New Year’s Bloody Dawn: Karativu 1985
K.N.Tharmalingam - Northeastern Herald
This article chronicles the murder
and pillage that took place in Karativu in the Amparai District in
1985 as President J. R. Jayewardene’s UNP government tried to arrest
‘terrorism’ in the east by unleashing systematic violence on Tamil
villages. The article first appeared in Beyond the Wall, the
quarterly journal of the Home for Human Rights, Colombo.
The exclusion of a community from power would in the
long run exclude them from the benefits of power.”
Grammar of Politics – Harold Laski
“Peace cannot suddenly descend from the heavens, it can only come when
the root cause of troubles is removed. War is not a pleasant subject to
contemplate. It is an ugly thing… wiped away millions of young men in
Glimpses of world history – Jawaharlal Nehru.
“According to Arnold – a leading authority on Islamic history, this
wonderful expansion of the hitherto insignificant desert race is due not
so much to their new-born religious spirit as to their desire to possess
the lands and goods of their neighbours who were richer.
“When Mohammed-bin-Quassim waged war against the Brahmin king of Sind, a
dreadful war ensued and the king was killed in battle. All males, six
thousand, were massacred by Bin-Quassim. The queen and the other women
in the palace burned themselves to escape dishonour, and all males over
the age of seventeen who refused to embrace Islam were killed. Hindu
temples were destroyed, gold, precious jewellery and other wealth from
the temples were looted.” Indian History – Singh and Banerji
The passages quoted above are relevant to what occurred at
Karaitivu from 12 April 1985, and to the atmosphere of hatred and
malevolence generated against the Tamils during the 1980s, as the state set
about systematically destroying them.
Of the three administrative districts in the East, the largest and the most
populous is the Amparai District spread over the dry-evergreen secondary
forest belt, located in the southeastern portion of Sri Lanka. Here the
Tamil minority was living in harmony with the Sinhalese and the Muslims,
sharing their joys and sorrows.
The prosperous town of Karativu in the Karavahu–Nintavur Pattu, in the
Amparai District is a Tamil enclave surrounded by the Muslim towns –
Sainthamaruthu, Nintavur and Sammanthurai to the north, south and west
Tamil villages in the East have derived their names from a variety of
sources. Geographical features such as the rivers, the adjoining hills and
places of worship, and of course events in history all these contributed to
name villages. The name Amparai referring to both an administrative district
and a town, is a pure Tamil word – Am - Parai – meaning ‘beautiful rock’
that stood in the centre of the ancient settlement of Tamils. Similarly, the
Tamil villages of Karativu, Karungottitivu, Sainthamaruthu, Nintavur,
Tirukovil and Tambiluvil, each have a history to narrate.
The people at Karativu are entirely Tamil. They are either Hindus or
Christians. There exists a very ancient temple of goddess Pattini, believed
to have been built in the 2nd Century AD, which is held in great veneration
by pilgrims. There are 10 other Hindu temples and a church in the area.
There also exists a shrine devoted to the Buddha where Hindu worshippers
paid homage until the armed forces occupied Karativu and took it over.
Karativu has the singular honour of having produced several eminent men who
served humanity (the human race, devoid of petty barriers) with distinction.
They include among others, two scholarly monks of the Sri Ramakrishna
Mission, one known as the Most Ven. Srimath Swami Vipulanandaji Maharaj who
built several schools – both Tamil and English – – in the districts of
Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, the present Amparai and Badulla. The swami
had the rare distinction of having been invited to hold the position of
professor at the University of Ceylon, when established.
The other monk, who earned recognition, was His Holiness Srimath Swami
Natarajananda Maharaj, who functioned as the general manager of all schools
managed by the Ramakrishna Mission, until the state took over all the
Teachers of great scholarship such as K. Kanapathipillai, who authored
several books, ‘Periya’ Kanapathipillai, ‘Sinna’ Kanapathipillai, Arumugam,
Thangarasa, Rasiah, Velupillai, Mahadevan, Vinayagamoorthy, Krishnapillai
are some of the others who contributed to the spread of liberal education.
