the seat of administration.
     Joseph protested to Colombo over what he saw as groundless
     obstruction, saying that he was prepared to go to the villages
     alone. He later met the people.

     By the 20th June changes had been made at the Kokkadichcholai
     camp and a new officer was in charge. A group of visitors came
     to Kokkadichcholai by vehicle after obtaining permission at
     the Manalpitty camp. On their return the captain at the camp
     stopped them for cool drinks. He told them that this kind of
     situation can hardly be avoided when you send village boys to
     fight after a few weeks' training. He also said that he was
     in-charge of three camps, the others being Vellaveli and
     Kokkadichcholai. "Who is going to answer if something happens
     again in Kokkadichcholai when I am not there?", he asked. On
     30th June a booby trap exploded at the ferry point while
     soldiers were fetching provisions. Two soldiers were injured
     and taken away by helicopter. Immediately the shops closed and
     people began shutting themselves up. An officer went around
     asking people to reopen their shops and carry on normally. He
     added, "Today we die. Tomorrow the Tigers die. You need not

     3.1.4  In Batticaloa
     According to a senior citizen in Batticaloa, when on 12th June
     the news of the death of two soldiers in Kokkadichcholai was
     radioed to the army command in Batticaloa, arrangements were
     immediately made to airlift the magistrate and the JMO to the
     scene. When the two were at the Batticaloa airport, they were
     reportedly told that a second message had arrived making it
     necessary to cancel the expedition. According to this message
     a second mine had gone off and  it was now unsafe. If this is
     true, it raises the question about the quality of information
     given to the Batticaloa command, in addition to serious
     questions about discipline. Or was it that on discovering that
     things had gone hoplessly wrong, the army command was trying
     to cover up.

     Where covering up is concerned, there does not seem to have
     been much change. According to the number count made by
     leading local citizens following a house to house check, 67
     bodies were identified and buried and a further 56 were
     missing. Most of the missing persons are presumed dead and
     cannot be identified,because like the seventeen burnt in the
     mine crater, they had been mostly burnt to ashes. The rice
     mill had the largest number of bodies - 43.

     The Superintendent of Police Batticaloa in discussions with
     leading citizens was sticking to a figure of 32  dead - this
     being the number exhumed, for whom death certificates had then
     been issued. The police also maintain that there was no rape,
     on the basis of certification made by doctors in Batticaloa,
     who examined several of the women. But medical officers have
     privately told leading citizens that there had been rape and
     that the doctors are afraid to certify that.

     Like in almost all cases during the war, the police are not
     taking steps to investigate anything. It is left to the people
     who are willing to stick their necks out, to question people
     and collect evidence. The role of the police seems to be to
     minimize the impact of  evidence that has turned up in spite
     of them. The proof of this is the atmosphere of terror in
     which the JMO's, magistrates and the medical Officers
     function. The police who know better pretend that this terror
     does not exist. Whether the commission of inquiry can go
     beyond this insistitutional obfuscation is left to be seen.

     According to some sources with official contacts, several of
     the men involved in the massacre had been transferred to
     frontline areas in the North.

     3.1.5  Rape
     Women of the area appeared to have a sense of community, and
     were very open on the subject of rape and molestation. when
     they come out with names, it is with a sense of personal
     identification with the tragedy, without any hint of gossip.
     The rape victims were themselves apprehensive. According to
     the women, at-least 6 of them were raped. Two of them were
     sisters. The elder girl was found by her father trying to
     cover her breasts with her plaitted hair. The second girl was
     found in a shop building in a state of shock after some
     searching. All they said was "You would have heard what
     happened to us". According to the mother, the elder girl was
     taking it up better, whereas the younger is refusing to go
     back to her boarding school or even continue her studies. It
     was clear that something terrible had happened to these girls.

     3.1.6 What was behind this incident?
     We have shown elsewhere in this report that there was a
     general state of lawlessness and indiscipline among the
     forces. From August to October 1990 when there were several
     incidents of civilians disappearing in large groups of 30 to
     more than 150, there appears to have been connivance at high
     level. The forces have thus been trained into a mental frame
     that they have the power of life and death over ordinary
     civilians. At ordinary times this leads to petty crime and
     beating, for which the civilians have no recourse to justice.
     If they complain, they know that they will be at the receiving
     end. In such a situation the slightest crisis could trigger
     off a total breakdown. It also appears that the control
     exercised by the officers is also minimal. After training the
     men to kill and loot, the officers too would have much to fear
     if they were to try and impose unaccustomed restraint. Under
     these circumstances, the high command is bound to receive
     little honest information, if they wanted it.

     If some form of discipline had existed in the camp, at-least
     by 1.30 p.m. whoever was in charge should have known that
     something was seriously amiss. Thus even if only a section of
     the soldiers had planned the reprisals, not long afterwards
     the whole camp would have been concerned in the matter. Why
     was this allowed to go on for four hours? It also appears that
     not long after 1.00 p.m. the high command in Batticaloa was
     also aware that something was going on. The long duration
     suggests either complicity or a serious breakdown in the chain
     of command. As we said earlier, this was to be expected.

     The bestiality displayed during rape and molestation points to
     something seriously disturbing. It shows up the army as
     something totally alien, where the people are concerned-the
     very thing that accounts for the success of massacre politics.

     3.1.7  How the people fare:
     Soundaramma was taken to Batticaloa hospital by Rasathurai
     from Thalangkuda and was warded for eleven days. She has now
     been rejoined in Mahiladythivu by her two grandsons and nephew
     who had fled. Mothchamala was in Batticaloa hospital for 40
     days and now with relatives in Kallady. Soundaramma had been
     urinating blood for some-time. Alavapody Nagarajah is a small
     made, mild, innocent man, slow of speech. He was mercilessly
     assaulted by soldiers who also broke up everything in the
     house.  Nagrajah was admitted to the hospital with injuries
     and a swollen stomach, and was kept in the hospital for 9
     days. He still has a urinary problem.

     Except for the limited relief brought by the Methodist and
     Roman Catholic churches, no relief agency had come into the
     area until late July. Most of these agencies distributed
     relief on the other side of the lagoon at Thalankuda, to those
     who have left the area. Normal life there is unusually
     difficult. At one time  bus service used to operate between
     the jetty point and Kokkadichcholai. Now except for those who
     had crossed bringing along bicycles, the others have to walk
     anything from 1 1/2 to 2 miles, often in the scorching sun.
     There used to be a government dispensary. The army said that
     the Tigers were taking medicines and wanted the dispensary to
     function inside the army camp. As the result there are no
     medical facilities now. The most primitive methods have to be
     used to get a patient across to hospital in Batticaloa or
     Although organisations and individuals are persuading the
     people to go before the commission  inquiring into the
     massacre, the people remain deeply suspicious. Their
     experience since the event has not given them confidence. A
     common remark to be hard is, "After putting us through all the
     trouble of giving evidence, they are likely to put the blame
     on us." However the people are said to have gained confidence
     after the first hearings in Batticaloa.

     3.1.8  The politics behind massacres:
     Behind the massacres of Tamils that have been going on for the
     last few years, two aspects stand out, resulting from the
     political bankruptcy of both sides. On the side of the state
     there is an undisciplined army, increasingly frustrated and
     prone to use vindictive terror to its own detriment. On the
     other is a force that received legitimacy because the people
     wanted their life and dignity protected, but because of its
     political bankruptcy, must rely on government massacres for
     propaganda and recruitment.

     We have pointed out earlier [Report No.6], that this
     particular political tendency could necessarily brook no
     rivalry. When several militant groups functioned until five
     years ago, competition among them, made them sensitive to the
     need to safeguard civilians. Thus when the Chavakacheri Police
     Station was attacked at the end of 1984, the approaches to the
     area were mined in order to delay the army's arrival. This
     gave the civilians time to get away.

     In the case of Kokkadichcholai, while there was 1 1/4 miles of
     uninhabited stretch, the mine was placed near a populated
     area. Beginning a short time later, a small number of soldiers
     ran amok for 4 hours without hindrance. The militant party
     came in the morning  for its photographs. It was also
     essential that no one in the village should have any idea that
     a mine was planted, if this kind of attack was to succeed.
     Thus the rebels come and go from day to day, asking for one
     thing or the other. People take their presence for granted.
     One night, presumably, a mine quietly is planted.

