Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Trinco Conspiracy

by K Mylvaganam

In Sri Lanka, also, there are four seasons, viz the floods, droughts, elections and communal riots. These have become the annual events. But the happenings in Trinco are more than the “normal communal riots.”...there is lots of evidence to prove that the riots were well preplanned and executed meticulously with the assistance of Sinhalese criminals, thugs and hooligans.

What happened in Trincomalee on the 11th, 12th and thereafter is not just an accidental, or the usual, or the “seasonal,” communal riots. In the west we find spring, summer, autumn and winter. In Sri Lanka, also, there are four seasons, viz the floods, droughts, elections and communal riots. These have become the annual events. But the happenings in Trinco are more than the “normal communal riots.”

Tamil shops afire in Trincomalee April 2006 The events in Trinco have lots of similarities to the notorious pogrom that took place in the south of Sri Lanka in July, 1983. That pogrom was rightly termed “Black July” then and now we have Black April. In both incidents there is lots of evidence to prove that the riots were well preplanned and executed meticulously with the assistance of Sinhalese criminals, thugs and hooligans.

The usual thing one hears or reads in the Colombo-based papers is - “This will not happen again. At least the government will not let it happen again in that scale.” We have heard this after Black July, the 1983 Welikade prison massacre, the Bindunuwewa killings (a mini version of the 1983 prison massacre) and now the Trinco massacre. Despite the hard warning of the Indian government, given directly to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the murdering spree occurred again on 21.04.2006, killing Tamils and burning and looting Tamil properties.  

Here I wish to quote from an article by D.B.S. Jeyaraj, who said,

“An explosion shattered the calm about 3.45 p.m. in the vegetable market. A group of army and navy personnel seemed to be the target initially. Some army and navy personnel began opening fire at random. About 5 Tamils were killed and about 20 hit by gunfire. People began scattering from the area and the town began shutting down. Within minutes of the attack a group of unidentified men, believed to be naval personnel in civvies, threw 3 grenades at Tamil shops in the town. According to residents, the grenades exploded within a 10 minute period between 4.00 to 4.10 p.m. One of the grenades exploded in a provision shop and injured 5 to 8 people there. Around 4.15 p.m. saw trucks trundling to the heart of Trinco town. Gangs of Sinhala speaking youth got out brandishing weapons swords, clubs, knifes, rods etc. They were in civvies. These hoodlums then went on the rampage. The armed assailants were Sinhala-speaking. There were no riots as alleged by some. It was essentially one-sided with the Sinhala gangs going on the rampage while the predominant Sinhala army, navy and police simply watched or in some instances assisted the mauraders. The gangs began assaulting victims mercilessly.  

“They wrecked any Tamil-owned vehicle in sight. If some sections were engaged in crimes of passion others were involved in crimes of profit. Gangs began systematically looting and stripping shops of their merchandise. The “spoils of war” were then loaded into trucks and taken away. While at least one vehicle was seen going into dock-yard naval camp, other vehicles were taken to Sinhala residential areas. The gangs consisted of desperate elements, some were security personnel in civvies, others Sinhala home guards. Some were activists and supporters of the JVP and JHU. Some were criminal elements from the market area and coastal settlements.”  

This incident did not spring out as a surprise or as an emotional breakout. The Trinco incident, according to residents, was in the air. The rumour was afloat that something major would take place before the New Year. The aim was to get the Tamils cleared out of Trincomalee forever. This is a master plan to place a 100% Sinhala-dominated Trincomalee between the North and the East, thus eroding the concept of the NorthEast - the Tamil Homeland. The big question is the police and the other forces must have been fully aware of this plan and why did they not take any preventive measures to avert this treacherous and murderous incident? Does this mean the answer is obvious; particularly judging from their turning a blind eye while the killing, marauding and physical onslaught were taking place under their own eyes? The very fact that the marauders arrived at the site within minutes of the explosion fully armed to the teeth in truck loads proves that they were kept in the vicinity nearby in readiness for the attack. Hence the incident was well planned in advance, coordinated, orchestrated and executed meticulously.  

The Urban Council Chairman, Mr.Gowrimuhunthan, and TNA M.P. Mr.Thurairatnasingham, I understand, tried desperately to get in touch with the defense hierarchy and the police high-ups, but the telephones were reported “dead.” Did we not hear this same “story” in 1958, 1967, 1977 and in 1983? We are sure to hear it again and again in the future as well. Their effort to reach the president proved futile; however Mr.Thurairatnasingham left a message behind, but neither a return call nor any form of remedial measures were apparently taken. Out of sheer desperation, the M.P. contacted the Indian High Commission and pleaded to save the lives and properties of the Tamils in Trinco. Things started moving in the correct direction – to some extent – from then on. The Indian Prime Minister Mr.Manmohan Singh did not waste time in calling President Mahinda Rajapaksa (now the phone was in order? ha), expressed his shock and concern over the situation in Trincomalee and wanted appropriate action to be taken so that the matter does not get worse than what it is already. This motivated the President to send a high powered team comprising of Minister Bogollagam, the IGP Chandra Fernando, the former Naval Chief Sandagiri and others to Trinco to do the needful. One wonders as to whether there was none in Sri Lanka to inform its President of the happenings in Trinco?  

It was only then a curfew was imposed – this should have been done much earlier. I wonder how the Sinhala regime and their forces would have reacted if the situation was reversed; that is if the Tamils went on a rampage killing the innocent Sinhalese, burning and looting their properties? Then the curfew would have been imposed forthwith. The army and the police would have made numerous arrests and the suspects taken for “interrogations.” Several of the looters would have been shot and killed on sight. So why was the delay in declaring the curfew on the 11th of April? Was it lethargy, inefficiency or intentional?  

The final pertinent question; is this is the result of the Defense advisor Mr. H.M.G.B. Kotakadeniya, former D.I.G. and stalwart of the extremist JHU, sending an STF group to Trinco with the permission of the Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, brother of the President with orders to be “Tough?”

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