Black September remembrance in Batticaloa university
[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 September 2002, 21:53 GMT]
Batticaloa marked the beginning of Black September Thursday with a largely attended function at the
Eastern University in Vantharumoolai on the 12th anniversary of the massacre of 174 refugees who had
sought asylum on the campus during Sri Lanka army operations in the area in 1990.
Two human rights commissions appointed by the UNP and the PA respectively said categorically that the Sri Lanka army was responsible for the massacre. Justice Souza who headed the first commission named a Sri Lanka army officer and a member of a paramilitary group as the main culprits in the university massacre. The retired justice identified the SLA officer as Capt. Richard Dias, Sinhalese who operated under the Muslim alias ‘Munas’.
But none of the perpetrators named by the commissions were brought to book. University students and relatives of the massacre victims burnt a replica of military boot.
A memorial lamp for the victims was lit by the mother of a refugee youth who was killed by the army in the massacre.
The Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University Dr. M. S.Mookaiah, the head of the university’s Trincomalee campus, Dr. K. Jeyasingham, the university’s former registrar V. Sivalingam and other addressed the gathering.
The speakers emphasised the fact that successive governments in Colombo had not taken any interest in bringing the culprits in the Sri Lanka army and paramilitary groups to justice. They also blamed local politicians for taking no interest in bringing the massacres to the world’s attention.
Dr. Jeyasingham and Mr. Sivalingam who were present in the University when the refugees were taken away to be killed, recounted their experience of the terror. Human rights activists in the east estimate that the Sri Lankan armed forces massacred more than six thousand Tamil civilians in the Batticaloa and Amparai districts between July and December 1990 when it moved into the east to recapture the region from the Liberation Tigers. The main mass massacres of Tamil civilians in the two districts took place in the month of September.