Mylanthanai massacre commemorated
[TamilNet, Friday, 09 August 2002, 00:08 GMT]
The tenth anniversary of the massacre by Sri Lankan troops of thirty nine men, women and children in the eastern village of Mylanthanai was marked Thursday by survivors who have been living in Kalmadu refugee camp. Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Army held a remembrance ceremony for the Army and Navy officers, whose deaths in a landmine attack on August 8, 1992, triggered the retaliatory massacre.
People from Mylanthanai, a border village located about 50km north of Batticaloa held a ceremony Thursday to remember those killed when SLA troops went on a rampage on August 9, 1992.
Enraged by a landmine attack in Jaffna the day before blamed on the Tamil Tigers and in which several SLA officers including Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa were killed, the troops had stormed the village around noon.
Killed in the blast in Kayts Jaffna, along with Kobbekaduwa - who was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General - were Major General Wijaya Wimalaratne, Rear Admiral Mohan Jayamaha, Lt.Colonel Nalin Alwis, Lt. Commander Wijepura, Colonel H.R Stephen, Colonel Palipana, Colonel Ariyaratne and Lance Corporal W.G Wickremaratne.
|Kalmadhu refugee camp near Valaichenai, 32 km. North of Batticaloa. (Photo:TamilNet) |
The day after the deaths in Jaffna, a group of soldiers had entered Mylanthanai village and ordered the residents to come out of their houses before attacking them with knives and clubs.Survivors were fired at.
Thirty nine people, including nine children and six elderly women, were killed and 24 seriously wounded. The rest of the people in the village had fled and sought refuge at Kalmadu, another village in the Valaichchenai area, where they still live in a refugee camp.
Due to pressure from civil rights groups, the Sri Lankan government indicted twenty SLA soldiers for the massacre. Initially, the case had been filed in Batticaloa courts. Later, on representation by the accused soldiers on the claims their safety was in doubt, the government transferred the case to courts in Colombo.
32 witnesses now living in Kalmadu refugee camp are forced to travel to Colombo to attend the case. The inquiry into the massacre is still going on without an end in sight, they protested this week. One of the witnesses, fifty one year old Rasan Krishnan told TamilNet," we do not know when the case will be over and when we will return to our own land Mylanthanai."
The SLA this week commemorated the deaths of Lieutenant General Kobbekaduwa and the officers at several places across the island, with commemorative lectures, alms-givings, bodhi pujas and memorial services. Kobbekaduwa's statue was garlanded.
Although the deadly blast was officially blamed on the LTTE, persistent claims have been made of political enemies within the Sri Lankan establishment being responsible for the attack on Kobbekaduwa'sa vehicle.
A special commission appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga some years ago claimed that underworld elements working for then President R. Premadasa - who headed the United National Party (UNF), the main rival to Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), were responsible for the blast.