1. Reports : GENERAL
Karukampanai -7th Februar 1989
The Death of Aingaran -Alavedd .: 9th May 1989
The Death of Mr. Cyril Swami illai -Jaffna, 22nd June 1989
Conscription Confounded -Gurunagar, 5th -7th July 1989
Mrs Rani Anthonipillai -Mathagal, 17th July 1989
The Death of Mr. Tharmarajah, EPRLF Leader -Killinochchi, 26thJuly 1989
Adampan- Incident of 31st July 1989
Incident at Mannar Hospital -9th August 1989
Incidents at Avarangal : 3rd week of May 1989
The Killings in Puttur
Incident at Meesalai : 14th May 1989
The local temple festival wa6 going on at Karukampanai, and people were about the temple area after nightfall. Thevarah, a car driver, was playing cards with his friends in a house nearby. Some gunmen from a pro lPKF group went and talked to them then set off down the road, away from the temple. They went to the house of Sinnathura, a cycle mechanic, who was playing with his young child on his lap. Sinnathurai was called out and shot dead. On their way back, Thevarajah was called out and killed.
Next morning an IPKF officer questioned a leading local citizen as to who had done the killing. This man replied , You should know .The officer replied, No, I dont know. However the camp housing a pro IPKF group was removed from Keerimalai soon afterwards.
According to local source, Thevarajah and Sinnathurai had not been forthcoming when their services were sought by persons of the area from a lower caste group. The two had belonged to the Koviyar caste.
Aingaran (16) an O Level student at Mahajana was the youngest son of Yogasundaram, a public sector employee. Aingarans elder brother had been a member of the LTTE until 1987. After the October operation, the IPKF, acting perhaps on a tip-off came home looking for his brother who was then not at home. Aingarans mother was slapped-repeatedly by a soldier in his presence. The brother was later sent abroad. For Some time before the date above, Aingarans mother had suspected that Aingaran was getting involved with the LTTE. On being questioned he denied it. However, Aingarn left home a few days before the date given.
When the father came home that day, he was told that a boy had been shot dead. Later something else that he heard made him check. The dead boy was Aingaran. Aingaran, who was carrying an armed militant on his, bicycle pillion, had run into an IPKF patrol. The armed militant took to his heels and escaped. Aingaran, being inexperienced, was shot dead.
Mr. Swamipillai (58) was a well known English teacher in Jaffna, well versed in western drama and elocution. Having retired from St. Patricks College he worked as Manager of Windsor Cinema and later of Manohara. His daughter was married on the lOth June, and a reception was held at Palm Court.
A few days later some youths came to his house claiming to belong to the LTTE and demanded Rs. 5 lakhs. Mr Swamipillai finally agreed to pay Rs.15.000/. On the 22nd June, theatre owners and managers were summoned for a meeting by the EPRLF at Shanthi theatre, in front of the Jaffna hospital.
Swamipillai is reported to have recognised some of the armed sentries at the top of the lane as those who had come to his home. After 3.00 p.m, he was seen on his motorbike looking rather stern. He told some inquirers that he was lodging a complaint.
That night he was shot dead near the Manohara theatre.
lndrani Christopher -Jaffna, 29th May 1989
Indrani Christopher (30), lived down David Road, Jaffna and was a young mother whose husband worked in the Middle East. She had a reputation for being generally helpful to young persons in trouble. Being in the Gurunagar area, she had known a number of young men who had been in various militant groups over the years. She is said to have sheltered fugitives from various groups as their fortunes changed, including those from the LTTE. Young persons came regularly in the evenings for friendly chats.
On the day in question, she had accompanied a girl to the EPRLF camp at Hotel Ashok in the morning to hand over an application for a job in the provincial government. Despite the risks involved, many were desperate enough to seek jobs in the provincial administration. She was shot dead at her home in the afternoon while sitting on a chair. Rumours got around that she was immoral an informer or both. A neighbour testified to her character in these terms: Her vocabulary at times may be described as unclean But her character was clean.
This incident took place when the threat of conscription had put fear and anxiety into both parents and children. A militant group came into Gurunagar and started to round up some young persons. The elders, mainly fisherfolk and labour class came out with knives and sticks to surround the militants. The group went away and returned the following day in larger numbers. The elder folk responded in the same manner as they did on the previous day. and in the melee a militant was (temporarily) deprived of hispistol.
