09.07.1995 Navaly St. Peters Church Massacre

Navaly village is in the Jaffna district. St Peters church is a famous church in Navaly. Following the military orders to the people to take refuge in public places thousands of people left their homes to take refuge in churches and temples. About 2500 people had thus taken refuge in St Peters Church.

On the 9th July 1995, eight rocket bombs were dropped on Navaly church and its surroundings. The church was crammed with people who had sought refuge when they realized the army was bombing their area. 155 bodies of civilians were recovered from the church and its surroundings and 250 people were injured. There is no doubt that the SLAFs deliberately dropped a bomb at a place where there was a maximum density of people gathered, and the large crowd of people would have been noticeable from the air.

Vaithiyalingam Kamalanathan, lost his wife on that day. The incident as described by him is as follows:

“That morning, from about 4 a.m. we were heard bombing sounds from the SLA during Operation Leap Forward. People from Chuzhipuram had grabbed all their belongings and started moving along Navaly Road. All of us, small, young, and old were helping and feeding these displaced people at St. Peters Church with food and drink. We did this all day. Since I did not go to the temple in the morning – I went at 4:30 p.m. with my son through the paddy fields. At about 4:35 p.m. we heard a very big bomb blast and saw clouds of smoke. We immediately knew something had happened at Navaly. When I ran back to my house, the road was filled with fallen trees and buildings. In my house my wife was bleeding from here [chest].

My daughter was injured in her head and hand. Blood was running. I ran to the other houses nearby. One of my neighbour’s family was all lying dead. My elder son’s daughter was injured. My sister’s husband said that we could do no more for my sister. He said to go and look after my family. My wife died at the hospital asking me to look after our children.”

The Parish priest at that time says:

“It was Sunday morning. People were being displaced here as the Leap Forward Operation was taking place. People of this area welcomed them and were supplying them with food and drinks. I was at St. Andrews Church in Manipay when I heard that people were gathering in St. Peters Church, Navaly. So I rushed over here. On my way here, I heard the bombers in the air. One of the bombers was lowering and, I ran and hid behind a wall. I saw this people being bombed. I ran here after the bombing and saw that people were scattered here and there – killed. 9 people were killed at this church. 121 people were killed all together.

The church was damaged. People were screaming and shouting. People who were taking shelter in this area were bombed. People are still saddened and worried about this. People hope that this situation will change and that peace will prevail in this country. Tamils and Sinhalese will remain together in this country as brother and sister.”

Names of the victims:

