International Educational Development expresses grief and shock
at Nagerkoil bombing, 24 September 1995
massacre remembered, 9 Years later, 22 September 2004
Nagarkovil, Revisited - a traumatized sleepy hamlet in the North
coast - LTTE Peace Secretariat, 22 September 2004
'Man's inhumanity to man'
"Nine years that rolled away had not helped to erase the tragic
memory in this sleepy hamlet. It was on the 22nd September in
the year 1995, a dark period in the Tamil nation's history when
the government was prosecuting a 'war for peace', that the Sri
Lanka fighter jets were flying ominously over this hamlet,
terrorizing the innocent peasantry.
It was noon time on a Friday, a holiday for the mostly Hindu
farmers in this village. Parents were getting ready with the
lunch for the children they expect would arrive after school.
The kids were playing around in the compound of their school,
Nagarkovil Mahavidyalaya. The usually terrorizing Sri Lankan Air
force jet fighters loomed large over the school building and
frightened children started running hither and thither in that
sandy plain. Not a minute passed and there the bombs were landed
on the heads of these kids. Twenty of them perished, most of
them mutilated beyond recognition.
A village cut off from the main town Point-Pedro, 15 miles away,
did not have any motor vehicles to take the scores of injured.
Many of these children were found limbless. Some of the parents
who came to fetch the children after school too were severely
injured. A good Samaritan carried this message to the district
hospital in Point Pedro, where a contingent of medical doctors
attached to Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) were based. A
formidable lady doctor rushed with her station wagon and picked
up the injured kids.
Ironical though that this whole village is now displaced and the
area is a fortified military complex, classified as a High
Security Zone made inaccessible to its own peasantry. A sleepy
hamlet is now a hive of activity by the occupying Sri Lankan
military. The innocent villagers, including those who were
injured losing limbs are all languishing in refugee camps in the
neighboring harbour town of Point Pedro."
Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
- Nagerkoil School bombed under cover of press
censorship - 22 September 1995
On 22 September Nagerkoil Central School in the Jaffna
peninsula was bombed. The intensified aerial bombing and
shelling by Sri Lankan government forces came about within
hours of the government's imposition of Press Censorship
midnight September 21.
The bombing of the school happened at 12.50 p.m. during
the school's lunch break when several of the school children
were gathered under a shade tree in the school compound. 25
school going children were among 40 Tamil civilians killed
on the spot. Twelve were six and seven year olds. Nearly 200
others were injured, most of them students in the same
school. Elsewhere in the area, 15 other civilians were also
killed in the course of the same bombing raids. The scene of
the attack was visited by the International Red Cross.
Pieces of human flesh were strewn around the area including
the tree branches, making identification impossible.
The total death toll later increased to 71.
Earlier, on the same day, Pucara bombers targeted
Manalkadu and Katkovalam in the Vadamardchi area killing six
persons. A small Catholic church was also damaged in the
bombing. In another incident in the early hours of the same
day, intense shelling from the Palaly army camp killed seven
members of the same family including four children of
varying ages, The shelling began at 3.00 a.m. and continued
until 7.00 a.m.
Medicines Sans Frontiers reported on 23 September that of
117 injured Tamil civilians admitted to hospital during the
offensive on Thursday and Friday more than half had died
from their wounds.
"In a new offensive against Tamil rebels, Sri Lankan
warplanes have bombed civilian targets, killing at least
42 children, an international relief agency said
Saturday. The rebels issued a statement from London
saying 71 people had died in the bombing campaign
Thursday and Friday in the northern Jaffna Peninsula,
the stronghold of Tamils fighting for independence.
Under strict new censorship rules imposed by the Sri
Lankan government on Thursday, no information about the
offensive was allowed to be published in that country. The
Doctors Without Borders (Medicine Sans Frontier) relief
group released a statement in Paris saying about 200 people
were wounded when bombs fell on a school near Point Pedro on
the northern coast Friday.
Of some 150 children who were wounded, 15 died within
three hours of being brought to hospital, the relief agency
said. It said 42 children have died at the hospital since
Thursday, but did not say how the other children received
fatal injuries. The main rebel group, the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam, said 25 children were killed when the
Nagerkoil Central School was bombed at lunch time Friday.
More people were killed when planes bombed towns in the
area, the rebel statement said. New censorship rules
prohibit the publication or broadcast of information related
to Sri Lanka's 12-year civil war without approval from a
military censor." (Sri Lanka Bombs Civilians, 23 Sep 95
13:46 The Associated Press)
The British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor reported:
"Hours after the Sri Lanka government imposed military censorship on
press reporting of its bitter and unpredictable war... on 21 September,
aircraft bombed a Jaffna school yard crammed with 750 children on their
lunch break, killing 34 and seriously injuring over 150 others.
Two surgeons from French medical agency Medecins Sans
Frontierers (MSF) worked through the night at Point Pedro's
Manthikai hospital carrying out 22 amputations, four cases
of both legs. Ten of the amputees were under 12. The LTTe
says 71 Tamil civilians were killed in bombing raids in
Nagarkoil and Vadamaratchy areas in a 24 hour period.
Military sources first denied the attack then claimed
Nagaroil was a Sea Tiger base where LTTE cadre had gathered
to honour Tiger martyr Thileepan.. Six weeks earlier,
Sri Lanka aircraft bombed civilians seeking refuge around
Navaly Catholic church four miles west of Jaffna town
killing 130 people and injuring 120...