Their education was centred round “teaching everything worthwhile,” with
emphasis on every aspect of the pupil, giving opportunity to develop talent
and to cultivate the mind to be alert and sensitive. They helped to
strengthen their faith in God. Their pupils were remarkable for orderliness.
Karativu also produced civil servants, doctors, engineers, bankers and
accomplished writers and poets.
The people of Karativu possessed knowledge and wealth that won them respect
from other communities. They lived in an atmosphere of freedom, tranquillity
and ease. Politically they were identified with the UNP after the general
election 1977. E. Vinayagamoorthy, an educationist from Karaitivu got
elected to the district development council as a UNP candidate in 1981. At
the presidential election held in 1982, Karativu in its entirety voted for
President J R Jayewardene in preference to Kumar Ponnambalam, a Tamil
candidate. Karativu thus remained a stronghold of the UNP.
The many ethnic conflicts originating from Sinhala quarters near Amparai
from about 1981 did not deter the Tamils from supporting the UNP. In 1985,
Tamils were hopeful of securing life and property, even after the creation
of the ministry of national security in March 1984.
When a regional political party, formed in Kalmunai in 1981 began to enjoy
state patronage and support after the 1983 holocaust, it became apparent
that the state was pampering the party to use its membership as a wedge to
keep the Muslims apart from the Tamils. The government began to execute its
plan to subordinate the Tamils through deprivation and terror. The terror of
killing and arson unleashed by the state were aimed at uprooting the Tamils
and displacing and dispossessing them.
The new political party lent its full co-operation to the government, and
the attack on Tamils at Karativu is attributed to the joint endeavour by
Mossad, the Jihad and government forces. Secret plans of the government
under the cloak of ‘dharmista’ rule were aimed at employing the security
forces to drive away the Tamils from their homelands at Karativu,
Meenodaikattu, Oluvil and Akkaraipattu in Amparai, which was similar to what
happened in Weli Oya after April 1984.
It was evident to the people that President Jayewardene, upset by the turn
of events after the 1983 violence against the Tamils, was seeking new
strategies against them in the face of Tamil demands irreconcilable with
The new strategy were to create a political climate where hired goons from
the Muslim community would attack, kill and maim Tamils, then loot and
destroy their properties, so that the Tamils and Muslims would become
divided. These plans were executed with minute precision, where unprovoked,
ruthless attacks on Tamils began simultaneously at Karativu, Akkariapttu,
Meenodaikattu, Oluvil and Addalaichenai after prayers at Jummah. People have
alleged that the Mossad trained STF and the Jihad had attacked them while
the police lent them the support.
The first attack on Tamils at Karativu began at 6.00 a.m. on 12 April 1985.
Even helicopters were employed in the attack. This was a day of considerable
religious significance for the Tamils, who were preparing to celebrate the
Tamil-Sinhala New-Year, which would be during the early hours of the
It was peculiar to the Tamils of Krativu to go to the more urban market town
at Kalmunai to purchase all their requirements for New Year festivities.
Purchases were made from their customary traders – Moors – on the very last
day of the departing year.
Keeping to the custom of making purchases at Kalmunai, some people left
Kartivu in the early hours of 12 April. Maalikaikadhu is a small Moor
settlement lying between Karativu and Sainthamaruthu. Persons travelling to
Kalmunai from Karativu have to travel through Maalikaikadhu and
Sainthamaruthu along the main trunk road called the Pottuvil-Kalmunai road.
Tamils who were a permanent population at Sainthamaruthu for over centuries
were driven away in April 1967 when aggressors stormed the Tamil division
adjoining the Muslim division, set fire to homes and destroyed properties.