The next day they came in the company of some IPKF soldiers. A Tamil speaking soldier told the locals, If they try to kidnap your sons, beat them!
Another youth Jacob, an A Level student at the Patrician Institute, from the Mannar district, was conscripted together with his landlords son from the nearby Old Park Road. Although the landlord and lady had known Jacob only for a short time and their own son too was in difficulty, they gave most of their attention to Jacob in view of his delicate health. Jacob was traced to the EPRLF camp at Velanai. They contacted everyone who could possibly help. On the 6th July, Jacob was warded in Jaffna hospital under a different name with a nearby EPRLF camp as his address. He had reportedly fainted after being beaten on the legs. His captors were apparently annoyed. thinking that he was feigning ill-health. Jacob was later released.
Mrs. Anthonipillai was a teacher with 2 sons who made regular trips to the local IPKF camp to plead for the release of young men detained. While returning from camp on the day concerned. 4 young men stopped the bus and dragged her out, accusing her of releasing LTTE when they were apprehended.She was then killed. The narrator said that people drew from this the obvious conclusion about the identity of the perpetrators of the killing.
Some weeks later he met a friend from the area to whom he expressed his feelings about the killing and the killers. To his surprise, his friend put an entirely different construction on the dramatic incident.
According to reports received Tharmarajah was a local EPRLF leader in Killinochchi, who had shown qualities of enlightened leadership- still relatively rare in the EPRLF, which had won him considerable popular esteem. On the day mentioned, he had gone to inspect a sentry point near his
camp. He was killed by a single bullet fired from the Sri Lankan army camp opposite.
He was one of the young men, a part of whose story was given in the Tale of two young men in our Report No.1. Two years earlier he had been a broken and bitter man after being incarcerated and tortured by the LTTE. He was evidently an intelligent man, committed. to ideals leading to the upliftment of his people. No doubt the EPRLFs political outlook at that time would have attracted him. He came from the sort of village in the Killinochchi area from which young men would .have joined all major groups.
have had more tragic results than elsewhere. He had not been happy with the general militaristic drift of militant groups. After the Accord, he had gone back to being a postal worker and had no intention of rejoining the EPRLF. He did so only after the LTTE became suspicious of his intentions and a friend of his was killed. It is a destructive aspect of this war that political gain.The EPRLF possesses few leaders with the imagination and grit that can give it the benign image that any political leadership requires. The EPRLF put his killing down to collusion between the Sri Lankan government and the
LTTE to keep them weak in leadership potential.
All-India Radio reported the incident at Adampan as one where a large scale attack was mounted on the IPKF camp and where in the course of fighting 35 LTTE members and a few Indian soldiers were killed. The following account was compiled from local sources.
The IPKF camp in Adampan, near Giants tank, in the Mannar district is situated next to the government hospital and is manned by the Madras Regiment. A sizeable group of the LTTE came into that area during the night and fired mortar shells into the IPKF camp from behind the hospital. According to some, a part of the attacking force had entered the hospital premises.An IPKF officer immediately called upon the doctor on duty at the hospital to have it vacated as they were going to retaliate. This was done and the attackers also withdrew from the hospital area. The IPKF suffered no casualties.
Subsequently, the jungle area behind the hospital was subject to intense shelling from the IPKF camp at Uyilankulam, 5 miles south on the Mannar -Vavuniya road, causing the attackers to disperse. The following morning, troops from the Adampan camp went out and in the process told the agricultural colonies in the surrounding areas to vacate, as there may be shelling. This resulted in a mass influx of refugees into town. They were fed for two days by the GAs office and by NGOs. One elderly lady is reported to have been killed during the shelling.
In a separate incident at Nedunkandal, an IPKF patrol was attacked, resulting in the deaths of 4 soldiers. No reprisals against civilians were reported. The commendable level of humanity and restraint displayed by the IPKF during these incidents stand in stark contrast to its performance inVadamaratchi during the same period.
The Mannar hospital lies at the T-junction, where the road to Talaimannar takes off from the Thalvupadu road. The Talaimannar road runs briefly to the north past the hospital, which is to the left, and then takes a bend and runs west past the Building Materials Corporation (BMC), to the right of the road. The IPKF has a large camp at the BMC and a small post in the corner of the hospital premises, at the T-junction referred to. Going east from here along the Thalvapadu -Mannar road, there are camps of the EPRLF and TELO.
