Sri Lanka plays down Batticaloa blast toll

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 September 2010, 01:37 GMT]
Sri Lanka revised down the official casualty figures of a massive explosion Friday that destroyed a police station in the eastern Batticaloa district, from over sixty dead to an official count of 25, but local government officials amongst those who rushed to the site said dozens of bodies from the rubble had been swiftly removed by Sri Lankan forces. Citing negligence, the authorities said later on Friday that two Chinese construction contractors, seven civilians and 16 policemen were amongst those killed when containers of dynamite stored at the Karadiyan-aa'ru police station exploded. Local officials, however, insisted over 60 people, mainly police had been killed. It was not clear why the authorities, who have also ruled out sabotage, were downplaying the blast, they added.

"We are going to clear the site and see if there are any more bodies trapped under the wreckage of vehicles and buildings that were completely destroyed," a local relief official meanwhile told AFP.

He said the death toll was officially placed at 25 based on a body count, but investigators were working to establish whether there were more people missing after three containers of dynamite blew up.

"We completely rule out sabotage. There is no threat to security in that area," military spokesman Maj. Gen. Ubaya Medawala said.

Earlier, Medawula told Reuters: "Sixty people inside the police station have been killed. Most of them are policemen."

The Karadiyanaa'ru police station was completely destroyed as well as several other buildings in the area. Only two policemen in the building had survived the blast, the Sunday Times reported.

The explosion also demolished the nearby Agricultural Department building.

The three containers of dynamite stored in the premises of the police station had been intended for rock blasting by a Chinese company building roads in the district.

The Chinese embassy dispatched officials to visit the region and is said to be conducting its own inquiries into the incident.

Around 100 persons, including Sinhala engineers from the South, wounded in the blast were rushed to the Batticoloa Government hospital and they were treated for burn injuries, police and hospital officials said.

Officials at the hospital have been instructed to remain tight-lipped on casualty details, they told local reporters.

Sri Lankan authorities said 54 people had been wounded.

Ex LTTE members deployed in the construction work under Colombo's much-publicized rehabilitation programme were likely among the victims, a local NGO official told reporters in Colombo.


Chronology:

 

Latest 15 Reports
22.06.18 13:20   Photo
Colombo's TID wants to interrogate Tamil journalist from Batticaloa
21.06.18 16:24   Photo
Jaffna Tamil fishers mobilise against southern poaching, expose conduct of SL police
20.06.18 11:52  
Wigneswaran's secretary accuses SL Presidential Secretariat of dodging land release in North
19.06.18 18:33   Photo
SL military stationed in 6,275 acres of public and private lands in Vaakarai, Batticaloa
18.06.18 23:05  
Occupying SL Police in Jaffna again blamed for dodging action on criminal policemen
17.06.18 23:51   Photo
SL policemen fire to kill Tamil man at Church premises in Mallaakam, Jaffna
16.06.18 20:31  
US naval, seismic partnerships with genocidal Sri Lanka bring miseries to Eezham Tamils in Trincomalee
15.06.18 21:07   Photo
Swiss ruling, a precedent-setting victory for Right of Self-Determination oriented freedom fighters
14.06.18 20:03  
Only an international investigation would establish truth on enforced disappeared
13.06.18 22:37   Photo
Colombo schemes Sinhala military-led industrialisation of KKS exploiting geopolitics
12.06.18 19:49   Photo
Mannaar mass grave could be from early 1990s, shocking details emerge
11.06.18 14:38  
Sirisena yet to revoke Gazette notification of Colombo's seizure of Champoor lands
10.06.18 19:14  
Tamil families caught in dilemma of transferring lands in Seruvila, Trincomalee
09.06.18 19:04  
SL military attempts to rout out Tamil shop owners in Ampaa'rai village
08.06.18 18:17  
131 Sinhala Buddhist installations crop up in North after 2009: NPC
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32643