Feature Article

Mannaar mass grave could be from early 1990s, shocking details emerge

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 June 2018, 19:49 GMT]
Field archaeologists from the South, deployed to excavate the alleged site of mass graves in the former SL military held high-security zone in Mannaar island, are trying to project the massacre site as an ancient burial site, families of enforced disappeared Tamils, who witnessed their attitude on Tuesday told TamilNet. The excavators have found two old rings, which they claim as non-customary to contemporary times. However, on the 4th day of excavations, a Maliban biscuit packaging material was discovered very close to a human skeleton giving an indication when the killings could have occurred. Careful inspection of the rotten package has established the fact that it dates from a stock sold between the years of 1989 and 1990, legal sources told TamilNet.

Mannaar Bishop
Site of excavation


Mannaar Bishop
Mannaar Bishop inspects alleged mass grave being excavated at CWE building
They believe that the bones found so far belong to 10 persons and they are afraid there are many more.

Only one human skeleton is in full length. The others seem to be dumped into small pits, they said.

Most of the traces emerging so far indicate that skulls and other parts of bones mixed casting doubts that those who were slain were victims of torture and massacre. However it is too early to assert anything concrete, the legal sources said.

The exhumation is taking place at the premises of the dismantled Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE). SL military was using the CWE building between 1990 and 2009.

On Monday, Bishop of Mannaar Rt Rev Fidelis Fernando also inspected the excavation site, and he was visibly shocked as he realised it could be a massacre site, the families of the enforced disappeared said. Vicar General Rev Victor Sosai also accompanied the bishop.

Mannaar Magistrate Alex Raja who has been witnessing the excavation of massacre sites at Thirukkeatheeswaram in Mannaar mainland, as well as the latest discovery in the CWE premises, is also being transferred away from Mannaar, they further said. However, they expressed hope that the new Magistrate would also be strict in dealing with the investigations.

The CWE building was dismantled in March to put up a five storey building for CWE Sathosa. First traces of human skeletons were spotted on 27 March when a Tamil resident from Emil Nakar discovered them in the sands he had bought from the premises on 25 March.

After the discovery, Mannaar Magistrate Alex Raja instructed the people to return the sand they had bought from the premises to a locality behind the cemetery at Chinnak-kadai, which lies around 1.5 km away from the CWE building.

Following the discovery of more human bones from the dunes subjected for analysis on 28 May, the Magistrate instructed immediate excavation of the CWE premises where the sands were exhumed.


Chronology:

 

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