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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
...in the Shadow of a Ceasefire

  • Sri Lanka Navy murders Tamil civilians in Pesalai Church
    [TamilNet, June 17/18, 2006]

Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev.Dr.Rayappu Joseph writes to the Vatican, 18 June 2006

" Today we buried the six  Tamil civilians [Manaval Claramma Leela (75, Jesuthasan Jude Nixon (23), Cyrilappar St.Jude (22)  Turairaja Vijekumar (39), Kodalingham Linganathan (20), Abdul Raheem Latheep (28) Mary Medaline (27)] murdered by the (Sri Lanka)  Navy at Pesalai yesterday by shooting them through their mouths and blowing off their heads and I spoke of Jesus Christ cruelly crucified and his Eternal words “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”. It is this power of forgiveness, I said, that made Him rise again and reminded the people of this hope that enlightens us even at this hour of darkness. We are not convinced that any inquiry worthy of its name will be held on these crimes and the culprits be prevented from further savage onslaught on the innocent civilians and those taking refuge in the sanctuary of their religion, the Church." more

அப்பாவித் தழிழ் மக்கள் மீதான  கண்மூடித்தனமான தாக்குதல்களுக்கான கண்டனம் செல்வராஜா கஜேந்திரன், யாழ்மாவட்டம் பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர், 18 June 2006
International Association of Tamil Academics Appeals to the College of Catholic Bishops Across the World - 17 June 2006
Mannar SLN rampage causes $5m damage to property
Independent report verifies SLN complicity in Pesalai violence 28 June 2006
Report by Rev Fr. J. J.Bernard OMI, Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Jaffna, 29 June 2006
Vankalaipadu SLN commander gives evidence in Pesalai killings 7 July 2006


 

Manaval Claramma Leela (75)
Jesuthasan Jude Nixon (23)
Cyrilappar St.Jude (22) 
Turairaja Vijekumar (39),
Kodalingham Linganathan (20),
Abdul Raheem Latheep (28)

On 17 June 2006 morning, Sri Lankan Navy (SLN), following its serious defeat at a sea clash in Pesalai seas, took revenge on Tamil civilians in Pesalai.  Tamils had taken refuge in the Church of Lady of Victory. This is the same church to which the people of Pesalai went for refuge when the tsunami struck and also when the SLN went on rampage on 23 December 2005.  On 17 June, two thousand (2000) people had taken refuge in the church as the sea clash raged in their sea between SLN and the Sea Tigers. The defeated SLN cordoned the Pesalai area. The Navy personnel proceeded to Pesalai blindly firing around and several houses at Pesalai are seen damaged. Frightened people took refuge in the church. SLN attempted to open fire into the church. They came around the Church of Our Lady of Victory at Pesalai and took positions outside its walls. At this point four men in shorts and t-shirts rushed into the church compound by the main entrance riding on two motor cycles.  They started firing at the church walls, doors and windows where over 6000 people, after having fastened all the doors and windows from within, were taking shelter.  SLN then broke open the door. Frightened people piled into a corner.

 

Some Navy personnel had fired into the church through the little openings found on the large doors and a good number of innocent civilians there sustained injuries and even the frame on the main altar holding the statue of Our Lady of Victory was damaged.  One of the Navy personnel, then had opened one of the windows and hurled one after the other two hand grenades in to the church. One of these fell back striking the window grills and the other blasted in the church with a big noise and heavy smoke. Then, the troopers, wearing masks, shot at the civilians inside the church and lobbed the third grenade through the window into the Church where more than 2000 civilians had sought refuge.

 

One of the  grenades landed on a 70-year old woman, Manuel Clara Amma Leema, from 4th Division in Pesalai. She was killed on the spot inside the church. There were also gun shots fired. Due to the great numbers injured there was blood splattered on the walls and flesh every where.  The attack on the church and the coastal villages around 7:00 a.m. and lasted for an hour.

 

There were three weddings scheduled for Saturday and one of which was the deceased Clara Amma’s grand daughter’s.
Bishop Rayappu Joseph told BBC that the men wearing blue had first gone to the hospital next door to the church and held a doctor at gun point, threatening him with expletives before throwing the grenades in to the church from the fence.
"When the nerve centre of this community, the church itself, where people have sought refuge, gets attacked in this manner, the soul of every person here gets shaken," an old villager explains.

 

"Gruesome revenge on civilians after each and every attack," has become the doctrine of the Sri Lankan Navy in Pesalai, he says, reminding the terror during the last Christmas when four persons of two neighbouring families were burnt to death inside a house in Pesalai after a Claymore attack that claimed the lives of 13 Sri Lanka Navy troopers.

 

On hearing the news of the attack from the LTTE Political Head for Mannar, Iniyavan, informed SLMM, ICRC and the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph. The trio together tried to reach the church immediately. Sri Lankan military stopped them at SLA barricade for two hours while the seriously injured people in the church were bleeding. Local people arranged for their first aid. Five of the injured reached a critical situation because of delay in medical attention.


one of the injured who survived...

 

The church priest of the Lady of Victory church informed the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Mannar Hospital to send ambulances to pickup the injured. These ambulances too were blocked for two hours by the SLA at their barricade. Nobody was allowed to go outside the church after the attack. All had to remain inside till Mannar Additional Magistrate D. J. Prabakaran, ordered the Sri Lanka Navy to remove the troopers from the location and instructed the Police to take care of the law and order at the site. Eventually the ambulances came to take the injured to hospital with the Bishop intervening.   44 civilians, most of them with grenade-splinter injuries, were rushed to hospitals. Some of the victims also had gunshot wounds. Five victims in a critical state were transferred to the bigger Anuradhapura hospital. Other injured people were taken to the Mannar hospital. At least seven civilians were killed.

