This week marks 28 years since the Kumarapuram Massacre took place in Trincomalee, where the Sri Lankan military killed 26 Tamil civilians and gang-raped a 15-year-old girl.

On the evening of February 11, 1996, a group of soldiers, some of them under the influence of alcohol, charged into the village of Kumarapuram and indiscriminately beat up Tamil civilians in the locality.

They subsequently killed 26 people, gang-raped a teenage girl and caused injuries to 24 others.

Survivors of the carnage recalled that the soldiers shouted “death to Tamils” as they rampaged through the hamlet.

Six Sri Lankan soldiers who were standing trial for their involvement in the killings in 2016, were all acquitted of the 101 indictments they each faced.

The High Court judge overseeing the case decided the soldiers could not be prosecuted despite survivors identifying the perpetrators of the massacre.

In 2017, PEARL, a US-based advocacy group, released a report examining the failure of successive Sri Lankan governments to ensure accountability and justice for the massacre.


The names of the victims are:

1. Subbayya Sethurasa

2. Alaguthurai Parameswari

3.Arumathurai Vallipillai

4. Kidnan Kovinthan

5. Arunasalam Thangavel

6. Sellathurai Packiyarasa

7. Vadivel Nadarasa

8. Rajenthiram Karunakaran

9. Sanmuganathan Nithanthan

10. Ramajeyam Kamaleswaran

11. Kanthapodi Kamalathevi

12. Sivakolunthu Sinnathurai

13. Sivapackiyam Nisanthan

14. Packiyarasa Vasanthini

15. Amirthalingam Rajanikanthi

16. Thangavel Kalathevi

17. Stephen Pathuma

18. Suntharalingam Prabhakaran

19. Suntharalingam Subajini

20. Kanagarasa Suvathirasa

21. Subramaniyam Packiyam

22. Vinayagamoorthy Suthaharan

23. Ananthan Annamma

24. Vijayakanth Luxmi

25. Arumathurai Thanaluxmi

There were 26 victims but one victim was not identified.

"In a case with overwhelming evidence, including 40 eyewitnesses at trial, the acquittals of all six alleged perpetrators are an accurate reflection of the Sri Lankan criminal justice system's lack of competence and commitment to prosecute atrocity crimes," the report noted.

"The killing that has become engrained in the minds of all villagers is that of 15-year-old Arumathurai Thanaluxmi. Villagers recounted how the soldiers found her hiding in a roadside tea shop with two others, including a 16-year-old boy, Vinayagamoorthy Suthaharan. Soldiers immediately killed the people hiding with Thanaluxmi, then proceeded to drag her into an empty building nearby and gang rape her. At least two villagers remember hearing her screams from where they were hiding. Eventually one soldier, NM Ajith Sisira Kumara, allegedly shot and killed Thanaluxmi," said the report.



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