International Educational Development expresses grief and
shock at Nagerkoil bombing, 24 September 1995
massacre remembered, 9 Years later, 22 September 2004
Nagarkovil, Revisited - a traumatized sleepy hamlet in the North
coast - LTTE Peace Secretariat, 22 September 2004
'Man's inhumanity to man'
"Nine years that rolled away had not helped to erase the tragic
memory in this sleepy hamlet. It was on the 22nd September in
the year 1995, a dark period in the Tamil nation's history when
the government was prosecuting a 'war for peace', that the Sri
Lanka fighter jets were flying ominously over this hamlet,
terrorizing the innocent peasantry.
It was noon time on a Friday, a holiday for the mostly Hindu
farmers in this village. Parents were getting ready with the
lunch for the children they expect would arrive after school.
The kids were playing around in the compound of their school,
Nagarkovil Mahavidyalaya. The usually terrorizing Sri Lankan Air
force jet fighters loomed large over the school building and
frightened children started running hither and thither in that
sandy plain. Not a minute passed and there the bombs were landed
on the heads of these kids. Twenty of them perished, most of
them mutilated beyond recognition.
A village cut off from the main town Point-Pedro, 15 miles away,
did not have any motor vehicles to take the scores of injured.
Many of these children were found limbless. Some of the parents
who came to fetch the children after school too were severely
injured. A good Samaritan carried this message to the district
hospital in Point Pedro, where a contingent of medical doctors
attached to Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) were based. A
formidable lady doctor rushed with her station wagon and picked
up the injured kids.
Ironical though that this whole village is now displaced and the
area is a fortified military complex, classified as a High
Security Zone made inaccessible to its own peasantry. A sleepy
hamlet is now a hive of activity by the occupying Sri Lankan
military. The innocent villagers, including those who were
injured losing limbs are all languishing in refugee camps in the
neighboring harbour town of Point Pedro."
Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
- Nagerkoil School bombed under cover of press censorship - 22 September
September Nagerkoil Central School in the Jaffna peninsula was bombed. The
intensified aerial bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan government forces came about within
hours of the government's imposition of Press Censorship midnight September 21.
The bombing of the school happened at 12.50 p.m. during the school's lunch break when
several of the school children were gathered under a shade tree in the school compound. 25
school going children were among 40 Tamil civilians killed on the spot. Twelve were six
and seven year olds. Nearly 200 others were injured, most of them students in the same
school. Elsewhere in the area, 15 other civilians were also killed in the course of the
same bombing raids. The scene of the attack was visited by the International Red Cross.
Pieces of human flesh were strewn around the area including the tree branches, making
The total death toll later increased to 71.
Earlier, on the same day, Pucara bombers targeted Manalkadu and Katkovalam in the
Vadamardchi area killing six persons. A small Catholic church was also damaged in the
bombing. In another incident in the early hours of the same day, intense shelling from the
Palaly army camp killed seven members of the same family including four children of
varying ages, The shelling began at 3.00 a.m. and continued until 7.00 a.m.
Medicines Sans Frontiers reported on 23 September that of 117 injured Tamil civilians
admitted to hospital during the offensive on Thursday and Friday more than half had died
from their wounds.
"In a new offensive against Tamil rebels, Sri Lankan
warplanes have bombed civilian targets, killing at least 42 children, an international
relief agency said Saturday. The rebels issued a statement from London saying 71 people
had died in the bombing campaign Thursday and Friday in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, the
stronghold of Tamils fighting for independence.
Under strict new censorship
rules imposed by the Sri Lankan government on Thursday, no information about the offensive
was allowed to be published in that country. The Doctors Without Borders (Medicine Sans
Frontier) relief group released a statement in Paris saying about 200 people were wounded
when bombs fell on a school near Point Pedro on the northern coast Friday.
Of some 150 children who were wounded, 15 died within three hours of being brought to
hospital, the relief agency said. It said 42 children have died at the hospital since
Thursday, but did not say how the other children received fatal injuries. The main rebel
group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, said 25 children were killed when the
Nagerkoil Central School was bombed at lunch time Friday. More people were killed when
planes bombed towns in the area, the rebel statement said. New censorship rules prohibit
the publication or broadcast of information related to Sri Lanka's 12-year civil war
without approval from a military censor." (Sri Lanka Bombs Civilians, 23 Sep 95
13:46 The Associated Press)
The British Refugee Council,
Sri Lanka Monitor reported:
"Hours after the Sri Lanka government imposed military censorship on press
reporting of its bitter and unpredictable war... on 21 September, aircraft bombed a Jaffna
school yard crammed with 750 children on their lunch break, killing 34 and seriously
injuring over 150 others.
Two surgeons from French medical agency Medecins Sans Frontierers (MSF) worked through
the night at Point Pedro's Manthikai hospital carrying out 22 amputations, four cases of
both legs. Ten of the amputees were under 12. The LTTe says 71 Tamil civilians were killed
in bombing raids in Nagarkoil and Vadamaratchy areas in a 24 hour period.
Military sources first denied the attack then claimed Nagaroil was a Sea Tiger base
where LTTE cadre had gathered to honour Tiger martyr Thileepan.. Six weeks earlier,
Sri Lanka aircraft bombed civilians seeking refuge around Navaly Catholic church four
miles west of Jaffna town killing 130 people and injuring 120...
Reports of the Nagarkoil bombing were heavily censored under the new restrictions..
