Tigers blame government for massacre

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 October 2000, 22:59 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Thursday blamed the Sri Lankan government for the massacre Wednesday of dozens of Tamil youths at a detention centre at Bandarawella by rampaging Sinhala villagers. In a statement from their London offices, the Tigers said they had evidence Sri Lankan security forces were "involved in organising, mobilising and instigating," the mob which attacked the centre. Those held at Bandarawella were neither members of the LTTE or child soldiers as the government had reported, but innocent civilians, the Tigers said. "The government of Sri Lanka should bear total responsibility for the serious consequences that might arise from continuing such genocidal assaults on innocent Tamil detainees," the statement said.

Following is the full text of the press release:

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) accuses the government of Chandrika Kumaratunga of being responsible for the gruesome killing of 30 innocent Tamil political prisoners and seriously injuring 50 others at a detention centre in Bandarawella, Southern Sri Lanka.

"We have evidence to believe that Sri Lankan security personnel - the army, police and prison officials - were involved in organising, mobilising and instigating gangs of Sinhala thugs to commit this heinous crime. Sinhalese prison officials of the area facilitated riotous Sinhala mobs numbering more than two thousand persons to storm into the detention centre and brutally slaughter the Tamil youths with knives, swords, axes and iron bars.

"The victims of this savagery are not members of the LTTE nor are they surrendered 'child soldiers'. They are innocent Tamil youth arrested on suspicion and detained without trial under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act. These young detainees have been protesting against their unjust arrest and demanding release.

"It is a well documented truth that Sri Lankan State authorities are responsible for several incidents of massacre and extra-judicial killings of Tamil prisoners in well guarded prisons. The savage massacre of 53 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikade prison during July 1983 riots was an internationally known incident. The mass murders of defenceless Tamil prisoners have become a regular manifestation of a devious genocidal policy advanced by the Sinhala state against the Tamil people. The government of Sri Lanka should bear total responsibility for the serious consequences that might arise from continuing such genocidal assaults on innocent Tamil detainees.

"We call upon the international human rights organisations to condemn such barbarous killings in strong terms and use their good offices to pressurise the government of Kumaratunga to release immediately thousands of innocent Tamil youths lingering, without trial, in various detention centres and prisons in the Sinhala south."


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