     In all the cases that we have encountered over the years, as
     strongly as the people concerned are angry with the conduct of
     the army, they are far from taking kindly to the manner of
     being let down by their liberators. The latter have in many
     instances, taken no trouble to hide their motivations. On
     occasions they have said that a target of so many thousand
     civilians must die for the militant struggle to receive
     international recognition. Sometimes the camera men have come
     and expressed disappointment that only a small number had got
     killed in reprisals. The people are in general terrified to
     talk about it. To start with they are usually legalistic -
     `How can we say the LTTE planted the mine? There are so many
     armed groups coming and going with similar uniforms, etc.' But
     when trust is established, a different record comes out -
     `Yes, it was them. If they had just fired two shots, the army
     would not have come. They would have called the helicopter
     gunships. But the people would have got away. But defending
     the people had not been on the agenda when they had planted
     the mine. When the present politics destroys humanity,
     fighting for human rights virtually involves fighting against
     this politics. Even in village after village where the Sri
     Lankan forces have swelled the ranks of the LTTE, the question
     is asked, "Did we need all this death and destruction? Was it
     necessary for our sons to die?"
     3.2  Incidents after the Kokkadichocholai Massacre:
     In this section we look into the matter of how the appointment
     of the inquiry commission has affected the conduct of the
     army, and whether the army is developing any mechanisms to
     ensure that such tragedies will not happen again. This will
     also suggest to us whether the commission has already lost its
     momentum or not. We let the incidents speak for themselves.

     3.2.1  Palugamum:  28th June
     About 7.00 a.m. when the people of Palugamam were getting
     ready either to go to work or to go to school, the army
     ordered everyone to come to the compound adjoining the
     Palugamum M.V.(High School). When  the people were assembled,
     3 youths were picked up by the army. These were two students,
     Murugesapillai Navaneethan and Logitharajah Vallipuram, both
     A.L. students at the school, together with another youth, not
     in school. Murugesapillai, a retired teacher, is a famous
     snake-bite physician. The young men were marched into the
     school, and were subject to severe beating on the stage. Those
     who went there after the incident found several fragments of
     sticks and blood stains on the stage. Later in the morning a
     lorry arrived at the school gate,  bringing new furniture for
     the school. The soldiers had the furniture unloaded outside
     and took the lorry inside the school. The three detainees were
     loaded into the lorry and the lorry was brought back with its
     back end covered. The driver and the cleaner were then ordered
     to get into the back of the lorry, which was then driven to
     the army camp at  Poraithivu. The driver and the cleaner were
     then made to get out at the entrance. The lorry was then taken
     inside and brought back empty. The three youths have since
     been missing. The little information the people have, makes
     them pessimistic. Two days later, on Monday, the students of
     the school washed the blood stains from the platform. The
     youth detained, it is said by the villagers, had nothing to do
     with the LTTE. Navaneethan in fact had been shot in the knee
     by the IPKF, and was lame

     3.2.2  Massacre at Kinniyadi: 10th July
     Kinniyadi is a village on the shore of the lagoon, west of
     kiran. It is generally known that when the LTTE, who have the
     freedom of movement on the other(interior) side of the lagoon
     come into the Kiran area, they move in the vicinity of
     Kinniyadi. As the result, the army is also harsh when it comes
     into this village. Consequently when the villagers learn that
     the army is coming, the young men go to the other side of the
     lagoon rather than risk punitive  beating or worse. Thus when
     the army used to  come and find the young men missing, it used
     to become more angry. Crossing the lagoon is something
     familiar to the villagers, because they have their fields on
     the other side. They also know where the water is shallow,
     permitting them to cross on foot or swim.

     On this day when the army came just after 3.00 p.m., on
     receiving intelligence the villagers as usual tried to get
     away from the village, without realising the proximity of the
     soldiers. Several of them were apprehended by the soldiers.
     These men were taken to the lagoon shore and then shot dead.

     13 bodies of those killed were recovered and funeral rites
     were conducted. Upto about 8 more are said to be missing. The
     thirteen whose bodies were discovered are: Murugan,
     Karunakaran, Shanmugam Chandran, Sinnathamby Pakianathan,
     Sivendran, Saravanamuthu Sounderalingam, Ravindra  Alagiah,
     Sonarami Krishnan, Sinnathamby Krishnapillai, Kandiah
     Chinnaan, Karuval Kurukulam, Mylvaganam Thangarajah,
     Vairamuthu Chinnathamby and Ponnuchamy Sethuraman.

     The incident was not reported in any of the national dailies
     except the `Veerakesari', a Tamil daily published in Colombo.
     It was reported in the government media that several Tigers
     were killed. This distortion has impeded relief workers going
     into that area, because of a fear of the forces. The villagers
     have virtually been isolated, with even church organisations
     fearing to go there. The villagers are clear that neither were
     any of the dead LTTE, nor were any armed. According to a
     senior citizen in the area, only the Ceylon Red Cross went
     there the following day. They also went off after asking the
     families to come to Batticaloa and register. This did not seem
     very helpful, as the families are at a loss about formalities
     and feel afraid.

     3.2.3  Chithaandi: 27th July
     On this day the train was to come to Batticaloa and army
     pickets were out to provide security for the train. A land
     mine attack by the LTTE about 10 a.m. resulted in 7 soldiers
     and a member of the TELO being killed. Perhaps because the
     inquiry commission into the Kokkadichcholai incident was due
     to convene in a day or two, army reprisals took a novel form.
     Travellers on the Batticaloa - Trincomalee Road the following
     morning were confronted with a new gimmick at the Kommathurai
     camp. People in buses as usual got down and queued up for
     checking. The soldier who was to check the bags slapped many
     of the passengers as they came. There was little interest in
     looking for bombs in bags. Those who were slapped were
     generally slapped several times with both hands and included
     women. Those frequently singled out were old villagers wearing
     `Verti', who could be seen progressively lowering their heads
     as the slaps followed. Another soldier stood with an
     improvised whip made of electrical wire, doing his own thing.
     This reportedly went on for 3 days. The officers managed to
     stay out of sight. The number so treated would run into
     hundreds. Yet another soldier was standing with a pole, to
     hammer people bulging out of Batticaloa's over crowded, `push-
     start' buses.

     3.3. A History of Obfuscation:
     In this section we take up the question of how responsive the
     forces have been, to representations made by citizens' bodies
     and individuals. The Batticaloa Peace Committee has made
     regular representations with regard to missing persons. On the
     29th and 30th August 1990, the peace committee sent letters to
     the military authorities in Batticaloa, one with a list of
     over 400 missing persons in the Batticaloa area. The
     secretaries to the peace committee were Chellian
     Perinpanayagam and Arunagirinathan. Sometime in August 1990,
     A.Martin took over from Arunagirinathan.

     On 21st September a reply was received from Brigadier
     A.N.U.Seneviratne of Head Quarters, 3 Brigade Group,
     Batticaloa. He acknowledged that 3 persons in that list of 400
     had been taken and handed over to the D.I.G. for legal action.
     The reply added "Please note that no other person in the
     referred list was taken into custody by the security forces
     under this head quarters".

     The other letter had referred to the discussion with the
     Brigadier of 25th August 90, and enclosed two schedules of
     missing persons totalling 67, mostly school boys. `A' schedule
     contained missing persons from the Batticaloa district,
     including youth of the Chenkallady and Pullumalai Brigades.
     Schedule `B' referred to the Amparai district. The reply
     acknowledged only one as having been taken.

     On the 20th of September 90, the defence ministry was sent a
     list of names of 158 persons taken from the Eastern University
     refugee camp on 5th September.

     A reply dated 17th October 1990 was sent from the office of
     the Minister of State for Defence, signed by Air Chief Marshal
     A.W.Fernando, Secretary. 31 persons were acknowledged as
     having been taken, and their names given. Not one of them is
     known to have surfaced although they are said to have been

     On 9th October 1990 the peace committee wrote to the
     authorities about the incident at Sathurukondan of 9th
     September, with a list of 184 missing persons. This was
     followed by a letter about the army going to Savukkady, after
     which 31 persons were missing. On 11th October, about the
     incident at Chithandy (21 August), after which 44 persons were
     missing. No satisfactory replies have so far been received.

     In recent times we have had  the killings by the Iruthayapuram
     police in late March, the disappearances of April/May and the
     incidents described in the current report. None of these has
     been investigated.

                           CHAPTER  4

                         THE MUSLIM SAGA

4.1  Aliens in their land of birth
     He is middle aged, among the foremost Tamil writers, gentle in
     mind, softspoken, and highly cultured. Though hailing from
     Kalmunai, he acquired sturdy roots in Jaffna through long
     association with its university as well as library circles
     there. His enthusiasm in working for a more rational political
     environment and in campaigning against the ideology of
     Sinhalese chauvinism, was not second to that of any Tamil. He
     was in so many ways the ideal university don, very thorough,
     painstaking, articulate and willing to devote much time to the
     concerns of students. The beneficiaries of his labour were
     mainly Tamils. Today he is classed as an untouchable, unable
     to return to Jaffna, because in a new turn of its ideology,
     Tamil chauvinism turned against a large and important section
     of the Tamil speaking peoples - the Muslims.