 

Some of the fishermen who were at sea fishing, early in the morning, rushed to the shore as the clashes broke out between the Sea Tigers and the SLN. They were shot dead by the Sri Lanka Navy. The four fishermen killed in Kattaspathiri, were identified as

 

Thurairajah Vijayakumar, father of 3, from Tharapuram,

Abdul Rahuman Lathib, 28, father of 4,

Jesudasan Jude Nixon, 24, from Pesalai, and

Ciril Appar Sen Jude from Vidathalthivu.

 


the dead...

 

Another body of a fisherman, Koodalingam Linganathan, 20, was recovered from a boat on Kattaspathri shore, where more than 40 boats with engines and fishing nets were set on fire by the navy troopers. Remains of a youth burned inside a boat was located by villagers, later in the day in Pesalai. The body was not identifiable. Three more youths were reported missing from Pesalai area.  SLN also burnt the huts at the three fishing harbours in Pesalai. The civilians of Pesalai felt frightened to continue to live there having faced the persistent brutality of the SLN. The 100 House Scheme which was attacked on December 23, is now emptied of people. SLN has set up a large camp in this area. People are now seriously thinking of leaving the Pesalai area.

 

 


73 dwelling huts of the fishermen in Vanakalaipaadu burnt by Sri Lanka Navy

 

73 dwelling huts of the fishermen in Vanakalaipaadu have been burnt to ashes. The fishermen had come to Vankalaipaadu from Vankalai due to restrictions on fishing imposed by the SLN and were living there in temporary huts with all properties.
5 fiber-glass boats were burnt down in Vankalaipadu, 15 boats were partly destroyed and 90 expensive Out Boat Motors (OBMs) were destroyed. Two oil shops, one grocery, a generator and a mini-theature were also destroyed.

 

Fishing nets worth of 10 million rupees have been burnt down. In Pesali, 40 boats and 25 huts were damaged. The financial loss for the fishing communities was very high, according to the TNA MP Vino Noharathalingam who visited Pesalai Saturday. He took part in an urgent meeting with the Bishop and the Commanding Officer of the Sunny Village Sri Lanka Navy camp. Eyewitnesses in Kataspathri alleged that the killers were riding in a Police ambulance. The killers, who entered the church premises in Pesalai were riding in motorbikes and the fellow troopers were guarding the area when sections of the troopers went amok, kliing, burning and destroying the huts.

 

Batticaloa Bishop reached the site around 9:00 a.m., but was not allowed to move beyond. Civilians living along the coastal areas of Pesalai, Kaattaspathiri and Vankalaipaadu settlements adjoining the Gulf of Mannar were  in a state of panic and turmoil in the aftermath of the Sri Lanka Navy troopers violence on Saturday against civilians on the shores of Pesalai, Kattaspathri and Vankalaipadu, the three fishing areas. The Bishop also said that four fishermen had been shot through the mouth. He said he had seen the bodies of the fishermen on the beach still holding their ID cards in their hands.

 

 

He also said as he was traveling to the scene he saw dwelling huts of the fishermen burning all along the coastal way of Vankalaipaadu.

 

The Bishop also rejected any notion that there was any land battle or attack on the police station by the LTTE or any one else as stated by the Sri Lankan officials and the SLMM spokesperson, Thorfinnur Omarsson, in Colombo.
The Sri Lankan Minister and Defence Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, on Sunday said LTTE had fired grenades inside the church. The huts and boats, had got fire, by LTTE firing, he said.

 

"The media should be wise to terrorist methods as they are similar to those of disinformation campaigns of Fascist dictators," the Lankan Minister has advised the media in a news release posted on Government website. Also, the Sri Lankan Navy Spokesman Commander Dasanayake, who joined Rambukwella, stated for his part, that the LTTE has fired "scores of grenades," using grenade launchers. Neither Rambukwella or Dasanayake had any logical explanation of the civilians who were killed by gunshots through the mouth.

Parish Priest Vincent Patric says that the villagers were demanding that the Church site to be declared a safe and holy zone, where nobody, including the Sri Lankan forces, should be allowed to carry weapons. The Liberation Tigers Mannar Political Head S. Iniyavan said that as a measure of guaranteeing the security of the civilians in the area SLMM should be present at the church site Pesalai.

 

The church was providing refuge to more than 3000 villagers to stay overnight when tension prevails in Pesalai. Most who witnessed the horrific grenade and indiscriminate shooting attacks have been traumatized and would need help. It is felt that there are no mechanisms in place to help people who have suffered such trauma. They have been reported to be terrified having witnessed the killings and live in fear that more carnage could happen. They have expressed concern about their security and feel even the church is not a safe haven anymore.

 

Bishop Rayappu Joseph, one of the first persons to enter the church, Our Lady of Victory, after the attack targeting civilians, who had taken refuge in the church, told media that the attack was carried out by Sri Lanka Navy troopers. "There was no fight at the land; no LTTE cadre was there," when SLN troopers went amok in Pesalai, the Bishop of Mannar Diocese told BBC Tamil Service Saturday.

