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Mass graves haunt Ranil, Premadasa and Douglas

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(December 29, 2013 - London - Sri Lanka Guardian) Apart from war massacres there lies the question of the military burying bodies of 2000 university students under Batticaloa stadium circa 1990 and in a cemetery in Chemmani and Mannar.

Fr Harry Miller, an American missionary priest, attached to St Michael’s College told this writer in 1995 that the stadium was built over the bodies of these students and a military zone barred from the public.

Fr. Miller arrived in Ceylon in 1947 and was a witness to events unfolding since then. Ensconced in his top floor of St Michael’s he relentlessly recorded events as they unfolded. He is visited by foreign correspondents and his word is Bible truth in that he neither supports the LTTE or the government. He tells it as it is.

He returned to the US a few years ago and I am not sure whether he is still alive.

Which leads us to the Batalanda Commission kick-started inquiries into Ranil Wickremasinghe’s torture chambers in Kelaniya ( a block of housing flats) during the late ‘80’s when JVP youth were hunted down and shot in the middle of the night during the Premadasa regime by Black Cats led by Major Udugampola and their bodies displayed in junctions and Kelaniya river.

This commission was conveniently placed in cold storage like all other Presidential Commissions.

I personally witnessed at least six bodies per day in ‘89/’90 at Enderamulla Junction where Bus 261 stops to take passengers to Gaspara Handiya in Pettah. On the way I saw bloated bodies of youth floating on Kelani River down Peliyagoda way.

I still recall the horrors of the night when dogs howled as jeeps sped past Keells Housing Scheme in Enderamulla and gunshots were heard before we saw blood splattered bodies lining the public road-side where Bus 261 stopped.

Sri Lanka parallels the Hammer House of Horrors – a British Drama series - in that the former is fiction and the latter a true scene of the macabre killings of dissenters by politicians.

How could anyone ever dream of electing Ranil Wickremasinghe as a future leader while his name is etched as a ruthless murderer of innocent youth. He is a mass murderer with no scruples and he is arrogant to a fault.

Now Douglas Devananda is a blood-thirsty Tamil militant turned politician and he has so far managed to placate both Chandrika Kumaratunga and MR. Why does he continue to remain in the cabinet while there is ample evidence he is behind white-van abductions and the murder of Kumar Ponnambalam in January 2000? Thinamurasu editor Atputharajah was murdered following his revelation of the taped conversation with the killer of Kumar Ponnambalam. Thinamurasu was owned by none other than Douglas Devananda.

Matale mass graves and now emerging bodies in Mannar cemetery beg the question as to how those responsible have managed to escape their crimes. The only answer is they have State protection and complicity. Now it is easy to lay the blame on the LTTE for Mannar mass graves since all the cadres have been killed in Nanthikadal barring a few who are now government moles.

JVP youth are purported to have been buried in Matale. Could international investigators be allowed to make forensic studies of these bodies and would the government allow them unfettered access?

Dead do not speak.

With war crimes allegations gathering momentum and Sri Lanka’s need to justify its war against the LTTE which annihilated a sizeable number of surrendering civilians amounting to Tamil genocide aka eugenics which Hitler perpetrated in Jews, the UNHRC is not sitting comfortably that all is well in Rajapase’s xanadu. This island is clouded with a murky and macabre past. The more it realises and wakes up from its slumber the more it can atone for its miserable conduct towards its minority Tamils.

Showpiece projects and beautifying Colombo by appropriating slum dwellers’ homestead and packing them off with pigeon-hole flats by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya who is the President’s brother do not cut much ice with the evicted people who would agitate one day. There is only a limit to people’s patience and when this runs out God forbid the Rajapakses and MR can hot-foot it to Hague as the war criminal of the century.

All good things must come to an end and the end is nigh for the Rajapakses.

(The writer has been a journalist for 24 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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