Communal tension before massacre - Bishop
[TamilNet, Friday, 24 September 1999, 10:34 GMT]
The anti- Tamil and Muslim propaganda conducted by the Sinhala Veera Vithane, a Sinhala extremist organisation in the Ampara district could have contributed to inflaming communal tensions ahead of the massacre of civilians in the border villages last weekend, the Bishop of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, Rt.Rev.Kingsley Swampillai said yesterday.
He added that it was imperative the Sri Lankan government takes steps to curb the activities of the Sinhala Veera Vithane.
The Bishop said that a few days before the Ampara massacre, the Sinhala Veera Vithane propagandists visited the Ampara district and addressed meetings at which they whipped up sentiment against the Tamil and Muslim communities.
The Sinhala Veera Vithane wanted that Tamils and Muslims be ousted from the Ampara district.
Bishop Kingsley Swampillai said their visit to the Vanni was arranged long before the Puthukkudiyiruppu aerial attack by the Sri Lanka Air Force on Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaitivu in which 22 civilians were killed.
When the Sri Lankan defence ministry gave permission to them to visit Vanni, the religious leaders used the opportunity to visit Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital where the civilians wounded in the air attack were being treated, he added.