Thereafter, Sainthamaruthu which had two divisions: the Muslim division and
Tamil division, became one, an exclusively Muslims division. It became one
Muslim territory. The forced expulsion of Tamils, the destruction of their
Hindu kovils, the appropriation of temple lands and properties yet remain to
be investigated and compensated. The attack on Tamils at Sainthamaruthu and
other places were aimed at extirpation and obliteration of all signs and
traces of a Hindu–Tamil identity at Sainthamarithu recorded from very
The people who travelled to Kalmunai from Karativu on the 12th morning
through Maalikaikadhu were set upon and severely beaten up by the members of
the Jihad and the Mossad-trained STF. The victims of the attack suffered
severe injuries. However, they managed to escape death. A victim to the
attack describes: “We carried much cash to purchase goods for the New Year
feasts and celebrations. When we were nearing Maalikaikadhu junction, we
spotted a few police vehicles being parked at the edge of the road and some
policemen together with men in camouflage. A little away from policemen were
a large number of men, all strangers to the area. As we proceeded near them,
we found them to be Muslim youths, identified by their dress and beard. The
young men appeared restive.”
The witness added, “The presence of policemen, the STF (Kaluwanchikudy) and
strangers at Maalikaikadhu did not invest in our minds any sense of
discomfort or nervousness. I thought that the policemen were there to
prevent any possible breach of peace that may occur among Muslim
fundamentalists and others. Since we had no conflict with our Muslim
neighbours at Maalikaikadhu we felt safe. We proceeded on our journey. When
we reached the junction, a number of youths rushed at us with menacing looks
and began attacking with wooden poles. Apart from the attackers there were
also the others armed with deadly weapons. They were watching the attack”.
“Our senses were transported with fear at the unexpected attack. We lost our
money, suffered injury and mental agony. It was a damnable behaviour on the
part of the youth. The attack on the users of the highway on legitimate
business in the presence of the law-enforcing authority was a revolting
atrocity. When attacked we cried out to attract the attention of the
policemen who were very much near the scene of attack.
The policemen did not respond and nor did the STF. It was our good luck that
those men did not abduct us as many Tamils disappeared later while on their
journey through this area. The fact was established that the state, unable
to find a just solution to the problems with its own citizens resorted to
promote violence between communities. Goons were brought from elsewhere to
attack the native Tamils in the district of Amparai.”
The writing on the wall was very clear. It indicated disaster was imminent
for the Tamils. The early morning attack on the men sent an ominous message
of bitter things to follow. Respect for human rights was undermined by the
evil genius of those in power.
In his ‘Principles of Good Governance,’ Herbert Spencer (1903) assigned only
one duty to any good government when he said, “Good government exists to
prevent one man from infringing upon the Rights of another”. (Substance of
Politics.) By all standards, government of the day failed to stand up to
Subsequent incidents confirmed that the state was encouraging and
strengthening its forces to promote violence against the Tamils with the
Mossad-trained army and hired goons brought from distant places.
An undergraduate from the University of Jaffna, Kandavanam Thevamanoharan,
20, was shot dead on 12 April 1985 by the Muslim attackers without any
provocation. The victim was standing near his gate when he was killed. The
police did not pursue the killers.
The Karativu Tamil Refugees’ Society (E. Vinayagamoorthy) reported: “It was
about 2.00 p.m. on the 12 April 1985, when a mob numbering about 800 Muslim
youths – all strangers, stormed into Karativu, after their Friday prayers,
armed with guns, petrol bombs, fuel-cans and other deadly weapons. None
could stop them and they attacked homes, business establishments along the
main road. People taken by surprise and alarmed at the turn of events fled
from homes. “First, the attackers looted homes and shops and then set fire
to the buildings. The very ancient Temple of Pattini (Kannagi Amman kovil)
too was not spared. (It is a known fact that Muslims, when struck by illness
or misfortunes offered various articles to propitiate the Goddess). The mob
burnt a part of the temple and pulled down the perimeter wall around it.
Petrol bombs were thrown on the buildings and burnt.
“The Muslim youths in their frenzy of hate committed murder, arson and
looted shops and homes and even the places of Hindu worship. As they moved
on leaving trails of devastation by bombs, Karativu was reduced to ashes.
