Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01


Bindunuwewe Massacre - A Cry for Justice, Asian Centre for Human Rights, 25 October 2005
Bindunuwewe Massacre   - Yahoo Group Documentation
Asian Centre for Human Rights Report - Sri Lanka: Miscarriage of Justice - Mass Acquittal in Bindunuwewa Massacre Case, 2 June 2005
25.10.00  25 killed in detention centre massacre
26.10.00  Several said missing after massacre
26.10.00  Govt. officials involved in massacre -TULF
27.10.00  Police name massacre victims
27.10.00  Massacre victims' bodies taken to North-East
28.10.00  Funerals held for massacre victims
31.10.00  US Congressmen condemn prison massacre
31.10.00  Four more bodies identified
01.07.03  Bindunuwewa massacre accused receive death sentences..
07.06.04  Court to hear appeals of Bindunuwewa massacre accused.
22.06.04  One accused in Bindunuwewa massacre case acquitted
06.11.04  UPF demands compensation for Bindunuweva victims
04.12.04  SC reserves order on Bindunuwewa massacre appeal
27.05.05  All accused in Bindunuwewa massacre case discharged
30.05.05  Bindunuwewa massacre will not be the last - AHRC
02.06.05  Rights Group condemns Bindunuwewa acquittals
02.06.05  Sri Lanka's President urged to make Bindunuwewa massacre Report Public
  • BindunuwewA Massacre - 24 October 2000
    Tamil Detainees murdered in custody, yet again...

AFP reported on 25 October 2000: 

"Mobs stormed a rehabilitation centre in central Sri  Lanka Wednesday and beat to death 24 Tamil inmates in an orgy of violence that also left another man dead, police said. Hundreds of people, from the majority Sinhalese population, attacked inmates with knives, sticks and stones, police said...

State radio said the inmates had tried to take over the facility on Tuesday, triggering tension, and that the army had been called in to restore order. Defence ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said troops sent to the centre had withdrawn around midnight but rioting had broken out again on Wednesday morning. There were reports the inmates had been provoking local residents, police said."

At the same time, AFP also reported

"At no time there were any incidents among the detainees and the management," (President) Kumaratunga said in a statement. "There were no incidents with the neighbours either."

The contradictory statements by the Sri Lanka authorities serve to reveal the hand of the Sri Lanka security forces in the attack on the Tamil detenus. On 24 October 2000, the Tamil detenus, after several months of detention, had informed the authorities that they would go on a hunger strike if they were not released. The Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence runs the rehabilitation centre. The attack came a few hours after the military, which provided protection to the centre was removed.

On the one hand, the State radio said that 'the inmates had tried to take over the facility on Tuesday, triggering tension, and that the army had been called in to restore order'.  Defence ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne then added 'troops sent to the centre had withdrawn around midnight but rioting had broken out again on Wednesday morning.' And the police suggested 'there were reports the inmates had been provoking local residents'.

But all that left unanswered the question as to why the military was withdrawn.

Caught between a rock and a hard place in having to explain the withdrawal of the military,  President Kumaratunga prevaricated - and contradicted the statements made her own Defence Ministry spokesman. She asserted that "at no time there were any incidents among the detainees and the management. There were no incidents with the neighbours either". President Kumaratunga attempted to imply that a military presence was unnecessary. She preferred to dismiss the incident as caused by 'external sources'  - sources which she does not identify. And she then sought to divert international attention by ordering the arrest of hundreds of villagers involved in the attack, whilst the evidence establishes her own culpability and the involvement of her own Defence Ministry.

The harsh political reality is that it was no accident that the military was withdrawn, and that within hours the genocidal attack on the Tamil detainees was launched - genocidal, because these Tamil detainees were murdered for no reason other than that they were Tamils.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam stated in a Press Release on 26 October 2000:

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) accuses the government of Chandrika Kumaratunga of being responsible for the gruesome killing of 30 innocent Tamil political prisoners and seriously injuring 50 others at a detention centre in Bandarawella, Southern Sri Lanka.

"We have evidence to believe that Sri Lankan security personnel - the army, police and prison officials - were involved in organising, mobilising and instigating gangs of Sinhala thugs to commit this heinous crime. Sinhalese prison officials of the area facilitated riotous Sinhala mobs numbering more than two thousand persons to storm into the detention centre and brutally slaughter the Tamil youths with knives, swords, axes and iron bars.

"The victims of this savagery are not members of the LTTE nor are they surrendered 'child soldiers'. They are innocent Tamil youth arrested on suspicion and detained without trial under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act. These young detainees have been protesting against their unjust arrest and demanding release.

"It is a well documented truth that Sri Lankan State authorities are responsible for several incidents of massacre and extra-judicial killings of Tamil prisoners in well guarded prisons. The savage massacre of 53 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikade prison during July 1983 riots was an internationally known incident. The mass murders of defenceless Tamil prisoners have become a regular manifestation of a devious genocidal policy advanced by the Sinhala state against the Tamil people. The government of Sri Lanka should bear total responsibility for the serious consequences that might arise from continuing such genocidal assaults on innocent Tamil detainees.

"We call upon the international human rights organisations to condemn such barbarous killings in strong terms and use their good offices to pressurise the government of Kumaratunga to release immediately thousands of innocent Tamil youths lingering, without trial, in various detention centres and prisons in the Sinhala south."

The Tamil Centre for Human Rights TCHR  issued an Urgent Action Appeal (Ref: AE/10/10) on 25 October 2000:

"This morning at 5.00a.m. local time, around 2000 Sinhala thugs stormed a rehabilitation centre in Bindunuwewa, housing more than 50 Tamil detainees, wielding knives, machetes, axes and iron rods. They hacked to death 24 defenceless Tamil political detainees and then set fire to the whole centre. 16 detainees were seriously wounded and a further seven were injured. 20 detainees are still missing! Bindunuwewa is in Bandarawela district, in the central part of Sri Lanka.

The police on duty took no serious action to stop the violence. They called the army base, 15km away. By the time the (army) "rescue team" arrived, two hours later, the horrific incident was over. The BBC reported defence forces as saying that the incident could not have been carried out without the tacit consent of the security forces. Recently, posters have been displayed prominently in the area inciting racial hatred and violence against the Tamils.

The centre was run by the National Youth Service Council. The young Tamil people housed there have been arbitrarily arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations. Thousands of such arrests take place in the south of the island. Human Rights organisations have denounced the PTA and ERs as facilitating torture and the violations of non-derogable rights such as the right to life. 

The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sri Lanka acceded in 1980, states in Article 9(2) that persons arrested should receive prompt notification of reason for arrest and any charges made against them. Article 9(3) states that they should be promptly brought before a judge and brought to trial or released. ER20, the Emergency regulation pertaining to Rehabilitation orders grossly and massively contravenes both these international human rights standards.

The Tamil youths who were in the centre were mostly under 19 years old. These detainees, arrested under the PTA had been planning to hold a hunger strike demanding that they be either charged or released...."






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