The number of skeletons found in a mass grave in Mannar has risen to 61, with two more found on Wednesday.
More excavations are due to be held on Thursday, reported the Uthayan.
The Bishop of Mannar, who has called for an international investigation into the mass grave due to the lack of credibility associated with any internal process, had earlier said that the holes in many of the skulls were believed to be from gunshot wounds.
TNA demands international probe into mass graves (12 Feb 2014)
Mass held at killing field, Mannaar Bishop demands international investigation
[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 February 2014, 10:43 GMT]
We should never give up the struggle seeking the truth, said Bishop of Mannaar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph, attending a special mass and prayer service held on Wednesday at the St Lourde’s church at Maanthai, just across the spot where excavations of a killing field have so far brought out 61 skeletons. The mass was dedicated to the disappeared. Speaking at the mass, the Bishop demanded international investigation on the disappearance of people in the war and he was specific about the Maanthai killing field. He also reminded the crowd on the number of the disappeared [146, 678], which he had earlier brought out at the LLRC. Intelligence sleuths of Colombo were present at the mass, recording the Bishop’s speech.
The government can’t go on with producing lies. We have lost faith in any local mechanism that investigates the killings. Instead, we need independent international investigation that has no political affiliation, and we should witness the investigation, the Bishop demanded.
The local mechanism is like the perpetrators investigating what happened, knowing fully well that they did it. The government can’t fool us. It is our right to know what happened to our kith and kin.
We should not keep our mouths shut, the Bishop said, quoting Fr Jeyabala Croos, who in turn had quoted a poem of Martin Niemoller that there would be no one if we all keep our mouths in the face of what happened and what is happening in our land.
Families of the disappeared and some NPC members were among the attendees of the mass.
Continuation of the exhumation of skeletons in the mass grave, takes place for the 24th time on Thursday.
50 bodies discovered in Sri Lanka mass grave
COLOMBO: Skeletal remains of at least 50 people have been dug out from a mass grave discovered in northeastern Sri Lanka, amid speculation that the remains were of Tamil civilians who had disappeared during the war with the LTTE.
Police spokesman and Senior Superintendent Ajith Rohana said further digging will be continued with the deployment of a team from the crime investigation department to assist in investigations.
Three more skulls were found on Monday, Rohana said. With this, the total skeletal remains discovered stand at 50.
A team of forensic experts led by Judicial Medical Officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne earlier stated that bodies had been buried in several layers at the site.
The state water entity’s workers had stumbled upon the grave as they dug the ground to lay water supply connections late December last year in Thirukatheeswaram area in Mannar district.
The main Tamil party TNA-controlled Northern Provincial Council yesterday adopted a resolution to call for UN assistance at forensic excavations at the site.
The Tamil groups believe that the remains were those of the Tamil civilians who had disappeared during the three-decade conflict.
The resolution was moved by Tamil National Alliance’s woman councillor Ananthy Saseetharan, whose husband Elilan was an LTTE political wing leader and is among those believed to have disappeared during the final battle in 2009.
This was the first discovery of a mass grave in the former conflict zone since the war ended. Digging of the site took place in the presence of magisterial and judicial medical officials after the discovery of the first four skeletal remains on December 21.
The police in an initial reaction said the area of the site had been under LTTE control for well over 15 years.
Since the end of the war, Sri Lanka has been facing international accusations of rights abuses. Sri Lanka denies that its troops committed any war crimes whilst combating the LTTE. It has resisted calls to probe claims that over 40,000 ethnic minority Tamils were killed by the military during the final phase of the civil war that ended in 2009.
The UN Human Rights Council has passed two rights resolutions against Sri Lanka and a third one is expected in March.