 

Fear has gripped civilians of Pesalai, who have no other place to seek safety, says Parish Priest Vincent Patric Cruz. Around three thousand civilians, most of them women and children, were forced to remain inside the Church, for hours, among the flesh and blood of the victims.

 

The events that have unfolded have rocked Pesalai, Kaattaspathiri and Vankalaipaadu areas and are said to be having a traumatic effect on the people living there. Until the Mannar Additional Magistrate Mr. Prabaharan went to the area and ordered the SL Navy to leave, instructing the police to handle the situation the movement of civilians including the Bishop’s was severely restricted.

 

A health official, who did not wished to be named, said the memories of the events in Pesalai, on Saturday, were similar to the massacre that took place in November 1999, also on a Saturday, in the holy shrine of Madhu Church, where 37 refugees, including 13 children, were killed in targeted artillery fire by the Sri Lankan troopers.

 


Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev.Dr.Rayappu Joseph writes to the Vatican, 18 June 2006 [also in PDF]

18-06-2006


His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature,
220 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

Your Excellency,

Shedding of innocent blood in St. Mary’s Church, Pesalai in the island
of Mannar at 8.20 AM on Saturday 17th of June,2006 sent with my
kind request to be forwarded to the Holy See, Rome.

Pesalai is a large village that lies to the North-West of the island of Mannar with a population of 8000 people 90% of whom are Catholic Fisher folk and the rest being Hindus and Muslim fisherfolk in the main village of Pesalai and the adjacent villages of Kaataspathri and Siruthoppu. They are a peace loving people. The Sri Lanka Navy which has one of its camps in the Pesalai area on the shores of a little village called Siruthoppu and the sea tigers of the LTTE were engaged in a battle in the sea off Pesalai. Two days before this incident i.e. on the 15th inst., an exchange of fire had taken place between the Police who are stationed at the very entrance of the village of Pesalai and the LTTE, at 8.00 PM. At this incident the people of Pesalai had fled to their Church for shelter. During this incident, six houses and a shop in the village suffered extensive damage due to RPG mortar attack from the Police Post. The people numbering over 6000 spent the whole night in the main Church and in the buildings in the church compound. The same people chose to stay there even on Friday night On the early morning of Saturday the 17th inst., as the people were trying to go to their homes, they were held back by the sound of the battle that had started between the Navy and the LTTE in the Pesalai sea.

As this battle was dying out around 8.00 AM, the people heard heavy firing coming from the side of the Siruthoppu Navy camp and they knew that the Navy was advancing towards the village of Pesalai and towards the Church. On the way, the Navy had set fire to the Cadjan houses of the fishermen at a costal location known as Vankalai Padu and gutted down several of them together with fishing nets, outboard engines and other valuables. This location was deserted by the fishermen who had taken shelter in the Church at Karisal a kilometer away from this their habitation, a towards the interior. The Navy personnel proceeded further towards Pesalai it is related by eye witnesses and on the way they signaled to six fishermen who were returning to the shores at a costal location called Kaataspathri.

The fishermen came down from their boats with their Identity Cards in hand. The Navy men asked them to go on their knees and fired at them through the mouths. Four of them fell dead still holding in their hands their Identity cards. The rest of the two had tried to run away and one of them was caught by the Navy and fired through his mouth and his body was found in one of the boats and the other sustained injuries on his stomach and holding his stomach, he ran and fell down at one of the houses at the village and he was immediately taken to the nearby church of Kaataspathri. He was removed by the SLRC to the Mannar hospital after an hour at 9.30 AM and had been sent from Mannar. to Anuradahpura hospital for special treatment.

The Navy personnel proceeded to Pesalai blindly firing around and several houses at Pesalai are seen damaged. They came around the Church of Our Lady of Victory at Pesalai and took positions outside its walls. At this point four men one of whom was in shorts and t-shirt and three in camouflage uniform rushed into the church compound by the main entrance riding on two motor cycles it is said. They started firing at the church walls, doors and windows where over 3000 people, after having fastened all the doors and windows from within, were taking shelter. Some Navy personnel fired into the church through the opening between the main door and the floor and as all the people in the Church were lying down on the floor, many of them sustained injuries.

 One of the Navy personnel, then had opened one of the windows and hurled one after the other two hand grenades in to the church. One of these fell back striking the window grills and the other blasted in the church with a big noise and heavy smoke resulting in one lady’s head being blown off in the church and wounding 47 people, some of whom received serious injuries. Pesalai hospital lies in the adjoining compound of the Church and these four men in the words of the Doctor, entered the hospital and pointing the gun at the neck of the Doctor and pushed him to the ground scolding him in filth.

I, the Bishop of Mannar when informed about the incident, contacted the area commander of the Sri Lanka Army in Mannar and he advised me not to proceed to Pesalai. After much efforts, the Divisional Secretary and myself were able to send the Mannar Police with the Ambulances to bring the seriously wounded to the Mannar Hospital .Finally at 9.10 A.M., I was able to move towards Pesalai with the SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission), SLRC (Sri Lanka Red Cross) and the Divisional Secretary of Mannar. We managed to send the remaining wounded people and also dispatched the six dead bodies to the Mannar Hospital in the SLRC vehicles.

In the meantime, the military sources had tried to spread false news stating that there had been an attack by the LTTE on land at Pesalai on the Police and the Navy had to open fire etc. They also had been stating that a grenade held by one of those inside the Church had exploded etc. and that the Security Forces are not responsible for the explosion in the Church. All the people of Pesalai say that there was absolutely no incident on land in their village on that morning and the grenade story as stated by the military sources is adding insult to injury.