Like Navaly, whether Nagarkoil was accidental or deliberate, air and artillery attacks on
northern civilians will continue... Civilians are unidentifiable
from the air - unless perhaps there are 750 of them all dressed in spotless white school
uniforms." (British Refugee Council publication, Sri Lanka Monitor
The Director-General of UNESCO Fredrico Mayor condemned the Nagerkoil bombing by low
flying Pucara aircraft:
"I condemn in the strongest terms this attack on a school where innocent children
were killed. Whatever the political situation in a country nothing justifies attacks on
In Australia, Mr.Ted Grace, a member of the Australian Parliament and Chairman of the
Caucus Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade called for public condemnation of
Sri Lanka in a speech in the Australian Parliament on 27 September. Speaking on the wanton
massacre of school children, he said:
"Our Government which is deeply committed to upholding human rights should
publicly condemn such crimes committed against humanity and should be alarmed at the Sri
Lankan Government's determination to carry out such acts with impunity."
Nine years later on 22 September 2004 - Nagarkovil students
[TamilNet, September 22, 2004]
The 9th death anniversary of 40 people,
including 26 students, who were killed on 22nd September 1995 in
an aerial attack by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on the
Nagarkovil Maha Vidiyalayam was observed Wednesday afternoon at
the Puloly Roman Catholic School in the Vadamaradchi division in
Jaffna district, education sources said.
The Nagarkovil M.V. is functioning temporarily in Puloly Roman
Catholic School since the attack. Principal of the school, Mr.S.
At the commencement of the meeting, Vadamaradchchi Head of
Education Board, Mr S.Athithan lit the common flame of
sacrifice. Vadamaradchchi Zonal Director of Education, Mr.
V.T.Selvaretnam and Mr.E.Kugan of International Tamil Students
Federation participated in the event, sources said.
The names and ages of the 26 students died in the SLAF aerial
Tharmalingam Usanthini (13), Markandu Nagalogini (10),
Thamotharam Sakunthala (12), R. Regina (11), Pologarajah
Thushanthini (14), Ravindran Amirtha (10), Balachandran Rajitha
(10), Navaratnasamy Umathevy (12), Suntharalingam Palani (15),
Suntharalingam Tharsini (14), Kugasaravanamalai Tharsini (13),
Rajeev Gandhi Venu (11), Krishnagopal Thavaseelan (13),
Rajaratnam Kavitha (10), Nagamutthu Senthilvel (15), Alfonse
Amalaviji(14),Mahalingam Sanmugavadivelan(16),R. Sumithra(10),K.
Methini(14, Navamany Mithura(14),
Sellam(15),Ragavan(16),Thangarasa Vasanthakumar(06), Mylvaganam
Gananathan(14), Ranjithkumar Rajitha(11).
International Educational Development expresses grief and
shock at Nagerkoil bombing, 24 September 1995
"International Educational Development (an NGO on the
United Nations Economic and Social Council Roster) is grieved and
shocked by the attack by the Sri Lanka air force on the Nagerkoil
Central School in the Jaffna peninsula on Friday 22nd September.
"The school was bombed during the lunch break at about
12.50 p.m., when several of the school children were gathered
under a shade tree in the school compound. 25 school going
children were among 40 Tamil civilians killed on the spot. Twelve
were six and seven year olds. Nearly 200 others were injured,
most of them students in the same school. The scene of the attack
was visited by the International Red Cross and pieces of human
flesh were found strewn around the area including the tree
branches. Elsewhere in the Nagerkoil area, 15 other Tamil
civilians were also killed in the course of the same bombing
raids. MSF reported on 23 September that of 117 injured Tamil
civilians admitted to hospital during the offensive on Thursday
and Friday more than half had died from their wounds.
"Earlier, on the same day, the Sri Lanka airforce
targeted Manalkadu and Katkovalam in the Vadamarachi area killing
six persons. A small Catholic church was also damaged in the
bombing. In another incident in the early hours of the same day,
intense shelling from the Palaly army camp killed seven members
of the same family including four children of varying ages. The
incessant and indiscriminate shelling began at 3 a.m. and
continued until 7 a.m. Government attacks, involving thousands of
soldiers, have pushed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians out of
their homes and villages in the Jaffna peninsula.
"It was only two months ago, in July, that the
international community expressed its horror at the bombing of
the Navaly Church by the Sri Lanka airforce and the civilian
death toll of around 120. Twenty one non governmental
organisations in a joint statement in August this year, at the
47th sessions of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Geneva expressed
their grave concern at "the impunity with which the Sri
Lanka armed forces continue to commit gross and inhumane
violations of human rights and humanitarian law".
"That the current intensified attacks by the Sri Lanka
armed forces on Tamil civilians, comes in the immediate aftermath
of the press censorship imposed by the Sri Lanka government from
midnight September 21, lends credence to the view that the Sri
Lanka government is intent on terrorising the Tamil people into
submitting to Sinhala rule.
"The actions of the Sri Lanka armed forces, coupled with
the economic blockade imposed on the Tamil homeland, are a clear
contravention of the Geneva Convention relating to non
international armed conflicts. The impunity with which
President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government continues its
genocidal onslaught on the Tamil people is an affront to the
sensibilities of the international community. We urge non
governmental organisations and governments with a deep commitment
to human rights to publicly condemn the terrorism of the Sri
Lanka government and help to save the Tamil people from further
wanton destruction at the hands of a Sinhala dominated Sri Lankan
state. (Press Release by International Educational
Development, a Non Governmental Organisation on the United
Nations Economic and Social Council Roster - 24 September 1995)