“Many were killed by the mob and among those killed on that day included
58-year-old Nallaratnam Devaviradhan, a pensioner. He remained in his home
after sending his family members to places of safety. The mob looted all the
valuables they found in his house and then attacked the man. When he lay
fallen on the ground, they are said to have burnt him alive with petrol.
“Another case of murder committed by the mob was on a middle–aged man K.
Sinnathamby who was similarly killed. Sinnathamby was both a farmer and a
merchant. He prospered in both agriculture and trade. The goons first looted
his shop and then consigned his shop to flames. His car, tractor and trailer
were also set on fire.
“When everything was set on fire, the goons dragged Sinnathamby to the
highway opposite his shops, poured petrol over him and then set him alight.
The man was burnt live.”
A human rights activist provided the following information. A few days
before the attack on Tamil villages, the police got all persons possessing
licensed guns for the protection of crops and personal security, to
surrender their weapons to the police.
The seizure of weapons by the law enforcing authority, before the eruption
of violence, is interpreted as a pre-planned strategy to expose the Tamils
to the atrocities unarmed.
It was a subtle scheme to have the Jihad and the STF attacking Tamils when
they were defenceless. This is in contrast to an attack on Tamils at
Kalmunai in 1967, when the Tamils fired at a mob and saved lives and
The attack in 1985 left several hundreds of families homeless at Karativu,
on the eve of the New Year festival. The New Year dawned with fears and
miseries never experienced before. An accusing finger pointed at the
government as villain.
The families rendered homeless were accommodated in schools. They had no
food or clothes. In the absence of the Tamils’ right to life and security of
person, and the blatant disrespect for the promotion of friendly relations
between communities, exposed the government of violating the rights
enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The Tamils’ right to life, liberty, and security were in limbo when the
state failed to contain the barbaric attack on innocents. The people spent
the night in fear of death. For them the night was long, and when it dawned,
it was the New Year’s Day!
The victims waited till about 8 o’clock in the morning before planning to
leave the schools where they spent the night. They were anxious to inspect
the extent of damage and caused by the havoc.
The people while preparing to leave the schools on 13 April, when reports
from firearms were heard, which announced the goons had returned to wreak
havoc in the other areas of Karativu that they could not attack on the
previous evening. The people were agitated and did not know what to do.
The Karativu Rehabilitation Society reported that 500 youths participated in
the attack on village that day. Their report to the government agent said,
“The attack on the village (Karativu) began at an hour when it was least
expected. A mob numbering approximately 500 entered the limits of Karativu
from three directions.
The first group came through the northern gateway along the
Kalmunai–Pottuvil … trunk road, causing destruction on properties all the
“This well-organized group of criminals entered the sanctum sanctorum (of
the temple), the innermost room where the golden image of the goddess
Pattini was installed and consecrated, entry into which is forbidden to all
except the officiating priest. They removed the golden image and broke the
idols on the steeple and the surrounding temples devoted to Lord Ganesha,
Murugan, and the host of other deities. The goons did not spare any house or
shop. Houses and shops were looted and burnt as done on the previous day.
Things they collected as loot were carried away in trucks.
“The second group of the Jihads entered Karativu through the northeastern
direction where the Sithanai Kutty Swami kovil stands. They were a bit
cautious and seemed reluctant to engage in any attack until they made sure
that there were no Tamil militants in the vicinity. They seemed to have
anticipated a counterattack from Tamil militants. They took quite a while to
begin attacking, and, once they were assured that there were no cadres of
the Tamils, they entered the field with wild enthusiasm.
“They bombed the kovils, and removed valuables. Thereafter, they turned on
the shops and homes. They broke the doors and helped themselves with all
what they could lay their hands upon.
“In the course of their attack, everything built with bricks and cement was
smashed to the ground. They smashed not only the houses, even the parapet
walls of the houses and the temples. They left the area by about 2.00 p.m.
and when they left the entire area was enveloped in smoke.