I informed the Vice Admiral, the commander in chief of the SL Navy of the above facts as testified by the people of Pesalai and their Parish Priests. I invited the local commander of the Navy and organized a meeting with the people of Pesalai numbering 7000 at 4.30 in the evening of the same day of the incident. These people related to him in the above terms, of the inhuman incident perpetrated by the SL Navy in their village of Pesalai. They cried for their security against the Security Forces. They wanted him not to prevent them from fleeing to India or to go to the LTTE controlled Wanni for their safety.

If not they said he could bring all his men and shoot all of them once and for all. Even if a sacred place like a Church is unsafe for them, where else will the innocent civilians find safety? was their question. They pointed out that the incident had taken place in the sea and the people had nothing to do with it and why, they asked this cruel brutality against the innocent people, babies, women and elderly taking refuge in a Church. The Commander accepted everything the people said and tried to placate them by assuring them their future security. The people pointed out that several incidents of this type had taken place in the past and such assurances had been given by the different commanding officers and they all had disappeared as words written on waters.

They spoke of the incident again at Pesalai on the 23rd of December, 2005 where after an incident of a claymore attack on the Navy, the consequent torture of the people of the area by the same Navy personnel, from noon 1.40 to night 9.00 PM and of the four innocent civilians including a three years old child made to disappear in the hands of the navy. Thereafter too assurances were given to no avail. The SL Navy is responsible for this crime and the crime is forgotten without  inquiry worthy of its name.

The people told him of the threat meted out to all the people in Pesalai and in its sub-villages namely Kaataspathri and Siruthoppu by the Pesalai Navy saying that any LTTE attack on them will result in their wiping out the whole village sparing not even breast feeding infants. In this background, the people could not be convinced of the security. All at the meeting requested the presence of the ICRC in the village on a permanent basis to which the ICRC representative present said that he would keep his headquarters informed of the same and follow their instructions. The people are mortally afraid of the SLNavy and any amount of assurance given to them is not going to change their fear ridden psychosis due to past assurances not being kept up and the threats meted out to them by the Navy. When they sight the Navy moving in groups, the people at Pesalai run for their life to the church.

The SLNavy and the SLArmy, very unrealistically expect that the ordinary civilians should give them information about the presence and plans of the LTTE. They do not see that the civilians have nothing to do with the plans and activities of the LTTE and that their only concern is their daily civic life in search of the daily means of sustaining their large families. The fate of the so called informants is a fright to the innocent people.

The security forces in this area do not understand this at all and from top to bottom, each of them has coloured his mind with this fanaticism that the people are there to supply security information to them. If the people do not do this, the Security Forces here think that the people should be killed. Unless and until the above unfounded prejudice is removed from the Forces against the Tamil civilians, they will never be in a position to offer any security to the people. The cry of our people that they be secured from the SL Security forces in their midst is very genuine in the given situation. Their immediate expectation is that a neutral Force should be brought in to take care of the security of the innocent people in a situation where nearly 95% of the Security Forces in Sri Lanka are Singhala and except a few very good officers, almost all of them are prejudiced heavily against the Tamil people.

This truth should be squarely faced by all concerned to prevent violence and counter violence against civilians Tamil or Singhala speaking. At the moment all fishing in Mannar district is forbidden and the life of the poor fishermen is going to become miserable, many a time left only with plain water and little sugar to feed the infants. The people’s right to life and their right to earn a living are greatly endangered in the District of Mannar which has a population of 125,000 people. Today 7000 of Pesalai are staying in the Churches and over 1000 have left the area in search of safer locations.

The Church of Our Lady of Victory at Pesalai is one of the biggest churches in the country which was newly built and blessed by His Excellency Apostolic Nuncio on the 5th of December, 2004. This church has been desecrated by the shedding of innocent blood by unjust aggressors, the SL Navy. I had called for a day of penance and prayer and this day falls on Monday the 19th inst and by evening we will be having a purification ceremony for three hour and bless the Church anew for worship in the presence of the Presbyterium of Mannar and the people of Pesalai.

Today we buried the six civilians murdered by the Navy at Pesalai yesterday by shooting them through their mouths and blowing off their heads and I spoke of Jesus Christ cruelly crucified and his Eternal words “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”. It is this power of forgiveness, I said, that made Him rise again and reminded the people of this hope that enlightens us even at this hour of darkness. We are not convinced that any inquiry worthy of its name will be held on these crimes and the culprits be prevented from further savage onslaught on the innocent civilians and those taking refuge in the sanctuary of their religion, the Church.

Details of those killed by the Navy at Siruthoppu Navy camp in Pesalai, Mannar on 17.06.2006:

01. Mrs. Manaval Claramma Leela aged 75 yrs, Catholic, Ward 4,
Pesalai killed in the Church.
02. Mr.Jesuthasan Jude Nixon 23 yrs old, Catholic, unmarried; Ward 8,
Pesalai.
03. Mr.Cyrilappar St.Jude 22 yrs old Vidathalthivu; Catholic, Unmarried.
04. Mr. Turairaja Vijekumar 39 yrs old, Hindu, married with three
children of 16,13,and 10 years of age, Kaattaspathiri, Pesal ai.
05. Kodalingham Linganathan 20 yrs old, Hindu, unmarried,
Kaattaspathri, Pesalai.
06. Abdul Raheem Latheep, 28 yrs old, Muslim, married with wife and four children all under nine years of age, Puthukudiiruppu, Erukilampiddy.