     Recent developments have left him a broken man. In October
     1989, when the TNA's rout was beginning,three members of his
     family in Kalmunai were among those 12 Muslims killed by the
     TNA in Kalmunai - his brother, sister and brother-in-law. It
     barely took half a dozen  months for the conquerors - the LTTE
     - to turn against the Muslims collectively. In the East today,
     Muslims are being hunted by this group wherever they are
     exposed. Even this criminal indignity has not prevented well
     heeled Tamil expatriate promoters of this ideology from
     eloquently addressing international fora about the oppression
     of the `Tamil speaking people'. What is equally bad, the group
     styled the `moderate Tamils' who influence the western media
     and agencies, do not readily acknowledge the serious
     disabilities and threat to life faced by the Muslims of the

     Today our university don is a `Scholar Gypsy' with no
     permanent abode. An old friend meeting him was surprised by
     his answers to the questions: "Where are you coming form?" -
     "I don't know"; "Where are you staying?" - "I don't know". The
     Southern universities, for their own reasons, have not
     accommodated him so far.

     Our next interlocutor is a young Muslim intellectual from
     Eravur. Unlike our scholar gypsy whose state of mind is
     characterised by resignation and fatalism, in the case of this
     young man the fiery anger he feels is evident. Yet he has
     commanded the discipline not to blame the fate of his people
     collectively on the Tamils. He said, "With all that has
     befallen me, that I could yet sit and talk about it in this
     fashion, owes to a peculiar ability which God has given me".

     He related the tragedy of his family: "My father is a man of
     moderate means who had his fields in the neighbouring Tamil
     village. My uncle next door had a shop. The LTTE camp was near
     my house. My brother had joined the LTTE several years ago.
     For him it was at that time mainly a thrill. About 100 youths
     from Eravur had joined the LTTE, many of them when the IPKF
     was around. My brother had risen to become the youth organiser
     for the Batticaloa region (SOLT leader). On the surface at
     least, Eravur was a bastion of the LTTE. But I knew that
     important political issues relating to the Muslims lay
     unresolved and were being increasingly bungled. We were not
     generally sympathetic to the SLMC. I went to the local LTTE
     office a number of times and spoke to the regional commander,
     who used to come there. I discovered that he was a fathead
     where politics was concerned. Nothing would pierce his head.
     I realised that disaster would come sooner or later. The LTTE
     in the meantime got everything they wanted from Eravur,
     whether it was money or food. Two months before the war, in
     April 1990, the LTTE  came to my cousin's house during the
     Ramazan festival. We gave them food packets for 40 persons. It
     is also remarkable that after the Kattankudy massacre on 3rd
     August, Eravur remained calm until they massacred in our

     "I will give you incontrovertible proof that it was the LTTE
     that was responsible for the massacre in my village on 12th
     August 1990. There were firing noises and those at home
     thought that the LTTE and the army were fighting. Everyone
     gathered at my cousin's house. LTTE men then came to my
     cousin's and called him by name. He went out thinking they
     were tired and wanted water. They were the very persons who
     had come home and collected food packets from us during
     Ramazan. Those who survived can swear to this, though their
     names are not known with certainty. The others were then
     dragged out, including the children. Everyone was asked to
     face the wall. Realising what was coming my cousin, who was a
     Tamil poet, went down on his knees and pleaded. When the
     Tigers opened fire he died on his knees. My father and mother
     and two elder sisters were among those killed. The second of
     my elder sisters died shielding my eldest sister's daughter
     and son. The daughter was killed while the son escaped. All
     were killed except the boy mentioned, my uncle and my 19 year
     old younger sister. They fell, injured by riochettring
     bullets. Among the 13 members of my family killed were 7
     children - one of them just 4 months and another a year.

     "My younger sister later stayed with me in the South and
     received medical treatment. These beasts took away my father
     and mother, the very things most precious to me in this world.
     I can only call them mindless and heartless beasts. They
     completely extirpated my links with Eravur. I am orphanned in
     this world. If I am to go to Eravur and ask for food, it will
     have to be from some distant relative. They killed 30 people
     in the area where my extended family lived. It was here that
     the killing was most intense.

     "My brother in the LTTE was in Kokkadichcholai when he
     received news of the massacre, and the deaths at home. He was
     told that the army had done it. It was 3 days before he
     discovered the truth. He then escaped and surrendered to the
     army. He is in Colombo now. Most of the Muslim cadre deserted.
     Those who surrendered to the army were released. Many just
     came  back to the village without surrendering. Several of
     them were later picked up by the army on tip-offs and were

     "Why did the LTTE  do this to my family? I am convinced that
     they hoped that by killing a family with LTTE connections, the
     blame would fall on the army. In this they miscalculated and
     failed. The LTTE's intention is to enslave the Muslims. Eravur
     has only recently started producing intellectuals.  Why do you
     think the LTTE killed our cluster principal, Dawood? They want
     to get rid of educated Muslims. There is no prospect of peace
     between the Muslims and the LTTE.  If any Muslim deals with
     the LTTE, he cannot be a Muslim. Nowhere have Muslims been so
     insulted. Even the Israeli Mossad has not murdered Muslims
     worshipping in a Mosque. These beasts have done even that.
     There is only one solution. The Muslims need a region which
     they can call their own."

     The foundation for a Muslim politics articulating the slogan
     that Tamils cannot be trusted has thus been firmly laid. The
     parallel with the recent history of Tamils in connection with
     the Sinhalese state is evident, as is the ultimate
     destructiveness of such politics. The murder in the Mosque
     among others and the prevalence of such feelings described
     above, give the lie to the contention of LTTE backers (for
     example the expatriate journal, `The Tamil Nation') and
     several peace makers, that the warring parties being
     deadlocked are now back to square one (ie. June 1990), and
     hence it is simply a matter of going back to the arrangement
     prevailing until 10th June 1990. The contention ignores
     people, their tragedies and consequently, the serious loss of
     legitimacy the warring parties have to contend with. How will
     they contend with an airing of the past which any political
     settlement should allow for?

     We moreover note some parallels to what Tamils commonly say
     about Muslims. Each community in the East appears to feel that
     the other has a conspiracy to eliminate its intellectuals.
4.2  People as targets:

     We give here some incidents which demosntrate the continuing
     attitude of the LTTE towards Muslims in the East. The massacre
     of bus passengers in Lahugala has been given in 2.2

     4.2.1  Kottiar Bay, Off Trincomalee: 3rd April 1991: (Island
     4th April)
     The LTTE attacked fishing craft of the coast of Mutur, after
     forcing them to beach at Foul-Point. 11 bodies of fishermen
     were recovered by the navy. 50 others were injured.

     Other reports said that nearly all the victims were Muslims or

     4.2.2  Polonnaruwa police area: 6th July: (Island 8th and
            9th     July)
     Sixteen nearly all Muslims, including two women and children
     were slain by the LTTE in the village of Puddur about 11.00
     p.m. The victims had been dragged out of their houses and shot
     and hacked to death. The dead included a one year old infant.
     Many of the victims were refugees from Eravur temporarily
     settled in the predominantly Muslim hamlet close to the
     Mahaweli river.

     The victims were identified as A.A.Premarathna, A.Ilyas,
     Wellathamby, Aneza Umma, S.Aliyar, Hanifa Azwer, S.Lebbe,
     S.Wellathamby, S.Abubakkar, A.Mohamed, K.Jamaldeen, A.Mohamed,
     A.M.Mohideen, A Hameed, M.S.Omerlebbe Wijesekera died later in
     hospital. Among the injured was Ajmeer (6).

     Earlier in the day the same group is said to hacked to death
     eight and shot one of a group of ten Sinhalese migrant
     fishermen plying their trade in the Karapola tank off
     Welikanda. Among the dead were H.Dayaratne, T.Somadasa,
     K.V.Ariyapala, K.W.Gamini, W.B.S.Fernando, Jinadasa Jayakkody
     and Dhammika.

     Tension was running high in the area and many families
     indicated that they would leave. Security forces put down
     these attacks as a bid to keep troops tied down here and thus
     reduce deployment in the North.

