They were killed almost three decades and the Tamils are yet to get justice even as the alleged perpetrators were found ‘not guilty’ by a court and released.
The ‘Kumarapuram massacre’ is yet another classical example of the Sri Lankan government’s unwillingness to ensure accountability.
Amidst their longing for justice for 28 years, the families of those killed remembered them on Sunday (11) and paid solemn tributes to those killed.
Families of the victims paid floral tributes to their portraits and lit lamps along with the public and civil society activists.
As the sun just started setting on February 11 in 1996, the Sri Lankan Army, along with some paramilitary men, entered the Kiliveddy-Kumarapuram village under the Muttur Divisional Secretary in Trincomalee district and indiscriminately fired upon innocent Tamils and attacked with machetes killing 26 in cold blood.
A 15-year-old girl was also sexually assaulted by the military and the paramilitary persons who perpetrated the heinous crime and subsequently died.
A leading Human Rights group during the wartime University Teachers for Human Rights in Jaffna (UTHR) has documented this massacre.
“Between 5.30 and 7.30 PM on Sunday, February 11, armed men in military uniform ran amok in the village of Kumarapuram, Killivetti, killing 24 (Tamil) civilians and injuring many more. Among those killed were seven children under the age of 12, the youngest being 3 years old. Some young women were raped, including one who was raped and killed. The death toll would have been much higher had not the people run out and sought shelter in the fields and graveyard”.
In a judicial inquiry at the Muttur Magistrate’s Court in 1996, eight military persons at the Dehiwatte Military camp were identified as the perpetrators, and a charge sheet was filed against them.
Subsequently, this case was transferred to the Trincomalee High Court and then to the Anuradhapura High Court, where the trial was held.
After 20 years, on 27 July 2016, whilst 2 of the suspects had died, the remaining 6 former military men were released by the Anuradhapura High Court and dropped all charges against them.
And, the victims are still waiting for justice to be rendered for this massacre even after 28 years.