“The third group arrived at T. Mylvaganam Lane and began plundering. At
first they exploded a grenade to announce their arrival. As the people had
all fled from their homes on the previous day … the attackers had no
difficulty in breaking open the houses and shops. The marauding band of
attackers robbed the houses and shops and thereafter, set fire to the
buildings. Valuable possessions passed from one generation to the other were
destroyed in a matter of minutes.
“A total of 450,000 bushels of paddy harvested from the Maha crop was set on
fire. They opted to burn the stored paddy, as they could not carry the
“Four persons, N. Arulanandam, T. Perinpa-moorthy, V. Thangavadivel and K.
Kasidurai who remained in their houses were put to death. Their deaths have
not been probed. The killers got off free.”
Attempts made by the people’s representatives, members of the district
development council and the public to contact members of parliament, the
ministers and the heads of departments were rendered futile as
communications including the telephone were disconnected.
A report made to the government alleged that the Jihad movement had indulged
in large-scale robbery, arson, desecration of places of worship and murdered
innocent Tamils. However, no action about all of what had happened appears
to have been taken. That was the status to which the Tamils have been
reduced to during the post-1983 period.
14 April 1985 was a Sunday. The Tamil public, which had suffered from the
trauma of a most distressing nature and had unpleasant experiences of
successive attacks on Karativu on the two previous days, thought that the
attackers would not reappear.
But it was destined that Karativu should suffer a third attack. Grenade
blasts heralded the arrival of the Jihads on the third day. Remarkably, the
police were found missing. It was 8 o’clock on Sunday, 14 April.
The people were sheltered in the schools. They thought it was only a
temporary measure to save their lives and limbs. None of them ever knew that
they were going to be there at the schools for quite some time until their
homes were to be rebuilt with the support of the international community,
the Catholic Church, Sri Ramakrishna Mission, the ICRC, the Lions Club and
Grenade blasts were heard from two directions, the north and east. The blast
of the grenade was followed by reports of gunfire, believed to be from the
sea beach. The people were alarmed and excited fearing the worst.
Wondering as what to do next, the people remained in bewilderment. It was
apparent that the attackers were merely serving the designs, purposes,
intentions and schemes of the politicians ‘to end the Tamil problem.’ The
state planned to end the problem through a systematic violation of Tamil
At this juncture, it might be worthwhile taking our thoughts back to a
period in 1984, four months before the attack on Karaitivu was carried out.
It has to be recalled the state employed the army and air force to drive
about 300 Tamil families from Manal Aru, Kokkilai and Kokkuthoduwai through
violence. It was a clear violation of all known cannons of justice. The
state employed the same methods with little variation here too by the
introduction of the Jihadies and Mossad-trained militias. The aim of the
attackers was to uproot Tamils from their native soil as they had
successfully carried out in other districts.
Article 17 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights reads, “No one will be
arbitrarily deprived of his property.” But in Sri Lanka, this was brazenly
violated by the state employing all the means it commanded. Contempt for the
human rights of the Tamils and permitting every type of barbarity helped to
strengthen the militants.
Young boys remaining with their parents climbed treetops to ascertain the
facts. They looked towards the sea and found the attackers arriving in
fishing craft to begin their attack from the east.
The attackers, before they landed on the beach, took the precaution of
ascertaining whether it was safe for them to land there. They wanted to
ensure that Tamil militant cadres were not present in the vicinity to oppose
them and commence a counterattack. They fired from the craft and sensing
that there was no danger jumped to the shore with all their ammunition.
The attackers then proceeded towards Karaditottam division and began to loot
houses and shops. They attacked bakeries, dispensaries, cattle sheds with
animals, rice mills, grinding mills and even the post office, the DDC
(District Development Council) office and all the government institutions
like the Agrarian Services Centre, the Agricultural Instructor’s Office and
the Multipurpose Co-operative Society. The houses and shops were soon set on
fire and clouds of smoke billowed into the air.
