Victims of Mahiladi village massacre remembered
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 January 2003, 15:50 GMT]
A memorial commemorating the 86 Tamil people killed in a massacre by the Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) on January 28, 1987, in Mahiladitheevu, 25 km southwest of Batticaloa town in the Kokkadicholai area, was declared open yesterday in a ceremony organized by the Mahiladi village development council, sources in Batticaloa said.
Mr. Thanikasalam presided at the ceremony, held in the morning. Mr. T. Ramesh, the Special Commander of the LTTE for Batticaloa-Ampara, raised the Tamil Eelam national flag.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Ramesh referred to some incidents in Batticaloa-Ampara, and said that some nefarious elements are attempting to disrupt the peace process. "We desire peace and that is why our leader started the peace process," he stressed.
The village development council's head, Mr. P. Sivanesasingam, lit the eternal flame, and commander Nagesh of the LTTE unveiled the memorial and declared it open. Many commanders and political wing leaders of the LTTE, including senior member Karikalan, head of the LTTE's treasury division for Batticaloa-Ampara Mr. Suvi, political administrative head Mr. Kirusan and the Mavadimumnarikoddai political division head Mr. Sachu Master participated at the ceremony and unveiled the plaques displaying the victims' names.
Continuing his speech, Mr. Ramesh said, "The Sri Lankan armed forces, assisted by collaborators within the Tamil community, committed several atrocities on Tamil people. The Mahiladitheevu massacre was one of the worst. The people who worked at this shrimp farm were hacked and shot to death. After the massacre, we came to the spot and saw the scene.
"Our leader wanted the suffering of our people to end so that the people can live in peace. We are not against the Sinhalese people. Nor do we want war. Some politicians and extremists in the south are propagating the myth that we are against peace.
"We fought against the Sri Lankan armed forces and had many successes. We will continue to be vigilant and remain strong. We maintain our strength only to provide peace and security to our people."
Mr. Sachu Master, former principal Mr. K. Kanakanayakam, Dr. S. Paneerchelvam, poet Kunaratnam, head of the Batticaloa-Ampara people's committee, Mr. A. Selvendran also spoke at the ceremony. Mr. S. Kamarajan, the village development council's secretary, proposed the vote of thanks.