(at Jaffna General Hospital) told me they see many victims of army beatings.
Typically, boys emerge from interrogation and spells in custody with
multiple bruises caused by thrashings with PVC pipes filled with sand. Some
have heel fractures, having been suspended and beaten on the feet."
"A doctor said: 'I see about five of these cases a week, but remember
that many victims do not seek treatment because they are afraid... The Army
is behaving atrociously. Troops think they have been sent here to make us
Recently one of the medical staff escaped with her life when troops
opened fire on two buses in Jaffna, killing five people, the doctor said.
And a man and his ten year old son were shout out of hand on the street last
week..." (Trevor Fishlock reporting in the London Times, 2 January 1985)
"We do feel... that the Tamil minority is under threat. Certainly
the Tamils, of all classes and from all parts of the country, believe that
to be the case. Whilst we would not wish, at this stage, to lend support to
the view that there is a deliberate and coordinated plan to reduce the
rights and status of the Tamils, there is little doubt that the sum total of
separate measures taken in respect, for example, of university entrance and
colonisation in the north and east, amongst others, in fact, achieves such
an objective. We see no possible justification for such measures... The
consequence we saw was that of an increasing alienation of all Tamils from
the Sri Lankan state." - Robert Kilroy-Silk, M.P. and Roger Sims, M.P
United Kingdom Parliamentary Human Rights Group Report, February 1985
"...The President conceded that 'terrible things' were happening in Sri
Lanka. Asked if he would set up an inquiry commission to go into the
atrocities committed by the army against the Tamils, he said: 'Did the
British appoint a commission during the war?..." - President Jayawardene
- interview with Kuldip Nayar: Island, 17 February 1985
" The (Sri Lanka) Special Task Force of police commandos was created last
year and trained by British experts who are former members of the (British)
Special Air Services (SAS)...
"....a 23 year old man described from his hospital bed how he was
arrested by police commandos (belonging to the Special Task Force) and
accused of being a terrorist. He was tortured for two months before being
released without explanation and dumped at the local hospital.
Mahendra Kesivapillai, a second year science student from Jaffna
University, told me nails were driven into his heels to force him to
confess. Chilli powder was rubbed into sensitive parts of his body and he
was hung up by his handcuffed wrists for upto eight hours a day in his
Doctors at Batticaloa hospital, where Kesivapillai has been a patient
since last month, say he has been subjected to unbelievable cruelty.There
are many burn marks, they say, on his buttocks and arms. Two bones in his
arms, the radius and the ulna, have been so badly damaged after being ripped
apart, he will never recover the use of his arms.
...Kesivapillai thinks he was released because he managed to smuggle out
a letter to his father, a retired teacher, telling him where he was...
Kesivapillai's horrifying experience is not the only example of commando
brutality according to the local citizen's action committee. Prince
Casinader, headmaster of a Batticaloa school and chairman of the action
committee said there were other cases of young men picked up by unmarked
commando vans and taken to unknown destinations.
Last month unable to trace three of his missing school boys, he went in
desperation to the local mortuary. 'I saw three horribly mangled bodies with
bashed in skulls. I don't know who they were, poor wretches, but they were
not my boys.'
The commandos also use tactics that were first made popular by the
army... They burn the homes of families harbouring suspected 'terrorists'.
Last month after a mine killed seven members of a police patrol outside
Batticaloa, commandos surrounded the three nearby villages of Koduwannadu,
Tamanavelli and Kayankadu, where they set fire to 27 (Tamil) homes.."
(Shyam Bhatia reporting from Colombo in the London Sunday Observer, 14
"It took me two days to come here (to Jaffna) from Colombo, the capital,
just 400 kilometres away... Our Tamil bus conductor was beaten up by an
army officer who punched him repeatedly on each side of the head, then
kicked him in the shins with his heavey army boots. The apparent reason
for the beating was that the bus was over crowded, although in fact it was
the least crowded bus I travelled on in Sri Lanka. A diplomat in Colombo
later suggested the real reason was that the conductor had allowed me, a
foreigner, on the bus to Jaffna... I felt outraged as the conductor was
beaten, but didn't interfere, and everyone else seemed to accept the beating
as a routine event..."
"...The stories people have been telling me explain the passiveness of
the Tamil passengers. I was told of innocent bus passengers being shot by
soldiers, of 1,000 young men arbitrarily arrested and held as suspected
terrorists in a detention camp near Galle on the south shore, of a priest
shot by soldiers near Mannar on January 6, of a Methodist minister shot the
week before, of 100 youths who have disappeared..." (Howard Adelman,
Sri Lanka's Agony writing in Refugee, Canada's Periodical on Refugees, May