Tenth anniversary of Navaly church massacre observed
[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 July 2005, 19:51 GMT]
Tenth death anniversary of 147 Tamil civilians including men, women and children who were killed in the indiscriminate bombing by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and artillery attack by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on Navaly St Peters Church and Navaly Murugamoorthy Kovil in the Jaffna district on 09 July 1995 was observed Saturday. "The massacre of hundreds of civilians who sought refuge in places of worships was a gross human rights violation by the government security forces," said Rt.Rev Thomas Soundaranayagam, Jaffna Bishop at the Holy Mass held at the Navaly St.Peter's Church Saturday evening, sources said.
Relatives of the victims at the memorial event
Photographs of those civilians massacred ten years ago were displayed in front of the church for paying homage. At the commencement of event a wreath was taken to the venue with band music.
Rev.Fr Nesarajah, Chief Parish Priest of St.Peter's Church presided over the event. Brammasiri S.Gowreeswara Kurukkal of Navaly Murugamoorthy Kovil, Rev.Fr Bernard, President of the Goodwill Mission for Justice and Peace and
Rev.Fr. A.S.Gunanandan of the South Indian Church also spoke at the event, sources said.
Ten lamps were lit to mark the tenth death anniversary of the victims.
Thousands of Tamil civilians fled from their villages in Valigamam division when the Sri Lanka Army supported by the Sri Lanka Air Force launched a military operation named "Leap Forward" on 9th July 1995 early morning
around 5 a.m.The SLA launched indiscriminate bombing and the SLA artillery attack on residential areas, government offices, temples and other buildings in the Valigamam southwest, Valigamam west, Valigamam south and Valigamam north divisions. People ran for safety. As the bombing and
artillery fire became fierce, people fled from their dwellings by foot, cart and push cycles leaving their belongings. Several civilians, old and young, were injured in the aerial attack and some died on their way.
Because of economic embargo at that time no motor transport was available to take the injured to the hospital.
Few hundred people sought refuge in the Navaly St Peters Church and Navaly Murugamoorthy Temple.
Around 5.45 p.m. on 9th July, 1995 SLA bombers, which came from Jaffna town, dropped about thirteen bombs on these two temples killing 147 innocent civilians on the spot. Both temples were completely damaged and people inside were trapped. Several lost their limbs. More than four hundred people were injured in the attack. Of the dead 48 were volunteers
who were helping the refugees providing water and food, civilian sources recalled the Navaly bloody massacre.