The 38-year anniversary of a mass murder allegedly committed by Sri Lanka government defence forces was recently held in the east. During the incident, 21 persons who have been transporting dry rations for war refugees have been murdered.

Regional reporters said that a Hindu memorial was held in the Ganesha Kovil located in Poonagar, where the relatives of the deceased lit 21 lamps and offered flowers in commemoration of the deceased.

In the said incident, three public officials and 18 assistants from Echchalampattu – as directed by the then Trincomalee District Secretariat, were transporting dry rations for the war displaced camps – had been hacked and shot to death. 38 years later, justice remains elusive.

These persons had been murdered on 12 June, 1986, when a United National Party government was ruling the country with the incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe serving as a Cabinet Minister. Those who survived the attack further said that it took place in the Mahindapura area, while food items were being transported from Seruvila to Echchalampattu using bullock carts.

Of the 21 persons that were murdered, 19 were Tamils. The other two were Muslims.


Although three survivors had informed the relevant authorities, including the police, about what they witnessed, so far, no formal investigation has been launched.

Survivors have said that a group led by a home guard named Ranbanda backed by the army waylaid the people transporting food for war refugees and took them about 50 meters away from the main road. Subsequently, they had been hacked and shot to death.

Two refugee camps in Pumadiththachenai and Madaththalachenai, were sheltering who had been displaced due to government forces’ attacks in Verugal and Echchalampaththu areas, and forced to flee.

The dry rations provided for war refugees were transported from Seruvila to Verugal every week as authorised by the Trincomalee District Secretariat. In the 12 June attack, the perpetrators had raided these dry rations as well.

The 12 June memorial in front of the Ganesha Kovil was held in commemoration of the following 21– Grama Niladhari officers Thangarasa and Alibukan, Resettlement Officer A.M. Abdul Latif, Konamalai Velayudam, Kadirgamathambi Vianayagamurthi, Devendram Navaratnam, Thambirasa Navaratnam, Kanagasabai Kanagasundaram, Kadirgamathambi Sellathamby, Muththathambi Kasipillai, Kadirgamathambi Nagarasa, Veerapaththiran Nadesapillai, Muttiah Kalirasa, Mutukumar Velupillai, Velupillai Chitravel, Chitravel Silvalingam, Veerapaththiran Somasundaram, Chitravel Thambapillai, Nalliah Parameswaran, Thamodaram Dharmalingam, Punniyam Mathiwathanan.



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