Feature Article

Muslims in Mannaar expose systemic inability of SL State in delivering justice to victims

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 March 2017, 22:48 GMT]
“2 years or 20 years, it doesn't matter. You can't expect real justice to be delivered by the SL State,” commented Tamil-speaking Muslim activists in Mannnar while TamilNet recently interviewed three Muslim women who have been languishing without justice or remedy for 20 years. The occupying Sri Lanka Army shot and killed the fishermen from Erukkalampiddi-East on 23 May 1997. The massacre took place while the victims were on their way to the seashore in bicycles carrying their fishing nets in the early hours of the fateful Friday. The dead bodies were released to the families on a condition that they signed in a document stating that their husbands were LTTE members, says 44-year-old Rifanu Beham Yaseen, the widow of the late Meerasa Marikar Yaseen and a mother of two girls. Her husband was 32 when he was massacred by the SLA and Ms Rifanu was one-month pregnant carrying a second child.

Mother and daughter of Seyadhu Hameed Thasmeen
82-year-old Ms Asanamraikkar Pathumuthu, who lost her son, 29-year-old Seyadhu Hameed Thasmeen on 23 May 1997, is still looking after her grand daughter, Fathima Jafrina. Fathima's mother has gone seeking employment in the Middle East. The other daughter, Fathima Jasna, who has been suffering from trauma, committed suicide in 2010.

Mansila Raseed
48-year-old Mansila Raseed, the wife of the late Samsudeen Abdul Raseed, has been struggling with poverty says she is without her own house to look after her two daughters.
Rifanu Beham
Ms Rifanu Beham, the wife of the late Meerasa Marikar Yaseen with two daughters at Erukkalam-piddi
Likewise all the three families were having two daughters. There are no boys to engage in fisheries, the only livelihood of the families.

In 2010, everyone were shocked to witness the suicide of Fathima Jasna, one of two daughters of Ms Wajeetha Thasmeen, another woman who lost her husband at the same massacre. The girl was caught in trauma for several years. Now, the mother has gone to Middle East seeking job to look after the other girl, Fathima Jaffrina who is being looked after by her 82-year-old grand mother Asanamaraikkar Pathumuthu. Jaffrina's father Seyadhu Hameed Thasmeen was only 29 when he was slain.

The third victim was 31-year-old Samsudeen Abdul Raseed. His wife, Mansila Raseed told TamilNet that all of the victims were relatives and the families have been denied of humanitarian assistance for 20 years. She exposed two documents, one death certificate stating the cause of her husband's death as ‘open punishment’ and the other document denying humanitarian aid citing the SL court ‘finding’ that the massacred men were in a banned area at ‘curfew’ time.

IC front side
SL Government issued identity card of the slain Muslim fisherman Meerasa Marikar Yaseen. He was 32 when he was executed by the SL military on 23 May 1997 when he went for fishing at Oosi-mukkan-thu'rai in Mannaar
IC back side
Backside of the IC of the late Meerasa Marikar Yaseen
“I don't even have a house of my own to look after my girls,” says Mansila Raseed who is 48 years old now.

The SLA and the SL Police told the SL Courts repeatedly that the three men were in banned area where a nightly curfew was in force. The judges didn't ask why they were killed in execution style after being waylaid by the SLA.

Rifanu Beham Yaseen said that it was not possible to get the dead bodies of anyone being executed during the 90s. “We were only able to get the dead bodies only after signing a document that our husbands were LTTE,” she told TamilNet.

The fellow fishermen had witnessed the massacre from a long distance and went to the seas to escape from the SLA. When they returned they alerted the families on what had happened to their loved ones.

When this is the case for the Muslim victims, who have not demanded an independent State like Eezham Tamils, just imagine the case of Tamil victims who are demanding justice, Muslim activists in Mannaar commented.

The fishermen were poverty-stricken and were dependent on Veechchu-valai, a net thrown into shallow waters from the shore to catch shrimps, they said.

Humanitarian Assistance Refused
SL regime under Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga refused even humanitarian assistance to the affected. The reason given to the wife of Samsudeen Raseed in 1999 justifies the death citing a court decision based on SL Police inputs and refused to consider her application for humanitarian assistance.
Death certificate of Abdul Raseed
‘Open Execution’ states the death certificate of Abdul Raseed, one of the three fishermen slain by the SL Army on 23 May 1997. He was 31. His wife Mansila Raseed says the family was not given any compensation citing the certificate and SL Police statement


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