     While the LTTE which acknowledged no responsibility can afford
     such methods, the Tamils who are exposed throughout the
     country obtain whatever protection such as exists against
     reprisals as in July 1983, not from the LTTE, but from the
     internationalisation of human rights concern.

4.3  How do Muslims perceive their predicament?
     About June 1991 some LTTE notices appeared in the East which
     were seen by a large number of people. These read `Pardon for
     Kattankudy, Death to Eravur and Inquiry for Oddimavady'. This
     same slogan having been loosely spoken of in Jaffna some weeks
     earlier by LTTE cadre, points to its conception at a high
     level. Others saw it in part as a demand for protection money.
     It would take an abnormally thick skin to pardon a people
     after murdering 120 of their close kin in a Mosque.

     This was not the first time that the LTTE used Sri Lankan army
     methods to bring Muslims to heel. There was a massacre about
     New Year's day 1988, when the LTTE killed over 60 Muslims
     (Report by Jehan Haniff, Sunday Island, 17th January 1988).
     This went unnoticed in the heat of the war between the IPKF
     and the LTTE. The massacre followed the killing of Nazeer, an
     LTTE man who exercised considerable power in Kattankudy, by
     ex-home guards on 29.12.87. Several bodies were dumped near
     the Muslim school. Among those killed were Muslims of
     Kattankudy orgin returning home after fleeing the fighting in
     Jaffna. They had plied trades such as vending popsicles.

     Like the Tamils of Colombo and the hill-country who voted for
     the UNP despite repeated bouts of racial violence, the older
     Muslims, at least, remained open to making up with the LTTE,
     although, naturally, their capacity to give guarantees for the
     young was declining. Even during the LTTE's triumphant return
     to the East in December 1989 after recruiting heavily among
     Muslims, there were still a number of small  acts of
     resistance by Muslim youth, while the Tamils who had hundreds
     of their young killed by the LTTE, received them passively.

     Despite last year's massacres, as late as March this year,
     many Muslim leaders from Eravur to Akkariapattu were still
     open to a deal with the LTTE, provided the LTTE publicly vowed
     to leave Muslims in peace. By July, hopes of that had
     evaporated. Apart from the massacre in Puddur, the LTTE had
     since signalled its attitude  through several acts. Muslims no
     longer travel on the road between Kattankudy and Kalmunai
     after a Muslim driver from Kalmunai transporting the remains
     of a Tamil for internment in Batticaloa, was abducted.

     During the latter part of April, a van taking passengers from
     Kattankudy to catch the Colombo bound train at Valaichenai was
     attacked between Kiran and Kumburumoolai where there was a gap
     in the army picket. One Ismail was killed and an injured
     person was admitted to Polonnaruwa hospital.

     About 24th June, two persons from the Muslim colony in
     Batticaloa went to Kalliankadu, near the bus depot, to give
     Haj Festival eats to Tamil friends. The two have not been seen
     after they were abducted.

     There are a number of fishermen living in Kattankudy wards 1
     and 2. About 16th July, two Muslims fishing in the lagoon were
     shot dead by firing from the other side, when they dared to go
     too far from the shore for a better catch.

     Muslim traders from Kattankudy trading in Batticaloa, have to
     close their shops about 4.30 p.m. when sales pick up, and rush
     home before the police and army pickets are off.

     Thus the economic life of Muslims is greatly constricted, more
     particularly in the Batticaloa District. The number of
     pilgrims to Mecca from Kattankudy has declined to 30 in the
     last year from 200 in the year preceding. Morever the Muslims
     are increasingly boxed into small areas where there can be no
     satisfactory economic life.

     An incident that gives the lie to the widespread belief of
     Muslim prosperity is the fate of the Eravur refugees in
     Puddur, described in the previous section. They had been
     hunted in Eravur. When poverty drove then elsewhere, they were
     hunted there as well.

     Few Tamils acknowledge the difficulties faced by Muslims. The
     common contention is that they are trading, they are moving
     about and are doing well. It is also used as proof that the
     Tamils have been generous - a dangerous similarity to the
     widespread belief of the Sinhalese that they had been generous
     to the Tamils.

     But the trauma of a community which daily feels hunted and
     whose birthright is being denied is daily visible and too
     dangerous to ignore. A typical scene was Batticaloa station.
     Muslims feel safest travelling by train when the train leaves
     from Batticaloa. Muslims, mainly from Kattankudy came to
     Batticaloa at dawn and joined the queue near the station.
     There were a large number of women carrying infants. The
     people are normally allowed in by 8.00 a.m., but on this day
     there was a delay. The sun climbed. Many of the Tamils were
     able to go to houses of friends or into neighbouring premises
     for rest and shelter. But few of the Muslims dared to do this.
     They clung to such little shade as was afforded by fences on
     Station Road. About 12.30 p.m. it was announced that the train
     was cancelled.

     Muslims in general despair at the prospect that is widely
     taken for granted, that in the destructive context of Sri
     Lankan politics, the only conceivable end to this conflict is
     for the government and the Tigers to strike a deal along the
     lines of that which broke down last year. A group of leading
     Muslims put it thus: "With all its drawbacks we can survive in
     the present situation, if  needs be, on kanji (rice porridge).
     But if the government and the LTTE start talking, we are
     finished! Our experience of the LTTE's intentions is that they
     would either finish us off or chase us away." Referring to
     other Tamil groups they said, "Their minds are not pure where
     the Muslims are concerned.."

     At the same time many Muslims are conscious of the fact that
     they have to live with the Tamils. A senior Muslim in the
     Amparai District who is politically active put it eloquently:
     "We have to live with the Tamils. Otherwise we must go
     elsewhere. Our whole economic life is integrated with that of
     the Tamils. If we try to live separately, we will be left
     clinging to the Pallivasal (Mosque) and the thoppi (prayer
     cap)". It is therefore imperative that while the opportunity
     exists, Tamils must make every effort to seek reconciliation
     with the Muslims.

     Those Tamils who feel bitter about the violence that has come
     out of the Muslim community should also examine the context
     and look at the violent resposne of the Tamils themselves, to
     the bigotted institutional violence of the Sri Lankan state.
     This response lead to routine massacres of Sinhalese civilians
     with its degeneration. Lumpen politics breeds a lumpen
     response, often of a more potent and self-destructive kind.
     Even so, the extent of militarisation of the Muslim community
     has been remarkably low. There has also reportedly been talk
     among the armed forces of the supposedly inadequate support
     they have received from Muslims.

     Every instance of violence by Muslims in the last ten years
     has been preceded by robberies, kidnappings, other acts of
     violence by Tamil groups and very importantly, by attempts on
     the part of local Muslim leaders to negotiate from a non-
     aggressive possition. When the Kattankudy Muslims were
     massacred in Kurukkalmadam on 12th July 1990, Muslim leaders
     sought the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church. It was
     the Mosque massacre 3 weeks later that triggered a breakdown
     of communication and the recruitment of homeguards. When
     violence did erupt, the Sri Lankan state did what it could to
     widen the rift. The provocations against Muslims in the last
     year by the LTTE have been far more serious. Tamils who have
     a vivid memory of equally deplorable violence by Muslim
     elements, are generally careless about the sequence of events.

     4.4  Muslims in the South
     The scene was a faculty meeting in one of the two older and
     leading universities in the South, on 13th February this year.
     The faculty concerned was presented with a request by the UGC
     to take in 76 studnets displaced from the University of
     Jaffna. It was evident, but not mentioned, that they were
     nearly all Muslims. The attitude to the request was generally
     negative. One don said, "If we had space, we could have taken
     in more of `our' students". Another said that there was no
     provision to enable students from one univesity to follow the
     rest of their course in another. A faculty member (a
     Sinhalese) who was disturbed by the direction of the
     discussion, pointed out that a precedent existed. The Ruhuna
     University lacking facilities in its early days, its medical
     students had been allowed to follow the more advanced parts of
     their course in the University of Colombo and be awarded
     Ruhuna degrees. This fell on deaf ears. The discussion
     proceeded as if he had not spoken. The request was then
     declined in polite language which did not reflect the crudity
     of the discussion. An outside member said that he was ashamed
     by the communalism displayed, but had not wished to intervene
     on account of its being his last meeting.

     Thus among those who would shed the last drop of their
     soldiers' blood to keep the country united, there was not the
     slightest inclination to share in the trauma of their minority
     bretheren or to make sacrifices of the kind that would give
     substance to the desired unity. Such is the communalism
     routinely found in high places, that would make many ordinary
     people feel shy.

