SL Police fire on hindu festival
[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 September 1998, 23:00 GMT]
A young girl was killed and an eight year old boy seriously wounded when military trained Sri Lankan Police opened fire indiscriminately on devotees at a Hindu temple festival in Kondayankerni, near Valaichenai,32 kilometers north of Batticaloa last night around 9.30 p.m.
The girl, S.Anjalaithevi,22, was shot in the head and died on the spot.
The wounded boy,S.Santhakumar,8, has been admitted to the Batticaloa hospital. Devotees who were at the Kondayankerni Murugan temple last night said that Policemen at the sentry point in Maanacholai, the adjacent Muslim village, had opened fire on the festival crowd without warning.
The Maancholai Police sentry is located behind the Kondayankerni temple.
The annual festival had to be cancelled as people ran in confusion for safety in the wake of the firing last night said a temple official this morning.
He said this was a premeditated act.
The Tamil villages in the Valaichenai region have borne the brunt of systematic attacks and harassment by the SLA, the Police and Muslim home guards since 1990.
Scores of houses have been destroyed and a large number of civilians have been killed and wounded in indiscriminate and, not infrequently, deliberate, security forces action according to human rights activists who monitor the situation here.
According to the latest statistics released by the office of the Valaichenai Divisional Secretary, 24 persons were killed in firing and 94 persons were disabled due to injuries sustained in the shelling and firing on the area from January 20 to August 21 this year.
During this period 53 houses belonging to Tamil civilians were damaged in indiscriminate shelling by the SLA and the military trained Police units which are deployed in Valaichenai and its environs.
Human rights activists in Batticaloa say that the SLA camp in Peythalai, a suburb of Valaichenai, has been responsible for many acts of deliberate killing, torture and sexual harassment in the area.