Muhamalai, Pallai residents flee to Kilinochchi

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 August 2006, 02:25 GMT]
Residents of Muhamalai, Pallai through Iyakachchi on A9 highway are fleeing for safety towards Kilinochchi. Two elderly refugees, Mrs. Thavamanithevi Mahalingam, 56, mother of 5 children, and Seran Selliah, 85, who trekked, found transport to Kilinochchi under severe duress, detailed their ordeal to TamilNet reporter. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shells were targeted to hit A9, fleeing civilians said.

Fleeing refugees
The transcript of exchanges with Mrs. Thavamanithevi Mahalingam, follows:
PDF IconThavamanithevi's interview in Tamil

Q. Where are you coming from?
A. We are from Vannankerny.
Q. Do you know from where the shells are being fired?
A. From the direction of Muhamalai.
Q. At what time did the shelling begin?
A. Around 2.30. p.m.
Q. How far is your village from Muhamalai?
A. 3 or 4 miles.
Q. What happened at 5.30?
A. Hearing the noise of shells we rushed to the bunkers and took cover. When the shelling intensified, we thought of moving out of the area.
Q. How many of you are in your family?
A. One daughter with 5 children, one daughter with 4 children, other daughter with 3 children and another with 3 children and husband.
Q. Where are they now?
A. All have come to the school. The men sent us away and stayed back.
Q. Which school?
A. Paranthan School. I am standing here having sent them to the school. I am a widow and fatherless. My aged mother is unable to walk. When I was coming with her assisting her to walk, Tigers came in a pick-up truck and gave us a ride up to here. My children came in a lorry later and I am now waiting for the children who are coming on bicycles.
Q. Have the shells fallen among people?
A. Yes. People are crying at Puthukkadu Junction having affected by shells. I saw 2 infants who were taken away with injuries and a man was taken in a motor bike. When a shell fell under a tree a women and I took cover by the tree.
Q. What happened after this?
A. I heard only crying and yelling of people. I was lucky to find help with the pick-up and came here.
Q. Are there many people?
A. Yes, when I was coming I saw many people at Iyakkachchi Junction.
Q. Where are the shells coming from and falling?
A. From the direction of Muhamalai to Iyakkachchi area.
Q. Are the shells directed to the civilians?
A. Definitely yes. Because they are directed to the main road. They know that public run for safety along the road. Why they do harm us like this?
Q. Have you been displaced before? How many times?
A. During the period of IPKF: then during the Puliyampokkunai fighting, I was displaced and stayed at 7th Mile Post: At that time, my children were small. The next time 3 of my daughters were married and I came with only 2 daughters. Now all my 5 daughters are married and I am alone. This is my 4th displacement.

Fleeing refugees
The transcript of exchanges with Seran Selliah follows:
PDF IconSelliah's interview in Tamil

Q. Where are you coming from?
A. We are from Pallai.
Q. Which part of Pallai?
A. Half a mile from Pallai.
Q. What is happening there?
A. Fighting is going on.
Q. At what time did the fighting begin, around 4 p.m.?.
A. No, around 5 o'clock.
Q. What happened first?
A. We know nothing exactly. Around 5 o'clock the shelling started.
Q. Have the shells started to fall in your area too?
A. Yes.
Q. Are there any casualties?
A. I haven't heard of any.
Q. Anybody injured?
A. As soon as the shells started to fall near us, we set out from the place.
Q. Have all the people of your area vacated?
A. Yes, all I know have moved out.
Q. Where are they heading to?
A. All are coming towards here, Kilinochchi.
Q. Did they have any transport facilities?
A. Not at all. All are walking.
Q. How many are fleeing for safety? thousands?
A. Yes thousands of people. One of my sons is coming with my grand child and the wife in a 3-wheeler. But, he could not ride his bike because the road is so crowded, so he is walking pushing the bike.


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