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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Sinhala Army compels Tamil civilians to act as human mine detectors
"The Batticaloa (Tamil) civilians are being used as Claymore mine detectors by the (Sri Lanka) forces. The farmers in the Vantharamulla area are being forced to walk ahead of the soldiers and sometimes even asked to dig with bare hands for buried mines, the Batticaloa TULF M.P. K.Thuraisingham told the 'Sunday Leader'.
"On the 2nd of May I complained to Brigadier Igadagolla who is in charge of the Kalkudah district about these human rights violations... Also some farmers reported to me that they were forced to feel the ground for hidden mines through a hooked wire, a routine task for the soldier.
What this means is that it is easy for the soldiers to blow up the whole group of people should there be a landmine, he added. When the M.P. complained to a subordinate that four civilians were missing, he pooh-poohed it as the work of the LTTE. "Meanwhile another TULF M.P. in Batticaloa, Joseph Pararajasingham said that since the truce ended the civilians are being subjected to untold harassment. At least four youths have been killed by the Special Task Force... "When the Sunday Leader raised this matter to the military spokesman Brigadier Sarath Munasinghe.. the spokesman said he was certainly not informed of these incidents. He was also tight lipped about other instances of civilian harassment by the forces." (Sinhala owned Sunday Leader published in Colombo, 7 May 1995)
"Local people have been forced into service as human mine detectors or to acts as human shields around mortar positions. Two women in Kiran village, north of Batticaloa, lost their legs after being forced to go on a morning mine detection patrol, hospital sources and human rights activists sources said." (Suzanne Goldenberg reporting from Batticaloa in the London Guardian on 3 June 1995)
See also Sri Lanka uses Tamils as human shields, November 1998...