The small IPKF post in the corner of the hospital premises is over-looked by the OPD building. On the night of that day, the LTTE is believed to have come to Mannar island by boat from Vankalai and had landed at Thalvupadu and entered the hospital from the back. This was at about 8.30 p.m. On entering the main building of the hospital, all employees and patients were detained inside. They made their way through the hospital to the OPD building and took up positions upstairs over-looking the IPKF camp below. Except for those on sentry duty, the other soldiers came to the camp for their nights sleep. When the LTTE opened fire from upstair windows, the IPKF men hardly stood a chance. A few soldiers reportedly escaped by climbing over the wall. The LTTE had ringed the area with sentries to make it difficult for reinforcements to be rushed there. The surrounding IPKF camps are said to have been uncertain as to what was going on for some time, because the LTTE had been using Indian weapons, When soldiers from the BMC camp arrived, the LTTE had left with the captured weapons, reportedly by boat from Thalvupadu. Up to 40 soldiers may have been killed in the incident.
The subsequent conduct of the IPKF is worthy of praise and took the townsfolk by surprise, given the general reputation of the IPKF. The troops that came from the BMC camp that night assured the patients (more than eighty in number) and the staff that no harm would befall them. The patients left on their own in the morning. The Indian troops conducted themselves in a disciplined manner and no townsfolk came to any harm.
How was such an unthinkable attack made possible? It may be pointed out here that the atmosphere in Mannar town was fairly relaxed. The level of fraternisation between Indian troops and local people was of a high level, that would have shocked people in Vadamaratchi. EPRLF leadership in Mannar town had succeeded in presenting a fairly acceptable image. One purpose of the attack may have been to change the atmosphere, as had been 80 easily done in Vadamaratchi with the killing of just two soldiers on lst June 1988. If that was a purpose of the attack, it bore no immediate fruit.
After the dark winter of 1987, when civilian institutions reasserted themselves, there had been a general demand to the IPKF to keep out of public institutions -particularly educational institutions and hospitals.Such demands had been won and had been grudgingly granted in instances where the IPKF feared a genuine security threat. Sometimes the IPKF had sought assurances from the institutions that the LTTE would not use them. Institutional heads who were in no position to give such guarantees had to argue that prudence demanded that such a risk had to be taken by a force wanting to restore democracy. In some cases assurances were sought from the LTTE and were given, if only tactically.
The sanctity of hospitals is guaranteed by international covenants even during wartime and a hospital is a place from which the IPKF would have least expected to be attacked. The IPKF had probably agreed not to enter hospital buildings. For if regular inside checks were done, such an attack would not have been possible. In conducting such an attack, the LTTE has not just undermined its own credibility, but the credibility of the entire Tamil civilian population engaged in .an uphill struggle to regain a measure of control over their own institutions. That is precisely something that should have the whole-hearted backing of a liberation group. Anyone who is using an adversarys show of decency to attack him is bent on a destructive course.
Avarangal is situated. 8 miles from Jaffna town on the Pt. Pedro Road. The area comes under the IPKF command at Yakkarai. On lOth May there was a troop changeover. The 4th Maha moved out and the 2nd Rajasthan moved in.
On the 15th at 5.3Op.m the LTTE fired at an IPKF patrol, killing Captian N.K.Singh and a trooper. There were no reprisals that day. The 16th morning saw what appeared to be a planned onslaught, aimed at driving terror into the civilian population. Troops set out from the camp at Atchuveli beating whomsoever they found on the road, moving towards Avarangal, encircling the area with the help of troops from Puttur. The troops from Atchuveli subsequently apprehended Ponnar Kanthasamy (19) and Sinnathamby Kanagalingam (22), both newly married labourers with infants, and took them to a vineyard. The two were shot dead later. S. Ratna, (45) of Puttur West had just reached home, when troops arrived and ordered him to open the house for a search. The house being locked and the wife not at home, Ratnam asked leave to find his wife and obtain the key. He was shot dead as he walked away.
On finding out that they were in the middle of a military operation, 6 young men, mostly labourers, parked their bicycles and took refuge at the Mangauna Vairavar temple. They were detained by troops arriving there and were badly beaten. Troops then took them to the main road at Avarangal, stopped a Jaffna bound CTB bus and ordered the six to board the bus.
