By Rajasingham Jayadevan
(June 01, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka says Pirabakaran is dead. Majority of the LTTE support base says Pirabakaran is alive. A section of the LTTE says Pirabakaran is dead. Anti- LTTE support base says Pirabakaran is dead. The international opinion contends Pirabakaran is dead.
Within this divide, who is right and who is wrong? For Sri Lanka, Pirabakaran is the most wanted man in the country. When his death was announced on the 18th May, it was claimed Sri Lankan forces killed him in a confrontation. The government put up news and pictorial evidence of his killing continuously in the media.
On the 16th May itself, claims were made through telephonic and text messaging that Pirabakaran is dead and his body has been flown to Colombo quoting government Defence Ministry sources.
No one knows how Pirabakaran died as claimed by the government. When I spoke to an intimate contact of Pirabakaran, he confirmed the dead body is not that of his. He was so close to Pirabakaran that he told me: ‘Annai (elder brother) always maintained that he will shoot himself in the head if his life is threatened. His bodyguards were told to burn his body or at least burn down his head to loose his identity’.
The pro-LTTE Tamilcircle.net published some pictures and made some comments on the face of the pictures.
Translation: There is no mud in his body.
Head injury is being wrapped by a sarong. The injury is seen above the left eyebrow. Compare this injury with the other pictures. It appears this must be part of first set of photographs taken soon after the death. The eyes remain closed and the body looks bloated. There is not blood or stain in the sarong wrapped.
This picture released by the government shows ‘eyes wide open’.
Pirabakaran is in his uniform. The moustache appears to be slightly different and his left eye does not show the black scar or injury above the eye as in the first photo. The injury on the forehead is also comparatively smaller than the one below.
The picture shows injury to the forehead and the dead man is in the LTTE attire.
‘Closed eyes – and the mud’ states the Tamil writing.
Compare the mustache. The forehead shows receding hair which is not visible in Pirabakaran’s true photographs.
Tamil writing: ‘Cameras’ and ‘body not shown naked’.
Tamil writings: ‘Cameras’, ‘A white woman’, ‘Penis exposed’ and ‘blue colour underwear.
Who is this white woman with the video camera? How did she get in when there is restriction for the national and international media?
‘To disgrace, body shown with the underwear’. ‘To prevent revealing injuries, mud is being applied’.
Karuna and Daya Master witnessing the body surrounded by the army. As claimed by Pirabakaran’s close contact, Karuna and Daya Master knows that Pirabakaran always wear boxer shorts and not amudai’s (traditional/ancient underwear) as depicted in the picture.
This picture is from Theepori.com which shows much deeper wound on the forehead. This photo clearly reflects the receding hair on the forehead.
Why did the government create so much confusion by not following the simple and established routines to confirm the death in an open and transparent manner?
v There was no post-mortem on the dead body.
v There was no independent evidence that bullet found on the head matches with the gun used by Pirabakaran or even the soldier who shot him.
v There was no independent DNA test. Initially media reported that DNA test had not been carried out and his body had been cremated. Then it was reported his body parts had been removed before cremation. Following this, under pressure, further statement appeared confirming army medical officers had matched the DNA with Pirabakaran’s son.
v Why did the government rush and cremate the body without keeping it in a mortuary until full investigation was concluded.
v Can Karuna and Daya master be witnesses of the dead body when they have compromised themselves to the government and confirming the death in the presence of the army?
Then there is further unanswered question bewildering even those who are happy that Pirabakaran is dead. They ask where is the jubilation amongst the soldiers on seeing the dead body of Pirabakaran.
If these pictures are true reflection, there is also an issue of ‘war crime’ accorded to the dead in a conflict said a LTTE contact.
By Rajasingham Jayadevan