Batticaloa shuts down for Black September massacres

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 September 2004, 09:48 GMT]
A general shut down (Hartal) was observed in Batticaloa Sunday to mark the massacre of hundreds of civilians, including pregnant women, infants and children, by Sri Lanka army and paramilitaries working with it on 5 September, 1990. Roads were mostly deserted and shops closed in response to a call by leading civil society groups and MPs of the Tamil National Alliance to observe 5 September as a Black Day.

On 5 September Sri Lanka army units assisted by the dreaded paramilitary leader 'PLOTE Mohan' arrested 158 Tamil civilians who sought shelter in the temporary refugee camp inside the premises of the Eastern University during military operations in the area.

All of of them were tortured and killed, according to a one man commission that investigated the massacre three years later. Although the commission named several perpetrators of the massacre, including PLOTE Mohan and his handler Capt. Richard Dias, the Sri Lankan government took no action to investigate or bring them to book.

Four days later on 9 September 184 Tamils from Sathurukondan and its surroundings, on the northern outskirts of Batticaloa town, were arrested and hacked to death in the local SLA camp. Again Colombo took no action despite damning evidence by a youth who escaped the mass murder with machete wounds.

Human rights activists and Tamil civil society leaders say more than six thousand Tamils were murdered by Sri Lanka army and its paramilitaries between August and December 1990 in the Batticaloa-Amparai districts.

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