A passenger in the bus. post master at Chankanai protested strongly about the treatment meted out to the six detainees. reminding the troops that they were part of a Peace Keeping Force. A soldier opened fire. killing the Post Master and injuring a lady nearby. The others in the bus were asked to report that the LTTE had fired at the bus. The Uthayan newspaper reported that the post master was killed when a soldiers gun went off accidentally. The bus was ordered to proceed and the six labourers were off loaded at the Puttur IPKF camp, situated at the junction of the Chavakachcheri Road.
Between 1.00 and 2.00 p.m, soldiers from the Puttur IPKF camp assaulted several people in the area. Those assaulted included 8 young women from a nearby factory and 5 pregnant women attending a pre-natal clinic near the army camp, on the Chavakachcheri Road-. Subsequently, a lorry from Avanrangal proceeding to Jaffna was stopped at the Puttur camp and 3 young labourers who were to load the lorry before its journey to Colombo were detained.
On the loth evening, Rathimohan, one amongst the group of 6 detained earlier that day, was taken to the house of Krishnarajah from whom he asked for a bag and a grenade allegedly given to him earlier. According to local residents, Rathimohan had no militant connections and had made a fake confession under torture. Krishnarajahs house was later burnt by Indian troops.
Of the three young labourers, who were detained at the IPKF, Puttur camp. the bodies of Ponnuthurai Vamadevan (20) of Avarangal and Selliah Sivalingam (22) of Puttur West, were given to relatives the following (17th) morning, with instructions to cremate them within an hour. Those who saw the bodies which were twisted fractured and punctured with bullet wounds said that they had seen nothing like that before.
Troops went to the house of Thillayarkanagu on the 17th night and asked for his daughter Chandradevi (Latha)(17). The girl not being at home the father was badly assaulted. Chandradevi was arrested from a neighbouring house the following morning. Thillayarkanagu went to the Puttur camp with some local citizens on the 18th evening to inquire about the fate of his daughter. He collapsed and died a few yards away from the camp. Chandradevi is now reported to be at the KKS detention centre.
Two 0f the group of 6 detained on the i6th were taken by troops to a banana plantation on the 18th morning where they had apparently confessed to having hidden arms. They were badly beaten when these arms were not forthcoming. According to locals. these six had no connections with the LITE.
Indian troops surrounded Vakaraivattai on the 22nd morning and took away Ihuraisingam Uthayakumar, who was later shot dead. Of those detained, 3 were later released. Those missing are
1. Kathiresu Uthayanathasivam, 2. Eliyathamby Parthipan, 3. Manikkam Thavendrarasa, 4. Ihillakarathinam Rathimchan. All inquiries from the IPKF have failed to yield information about these four. One was a schoolboy from
Puttur Somaskanda, and a school boycott was observed from 30th May to 2nd June in the area to protest his disappearance.
A Colonel from Yakkarai later talked to some local citizens who had protested in very strong terms about the Indian armys conduct. Pointing out that civilians had never instigated the LTTE to fire at the IPKF. The Colonel is said to have replied that such conduct from the IPKF should be expected when an officer is killed. Some senior local citizens told him that such behaviour from the Sri Lankan army was usual but that the 4th
Mahar regiment which was there ea rlier and had faced similar difficulties, had conducted themselves in a fair manner fitting a peace-keeping force with civilians. But, the conduct of the new unit, they said was totally unacceptable.
Some of them thought that civilian interests, particularly those of detained persons, were ill-served by the LTTEs ban on ontact with the IPKF, and the work of the Citizens Committee had been halted following resignations. Many said that they did not wish to voice the need for such a committee in public, lest they are suspected of political ambitions and suffer dire consequences.
The IPKF later invited some citizens for a meeting at Puttur and laid down two conditions for their safety: 1. They must tell the LTTE not to fire at the IPKF. 2. They must not run when seeing troops. They were told that several reprisals would take place if Indian soldiers were killed.
The helplessness of these rural folk caught in a vice between contrary aims and demands of different parties in armed conflict was all too evident.
The day was still to begin when men clad in army uniform were stealthily surrounding the village of Kandikkadu near the Thakaram Pillayar Kovil, somewhere between Puttur and Vaharawathai. The previous night information that three LTTE cadres were passing the night in a hut belonging to a person living next to the temple had reached the army (IPKF). The same day at about 5.30 a.m. five persons from Vaharawathai were coming towards Puttur to load sand needed for construction into a lorry. They were all daily wage earners with families to support and were each carrying a parcel consisting probably of their tools and midday meal. On suspicion they were ordered to get down from their bicycles and squat on the ground. A salesman working at the Atchuvelly Multipurpose Co-operative society was also detained at that spot. A few minutes later two men, their wives, sisters and children were beaten up by the army who were searching their houses and were asked to sit alongside the others. The women sat apart and were pleading with the army officers not to harm them.