In the broader perspective of the very explosive situation in the country, our deeply felt and earnestly expressed expectations expressed in the name of peace and in the name of the innocent civilians who are increasingly getting killed and in the name of us all who are living in utter fear, tension, helplessness and uncertainty in this our land are the following:

1. That the Government and the LTTE immediately with no loss of time bring to halt all types of killings and murders, through the intervention of the international community and of the Norwegian Facilitators of the Peace process.
2. That both these parties openly commit themselves to strictly & scrupulously observe all the terms of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) under the continued facilitation of the Government of Norway.
3. That both the parties openly reject war in all its forms and appearances, with no loss of time.
4. That thus, creating an atmosphere of good will, seriously seek out ways to fruitfully resume the Peace Process on the footing of equality of partnership of the parties of the CFA as far as matters related to the Peace Process and Conflict Resolution are concerned.

Reported by the
Bishop of Mannar
Rt Rev.Dr.Rayappu Joseph. 18.06.2006, Mannar.
 

International Association of Tamil Academics Appeals to the College of Catholic Bishops Across the World - June 17, 2006

The President of the International Association of Tamil Academics reported that he is mailing out over 3000 letters to all Catholic bishops across the world urging them “to stand on the side of the victims of Vankalai and Pesalai. IATA states that in an organized pogrom perpetrated by the Buddhist government of Sri Lanka where innocent Tamil children and helpless women and unarmed men are being selectively slaughtered, when churches are torched and priests are arbitrarily arrested and shot to death, there is no place for neutrality. In such instances of murder and mayhem, neutrality goes only to support the aggressor; one must take sides and stand with the victims. This is perfectly in line with what your Master and Lord Jesus Christ has shown by word and action.” We reproduce below extracts of IATA’s letter.

"Having enacted a make-belief act of blatant brutalization of innocent Sinhala civilians in the claymore attack on a Bus in Kebitigollawe, allegedly with the help of Tamil mercenary stooges from the Karuna faction and other armed groups, the Sinhala government under Mahinda Rajapakshe has unleashed a reign of terror on the Tamil Catholics in Mannar, Pesalai and Vankalai. We join the Catholics around the world in condemning unreservedly this dastardly act of wanton destruction by the government of Sri Lanka whose empty treasuries are filled with money in the form of loan and alms from countries that have a tax-paying Catholic majority. It is unfortunate that the European Union and Canada recently decided to name the sole representatives of the Eelam Tamil community as terrorists, thereby deliberately offending the 80 million or so Tamils living across the world and encouraging the Sinhala government to pursue the reckless path of Tamil genocide.

The London based International Association of Tamil Academics (IATA), draws its membership from over a hundred nations in Europe, North and Central America, Asia and Africa and IATA has unequivocally condemned the double standards maintained by the international community under the bogus banner of neutrality and national interests. It is our considered view that the international community has consistently acted against the powerless and the poor and has persistently stood by those who mercilessly and brutally oppress the poor and vulnerable. The recent massacre of Tamil civilians in Allepiddy and Vankalai were ordered by the government of Sri Lanka with the moral audacity that was provided by the ban on the Tamils by EU and Canada. Indirectly these countries have been condoning the government of Sri Lanka that their chosen path of Tamil genocide is commendable. The gory and pictures of the massacre of Tamil families in Allaipiddy and Vankalai by the Sri Lankan navy were graphically portrayed on millions of computer screens thanks to the modern information revolution. Through their diplomatic channels as well as their trade and other agencies the so called international community was well informed of this brutality, but the international community which knew everything did nothing, absolutely nothing to stop the carnage of innocent Tamil children, men and women by a government whose ministers and accomplices are accorded red-carpet welcome by these very nations.

The poor and powerless of the world have no place to go except to the sacred space of religion. IATA therefore appeals to the College of Catholic Bishops across the world to raise their voice in favor of their brother bishops and priests and the pitiyable plight of their Catholic faithful, who are intimidated and subjected to terror tactics and psychological torture by the government of Sri Lanka. We are annexing here copies of photographs and statements made by the Tamil bishops of Sri Lanka on the most recent pogrom perpetrated by the Sri Lankan navy in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Victory in Pesalai which has taken a toll of forty eight innocent lives in the nave of the Church. It is our fervent hope that as servants of Christ, you will stand with the victims as did your Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

Professor Dr. Saverimuthu Amuthasakaran
President
London, England, June 17, 2006

அப்பாவித் தழிழ் மக்கள் மீதான  கண்மூடித்தனமான தாக்குதல்களுக்கான கண்டனம் செல்வராஜா கஜேந்திரன், யாழ்மாவட்டம் பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் [also in PDF],18 June 2006

நேற்றயதினம் 17-06-2006 சனிக்கிழமை மன்னார் கடற்பரப்பில் தழிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளுக்கும் சிறீலங்கா பயங்கரவாத அரசின் கடற்படையினருக்கும் இடையில் யுத்தம் நடைபெறடறுள்ளது.