Reports of the Nagarkoil bombing were heavily censored
under the new restrictions.. Like Navaly, whether Nagarkoil
was accidental or deliberate, air and artillery attacks on
northern civilians will continue... Civilians are
unidentifiable from the air - unless perhaps there are 750
of them all dressed in spotless white school uniforms."
(British Refugee Council publication, Sri Lanka Monitor
The Director-General of UNESCO Fredrico Mayor condemned
the Nagerkoil bombing by low flying Pucara aircraft:
"I condemn in the strongest terms this attack on a school
where innocent children were killed. Whatever the political
situation in a country nothing justifies attacks on
In Australia, Mr.Ted Grace, a member of the Australian
Parliament and Chairman of the Caucus Committee on Foreign
Affairs, Defence & Trade called for public condemnation of
Sri Lanka in a speech in the Australian Parliament on 27
September. Speaking on the wanton massacre of school
children, he said:
"Our Government which is deeply committed to upholding
human rights should publicly condemn such crimes committed
against humanity and should be alarmed at the Sri Lankan
Government's determination to carry out such acts with
later on 22 September 2004 - Nagarkovil students massacre
[TamilNet, September 22, 2004]
The 9th death anniversary of 40 people, including 26
students, who were killed on 22nd September 1995 in an aerial
attack by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on the Nagarkovil Maha
Vidiyalayam was observed Wednesday afternoon at the Puloly Roman
Catholic School in the Vadamaradchi division in Jaffna district,
education sources said.
The Nagarkovil M.V. is functioning temporarily in Puloly Roman
Catholic School since the attack. Principal of the school, Mr.S.
At the commencement of the meeting, Vadamaradchchi Head of
Education Board, Mr S.Athithan lit the common flame of
sacrifice. Vadamaradchchi Zonal Director of Education, Mr.
V.T.Selvaretnam and Mr.E.Kugan of International Tamil Students
Federation participated in the event, sources said.
The names and ages of the 26 students died in the SLAF aerial
Tharmalingam Usanthini (13), Markandu Nagalogini (10),
Thamotharam Sakunthala (12), R. Regina (11), Pologarajah
Thushanthini (14), Ravindran Amirtha (10), Balachandran Rajitha
(10), Navaratnasamy Umathevy (12), Suntharalingam Palani (15),
Suntharalingam Tharsini (14), Kugasaravanamalai Tharsini (13),
Rajeev Gandhi Venu (11), Krishnagopal Thavaseelan (13),
Rajaratnam Kavitha (10), Nagamutthu Senthilvel (15), Alfonse
Amalaviji(14),Mahalingam Sanmugavadivelan(16),R. Sumithra(10),K.
Methini(14, Navamany Mithura(14),
Sellam(15),Ragavan(16),Thangarasa Vasanthakumar(06), Mylvaganam
Gananathan(14), Ranjithkumar Rajitha(11).
International Educational Development expresses grief and shock at
Nagerkoil bombing, 24 September 1995
"International Educational Development (an NGO on the United Nations
Economic and Social Council Roster) is grieved and shocked by the attack by
the Sri Lanka air force on the Nagerkoil Central School in the Jaffna
peninsula on Friday 22nd September.
"The school was bombed during the lunch break at about 12.50 p.m., when
several of the school children were gathered under a shade tree in the
school compound. 25 school going children were among 40 Tamil civilians
killed on the spot. Twelve were six and seven year olds. Nearly 200 others
were injured, most of them students in the same school. The scene of the
attack was visited by the International Red Cross and pieces of human flesh
were found strewn around the area including the tree branches. Elsewhere in
the Nagerkoil area, 15 other Tamil civilians were also killed in the course
of the same bombing raids. MSF reported on 23 September that of 117 injured
Tamil civilians admitted to hospital during the offensive on Thursday and
Friday more than half had died from their wounds.
"Earlier, on the same day, the Sri Lanka airforce targeted Manalkadu and
Katkovalam in the Vadamarachi area killing six persons. A small Catholic
church was also damaged in the bombing. In another incident in the early
hours of the same day, intense shelling from the Palaly army camp killed
seven members of the same family including four children of varying ages.
The incessant and indiscriminate shelling began at 3 a.m. and continued
until 7 a.m. Government attacks, involving thousands of soldiers, have
pushed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians out of their homes and villages
in the Jaffna peninsula.
"It was only two months ago, in July, that the international community
expressed its horror at the bombing of the Navaly Church by the Sri Lanka
airforce and the civilian death toll of around 120. Twenty one non
governmental organisations in a joint statement in August this year, at the
47th sessions of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities in Geneva expressed their grave concern at "the
impunity with which the Sri Lanka armed forces continue to commit gross and
inhumane violations of human rights and humanitarian law".
"That the current intensified attacks by the Sri Lanka armed forces on
Tamil civilians, comes in the immediate aftermath of the press censorship
imposed by the Sri Lanka government from midnight September 21, lends
credence to the view that the Sri Lanka government is intent on terrorising
the Tamil people into submitting to Sinhala rule.
"The actions of the Sri Lanka armed forces, coupled with the economic
blockade imposed on the Tamil homeland, are a clear contravention of the
Geneva Convention relating to non international armed conflicts. The
impunity with which President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government continues
its genocidal onslaught on the Tamil people is an affront to the
sensibilities of the international community. We urge non governmental
organisations and governments with a deep commitment to human rights to
publicly condemn the terrorism of the Sri Lanka government and help to save
the Tamil people from further wanton destruction at the hands of a Sinhala
dominated Sri Lankan state. (Press Release by International Educational
Development, a Non Governmental Organisation on the United Nations Economic
and Social Council Roster - 24 September 1995)