     The problem of displaced Muslim students remains unsettled. Ad
     hoc arrangements have been made for them to follow lectures in
     Southern universities often without being allowed library
     facilities and without a sense of belonging or being cared

     This is just one sign of the widespread prejudice that exists
     in the South towrds minorities, with strong hint of contempt
     for the Muslims in particular. This had spilled over into
     anti-Muslim  violence in Galle and Puttalam in the 70's. A
     recent incident took place on 8th May when about 30 policemen
     in civies stormed Jumma Mosque in Yonakapura, Dickwella,
     assaulting Muslims at prayer, leaving six seriously injured.
     The incident took place after a Muslim had refused to give his
     motor cycle to a policeman. [The Island of 8th June, quoting
     M.A.C.Mohamed, Chief Trustee of the Mosque].

     4.5  Are Muslims different?
     Common contentions about Muslims among Sinhalese as well as
     Tamils are that they are shrewd, conniving, thick as thieves
     who will not give a peep into their intentions, grabbing and
     so many other similar attributes. After the recent accidental
     fire in a Tamil refugee camp in Kalmunai, resulting in some
     deaths, rumour quicly took wing among Tamil children that some
     Muslims started it to chase away Tamils. The expulsion of
     Muslims from the North by the LTTE was greeted outside with
     casual approbation in many quarters. It was maintained that if
     you give them a little room, they would climb on your heads.
     What we have recorded earlier, shows that Muslims have
     suffered greatly and unjustly and suggests that their
     behaviour is explicable in purely human terms. Given what the
     Tamils have been through as a minority they should have been
     more sensitive to the harm resulting from stereotyping. We
     shall examine some specific instances.

     A large number of Muslims, about 90,000, expelled from the
     North mainly from Mannar, came into the largely Muslim
     Kalpitiya area north of Puttalam. Most of then had lost
     everything. A Tamil lady, a rehabilitation worker, went to
     some Muslim businessmen in Colombo and asked them to raise
     Rs.5 lakhs (the price of the cheapest motor car) in order
     start a self employment project among the displaced. After
     some prevarication it became clear that the money was not
     coming. The Mannar Muslims then told her, "We told you not to
     waste time with Colombo Muslims. We knew from experience that
     they would not give." The Muslim parliamentarians were no more
     helpful. At length she went with some refugees and met a
     Muslim MP belonging to the SLFP. He generally avoided the
     refugees and spoke to the lady. He promised to ask some
     Muslims in London to support the project. In the end the money
     came from a church organisation.

     The Mulims in Puttalam happen to be a very neglected and
     traditional lot, while those from Mannar were often educated
     and enterprising. Soon a clash of interests developed. Some of
     the Mannar Muslims began trading and buying up land. Having
     been neglected in the past , the Puttalam Muslims resented
     rehabilitation efforts directed exclusively towards the
     refugees. Once a small provocation led to fisticuffs. Two
     Muslim O.Level boys from Mannar who were refugees, went to
     watch a Tamil film outside the refugee area. Some conservative
     local Muslim women came to the theatre wearing veils. The two
     boys asked jokingly what they could see through the veils. As
     an angry crowd began to chastise the boys, others from the
     refugee area rushed to join in a festival of fists. All these
     experiences were an eye opener to the lady who had come with
     preconceived notions about Muslims. She said, "They are no
     different from the other communities. Like Sinhalese and
     Tamils in Colombo, Muslims in Colombo would be much more
     anxious about bombs exploding in Colombo than with the woes of
     their bretheren in the provinces."

     We take some of the notions about Muslims in the Amparai
     District and compare it with the situation in the Batticaloa
     District. It is commonly said by Tamils in the Amparai
     District that Muslims commonly provoked disturbances or used
     such to chase away Tamils from their homes by violence to loot
     them, desecrate their temples and then remove all the timber,
     doors and windows, and chop up their fruit trees so that they
     cannot return. Their properties and paddy fields it is said
     are then bought for a song. [We have dealt with the matter at
     some depth in Report no.7]

     Along the road from Araipattai to Manmunai in the Batticaloa
     District, one sees the remains of an orgy of the kind so
     vividly described. There are rows and rows of houses with
     rafters, titles, doors and windows together with their frames
     missing and walls crumbling. What remains of red polished
     floors and shells of shops speak of its past inhabitants as a
     reasonably well to do community. There is also a ruined
     Mosque. This was the Muslim village of Ollikulam, an extension
     of Kattankudy. What is more disturbing about this is that it
     was not done by a group of hooligans with the tacit backing of
     bribed policemen, but at the instigation and lead of the `sole
     legitimate representatives of the Tamil speaking peoples' -
     the Tigers - early in the current war.

     Other stories one hears in Kattankudy have a familiar ring.
     Muslims had to flee the isolated village of Nochchi Munai and
     sell their land cheap to Tamils, after the LTTE's New Year
     massacre of 1988. Karbala village was developed as a National
     Housing Scheme project in 1981 and 40 houses were built on
     Muslim land to which title deeds were held by Fareed
     Meeralabai. This village, east of the main road, was also
     conceived as a means of linking New Kattankudy with the
     isolated Muslim seaside village of Palamunai to the south.
     Karabala village had to be abandoned after the disturbances of
     April 1985. Furthermore, Muslims cannot go out and cultivate,
     and the paddy fields belonging to Kattankudy and Eravur
     residents on the other western side of the lagoon have
     virtually passed under LTTE supervision. It is not surprising
     if these Muslims see Tamils in their neighbourhood as envious
     and grabbing. The LTTE, as well as other groups in the past
     have on occasions encouraged them to loot Muslims under their
     protection. The Muslims could also contend that they have not
     been wanting in generosity. The Kattankudy hospital which is
     situated in Araipattai was built on land donated by a Muslim.

     The complaints one hears from Muslims inthe Batticaloa
     District, are the mirror image of complaints one hears from
     Tamils in the Amparai District. The two sets of grievances
     have different complexities involving interactions between a
     chauvinist state and a flawed Tamil nationalism. It was last
     year that the actions of the state agaisnt Tamils in the
     Amparai District reached proportions of mass murder paralled
     with qualitatively similar actions by the LTTE against Muslims
     and Sinhalese. However the temptation to wrongly single out
     the Muslims for lumpen behaviour must be avoided.

     There is also a particular injustice that Muslims have
     suffered in the Batticaloa District. Both sections of the
     popuation have found the need for additional land becuase of
     natural increase. Thus the population of Batticaloa town has
     expanded into new suburbs and old villages. The common name
     Puthukudiyiruppu, symbolises new settlements. But the
     expansion of Muslim residential areas has been comparatively
     limited and often strongly opposed. The fates of Karbala
     village and Ollikulam are signs of this opposition. Kattankudy
     is said to be one of the most densely populated areas in the
     world. One passes through Eravur by bus almost before blinking
     a couple of times, and about 37000 Muslims live there. Many
     Tamils in speaking betray a feeling that they have been
     generous enough and that the Muslims should not expand
     anymore. It also contains the implication that this land does
     not also belong to the Muslims. The feeling of being boxed in
     and hunted with their economic life crippled, is unpleasant to
     live with, and in human terms, is one pregnant with violence.
     We should be thankful that things have not yet gone out of

                           CHAPTER  5

                            THE NORTH


     5.1.1.  The mood of total war:
     As in all wars, the sensational siege at Elephant Pass, the
     suicide assaults, the sea landing, the relief column hopping
     from one Dutch fort to the next in imitation of the thinking
     of Dutch strategists three centuries ago when air power was
     not dreamed of, the victory of one side or of both; this was
     the fare dished out by the media and eagerly swallowed by the
     public. Recriminations of one section of the forces against
     the other, a hasty news conference summoned by the Air Vice
     Marshal to counter allegations, unaccustomed questions raised
     about the tardiness of the political establishment in putting
     forward a political solution, all suggested that the Colombo
     establishment was shaken. We will not know for some time what
     questions were raised within the ranks of the LTTE, which it
     is reported lost 65 women of its cadre on the  first day
     alone. In an Eastern town where business was generally down,
     a Muslim news agent said that there was a tremendous increase
     in newspaper sales. Easterners were generally eager for
     developments in the North in a manner not even slenderly
     reciprocated by the Northerners. It would thus be true to say
     that every community felt that something momentous and perhaps
     decisive was happening at Elephant Pass.

