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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
World Council of Churches appalled by murder Christian pastor- September 1997
" .. A letter from the World Council of Churches (WCC) to President H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunga said that it was "profoundly distressed" at the death of the Rev. Innasi Arulpalan, the 43-year-old pastor of Konavil Church in Kilinochi District. After news was later received that two lay church workers had died with Mr Arulpalan, the WCC called for their murders to be included in the inquiry.
The letter, signed by the Rev. Dwain Epps, the WCC's coordinator of public affairs, says that according to its information, Mr Arulpalan was detained by security forces on August 27 1997 while visiting a church farm at Shalomnagar, Murippu. Prompt enquiries by church officials as to his whereabouts received no satisfactory response. On September 9, with the help of the International Red Cross, his body was found near the farm...
The WCC letter says: "The Council is appalled by this incident and the apparent gross misconduct of the Sri Lankan armed forces. In view of the gravity of the circumstances surrounding Mr Arulpalan's death, we urgently request immediate steps to set up a judicial commission, comprising a judge of the Superior Court, to enquire into the circumstances leading to this murder, and that the authors of this crime be brought to justice without delay. We would be grateful to hear what steps have been taken in this matter and what measures are taken to ensure that the leaders of Mr Arulpalan's church are given official protection." (World Council of Churches Office of Communication Press Release 150, route de Ferney PO Box 2100 1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland E-mail: [email protected] )
" The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has confirmed the murder of Rev Arulpalan of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India whose body was found at Puthumurripu on 9 September 1997.
Rev Arulpalan was taken into custody by the Sri Lankan army on 25 August 1997 while visiting a church farm. The ministry of defense was contacted on 28 August by Church of South India (CSI) officials. Rev A Jayakumaran, Presbyter and D G Newton, Secretary of the Dioceses have brought this to the attention of the Sri Lankan President and have called for an urgent investigation.
This latest atrocity comes in the wake of a
bombing on 15 August when two Sri Lankan Kfir bombers attacked a Catholic church
killing 9 on the spot (including a 4 year old child) and wounding 15. One of the
injured succumbed to the injuries later.
According to Asiaweek of 18 April 1997, the fourteen-year-old war claimed 75,000 lives. The Sri Lankan Government, however, only admits to a total of 50,000. The majority of those killed are civilians. In March this year, a group of 53 International NGOs appealed to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to pursuade the Sri Lankan Government to cease from the atocities and human rights abuses of their army.
The Rev R F Wootton CEO for the Australian Human Rights Foundation said tonight, that he had spoken with a Tamil priest in Melbourne who spoke of the loving loyal service of the Rev Arulpalan. Mr. Wootton said it is time for the war of genocide by the racist Government of Sri Lanka to end. Also the brutal way that those who oppose this war are silenced should cease. Mr. Wootton said he hoped that Australian churches would join with the Church of South India in protesting at the cruel killing of their faithful pastor the Rev Arulpalan." (Australian Human Rights Foundation press release, 23 September 1997)