ACHR exposes Bindunuweva massacre report

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 16:17 GMT]
The New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) released details in a confidential report of Sri Lankan Presidential Commission on the Inquiry into the Bindunuwewa massacre. The organisation released details Tuesday on the fifth anniversary of the massacre of Tamil inmates in the Sri Lankan jail in Bindunuwewa. The ACHR said it had obtained a copy of the confidential report that has not been made public although SL President Kumaratunga's term as President comes to an end. Twenty-eight Tamil youth between the ages of 14-23 years were massacred while 14 other Tamil youths were seriously injured by Sinhala mobs and Sri Lanka police on 25 October 2000.

The Commission headed by Justice PHK Kulatilaka was set up on 8 March 2001 and its report was submitted in early 2002.

"It is a shame that then Headquarters Inspector Seneviratne who was indicted by the Presidential Commission, instead of being taken to task has been rewarded and is now the Senior Superintendent of Police of Traffic at Fort Police Station", stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR in a report released on Tuesday.

"President Chandrika Kumaratunga had no interest to prosecute the culprits. Even before the start of any inquiry, she blamed the massacre on the 'external forces'. Therefore, Justice P. H. K. Kulatilaka was mandated to investigate extraneous issues but not to find the truth and prosecute the culprits," the ACHR report said.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry indicated the organised nature of the massacre. A section of the villagers were drawn to the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Centre and there was "also evidence that crowds were transported from outside to the Vidyapeetaya playground in buses, private vans and also three wheelers". Posters like "why is the big man feeding the tigers with milk", "Tigers‚ flesh to our dogs" were displayed in and around Bindunuwewa one day before the massacre.

According to the copy of the report made public by the ACHR on Tuesday, Justice Kulatilaka had concluded that the police knew about the impending massacre as the crowd gathered to attack the camp and it was "a lapse on the part of the ASP Dayaratne and HQI Seneviratne by their failure to send sufficient reinforcement to guard the perimeter."

Among others, Justice Kulatilaka further concluded that:

"No meaningful steps had been taken by the police to prevent the mob from coming into the Rehabilitation Centre.

"Once the mob invaded the Centre, acts of setting fire to the buildings, attack on the inmates and the massacre of inmates continued unabated while the police were just looking on.

"The police had opened fire on the unarmed inmates who were running for protection towards the police trucks parked outside the main gate, thereby causing death of one inmate and injuring two others.

"The police (60 armed personnel) had failed to arrest any offender even though the assailants were seen moving about freely carrying weapons while the policemen were standing nearby" and that evidence was destroyed.

Eight police officers who were held guilty are:

  1. A.W. Dayaratne, Assistant Superintendent of Police;
  2. R.M.T.K. Jayantha Seneviratne, Chief Inspector,
  3. S.J. Karunasena, Inspector,
  4. N.G.S. Walpola, Sub Inspector (SI),
  5. P. Ratnayake, SI,
  6. K.W.C.N. Abeynarayana, SI,
  7. Capt. Y.K. Abeyratne former Officer-in-Charge, Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Centre and
  8. Lt. P. Abeyratne, Second Officer, Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Centre.

 

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