     We draw attention here to a battle that has been fought behind
     the scenes for months, which has not been written about and
     whose effects are much more far reaching. Now that the dust
     has settled for the present on Elephant Pass, those who wish
     this country and the Tamils well must look more closely at
     these pernicious developments. It is true that the LTTE banked
     much on Elephant Pass. Jaffna had been literally plastered
     with notices saying that Elephant Pass was the `last army camp
     on the soil of Tamil Eelam', that it was some kind of a final
     battle, and calling for the whole-hearted support of the
     people. All indications coming from Jaffna suggest that the
     LTTE's real motive was to secure the surrender of the camp
     with hundreds of its men and equipment, and use it as
     propaganda  as well as a bargaining chip. The planning for
     this had gone on for more than 3 months. There was a concerted
     attempt to place Jaffna on the footing of total mobilisation.
     Main roads were blocked to expedite the movement of
     reinforcements and casualties. Schools were closed to receive
     the injured. People were called upon to volunteer material and
     blood. When it became clear that the operation was in a
     stalemate, people were woken up with loud speaker cries in the
     night, "Awake, O Tamil people. Do you sleep while your young
     warriors are dying?" Then grew the fear that having secured
     Elephant Pass, the army would march into Jaffna.

     According to observers, there was a widespread mood among the
     people that it would be worthwhile to go forward and resist
     the army with bare hands. These were the same people who a
     year ago were skeptical and angry with the LTTE for having
     started the war. It is therefore necessary to look behind the
     news and understand the new dangers and their consequences.

     5.1.2  The South: The mood of July 1983:
     The desire of a large number of Tamils to flee Jaffna together
     with thae  fact that a large number of those who joined the
     exodus are living around Colombo, all the way between Negombo
     and Panadura, was a major victory for the government, which to
     some extent diminished the stigma of July 1983. The LTTE found
     itself imposing an embarrassing pass system. The JOC bomb
     explosion and the prospect of an army defeat at Elephant Pass,
     brought back old fears among Tamils. A large number of Tamils
     were taken in for questioning by the police in Colombo from
     their homes and from check points, and were abused in harshly
     communal terms. A young political refugee from the LTTE
     retorted angrily after his release, "Only Prabhakaran is right
     for these people!" A remark from a trishaw driver was typical
     of the mood among the sections that went on the rampage in
     July 1983: "When we watch the news, we get angry and want to
     teach a lesson. But the `Boss' has not ordered us to do

     If the Elephant Pass had fallen as it nearly did, and strained
     nerves in the South had snapped, the disaster of a repetition
     of July 1983 could easily have compounded a defeat in the
     North. Then the unity of the country for all practical
     purposes would have been severed, and to talk of soldiers
     giving their lives to preserve unity would have been an
     insult. This is why we have argued that there must be a free
     open discussion of the blunders of the past, including those
     of this government, to exorcise once and for all missing the
     legacy of Sinhalese chauvinism. If not and the cause of a
     united Sri Lanka is lost.

     5.1.3  The use of bombing and shelling:
     We  welcomed the halt called to aerial bombing in March as an
     enlightened step. But there has since been shelling from time
     to time and aerial bombing has some times been resorted to On
     14th May Daniel Sutharshan Samuel (15), a grandson of Leslie
     Samuel, who taught many members of the Colombo elite at Royal
     and St.Thomas', was killed at his home when the army shelled
     Vaddukoddai from Pallay. Also killed was the two year old son
     of a teacher at Jaffna College. The army had shelled
     Vaddukoddai and Chavakachcheri, apparently in order to disrupt
     the LTTE's plans for holding public meetings. During the
     Elephant Pass campaign shells fired from Elephant Pass killed
     up to  6 persons in Chavakacheri, including Ranjit Kumar,
     Assistant Lecturer in Political Science at the University of
     Jaffna, who was to go to Britain shortly on study leave. His
     body was found severed at his home by his students, with his
     liver some distance away. His sisters had also recently lost
     their father. In all fewer than 15 civilians were reported
     killed by bombing and shelling in the Jaffna and Killinochchi
     areas, during the Elephant Pass campaign.

     We have dwelt repeatedly on the political consequences, apart
     from  the human tragedy, of such actions, and have condemned
     both the use of, and the philosophy behind them. If in the
     event of a lack of political initiative, the situation
     continues to deteriorate, bringing the spectre of total war
     ever nearer, the army would find good military reasons for the
     use of widespread bombing and shelling on the grounds of
     disrupting the LTTE's attempts to mobilise the civilian
     population. Then total war would become a reality.

     It must also be mentioned that the Airforce showed commendable
     restraint during the Elephant Pass operation where civilians
     were concerned. On two occasions there was random shelling in
     the Karaveddy and Chavakacheri areas. But when people of the
     area concerned made complaints to the government through the
     Government Agent  and the ICRC in Jaffna, the ejection of
     missiles was largely stopped. This suggests that the political
     establishment retained some initiative and wanted at least to
     minimise the use of missiles. It is thus important to take
     steps to guard against a situation where nerves snap and there
     is a plunge into total war, where political initiative is cast
     aside regardless of the resulting discredit.

     The government has consistently condemned all acts of the LTTE
     resulting in civilian deaths as terrorist acts. The attack on
     the JOC, a military target, which also resulted in many
     civilians dying, was indeed termed such. In this instance
     again the government was guilty of double standards. For it
     had condoned and justified aerial and artillery attacks on
     supposedly LTTE targets which resulted overwhelmingly in
     civilian deaths.

     5.1.4  Disappearances and Massacres:
     The fact that these continue to occur because of the
     activities of the security forces has enabled the LTTE to
     mobilise the  population towards total war while justifying
     such repression as would have seemed an Orwellian fantasy ten
     years ago. About March, when aerial bombing was stopped, there
     was a tendency among the people to feel that the Sri Lankan
     forces had learnt from the past. This was also spurred by
     reports of disappearances in the East and of bodies in sacks
     floating in the Batticaloa lagoon.  These reports were
     highlighted in the LTTE controlled media. With the news of the
     Kokkadichoalai massacre in June, the tide decisively turned.
     This was an important part of the background to the mood of
     the people during the Elephant Pass siege.

     5.1.5  The war against historical memory:

     Every oppressive political tendency needs to erase historical
     memory and substitute its own mytho-history. Everything that
     is a big lie must shrink and shrivel before even a tiny beam
     of the light of truth. The LTTE understood this well. The
     extent of repression to which it could allow itself to go
     depended much on the visible threat posed to the Tamil people
     as a whole. During the period of good relations with the
     government, in early 1990, its oppressive methods were running
     into trouble. Even after the war had begun, its new wave of
     repression coincided with news of large scale massacres and
     disappearances in the East, and began about early September

     Regardless of their current passivity and resignation, it set
     about arresting those with remote past militant connections -
     particularly those small but politically articulate groups -
     the others having fled or having already faced death or
     imprisonment. Those in Jaffna from these groups, which had
     long been defunct,  had quietly become inactive without ever
     challenging the LTTE. The LTTE's  moves against these persons
     appeared to be mere paranoia at that time. But the situation
     has become clearer now. These persons were living monuments to
     historical memory, an intolerable link with the past, with
     past ideals of the militant movement and a time when there
     were many groups fighting the oppression of the Sri Lankan

     The war against historical memory has now been organised on a
     systematic and thorough footing. The most recent purge of May-
     June was aimed at the Theepori (Sparks) group. This group had
     split from the PLOTE in early 1985 protesting against its
     internal repression, and the most remarkable thing they did
     was to document their experiences inside the PLOTE in a book
     with the title `A new  kind of world'. They remained totally
     passive and their book was and continues to be widely
     circulated by the LTTE. Three of its members recently detained
     were students of the University of Jaffna. [See 5.2 for

     Within the University of Jaffna itself the 1st and 2nd years
     are isolated from 3rd and 4th years and are handled
     differently. They are addressed, admonished and warned in
     separate meetings. The 3rd and 4th years are a link with the
     history of the university when it was a different place, when
     discussion was open and the university took positions against
     oppression, irrespective of whether it came from the LTTE or
     the IPKF.

     In schools again, the teachers are watched by students taken
     out, trained and brought back. The LTTE frequently addressed
     meetings at schools.  In addition to the public display of
     weapons and uniforms, young teenagers are fed with a history
     which is totally sanitised. There is thus very clear evidence
     of an attempt to mould a generation without links with the
     past. As we have seen, several academics and members of the
     elite have been co-opted in this exercise. Young teenagers are
     thus pushed into dying for leaders and members of the elite,
     who as far as they and perhaps their families are concerned,
     have no intention of dying.