இதில் பாரிய தோல்வியினைச் சந்தித்த கடற்படையினர் அந்தச் சம்பவத்திற்கு பழிவாங்கும் நோக்கிலும், கடந்த 15-06-2006 அன்று கெப்பற்றிப்பொலவில் இனம் தெரியாத நபர்கள் மேற்கொண்ட கிளைமோர் தாக்குதலில் அப்பாவிச் சிங்கள மக்கள் 64 பேர் கொல்லப்பட்டு மேலும் 40பேர் காயமடைந்த சம்பவத்திற்கு பழிவாங்கும் நோக்கிலும், கோழைத்தனமான முறையில் மன்னார் பேசாலையில் அப்பாவித் தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது கண்மூடித்தனமான தாக்குதல்களை நடாத்தியுள்ளனர்.

சிறீலங்கா அரச பயங்கரவாதத்தின் கடற்படைக் காடையர்களின், காட்டுமிராண்டித்தனமான, மிலேச்சத்தனமான இத்தாக்குதல்களை தழிழ்த் தேசியக் கூட்டமைப்பு மிக வன்மைதாக கண்டிக்கின்றது.

சம்பவதினம் அதிகாலையில் கடலுக்குத் தொழிலுக்குச் சென்ற பேசாலை மீனவர்கள் கடலில் தழிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளுகளின் படகுகள் சென்று கொண்டிருப்பதனைக்கண்டு உடனடியாக கரை திரும்பியுள்ளனர். உரிய நேரத்திற்கு முன் கரைதிரும்பிய மீனவர்களை விசாரித்த கடற்படையினா,
 தழிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளுகளின் படகுகள் கடலில் சென்றுகொண்டிருப்பதனை அறிந்து கொண்டதும் தமது கடற்படைப் படகுகள் நான்கில் புலிகளுகளின் படகுகளை நோக்கிச் சென்றதை தாம் கண்டதாக மீனவர்கள் தெரிவு
த்துள்ளனர்.

இவ்வாறு வழமைபோன்று கடற்பயணத்தில் ஈடுபடடுக் கொண்டிருந்த விடுதலைப் புலிகளுகளின் படகுகளை அழிக்கும் நோக்கில் தேடிச்சென்று வலிந்து தாக்க முயன்ற கடற்படையினர், விடுதலைப் புலிகளிடம் முறையாக வாங்கிக் கட்டிக்கொண்டனர்.

இச்சம்பவத்தினைத் தொடர்ந்து ஆத்திரமடைந்த கடற்படையினர், அச்சம் காரணமாக அவசர அவசரமாக கரைதிரும்பிய 05 மீனவர்களை சுட்டுக் கொன்றுள்ளனர். அவர்களின் பெயர் விபரங்கள் வருமாறு:

விஐயகுமார் (வயது38) காட்டாஸ்பத்திரி மூன்று பிள்ளைகளின் தந்தை-
லத்தீப் காட்டாஸ்பத்திரி நான்கு பிள்ளைகளின் தந்தை-
யூட் பேசாலை
யூட் தோட்டவெளி,ஜோசப்வாஸ்நகர்-
கூடலிங்கம் லிங்கநாதன் காட்டாஸ்பத்திரி இவரது உடல் படகினுள் காணப்பட்டது.

இவர்கள் அனைவரதும்  தலையிலும், வாய்க்குள்ளும், கண்களுக்குள்ளும், சுடப்பட்டுள்ளது.

அதேவேளை பேசாலை வெற்றிமாதா ஆலயத்திற்கருகிலுள்ள வைத்தியசாலையினுள் நுழைந்த கடற்படையினர் அங்கு கடமையிலிருந்த வைத்தியரை கழுத்தில் துப்பாக்கியை வைத்து மிரட்டிவிட்டு,,

அச்சம் காரணமாக பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான மக்கள் தஞ்சமடைந்திருந்த பேசாலை வெற்றிமாதா ஆலயத்தின் மதில்மேல் ஏறி உள்ளே நுழைந்து தேவாலயத்தினுள் கண்மூடித்தனமாக துப்பாக்கிப்பிரயோகம் செய்ததுடன், கைக்குண்டுகளையும் தேவாலயத்தினுள் எறிந்துள்ளனர் அங்கிருந்த மக்கள் அச்சமடைந்து கதறியழுது மரணஓலமெழுப்பியபோதும் 15 நிமிடங்கள்வரை தாக்குதல் நடாத்தியுள்ளனர்.

இதன் காரணமாக 4ம் வட்டாரம், பேசாலையைச் சேர்ந்த கிளாரம்மா லீமா (70) என்ற மூதாட்டீ கொல்லப்பட்டார், மேலும் 47 அப்பாவித்தழிழ் மக்கள் காயமடைந்துள்ளனர்.
இவர்களில் 20பேர் மிக ஆபத்தான நிலையிலுள்ளனர்
,
மேலும் பேசாலைப் பகுதியிலுள்ள பல வீடுகளிலிருந்து பலலட்சம் பெறுமதியான பொருட்கள் கடற்படையினரால் கொள்ளையடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
அதே நேரம் பேசாலைக்கருகிலுள்ள வங்காலைபபாட்டில் அமைந்திருந்த வாடி வீடுகளுக்குள் புகுந்த கடற்படையினர், அங்கிருந்த மீனவர்களை அடித்து விரட்டிவிட்டு 110 வீடுகளை தீயிட்டு எரித்துள்ளனர். இதன் காரணமாக பெறுமதிமிக்க

வலைகள்
வெளியிணைப்பு இயந்திரங்கள்
பாரிய குளிரூட்டிப் பெட்டிகள்
எரிபொருட் களஞ்சியங்கள் உள்ளிட்ட பெருமளவான சொத்துக்கள் எரிந்து நாசமாகியுள்ளதுடன், 50ற்கும் மேற்பட்ட பாரிய ரோலர் படகுகளை குண்டுவைத்து தகர்த்துள்ளனர்.

