Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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High Profile Human Rights Abuses of Tamils 

by S. Makenthiran

(A more complete set of numbers are available from the Tamil Centre for Human Rights in Paris based on their on-going documentation at -- Editor)

Some Instances of Massacre of Tamils by Sinhalese

Year Place Number of Tamil victims
1956 Colombo & Galoya Hundreds of Tamils killed, and many injured including Tamil MPs
1958  All Sinhala provinces Hundreds of Tamils killed and thousands became refugees in NE
1974 Jaffna Policemen kill nine Tamils by firing into a crowd
1976 Puttalam Police fire at Muslims at a mosque killing many.
1977 Upcountry estates About 10 Tamils killed and hundreds injured.
1981 Jaffna About 10 killed and many injured; Jaffna main libary burnt with 94,000 books
1983 Northeast

After 13 soldiers were ambushed and killed in Tinnevely, the army massacred 51 Tamil civilians in revenge, but news of massacres suppressed by the government.

All Sinhala provinces Tamil Holocaust, 3,000 Tamils killed, over 100,000 fled to NE
Welikade Jail 53 Tamil detainees killed by jail guards
1984 Manalaru Hundreds of Tamil settlers killed and replaced by Sinhalese
1985 Valvettiturai Nearly 200 killed including many children
Nedunthivu 48 Tamils icluding women and children in a boat named Kumudhini hacked to death by SL navy
Bolgado Lake in Colombo 26 Tamil youth killed and dumped in lake
1986 Iruthayapuram 25 Tamils killed and many injured
Kilinochchi 11 plantation Tamils slaughtered
Udumbankulam 135 Tamil farmers massacred
1987 Palali Kumarappa, Pulendran & 10 LTTE leaders die in SL army custody
1991 Kokkadicholai 150 Tamils massacred
1992 Mylanthanai 35 Tamils killed, judges allowed Sinhala jury for trial
1993 Kilali 35 Tamils massacred by armed forces
1995 Nagarkoil 100 civilians slaughtered
Navaly Church 65 refugees killed by low-flying aircraft bombardment
1997 Jaffna District 600 disappeared into mass graves like Chemmani
2000 Bindunuwewa 28 Tamil detainees, including children, hacke to death in 'rehabilitation camp'
Colombo Kumar Ponnambalam, leader to Tamil Congress, murdered by government agents
Kalutara Jail 6 detainees hacked to death by jail guards
2002 Thirukovil (Kanjirankudah) 8 unarmed Tamil demonstrators killed & 20 injured
Trincomalee 3 unarmed demonstrators killed & 40 injured
2005 Welikanda 4 unarmed LTTE personnel, including Col. Kausalyan, Commander for Batticaloa & Amparai, and and ex-MP, Chandra Nehru, killed by paramilitaries working with armed forces
Colombo D. Sivaram, leading Tamil journalists, murdered by paramilitaries working with intelligence agents


Rape as a Weapon of Ethnic Oppression

Many cases of rape and torture of Tamil men and women by the Sri Lankan army and police have gone to the courts, though many more are not reported.m

An example of this ghastly phenomenon is the case of a young Tamil woman, Yogalingam Vijitha, of Kayts aged 27, who was subjected to the worst forms of sexual torture by the Sinhalese policemen in Negombo.  The Supreme Court found the police guilty on August 23, 2002, and awarded her compensation of SL Rs. 250,000 (US $ 2,650 approx).

The policemen, unaccompanied by any women , illegally arrested Vijitha in Trincomalee in mid-2000 and brought her to Negombo in handcuffs.  She was kept handcuffed and severely assaulted with poles all over her body and trampled with boots.  She was stripped and her face was covered with shopping bag containing chilli powder filled with petrol, tightening and loosening it to make her suffer in suffocation.  Her hands were tied to the roof of the room and while hanging, her body was battered with poles.  Her hands and legs were tied together and she was left to hang on a horizontal pole inserted between her hands and legs, making her swing in pain.  She was forced to lie on a table and while four policemen pressed her down, others were pricking her finger nails and toes simultaneously with pins making her bleed with unbearable pain.  As an ultimate torture, Vijitha’s clothes were removed and four policemen held her hands and legs apart on a table in the torture chamber, while another was mercilessly inserting a hard sheath soaked in chilli powder into her vagina and tortured the helpless girl causing her burning sensation and pain till she bled and fainted.  When she regained consciousness after the torture she was forced to sign sheets of paper typed in Sinhala, which she did not understand.  Later in the night she was allowed to return to her cell with strict warning that she should not wash herself.