     5.1.6  Breaking the colts:
     With all the allures of falsehood and deceit, children are
     children. That such large numbers are mobilised into a
     fighting force seems remarkable to many. Many of them remain
     in the movement with grave doubts and die with them. We shall
     take one aspect in breaking them, presented on the basis of
     testimony given by teenagers who succeeded in leaving the

     After a couple of days inside, the initial allure had gone,
     life inside was oppressive and many of them wanted to leave.
     One of the children told the man in charge that he wanted to
     go home. Immediately, everyone was called together and he who
     wanted to go home was given a sound public thrashing. The
     others who also wanted to go then kept quiet. Their parents
     who succeeded in tracing them came to the camp and asked for
     their children. Each child was faced with his parents and
     asked if he wished to go home. The answer was consistently

     In due course a few were given drugs that made them feel
     violent. They were given the freedom to let loose by torturing
     prisoners.... and so it went.

     Another revealing instance is that of a young girl from
     Karaveddy who joined the LTTE. Her father had been a toddy
     tapper who had died when he fell from a palmyrah tree. Her
     mother was desperate. During the Jaffna Fort operation last
     year, the mother received a letter smuggled out of a camp by
     a labourer. The letter from her daughter said that she was in
     the Nelliady girls' camp and desperately wanted to go home.
     She added that four girls from the camp had been taken to
     Jaffna Fort and had not come back, making her very much

     The mother went to the camp with a friend to plead her case.
     The leader of the camp repeatedly denied the girl's presence.
     In desperation, the mother produced her daughter's letter. The
     leader read the letter, called out the girl, and in her
     mother's presence slapped her and kicked her with her boot.
     She then sent the mother away telling her that her daughter
     will never be released.

     Those who normally succeed in getting their children out are
     members of the elite. It is a reflection of Tamil politics
     today that a force which cynically treats those at the bottom
     of the social ladder in this manner is projected as a
     revolutionary force. Some western academics even appear to
     credit it as standing for caste liberation.

     5.1.7  Mobilising the civilian population:
     One aspect of mobilisation of civilians is propaganda and a
     genuine fear of the Sri Lankan army. Those whose children get
     killed in the LTTE's cause are at first angry. Subsequently
     their child is praised as a martyr and the parents are made to
     feel that they had done an invaluable service in sacrificing
     a child.

     In many areas economic life is at a stand-still because of a
     situation created jointly by the LTTE and the government for
     different reasons. In some areas people have had little
     choice, but to sell their labour to the LTTE in return for
     daily wages. In the Vanni region much damage to economic life
     has resulted from the `guerrilla operations' of the Sri Lankan
     army - Advance, Loot, and Return to Base. Here, a special
     propaganda appeal is being made by the LTTE to the people by
     promoting their legendary hero, Pandara Vanniyan, as the
     forerunner and prototype of Prabakaran.

     In some areas, government rations to displaced persons have
     been used as a means of securing forced labour. Here the Grama
     Sevaka has to complete two sets of forms, one for the
     government and the other for the LTTE. The LTTE has to certify
     a day's labour by a member of the family before the week's
     ration's could be released.

     The two sovereigns of gold tax per family in Jaffna is now
     being vigorously pursued. In some cases people had been
     imprisoned until the money was found. In one school near
     Thinnevely, about May, ten girls were picked up after school,
     several of them daughters of out-of-work farmers. They were
     released after the sovereigns were paid - often after
     borrowing from several friends and relatives.

     5.1.8  In conclusion:

     The LTTE, it could be said, has tried nearly every means in
     the handbook of repression short of physical conscription. Its
     uneasy edifice cannot hold together or derive whatever
     legitimacy, without the fear of, and oppression coming from
     the politics of the Sri Lankan state. The people of course
     resent both and would like to protest. But every little space
     has been smothered by intertwined events. Every turn of the
     LTTE's screw of repression received its licence from, and is
     traceable to repressive actions and massacres by the state.
     The invisible spiral of events has thus been moving towards
     total war. As we have shown in this and the  previous volumes,
     total war and not peace is the logical culmination of the
     LTTE'S politics and its only hope of survival. Yogi had said
     on May Day of 1987, that civilians dying is a small matter. A
     small fraction of its population then, he said, was enough to
     people the new world of Tamil Eelam.

     It is left to those who mean well to understand this politics
     as not just abominable, but also fragile, thriving merely on
     the weakness, wickedness and stupidity of others. Total war is
     an unmitigable tragedy that must be averted.

5.2  Crackdown in the University of Jaffna:
     Dominic (Nobert) was a leading member of the `Theepori'
     (Sparks) group described in the last section. Following the
     repression that began in September last year, Dominic fled
     Jaffna in October. He returned to Jaffna in May in order to
     make arrangements for the safety of some members who were
     associated with them and were stuck in Jaffna. The news that
     he was staying in a house in Kokkuvil was leaked to the LTTE
     by an informer in the neighbourhood. He was soon picked up by
     the LTTE. This was quickly followed by the arrests of another
     3 members of this group from the university.

     The arrests of these students took place about two days after
     the arrest of Nobert. On 22nd May Sellathurai Srinivasan (2nd
     year Geography Special) of Potpathy Road, Kokkuvil, and
     Nagalingam Govindarajan (3rd year Commerce), of Varani, were

     Srinivasan was from a family of 7 boys and 2 girls. Two
     brothers had been in the PLOTE and later among the Theepori
     dissidents in 1985. Nobert is said to have hidden in
     Srinivasan's sisters house at the time of his arrest.

     Another student Thirukethees (1st year Arts) was arrested at
     the university a few days later, by LTTE cadre accompanied by
     MMK students, the MMK being a one time cultural organisation
     and now effectively  the policing arm of the LTTE within the
     university. Thirukethees had wanted to see the Vice
     Chancellor. He was told, in response, "There is no need. If he
     knows the LTTE took you, he will understand". This was later
     represented by the LTTE as Thirukethes running into the
     university to hide.

     A few days later Editor Ravi, an LTTE functionary addressed
     the junior students in isolation. The students had been
     demanding to see their detained colleagues. Editor gave the
     charges against those detained. Srinivasan, besides his
     associations, is accused of planning to help in running a
     dissident paper for the Theepori. The charge against
     Govindarajan was more ironic. He is said to have in 1985
     hidden a Theepori dissident hunted by the PLOTE! Thirukethees
     had the vague charge of supplying information. Editor then
     went into a harangue calling those detained not just traitors
     to the LTTE, but also to the student body. Having worked
     himself upto a climax, Editor asked the students what
     punishment should be given to the detainees. A silence
     followed. A lone voice then suggested meekly "Pardon them",
     turning what should have been a gory climax into an anti-

     Editor went into a rage. "That word is not in our dictionary",
     he said. He then warned them not to be funny because they are
     university students, adding that they have a large number of
     detainees and do not care whether someone is from the
     university or not. The students were also told that the LTTE
     was not concerned with 3rd and 4th years as they were going
     out, but that the others had better look sharp. An MMK student
     duly rose and gave Editor the vote of thanks, expressing the
     students' gratitude for his profound discourse. We have
     already observed that this is part of the effort to break with
     tradition, obiliterate history and mould a new generation
     within narrow mental confines.

     About a month later, the LTTE radio announced that a student
     union meeting would take place at Kailasapathy Auditorium the
     following morning, 24th June.

     The students were surprised to find a senior academic and
     former senior student counsellor going up the stage to address
     them. In addressing the students, he told them, "There are
     still weeds left in the university. They will not be
     tolerated. These weeds must be plucked up and cast away..."
     The students were shell-shocked, and afraid.  The former
     senior student counsellor went on to call the detainees
     traitors, despite earlier having said that inquiries had not
     been concluded. He also listed Muslims among the traitors.

     Following the meeting, the students found that all exits from
     the university had been shut. The students were herded out
     through the main entrance, were handed prepared slogans, and
     were importuned to participate in a demonstration protesting
     the arrest of a student Jayaseelan in Batticaloa by the army
     and the massacres in the East. To bar escape, the
     demonstration was escorted on its flanks by the MMK. After the
     demonstration had commenced there was suddenly a change of
     slogan. The cry, "Release all students detained", was heard
     coming from the middle section. The `police' rushed to the
     centre of the commotion and an argument ensued, mainly with
     1st years.

     The senior academic addressing a student meeting not called by
     the union, and in such intimidating terms, is something
     totally unprecedented in the history of the University of
     Jaffna. Such persons would at other times remark that should
     the army come into Jaffna, they would all become `born again
     Sri Lankans'. Nor do they act under compulsion. There are
     humble school heads who have refused to receive the LTTE's
     leading personage Anton Balasingham during his routine `Pied
     Piper' missions to schools.  The LTTE knows the limits to
     which it can push individuals. Sycophancy  has long been a
     respectable academic tradition in this country. By comparison
     the decency and courage of a number of ordinary, vulnerable,
     students in an atmosphere of terror, is remarkable.

