Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Cries from the Palmyra Grove

by Commission for Justice & Peace, April 28, 2008

Even the names and addresses of those injured or killed are released in the media and confirmed also by the Government medical authorities. However the Government always insists that only LTTE targets were targeted and successfully hit quoting the pilots themselves as confirming the results of their strikes.

CRIES FROM THE PALMYRA GROVE

(Weekly statement on the Local Developments – No. 30 - up to 2008-04-28)

Bombings in the Vanni

According to the media, aerial bombings take place almost daily over or near civilian dwellings and areas resulting in death of and injuries to civilians and destruction of civilian property and possessions.

Even the names and addresses of those injured or killed are released in the media and confirmed also by the Government medical authorities. However the Government always insists that only LTTE targets were targeted and successfully hit quoting the pilots themselves as confirming the results of their strikes.

It is an accepted fact that the Government and its security personnel operate hand in hand in this war against the Tamils to silence them through such threats from clamouring for their ethnic rights and to force them to accept the crumbs that may be doled out just to satisfy the world by a show of a solution.

During the current confrontations, many of the LTTE cadres too have died yearning for the betterment of the future of their people. They are the children of the local people and most joined the militancy without the knowledge of the parents, and making personal decisions, after experiencing harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture and the denial of their educational and other rights.

On hearing about their death or injury, their kith and kin who are here (in the army-controlled area) undergo untold mental sufferings and stress due to the forced repression of their feelings of sorrow, loss etc. because they are unable even to sob out their grief. Many have painfully told the priests here, that they are unable even to get religious services or almsgiving offered or performed for the repose of their souls as prompted by their faith – All because of the deep fear experienced by them that the security forces will victimize them if they are identified as the relations of even dead cadres.  Many others have been known to have been either killed or made to disappear for similar relationships. We are afraid this situation can bring about a mentally afflicted society soon.

According to the media, the security forces have occupied the Madhu church area after the militants vacating it the previous day. We also learn that the Bishop of Mannar, under whose care Madhu falls, has after deliberations with his clergy, requested that the entire Madhu Camp area be declared an arms-free, peace promoting, neutral zone and as a place of refuge for those displaced from their homes due to the war or other calamities. It has to be mentioned that that camp area was a refuge to over 40,000 persons in the nineties and serviced by International and local NGOO. We hope that at least now, the Government will take the first step towards that end so that the affirmation of the militants too can be worked out.