Feature Article

Another mass grave located in Mannaar at former SL military zone

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 June 2018, 17:06 GMT]
The existence of another mass grave has been confirmed after the discovery of human skeletal remains from sands dug from an area previously used as the ‘High-Security Zone’ of the occupying Sinhala military of genocidal Sri Lanka in mainland Mannaar. The latest discovery is from the island of Mannaar where the building of SL state-owned department store network, known as Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), was situated. The building has been dismantled to put up a new five storey building for the CWE Sathosa. The occupying SL military is still stationed 50 feets close to the site.

Sands exhumed at CWE premises
Sands exhumed at CWE premises
Sand collected back from people and stored at Chinnak-kadai cemetery for initial inspections
Sands exhumed at CWE premises
Another mass grave in Mannaar
Another mass grave in Mannaar
Mass grave location identified in CWE premises
The lawyers representing the enforced disappeared Tamils in Mannaar told TamilNet on Wednesday that the latest traces they had witnessed since 28th May, when the excavations started at the site, confirms the fear that the occupying Sinhala military was having institutionalised torture chambers and massacre sites attached to its military base in the area.

Similar mass grave sites have also been exhumed in Jaffna peninsula, which has been under the control of the SL military since 1995.

The mass grave sites found at Thirukkeatheeswaran and the one discovered at the CWE premises now are believed to be from 1990's when the SL military stepped up large-scale torture and massacre, especially under the regime of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK).

The CWE massacre site is situated close to the entry to Mannaar island on Bazar Street.

When a local Tamil resident from Emil Nakar in Mannaar bought the sands dug from the reconstruction site, skeletal remains were spotted for the first time in March. After the discovery, Mannaar Magistrate Alex Raja ordered the people who had bought sands from the reconstruction site to return the material at a locality behind the cemetery in the city.

As the exhumation of returned sands brought out further traces of human skeletal remains, the Magistrate proceeded with identifying the exact locations where the returned sands were dug within the CWE premises, where additional skeletal remains were found.

Occupying Colombo has been dilly-dallying the investigations on Mannaar Killing Fields since 2014 when 87 human skeletons were exhumed former the former ‘High-Security Zone’ of the occupying Sinhala military of genocidal Sri Lanka at Keatheesvaram.

The criminal investigation authorities of the SL State have been buying time by postponing forensic analysis citing lack of expertise. When the lawyers representing the Tamil families of enforced disappeared demanded the remains to be sent to proper study with a foreign institution, the SL forensic experts from Colombo were giving different explanations each time at the courts. When the judge gave specific instructions to contact Latin America based institutions, the response from the SL Police was that those institutions were not replying to their emails queries.

In 2014, as soon as the discovery of the mass graves at Thirukkeatheeswaram, Rt. Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph, the Catholic bishop of Mannaar at that time, called for international investigations to be conducted on the mass graves as Sri Lanka has systematically failed to carry out any investigations on similar findings in the past.

However, the Geneva-based Human Rights mechanisms have failed entirely to address the concerns of Eezham Tamils.


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