Figuratively translated from Tamil to English in 2009 by Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam. Ph.D. (Cornell)
The host warned the young people who are not strong enough to see tragic scenes not to watch. She said that what you are about to see is what the Tamil brothers and sisters suffered. What did happen at the final battle at Mullivaikaal. … you will see what happened to the people at the final war.
LEFT OUT THE QUESTIONS THE HOST ASKED.
The Victim said she lived in Kilinochchi before coming to India.
Victim: In April 2008 we left Kilinochchi. Mullivaikaal is the 18th place where we were displaced to. From Kilinochchi till Mathalan we suffered much. Very much.
From Mannar, the Army fought and moved and all people from those areas ended up in Kilinochchi. From Jaffna the army pushed through Muhamalai, Palai and all the people came to Kilinochchi. From Kilinochchi we moved to Paranthan and ended up in Mathalan. When we left Kilinochchi the army announced that Visuvamadhu and Udayarkaddu is the Safety Circle [No Fire Zone]. We then went into the Visuvamadhu and Udayarkaddu Safety Circle. We trusted that there will not be any shelling.
We were told that if only common people went in, there won’t be any shelling. But if the Organization (meaning LTTE) went in then they will (Hit) shell. The Safety Circle is for people only we were told. We trusted them and stayed there for 15 days even though shelling continued. When we were there Kefir bombed an NGO UNR, UNH Camp. We then left and came to Mathalan as there was no safety for us in the Circle. Then they announced that Puthukudirruppu is a Safety Circle. After two days Kefir came and hit (Bombed) Puthukudierruppu Hospital. There was no safety. Then they announced that Mathalan is a Safety Circle. We moved to Mathalan. There shelling continued. Health problem, lack of food became unbearable.
People came from Mannar and there were 4 hundred, 3 hundred, 4 and a half hundred thousand people. There was rain and heat. We were given plastic sheet 10 sq ft tents. 5 or 6 families have to stay in a tent. We have to dig a bunker inside the tent. Without a bunker inside we cannot stay inside. Only if we stay in the Bunker inside the tent the shells that falls will not affect us.
Kefir is bombing and shells are falling so we have to stay in the Bunker for our safety. We cook outside and take the food and eat it from inside the bunker. For us food is not a priority. It is our lives we wanted to save. This was our living conditions. Live in the Bunker or die. Then the biggest crunch is when we went to Valayarmadam because that was announced as a Safety Circle. There were shelling, Christian Fathers died or got injured. Many people died. That is where I got injured.
We then left for Mullivaikal. When we left Valayarmadam we did not have anything to eat. When we went we hold someone in the family, we don’t know who we are holding when the crowd is heavy we don’t know whom to hold and whom to let go . When we turn back, the shell will fall and we fall to the ground. We moved like goats. When the shell falls the whole crowd moves. We did this for about one year. At the end the govt has stopped food. People stayed in line for boiled rice and water. Rice and sugar were very expensive. No milk-powder. What was available is so expensive no one could afford it. We drank water and moved on. When we stepped on dead bodies, we just keep walking. Shell fell and my husband’s stomach was split open at Mullivaikal. I could not even bury him but kept on walking. Whether my husband died or not I don’t know. He may have been taken by the army or died I don’t know.
My mother was old, so when I heard that the Army is registering old people for an old-peoples home I left her in the care of the old people home so that at least she could live. I did not go to see my mother because of heavy shelling. After I left my mother in Mathalan, shell hit the Old peoples home and all of them died. We stayed in Mullivaikal for 15 days till May 17. When I went to fetch water, we saw a mother leaning against a tree and holding the baby drinking milk. We told her that shells are falling and why is she sitting there. We went near to look at her, but she was dead with the baby. Everyone was in the same condition.
My children and I went to the bunker. The shell fell next door and the whole family of 10 there died. They were cooking so in the morning they can leave with some food. The shell fell near and my eldest son who was 8 years old died. His stomach was split open by shell. The hospitals were being shelled and we could not go to any hospital. People will stay under a vehicle when shells are falling. There were incidents when the shell fell on top of the vehicle everyone died. From Mullivakal we lost our way and did not know any direction. Then we went to where they said that army is taking people. We went there and from there we were taken by the army to Mullaithivu and then to Vavuniya where they dropped us.
Those who died were left where they died. People stepped on the dead bodies as they moved. No one asked us as to what happened. Except now after two years. When we were in Mathalan, we were told that a ship is coming from America to take us away. Many people were hoping that they can go to the ship. Why did not other countries help us so that many of the deaths can be prevented? We are also asking why India did not help us.
In the camp we don’t go anywhere. There are instances when females go to the toilet, army persons have done very bad things to them. The army will come to mothers who have no husband and give 1000 rupees. But then they come at night and abuse them. It did not happen to me but the neighbour lady was abused. I and my son were injured. We were taken to the hospital. I did not want to go back to the camp as I did not know how I would survive there. No husband. We are injured. Some people said that they are going to India and whether we also want to come with them. We have lost all hope. So, we did not mind if we died at sea.
When we were in a corner [at the end of the war], we were told by others that a Father is going out [of the area being shelled] with some people. We thought we will go with him. After a few minutes we heard shots and were told that 150 people died. In the last stages in about 3 months about 100,000 people died. At the end I cannot say how many died. Everywhere there were dead bodies. We spoke to the dead and slept with the dead. By telling you I feel better.
From Mullivaikal many boats took injured and others to the sea. They were being shelled from the sea and bombing by the Kefir. A makeshift hospital was erected in Mullivaikal and the injured were going there. Then shells fell on it. When you are serious then others are coming who were more serious.
When we were there, we wanted to know why no countries in the world did not care. We still want to know. Lot of persons went with the white flags to surrender. When the Father was taking people shelling was going on to where they were going. So, we did not want to go there. At the last stage when we were at Mullaitivu grounds we saw shells being shot from there towards Mullivaikal where there were people. When someone lost their legs, we had to keep running as we will be killed by shells. They have to bleed and die. We could not help anyone as we were trying to be alive. At the end those who went to surrender we did not know what happened to them.
Some of the people who were released from prison have difficulties to make a living. I have the right to speak to you. There we cannot speak. If we smile at you the army will ask, how do I know the person. We lived in fear in the camps.
One most important thing is that they want to eliminate the Tamils. But they can eliminate me but my feelings cannot be erased. My son of 7 years will tell the neighbor how one falls when a shell hits him. He knows all what happened. He wanted to go abroad and not stay with the army.
In the last segment Preamachandran of TNA is asking questions why Thamils in India abandoned them.