     We had observed that the Theepori group had existed passively,
     at best as a literary circle. While telling the public that
     they  were traitors, the LTTE circulated copies of their `A
     new kind of world', found where Dominic was staying. More
     ironically, the same book describing the repressive atmosphere
     within the PLOTE, is now being serialised in an LTTE journal
     published in Canada. Those authors now in LTTE hands, may be
     undergoing much of what they had described in their own book,
     as a prophetic warning about the direction of the militancy in

     We observe that the backdrop to the singular event in the
     university on 24th June was the situation in the East,
     culminating in the Kokkadichcholai massacre. At present the
     students are mostly cynical, are waiting to get out, and will
     only raise issues in a cursory manner that is not sustained.
     With the socially conscientious students suppressed and
     without the ability  to organise around issues, it is the
     frivolous element that gains publicity, and this  in turn  is
     used by the Tigers to isolate the university. The situation
     contrasts sharply with times when there was a great deal of
     free discussion. In May 1977, the university Science Students
     Union even sent a team to investigate the plight of hill-
     country Tamil workers from Delta North Estate, Pusselewa, who
     had been subjected to a grievous communally motivated attack,
     and a balanced, mature report was published and distributed.
     The student body then was conscious of playing a role in
     nation-building, embracing the wider Tamil speaking community.
     Today all that has been dashed to pieces. The handful of
     students at present who are seen to have character and have
     personally refused to compromise with untruth are closely
     watched by the MMK. The students detained had previously
     received several visits from the MMK.

     During the recent Elephant Pass campaign, the LTTE's
     propaganda chief, Yogi, observed angrily in a public speech,
     that young persons in their early teens were dying on the
     battle field, while those in their twenties were donating
     blood. He said that it should have been the other way round.
     Why this reversal of roles over the last five years before
     when it was those of a mature age who died fighting, is a
     question that Yogi dare not ask.

5.3  Martyred at Silavathurai
     Senthooran (Castro) of Kali Kovilady, Jaffna, was among the
     brightest students at Jaffna Central College, having scored 8
     distinctions at his O.L's. Both his parents were in Germany.
     Shortly after the outbreak of war in June 1990, he went to
     Colombo with the intention of joining his parents. He was
     refused his visa as the German embassy found an apparent hitch
     in his papers. His father sent a message asking him to get
     back to Jaffna and follow his A.L's. He went back to staying
     with his aunt in Jaffna and was unhappy, thus losing interest
     in studies. This is when he decided to join the LTTE.

     Having joined, he told friends whom he met, "I would like to
     leave. But a gun is ever before me." In March this year he
     went as group leader in one of the many units sent to attack
     the army camp at Silavathurai in the Mannar sector. He was
     asked to advance against the camp. According to accounts
     coming from survivors, he protested that it would be suicidal
     to advance by daylight towards a camp sited in open land. He
     was reprimanded and ordered to proceed. He was an early victim
     of the army's shelling.

     Senthooran's death did not at first receive official
     publicity. His friends were the first to print and circulate
     condolence notices privately. It was then that the LTTE
     appeared to take notice.

     His picture then went up on posters and in speeches he was
     commemorated a worthy martyr for a cause close to his heart,
     and an example to others. So rests another in the arms of
     eternity - a small atom of a big lie.

5.4  Jaffna Fort : The Propaganda and the Message:
     Thileepan gave the Dutch Fort in Jaffna momentous significance
     just before commencing his fast to death in 1987. He called it
     a symbol of oppression of the Tamil Nation. Thus early in the
     war, the LTTE banked much on capturing the Fort. The Sri
     Lankan army withdrew from the Fort in September last year. The
     LTTE then commenced the demolition of this archaeological
     treasure turned symbol of oppression. About the first to go
     after the LTTE takeover was the large church, one of the
     finest pieces of Dutch architecture in this country, handed
     over by the government to the Jaffna Christian Union in the
     60s.  The walls of the fort are now in the process of

     The `Muththamil Vila' organised by the LTTE during the middle
     of the year to commemorate Tamil culture was one of those
     occasions when streams of visitors were allowed into what
     remains of the Fort.

     One of those things that survives intact is the Fort prison,
     not lacking in inmates. Additional housing for prisoners took
     the form of several  tin huts with slits about a foot above
     the ground, and circular holes with tubes above the slits, for
     prisoners to pass urine. Persons inside were trying to attract
     the attention of the visitors, who had accidentally strayed
     from the visitors' area. An LTTE man came rushing and shooed
     them away. He then banged the tin hut to stop the prisoners
     from calling out. Each hut was estimated to contain up to 20

     An LTTE boy casually explained later that the prisoners were
     LTTE cadre who wanted to leave the organisation and had given
     notice. Their punishment was to spend a year on one meal a day
     demolishing the Fort stone by stone. They are allowed visitors
     once a month. After a year, they could leave. A prisoner told
     a visitor, "This thing is so torturous that it would have been
     easier to join the Black Tiger suicide unit". If this is the
     condition of  prisoners who are LTTE members, the conditions
     under which other prisoners live are left to conjecture.

     It looks as though the treasured parts of the Fort would go.
     But the prison quarters may remain. Is that the symbolism of

5.5  The Vanni
     The two reports given here are from the Vanni where there are
     several check points and frequent forays by the army. Little
     news comes out on what happens to  civilians.

     5.5.1  Disappeared in Vavuniya: 1st February 1991
     Nallathamby Sivanathan (30) father of two, and Paramasamy
     Uthayasooriyam (28) were standing in the queue at the Vavuniya
     army check point. Both were traders from Kayts transporting
     goods from Colombo to Jaffna. They had much money in bank
     drafts and in cash. They were directed to the PLOTE Office by
     the army to get a permit. Subsequently several witnesses saw
     them being taken by the army. Since then they are missing.
     Their relatives made inquiries at all the army camps in the
     area and were told that since they are not with the army they
     must be with the PLOTE. The ICRC was also informed.

     Representations were made to Tharmalingam Sitharthan in
     Colombo, leader of the DPLF, the political wing of the PLOTE.
     On one occasion while a relative was speaking to Sitharthan by
     telephone a friend of the relative's was in the PLOTE office.
     With Sitharthan was a key military leader of the PLOTE, who
     appeared to be very angry with traders. While Sitharthan was
     answering questions on the telephone very politely, the
     military leader was telling him angrily, "Tell them they have
     to pay five lakhs of rupees to see a person, and 25 lakhs for
     their release. These lorry fellows must be taught a lesson.
     When we ask them to bring jeans and shirts from Colombo, they
     ignore us. But they give the LTTE what they ask.

     Nothing else so far been heard of the prisoners. Though they
     were taken by the army, people generally blamed the PLOTE. It
     shows that these Tamil groups are working with (for?) the army
     under conditions where they cannot do anything for the people,
     and in turn increasingly become angry and alienated.

     5.5.2  Uyilankulam (April 1991)
     On receiving news that the army was advancing S.Peter went
     with his tractor and trailor to fetch his uncle S.Pushparajah,
     together with some of his valuables. Looting by the army was
     known to be routine. While returning the army fired from a
     distance killing Peter. The trailor then overturned. Soldiers
     then came nearby and shot Pushparajah at point blank range.

                    THE HUMAN COST -GLIMPSES
          In the vincinity of Batticaloa the list of dissappeared
persons reached about 2500 in July.This list does not include those
confirmed dead.The number of dead in the Eastern Province is
conservatively put at 7000 excluding Trincomalee.
     A Hindu social service organisation, said in July that there
were over 400 widows from the war among those now staying in the
Akkaraipattu Tamil AGA's divisions in the Amparai district.
     The Muslim area of Kattankudy has about 200 widows from the
violence, since l987. The Mosque massacre last year left 90 women
     The number of persons killed fighting for the LTTE at
Elepahant pass during July is put by the LTTE at 500 and at varying
higher figures by other local sources. A large number of the
casualities are young women and children sent in waves of suicidal
charges. The children among the injured are the most traumatised,
such as the child in Jaffna hospital with his legs blown off,
complining of an ache in a finger. Several of the children admitted
being forced into charges.
     The propaganda manipulation of the Elephant Pass campaign gave
rise to a collective euphoria which even took hold of balanced
persons in Jaffna to their surprise. Even children down to the age
of l0 were carried off by the surge to join the LTTE in large
numbers. With the failure to remove the camp at Elephant Pass,
deflation came very fast and there was much private criticism of
the LTTE. But for the children who joined,it was too late!