The heartrending experiences of Vijitha shows to what low depths of bestiality the Sinhalese policemen had descended in the treatment of Tamil detainees.  The above is a typical case of how Tamil detainees are treated by Sri Lankan police and army to extract confessions which is used against them for conviction under the PTA, which is still in force despite the cease-fire.  A doctor has reported that there are about 400 torture victims in Trincomalee district alone needing treatment.  There are numerous such victims in other Northeast districts, and is a social problem for the Tamil community.

The cases of rape of Tamil women and girls including children by the Sinhalese armed forces is endless.  Sarojini, a mother of two children in Amparai district was tortured by the Amparai police and detained in Welikada.  Her relatives complained that a pipe rubbed with chilli powder was inserted into her vagina during the investigation, but no action was taken on the complaint. 

Velu Arasadevi, a 28 year old widow with two children from Passara, was gang raped by the police in Colombo and awarded compensation by the Supreme Court of SL Rs, 150,000 (US $ 1,590 approx.).

Koneswary, a mother of three children, was gang raped by the Central Camp policemen in Amparai and a grenade was exploded in her genitals to obliterate evidence of rape. 

Ida Carmelita a young girl of Mannar was gang raped and shot through her vagina.

Sivamani and Vijikala two married women with children were arrested in Mannar. The police gang, including the Inspector in charge, stripped them naked and subjected them to humiliation, torture and rape.  The cases came to light only after the Bishop of Mannar, and a Tamil MP intervened.

Vijitha’s husband Ehambaram was tortured by a policeman inserting barbed wire into his anus. This form of torture is commonly resorted to by Sri Lankan police.

Teen-ager Krishanthi a Jaffna schoolgirl was gang raped and killed, as also her mother, brother and neighbour who went to look for her.

Sarathambal 29 (a Hindu priest’s daughter) of the island of Punguduthivu , Poomani aged 70 of Neerveli, Rajeswary (35) of Thenmaradchi, Pushpamalar a child aged 12 of Chavakachcheri, Kalanithy (26) of Mirisuvil, Thanalakshmi (42) of Meesalai, Ajanthana (17) of Arialai, Thankanayaki (49) of Amparai, Santhirakala (20) a teacher of Jaffna, Velan Rasammaa (34), her sister Velan Vasantha (28), Sivasothy (31) and Nageswari (37) of Batticaloa, Rajani (22) of Urumpirai, Lakshmi Pillai of Trincomalee, Subashini (19) and Vijayalalitha (14) arrested at sea, deaf and dumb Selvarani (28) of Meesalai, Rathykala of Polonnaruwa, are some of the many Tamil women raped or gang raped by Sinhalese police and army.

Many Tamil women have been killed after rape to erase any evidence.

There are hundreds of other cases, which are not revealed.  Young and old have not been spared.  The Bishop of Mannar told reporters that Sinhalese police and army personnel, to satisfy their sexual desires, spot good looking Tamil women and bring up an allegation against them as being involved with the Tigers to detain them and sexually abuse them. 

Only in the one single case of Krishanthy, due to immense publicity and agitation, were the rapists convicted.  All the other offenders are free.  Cases are transferred to Sinhalese areas and, as the witnesses find it difficult to travel, the accused escape conviction.  Some of these criminals are defended by the Sinhala Urumaya, a racist organization directly encouraging degradation of Tamil Women.

Tragically, the Tamils are victims of conspiracy and complicity by some Sinhalese magistrates, doctors and senior police officers and the judiciary who should protect victims.  Yogalingam Vijitha stated in her petition to the courts, that she was mercilessly assaulted by Sub Inspector Saman Karunaratna in the presence of Superintendent of Police Gamini Dissanayaka.  She was prevented from speaking when she was taken before a magistrate, who remanded her after the torture and forced confessions.  Even Human Rights Commission has failed to take effective action on complaints.  Vijitha had a chance to complain about her torture to a Tamil, Dr. Sivasubramaniam, Assistant JMO, whose report probably saved her from further torture.

The Sri Lankan government has encouraged atrocities against Tamils by rewarding those guilty with promotions.  Protests by Tamil Parliamentarians and mass protests by Tamils have been ineffective. 

Men accused of war crimes like Janaka Perera, Rohan Daluwatte and Lal Wijeyesuriya are now ambassadors, despite allegations of being responsible for mass graves as in Chemmani.

It is to the credit of the Tamils that not a single case of rape of Sinhalese women by the LTTE or Tamil civilians has been reported.