Eighteen fishing crafts, fishing equipment and even five fishermen’s huts
were burnt. They damaged the temples were sacred to Lord Ganesha, Lord
Veerapathirar, Amparayan kovil and the Anaikutty kovil. They painted the
words, “Allahu Akbar” on the broken walls of the attacked temples. Two
government schools and a pre-school too were burnt. Their attack lasted
nearly six hours. The people had neither food nor water and they were ‘more
dead’ than alive consequent to fear.
During the three days of savage attack on civilians and their properties at
Karativu, 17 were killed, several went missing and a large number were
injured. Village leaders were looking for shelter for 84 children who were
Altogether six Hindu temples had been damaged by fire and pillaged, 802
houses looted and gutted; 210 head of cattle, 332 goats and 3500 poultry
A government hospital and two dispensaries run by medical practitioners were
totally damaged, 84 shops looted and burnt; 17 motorcars, two tractors,
trailers, two motorcycles, 22 double bullock carts, and 987 bicycles were
burnt. What baffled human rights activists were whether the police were
conniving actively or passively with the goons who were attacking the
The “Sithirai varudap pirappu”, or, the dawn of the Hindu New Year occurring
in the month of April is an event of considerable importance to the Tamils.
The Hindu regards it as one with immense cultural significance.
Astrologically, when the sun enters the constellation of Aeries during the
‘Vasantha ruthu,’ at springtime, auguring good luck, prosperity and
happiness, Tamils in the district participate in religious activities to be
absolved from the malefic effects of the planets. The New Year, it is
believed, brings pleasant surprises and joyous moments in the life of the
people whose fortunes are influenced by the planets.
In April, nature adds beauty and glamour as the trees put out leaves and the
buds begin to blossom, spreading sweet fragrance all around. The farmer is
rewarded for his hard labour with a bountiful harvest from the Maha crop. He
is happy after having stored his grain at home, in time to celebrate the New
Year. Homes are whitewashed, utensils that are old are cast away, and, new
It is important to understand the frame of mind in which the Tamils were
when the savage attacks were launched on Karativu. This celebration, coming
at this moment, had a tremendous impact on the belief system of these
simple, rural communities who were steeped in astrology and the significance
of time, in all what they did.
The Muslim community living around Karativu shared common interests and
built abiding trust and friendship of the Tamils over the years, and, had no
reason to attack them. Islam teaches, “God is merciful and compassionate.”
The Muslim followed the middle path, practicing hospitality and charity,
and, attending the mosque for prayers five times a day on the cry of the
Fridays are of special religious significance to Tamils and Muslims who are
bidden to prayers at noon. Witnesses confirmed that the state violence let
loose on Karativu began on a Friday after their Jumma prayers and about 800
men joined in the attack. Helicopters fired at those who stood homeless.
The identity of some of the participants to the attack was established
immediately after the attack from their National Identity Cards found at the
places of looting and burning. They indicated that the participants were
residents of Colombo, identified with ‘Jihad’. One need not possess super
intelligence to draw conclusions from what was seen in Sri Lanka from 1977
The Tamil community received a good thrashing from the state forces from
August 1977. The reported attacks on the Tamils during the years 1977, 1981,
1983 and 1984-85, indicated that government was hell bent on dispossessing
the Tamils and displacing them from their traditional homeland. The brute
force employed by the state to uproot the Tamils in the country cannot be
forgotten when the same method was adopted in the attacks on Karativu in
The government in its folly tried to show that the attack on Karativu as an
isolated, spontaneous one and labelled it as a “holy war” waged by the
Muslims. Wars have sometimes been called holy wars. Those holy wars were
aimed at converting non-Muslims to Islam, and were called Jihad. It is
claimed that the Prophet Rasool (Sal) preached such wars against idolaters.
The war on Karativu was to destroy Tamils and not intended to convert!