The searching continued until an army officer stooping at the doorway to enter a low roofed house was gunned down by the inmates at that time. The shots rang out clearly reaching the wr,ole village which was beseiged by terror. The inquiring look on the faces of the army personnel turned to fury when they learnt that it was an officer (name not known) who was killed. Instantly they turned their guns on the eight men who were clueless as to the happenings of the day. Three thatch-roofed houses were set ablaze and the women were beaten with guns and bat ton charged. A nineteen year old boy Jeychanthiran whho was trying to flee to safety was asked to carry the dead bodies of eight men and dump them into the burning houses. After this
act he too was about and thrown into one of the burning houses. Firing was heard at a distance and it was learned later that 3 LTTE cadres. Esco ( who had apparently shot at the officer) Sivaneswaran (alias Nehru) and Jeevakumar (Kutti) had run,through the back door towards the paddy fields firing back at the army. Only Esco was shot while the others escaped unscathed.
The women and adolescent children of the surrounding areas were beaten up while some of the men were tied up and marched to the army camp. They were released later.
The villagers were mercifully allowed to have a funeral with the charred remains of :
Kandiah ( 39 ), Nallathamby ( 37 ), Sivapathan ( 22 ), Balasingham ( 34 ), Yogendran ( 30 ), Jeychandiran ( 19 ),
Vykuntharasa ( 23 ), Ilatchanakumar ( 24 )
The IPKF soldiers who had come from Kodikamam and Eravur Camps and were stationed in a coconut estate near St. Nicholas Church on Kandy Road.
opposite Merusuvil Railway station came under a sudden attack by the LTTE at 11.30 a.m. on May 14th 1989. Ten IPKF soldiers and one LTTE cadre were killed and several IPKF soldiers were wounded in this attack. The posters which were put up by the LTTE later. claimed that they had captured 14 weapons belonging to the IPKF.
A few minutes after this attack more IPKF soldiers were brought to this spot and they went on a rampage burning three houses and many fences. Several houses were also looted. Hundreds of men, women and children in this area were beaten up. Many women were wounded in this attack by the IPKF.
The Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Lawrence Xavier was assaulted twice in his Parish House. Two other Priests and the Superior of the Holy Family Convent, which is near the church, were also assaulted. The orphans who live in the Holy Family Convent were among those who were beaten up. All traffic on the Kandy Road came to a standstill because of the attack by th~ IPKF on vehicles on the road. Later traffic was diverted through Usan and Kachai to Kodikamam. These attacks continued for two weeks. The people from Mirusuvil area moved to places like Pallai, Chavakachcheri and Jaffna.
As a repercussion to the LTTE attack on the IPKF the residents of Kodikamam and Eravur were affected. Three civilians were killed in this attack in Eravur. A mentally retarded young man was shot dead in Mirusuvil.
J The newspapers reported that three people were shot dead in Kodikamam.On the 14th when the bodies of those killed in the LTTE attack were I brought to the Kodikaman Camp a CTB bus from the Point Pedro depot which was going from Jaffna to Mullaithivu was shot at from the main trench of the army camp. A twelve year old boy from Delft was killed on the spot. His body was later taken to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. Three other passengers who were injured were also taken to the same hospital. The driver and the other passengers were assaulted in front of the IPKF Camp.
After these incidents paratroops were deployed in the Merusuvil area. The youth who were arrested by them were taken to the Kodikamam Camp. They were detained at this camp for a few days during which time they were severely assaulted.
A few women were molested during search operations which took place a few hours after the LTTE attack on the IPKF. After two weeks the information concerning these events was brought to the notice of Brigadier Bundh by the EROS. Brig. Bundh who denied the charges, later at the request of (Mr.Balakumar agreed to visit the area and meet the affected people.
Accordingly, on the 23rd May, arrangements were made for the people to meet the Brigadier at the Merusuvil Roman Catholic Tamil mixed school, to Justify to the various attacks on them. However, many who were on their way to this meeting were stopped and assaulted by the IPKF, and were prevented from attending the meeting.[Top]
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