Father identifies shot son's body

[TamilNet, Monday, 21 September 1998, 16:02 GMT]
A teenager who the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence claimed was a member of the Liberation Tigers in its press communiqué yesterday turned out to be a poverty stricken fisherman from the islet of Naasivanthivu on the outskirts of Valaichenai, 32 miles north of Batticaloa.

This transpired at the inquest of Iyappan Sivakumar, 16, held at the Valaichenai hospital last evening (Sunday, September 20).

Sivakumar's father, in his evidence before the Ottamaavadi (Koralaipattu west) coroner Mr. K.Jalaldeen, said that his son had set out in his boat to fish in the Valaichenai lagoon around 6 p.m. in the evening on Friday September 18. He had heard gunshots some time later. Next morning as his son had not turned up, he had searched for him and, on receiving information that the army had handed over a body to the Valaichenai hospital, he had gone there to check.

At the hospital he had identified the body as that of his son said Sivakumar's father in his evidence.

Sources in Valaichenai said that abject poverty caused by SLA restrictions drives the fishing families in Naasivanthivu and nearby areas to risk their lives by fishing on the northern side of the Valaichenai lagoon which is not under the direct supervision of the army.

The MoD Press communiqué issued last evening, however, said "On the same day (Friday, September 18 ) troops north of Valaichenai, in the Batticaloa district, fired at a terrorist boat and confirmed the death of two terrorists on board. They later recovered one body with two outboard motors".

Meanwhile, on Saturday, September 19, at the inquest of the youth who was killed near the Kattumurivu bridge on the northern outskirts of Valaichenai on the same day his cousin, giving evidence before the Koralaipattu coroner S.Karalasingham, said that the boy was employed as a labourer at the local brick kiln and had gone from her house that morning as usual to his workplace.

The boy, Veluppillai Manogaran, 16, is from the village of Aalankualm and was staying with relatives at Myilankarachchi as he had found work here, she said.

The boy was shot dead by the SLA on Friday.


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