A short description of Jihad would be appropriate to grasp the potency of
the direction of those who planned the destruction of Karativu in 1985. The
Encyclopaedia explains, “The Jihad is the conception of waging war with
swords against non-Muslims.”
Islam refers to “Dar-al-Islam” (abode of Islam) Dar-al-barb, (abode of war).
The sacred book demands that all adult males and able-bodied men must take
part in hostilities referred to as Jihad, against neighbours who are
‘enemies’ i.e. non-Muslims. The enemies are classified as “Kajie”
(non-believers of Islam) and ‘Akl-al-Vietal’ (people of books). Buddhists
and Hindus belong to the second category. There are two options for the
enemies. One is to embrace Islam and the other is to face execution.
Other than the Jihad, there were the security forces, which attacked
Karativu. They mostly comprised Buddhists. Buddhists are decreed to follow a
different path, the path of compassion and kindness. Buddhism teaches its
adherents to show respect for life and to extend kindness even to animals.
The sprit of Buddhism, and, the three out of its eight precepts that are
intended to raise levels of morality, which are repeated every time in
prayers: “to refrain from taking life; to refrain from stealing, looting,
and to refrain from falsehood,” were absent among those who destroyed
The destruction of Karativu echoed within the walls of the Colombo High
Court when the Civil Rights Movement and Home for Human Rights with their
team of leading human rights lawyers, S. Nadesan, Q.C., J. C. T. Kotelawela,
I. F. Xavier, Suriya Wickremasinghe, M. Alagarajah, A. Samarajeewa and N.
Fernando defended Paul Nallanayagam, president of the Citizens’ Committee
Kalmunai who stood indicted with having committed offences under the
Emergency Regulations, of making false statements accusing the STF of
destroying the village called Karativu and the abduction of 23 Tamil youths
from Natpittimunai and killing all of them at Thambiluvil.
The arm of the ‘Dharmista’ government, the ministry of national security and
the police were seen involved in the attack on Karativu. What was stranger,
the public reported that inquests were not held for the dead. The failure of
the government to punish the offenders was enough proof of government
complicity in the destruction of the village.
While there were public accusations of bringing several lorry loads of goons
from Colombo for the destruction of Karativu, the government attempted to
drag in the community of Muslims into the scene, alleging that the Muslims
fought against the Tamils.
The Tamils in Amparai district, though economically weak following the spate
of terror from 1977, are possessed of a philosophy of the ancients, which
some say is unsuited to the present cultural environment. A popular leader,
two decades ago, among the Tamils told me, “Contemplate on ‘Him:’
The Timeless Thing, The Supreme Spirit,
‘OM SAT CIT ANANDAM’. Whence we are born?
Whither do we go? The Pleasures and Sorrows,
Wealth and Power of the World
Are all transient.” This is real resignation.
His words reminds me of what Jesus told his people, to give up even what
they had, in order to gain the Kingdom of Heaven. Do not the Christians, in
their prayers, only ask, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and the Gospel
exhorts, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth?”
Successive Government from 1956 have sought to destroy the Tamil community
and the destruction of Karativu is a craftily manoeuvred attempt to get rid
of Tamils from Karativu.
It is considered useful to quote Dr. N. D. Wijesekere, who records in his
‘People of Ceylon’ (1945) as follows:
“The Tamil population of the present day is spread on
the whole Island with concentration in the North, Eastern, and North
The community of Tamils who lived at Anuradhapura,
Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa, Kalawewa, Tambuttegama, Eppawela, and Mannampitiya
have been either wiped out or assimilated. Attempts made on Mullaitivu and
Trincomalee have been successful for the government. Those in authority do
not seem to know the direction they are pursuing with regard to the
preservation of human rights. We could only remind them of the famous
Persian poet Omar Khayaam who in the Rubaiat, said:
“Fools, with damnation as your destiny,
Sentenced to fuel the eternal fire of Hell.
“Avoid all greed and envy, unperturbed
By permutation, foul succeeding fair:
Soon the whole scene must vanish.”