அரச பயங்கரவாதத்தின் இந்நடவடிக்கை காரணமாக மீனவர்களுக்கு பலகோடி நஷ்டம் ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது.

இதேவேளை இலுப்பைக்கடவை மக்களை இலக்குவைத்து அரச பயங்கரவாதிகள் மேற்கொண்ட எறிகணைத்தாக்குதலில் 5 அப்பாவித்தழிழ் மக்கள் படுகாயமடைந்துள்ளனர்.

பேசாலையின் தரைப்பகுதியில் கடற்படையினருக்கெதிராக எவ்வித தாக்குதல்களும் இடம்பெறாத நிலையிலேயே அப்பாவித்தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது கடற்படையினரால் இத்தாக்குதல் இடம் பெற்றுள்ளதனை மன்னார் மறைமாவட்ட ஆயர் வண.இராயப்புயோசப் ஆண்டகை நேற்றயதினம் டீடீஊ செய்தி நிறுவனத்திற்கு வழங்கிய செவ்வியில் சுட்டிக்காட்டியுள்ளார்.

அதேவேளை டீடீஊ செய்தி நிறுவனத்திற்கு செவ்வியளித்த போர் நிறுத்தக் கண்காணிப்புக் குழு அதிகாரி பேசாலை வெற்றிமாதா ஆலயத்தில் தஞ்சமடைந்திருந்த அப்பாவித்தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது தாக்குதல் நடாத்தியவர்கள் யாரென்று கூறமுடியாதுள்ளதாக தெரிவித்த கருத்து, மிகுந்த ஏமாற்றத்தினையும், போர் நிறுத்தக் கண்காணிப்புக் குழுவினரின் செயற்பாடுகள் மீது சந்தேகத்தினையும் ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளது.

படையினர் மீது தாக்குதல்கள் நடைபெறும்போது எவ்வித விசாரணைகளுமின்றி புலிகளை குற்றம் சாட்டும் போர் நிறுத்தக் கண்காணிப்புக் குழுவினர்

கடந்த 15-06-2006 அன்று கெப்பற்றிப்பொலவில் இனம் தெரியாத நபர்கள்
 அப்பாவிச் சிங்கள மக்கள் மீது கிளைமோர் தாக்குதல் மேற்கொண்ட பின்னர் அச்சம்பவம் தொடர்பாக டீடீஊ செய்தி நிறுவனத்திற்கு செவ்வியளித்த போர் நிறுத்தக் கண்காணிப்புக் குழு அதிகாரி, அந்தத் தாக்குதலை யார் செய்தார்களென்று தெரியவில்லை, அதுதொடர்பாக விசாரணைகள் செய்கிறோம், ஆனால் விடுதலைப் புலிகளுகள் இத்தாக்குதலை செய்யவில்லையென்று கூறமுடியாது என்று கூறியிருந்தார்.

ஆனால் பேசாலை வெற்றிமாதா ஆலயத்தில் தஞ்சமடைந்திருந்த அப்பாவித்தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது கடற்படையினர் தாக்குதல் நடாத்தியிருப்பார்கள் என்ற சந்தேகம் கூட அவருக்கு ஏற்படவில்லை.

கெப்பற்றிப்பொலவில் இனம் தெரியாத நபர்களால்

 அப்பாவிச் சிங்கள மக்கள் மீது தாக்குதல் நடாத்தப்பட்ட உடனடியாகவே அவ்விடத்திற்குச்சென்ற ஐனாதிபதி மகிந்தராஐபக்ஷ அவர்கள்,
அச்சம்பவம் தொடர்பாக உடன் விசாரணைகளுக்கு உத்தரவிட்டதோடு, அச்சம்பவத்தில் கொல்லப்பட்டவர்களின் மரணச்சடங்கிற்கென தலா ரூபா10000ஃஸ்ரீ வழங்க உத்தரவிட்டதோடு, நஷ்டஈடு வழங்கவும் ஆவன செய்திருந்தார்.

ஆனால் பேசாலையில் இச்சம்பவம் நடைபெற்று மூன்று நாட்கள் கழிவதற்குள் பேசாலை வெற்றிமாதா தேவாலயத்தில் தஞ்சமடைந்திருந்த அப்பாவித் தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது தனது கடற்படையினரால் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்ட படுகொலை, கொள்ளை, தீவைப்பு போன.ற கொடிய வனமுறைச் சம்பவங்கள் தொடர்பாக இதுவரை என்ன நடவடிக்கை எடுத்தார்,

ஆகக
குறைந்தது அச்சம்பவத்தினைக் கண்டித்து ஓர் அறிக்கைகூட வெளியிடவில்லையென்பது வேதனைக்குரிய விடயமாகும்.

இதன் மூலம் தழிழ் மக்கள் தமது பாதுகாப்பினை தாமே உறுதிப்படுத்திக் கொள்ள வேண்டும்மென்பது மீண்டுமொரு தடைவை உணர்த்தப்பட்
டுள்ளது.

இத்தாக்குதல் சம்பவமும்
தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது தொடரும் சிறீலங்கா அரச பயங்கரவாதத்தின் ஓர் அங்கமாகவே நடைபெற்றுள்ளது.

