Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Injustice in Justice

by K. Mylvaganam

According to media reports, the defense advisor, Kotakadeniya, who is the vice-president of the ultranationalist JHU, has boldly and openly admitted that he did send the STF unit, and that it was done in concurrence and with the knowledge of the defense secretary, Gothabaya Rajapaksa, who is the brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  

The shock waves caused by the cold-blooded murder of the five youths in Trincomalee are nearly four months old. Those murdered were:  

Shanmugarajah Gajendran
Lohitharajah Rohan
Thangathurai Sivanantha
Yogarajah Hemachandran and
Manoharan Rajihar  

No "progress" on bringing the perpetrators to justice has been made so far, despite the fact that even the President Mahinda Rajapaksa confessed to the TNA members, when they met him to discuss this matter, that it had been done by pro UNP elements within the armed forces to discredit him. He assured the TNA that a full investigation would be made and the culprits punished. One may raise doubts about the involvement of "pro UNP elements," but the fact remains that it has been committed by the armed forces of the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) as it has come from the horse's mouth.  

Under normal circumstances I do not give any weight to the utterances of the so-called University Teachers for Human Rights - Jaffna (UTHRJ) as it acts as the "His Master’s Voice" of the GOSL. But in this instance I wish to make an exception and quote from one of their reports dated 2nd April 2006. The report No. 20 and is titled "Terrorism and Counter Terrorism Challenges to Human Rights Advocacy."  

Among the many interesting and controversial disclosures in that report is the revelation that the Trincomalee Superintendent of Police SP Kapila Jayasekara planned the shooting incident of January 2 in which five Tamil youths were shot dead at point blank range. It also alleges that one Inspector IP Perera was directly responsible for the cold-blooded execution of the five youths. Readers should make a special note of the fact "shot dead at point blank range." I will be referring to it later in this article.  

Let me quote from the UTHR (J) report:  

"Based on information from within the security forces, our sources have identified Kapila Jeyasekara SP, superintendent of police, Trincomalee, as having planned the outrage. Jayasekara we learn was earlier with the Special Task Force (STF) in Ampara, and was there during the Kanjirankuda incident in October 2002 when seven civilians were were killed by the STF fire (Bulletin No. 29). Our contacts said that the recent executions by the STF in Trincomalee were carried out by Inspector of Police Perera." "Our contacts believe the STF men were in the trishaw from which the bomb was thrown, and which subsequently went in the direction of Fort Frederick where the STF men are said to have been quartered. The police truck in which they came to commit the crime had been parked in the old police station near the post office, quite close to the where the youths were killed." "The role of the police at a high level is also indicated by the fact that even after the magistrate released the bodies to the parents, the police unit at the hospital tried to prevent them, demanding that they sign a false declaration stating that their sons were Tigers. Policemen are simple persons taught to do a straight forward routine job. When they play up and do something utterly stupid it means they have received orders from the top and are lost."  

Sinhala Chauvinism  

"What the incident amply reveals is that Sinhala chauvinism is very much alive within the state apparatus and there is little political will to change that. If President Rajapaksa were serious about peace with dignity, a number of security officials ought to have been interdicted pending the conclusion of an inquiry. As it stands the scandal stinks to high heaven".  

"They (the five students) had no political connections and used to meet in the evenings in front of where the Gandhi statue used to stand. Nearby was the beginning of the Dockyard Road leading to a naval installation and there are a number of navy sentries in the area. The regular meetings of the students had been observed and the plan took shape. The parties involved were the STF, navy and the police".  

The Killing  

"A trishaw came along the Dockyard Road at about 6.00 p.m. from which a grenade was thrown at the students, two of whom received minor injuries and fell on the ground. Soon afterwards the area was surrounded by the navy and the STF unit and the students were not allowed to leave. First they were loaded into a police truck in which the STF unit arrived. Then they were assaulted, thrown down, made to kneel and shot, two of them through the ear".   "After a delay, apparently to ensure the injured died, the victims were taken to the hospital. Immediately the cover up went into full swing, with the security spokesman and the army website, which had been a credible source of violations by the LTTE, claiming that the students were killed by the explosion of a bomb in their possession" "How they imagined the cover-up would succeed beats one’s imagination. There was shooting and at that time a number of civilian witnesses were about. Perhaps the security men calculated that they (people) would be too terrorized to testify. In this they have been proved largely right".  


"Their crucial miscalculation was the courage of a Sinhalese DMO, Dr Gamini Gunatunga, who did the postmortem examinations and testified that the five students died of gunshot wounds. The two students, Yogarajah Poongulan and Pararajasingam Gokularaj, who fell down after the grenade blast, were apparently left for dead and survived"

Hence the "story" of the five to have died when the bomb in their possession accidentally exploded went down the drain because of the courageous report by the DMO Dr. Gamini Gunatunga., who conducted the postmortem. The subsequent media reports said that 11 STF personnel and two policemen were arrested and was being interrogated about the incident. But no high rankers like an SP or an IP were detained or interrogated. Neither has the so called "full investigation" promised by the President to the members of the TNA thrown any light on the incident, nor have the members of the TNA taken any meaningful steps, to the best of my knowledge, to call for the report from the President - apparently they have not followed up on the incident. According to media reports the defense advisor, Kotakadeniya, who is the vice-president of the ultranationalist JHU, has boldly and openly admitted that he did send the STF unit and that it was done in concurrence with the knowledge of the defense secretary, Gothabaya Rajapaksa, who is the brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  

The sickening and distressing part of the aftermath of this incident is the harassment and threats received through phone calls and letters by Dr. & Dr. Mrs. Manoharan, the parents of one of the students killed, viz Rajihar. Stones are being thrown at their residence and they receive threatening telephone calls during the nights. They have naturally taken up the case of the five students in general and their son Rajihar in particular and reported it to the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commission and also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra judicial, Summary and Arbitrary executions.  

But the question in everybody’s mind is whether "JUSTICE" will be meted out to the affected families. Or will it be another case of "Injustice in Justice" as usual?  

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