Name: Kanapathy Murugesu (Male)
Age: 68 Marital status: Married
Address: Thunnalai Centre, Thunnalai, Karaveddy, Jaffna
Occupation: Retired post-master
was living with wife, his married daughter and her family. On
January 12th, he rode his bicycle along the Jaffna road (see map) to
his bank to collect his pension. A cyclist behind him saw Murugesu
falling down and bleeding 200 metres from the 1st Mile Post. This
cyclist said that this happened around 10.00 am. The cyclist tried
to go towards Murugesu to assist him. Two Sri Lankan Army (SLA)
soldiers, standing by the road side at the spot where Murugesu fell,
prevented the cyclist from approaching Murugesu lying on the ground.
The cyclist proceeded without any further comment because to do
otherwise in the current climate of fear in Jaffna is unthinkable.
Other passers by who tried to approach Murugesu were also not
allowed to go near him. SLA handed over the dead body of Murugesu to
the Manthihai hospital located 2 km from the location of the
incident at 1.00 pm. NESOHR has a copy of the letter issued by the
District Medical Officer accepting the body of Murugesu at 1.00 pm
at the Manthihai Hospital. Murugesuís family was informed of the
incident at 1.30 pm. Family members who saw his body stated that he
was shot just below his shoulder and the bullet has come out on the
opposite side of his body.
The police was told of the killing but they did not
arrive for the inquest until midday on the following day. On the
following day, before the magistrate arrived for the inquest, a
group of SLA soldiers arrived and called for the family members of
Murugesu. SLA instructed the family members to blame the shooting of
Murugesu on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Family
members informed the magistrate of this during the inquest and the
magistrate noted it in his report.
SLA claimed that Murugesu was shot from behind. However
the bullet wounds on Murugesuís body indicate that he was shot from
the side. The wounds also indicate that he was shot at close range
because the bullet has left the body on the opposite side. Witnesses
added that there were five bullet marks on the wall on the side of
the road opposite to where the SLA soldiers were standing at the
spot where Murugesu was shot. These bullet marks on the wall could
not have been made if Murugesu was shot from behind.
When Murugesuís family approached the people, living at
the spot where Murugesu was shot, to ask if they had seen anything,
they declined to make any comment. Such is the pervasive fear that
prevails in Jaffna.
Note by NESOHR: NESOHR is with holding the identities of
the people who have provided us with information about the case for
their own safety. NESOHR is ready to share more detailed information
with any reputable international human rights organizations wishing
to inquire into this case.
Dr N Malathy (NESOHR Secretary)