ஐரோப்பிய ஒன்றியம் தழிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளை தடைசெய்த பின்னர், தழிழ் மக்கள் மீது சிறீலங்கா அரச பயங்கரவாதத்தின் பல தாக்குதல்கள் இடம்பெற்றுள்ள போதிலும் கூட, அதனைக்கட்டுப்படுத்த ஐரோப்பிய ஒன்றியம் உள்ளிட்ட சர்வதேச நாடுகள் எவ்வித நடவடிக்கையினையும் எடுக்கத் தவறியமையே பேசாலையில் கடற்படையினரின் நேற்றய வெறியாட்டத்திற்கு காரணமாகும்.

இவ்வாறான பயங்கரவாத நடவடிக்கைகள் மூலம் தழிழ் மக்களை படுகொலை செய்து சிறீலங்காவின் ஆயுதப்படைகளுக்கு பாரிய தோல்வியையும், நாட்டின் பொருளாதாரத்திற்கு மிகப் பாரதூரமான அழிவுகளையும், ஏற்படுத்தக்கூடிய கொடிய போரை நோக்கிச் செல்வதை மகிந்தவின் அரசு நிறுத்த வேண்டும்.

அத்துடன
மகிந்த அரசு தழிழ் மக்களுக்கெதிரான தனது பயங்கரவாத நடவடிக்கைகளைகள் அனைத்தையும் கைவிட்டு சமாதானப் பேச்சுக்களை தொடர முன்வர வேண்டும்.


இவ்வண்ணம்
செல்வராஜா கஜேந்திரன்
பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர்


Mannar SLN rampage causes $5m damage to property
[TamilNet, June 21, 2006]

Outboard engines, fibre glass boats, fishing nets and other related accessories belonging to fishermen of Pesalai, and Vankalaipadu in Mannar districts costing nearly US$5m were burnt and destroyed in the arson following the fire fight between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Mannar Sea last week, according to preliminary reports submitted by the Mannar Divisional Secretary to the District Secretariat Wednesday, civil sources said.


In Vankalaipadu, nine fibre glass boats, 43 Out Board Engines, 70 fishing huts and fishing nets and related accessories belonged to 68 fishermen were destroyed in fire. The total loss is estimated at about US$2.8m, the report said.

In Pesalai thirteen outboard engines, thirty six fibre glass boats and 03 three and a half ton fishing trawlers, two canoes and 28 fishing huts with fishing nets and gear were destroyed in fire. The total loss is estimated at about US$2.1m, the report added.

Meanwhile nine business establishments were also burnt down during that period incurring a loss of about US$5.7K, the report said.
 

Independent report verifies SLN complicity in Pesalai violence (also in PDF)
[TamilNet, July 04, 2006 15:44 GMT]


In a report filed by a fact finding mission from two Colombo-based NGOs to look at the Pesalai violence of 17 June 2006, the investigators said, "Although in the initial days following the attack the government laid the responsibility for the attacks at the door of the LTTE, the strong report compiled and widely disseminated by the Bishop of Mannar pointed directly to Navy involvement. None of the many we met had the slightest doubt on this issue." The report also details the background to the prevailing ground situation in Mannar, urgent efforts required to prevent escalation of tensions, and provide security to the poor fisher families in Mannar.


The report widely distributed by the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hongkong was produced by members of Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and INFORM, two non Governmental Organizations based in Colombo.

"The eyewitnesses who spoke to us stated that the men who attacked the church wore what they identified as ‘military civvies.’ In particular the blue t-shirt worn by them, is very similar to the ones normally worn by Navy personnel. The motorcycles used by some of the attackers, according to the eyewitnesses, looked like those that are used by Navy personnel," the report said.

"As reported in the Daily News on June 26, President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, but as of July 1st names of its members have yet to be publicly announced...It is important to note that if the outcome of the investigation is substantive it will have consequences far beyond Pesalai and to the issue of impunity of the armed forces and the human rights record of this government," the report added.

"The issue of impunity is one that has dogged the human rights record of successive Sri Lankan governments since 1971. In more recent years, since the intensification of the conflict in Sri Lanka, the LTTE has also acted with impunity against civilians, especially against members of Tamil political parties that oppose their views, and in the form of abductions of children. Thus, the incidents in Pesalai demonstrate the importance of highlighting human rights abuses in order to address the issue of accountability and the culture of impunity with regards to the government, the LTTE and other actors," the report said indicating the urgent need to identify and prosecute offenders from all parties of armed actors.

On the the reluctance of the Sri Lanka Government legal system to aggressively pursue cases that involve security forces and the resulting impunity enjoyed by the members of Sri Lanka military, the report said, "The psychological impact of the continued and systematic violence has rendered the people of Pesalai a community in deep shock and fear. In the church in Pesalai we met the husband of Theresa Cruz who lost his wife and their son, Dilakshan (4) in the attack on the 100 Houses Housing Scheme last December. He is still waiting for justice; the remains of the bodies found in the ruins of the charred houses were sent for forensic examination to Karapitiya Hospital in Galle in late December 2005. There has been no progress in the case since then. At that time too, the people ran to Our Lady of Victories Church for sanctuary. The fact that the last attack was on the church itself has meant the community has no real refuge here any more."

In the 100 Houses Housing scheme violence the SLN was accused of burning to death 4 residents and injuring more than 40 Pesalai residents in an orgy of violence retaliating to a claymore mine attack that killed 13 soldiers on 23 December.

 

 
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