  1. Soosaithasan Mary Sasikala (18) 
  2. Ithayasanthini 
  3. Immanuel Dusintha (14) 
  4. Ramu Veerasingam (43) 
  5. Rasakulasingam Rajmohan (16)
  6. Rasathurai Maheswary (34)
  7. Rasathurai Santhirakanthan (13)
  8. Rasathurai Sutha (09) 
  9. Rasarathinam Anantharasa (34)
  10. Jeevaraj Piratheepan (13)
  11. Uthayakumar
  12. Uthayakumar Usanthini (12)
  13. Uthayakumar Satheeskumar (13)
  14. N.Murugathas 
  15. N.Abiramy 
  16. N.Vasanthamalar
  17. Nagalingam Saravanamuthu (60)
  18. Nakes Gopalakrishnan (29)
  19. Nadarasa Ganatheepan (05)
  20. Nadarasa Sinnathurai (65)
  21. Nadarasa Ravi (22)
  22. Nadesu Sithirabalu (51)
  23. Nadesan Vijayakumar (18)
  24. Neekilaappillai Thiruchelvam (54)
  25. Nithiyanantham Annalakshmi (57)
  26. Navarathinam Jeyatha (21)
  27. Nallaiya Neelavathi (50)
  28. Kanakasabapathy Thavalaskmi (42)
  29. Kanakasingam Narayanasingam (50)
  30. Kanagarathinam Usanthan (20)
  31. Kanagarathinam Suthakaran (22)
  32. Kanakarathinam Vaseegaran (18)
  33. Kanthaiya Nallaiya (55)
  34. Kanthan Gnanasegaram (17)
  35. Kanthasamy Anchalathevi (36)
  36. Kanthasamy Thenuga (12)
  37. Kanthasamy Thevakulasingam (36) 
  38. Karthikesu Thavachelvi (12)
  39. Kaathan Kanthasamy (42)
  40. Kathiravelu Thurairasa (55)
  41. Kumarasamy Pathmanathan (24)
  42. Kamalanathan Savithiri (45)
  43. Ganeshavel Thevaganesan (15) 
  44. Ganesalingam Kamalathevi (45) 
  45. Kumarasamy Maheswary (54)
  46. Kunarathinam Piranavan (05)
  47. Kunarathinam Tharsini (14)
  48. Kunarathinam Rohini (35)
  49. Kunarathinam Vithusan (07) 
  50. P.Inthirakumar 
  51. P.Santhan 
  52. Pushparani 
  53. Balasingam Uthayarasa (23)
  54. Balasingam Sellamma (33)
  55. Pathmanathan Balayohini (40)
  56. Pathmanathan Malarvizhi (13)
  57. Pathmakumaran Komathi (28)
  58. Francis Kingsley (27)
  59. Philipillai Gabrielpillai (54)
  60. Pararajasingam Selvarathinam (48)
  61. Punniyamoorthy Sayanthan (09)
  62. Vaithiyalingam Jeyasingam (56)
  63. Vairamuthu Sivarasa (39)
  64. T.Kulasingam 
  65. T.Pushparani
  66. Thanalakshmi 
  67. Tharmakulasingam Sujeeba (17)
  68. Thamotharampillai Parameswary (63)
  69. Thurairasa 
  70. Thambipillai Thiyakarasa (54)
  71. Thambirasa Thuvarakathevi (20)
  72. Thangarasa Tharsuthan (10)
  73. Thavam Baskaran (19)
  74. Mayarasa Ananthapuvanan (16)
  75. Mayarasa Selvanayaki (53)
  76. Mathan Pararajasingam (48)
  77. Maheswaran Thayalan (20)
  78. Mahenthiran Mathuran (17) 
  79. Mahenthiran Vasanthakumary (25)
  80. Murukan Sarasu (69) 
  81. Murukesu Ponnampalam (47) 
  82. Murukesu Selvaradnam (65)
  83. A.Thanusrala (08)
  84. Anantharasa Yoheswary (35) 
  85. Anthonipillai Crues Kumuthini (18)
  86. Arumugam Kanagalingam (40)
  87. Arumugam Kunarathinam (40)
  88. Jeyaseelan Kanistan (17)
  89. Jekatheepan
  90. Jeyasothy Vimalathevi (42)
  91. Jegasothy Rathimalar (17)
  92. Yoheswari 
  93. Nesarajah Thavarajani (28) 
  94. Gopalakrishnan Kapilraj (07)
  95. Gopalakrishnan Piratheepan (07)
  96. Gopalakrishnan Mathivathanan (22)
  97. Gopalakrishnan Revathi (36)
  98. Gopalakrishnan Sayanthan (09) 
  99. Gopalakrishnan Vinopa (05)
  100. Gobinath 
  101. Ponnar Nagamuthu (75)
  102. Ponnar Uthayakumar (35) 
  103. Thommaipillai Jesuthasan (21)
  104. Thevanayakam Sailaya (13)
  105. Theyanayakam Thavabalasaraswathi (45) 
  106. Thevanayakam Manothika (08)
  107. Thevanayakam Lavanyan (11)
  108. Thevathas Nareskumar (11)
  109. Thevathas Pirinthini (07)
  110. S.Thavarani 
  111. Sellaiya Rasathurai (35)
  112. Sellaiya Kirushnarupan (19)
  113. Selvarasa Pirathees (16)
  114. Selvaratnam Sivasubramaniam (46) 
  115. Sellathurai Rasamma (56) 
  116. Velu Ramalingam (22) 
  117. Velupillai Nadesvaran (19)
  118. Velautham Lalithathevi (35) 
  119. Ganalakshmibalan Seevarathinam (47) 
  120. Sakkariyas Jegatheepan Jeevathas (17)
  121. Subbaiya Thevanayakam (47)
  122. Sathiyanathan 
  123. Satheeskumar 
  124. S.Maheswary 
  125. Sinnathurai Nagarathinam (60)
  126. Sinnathambi Inbamalar (10)
  127. Sinnathambi Rathinasingam (46)
  128. Sinnaiya Yogasuntharam (39)
  129. Sinnaiya Saraswathi (62)
  130. Sithirabalu Nageswary (44)
  131. Sithirabalu Pirabakaran (21)
  132. Sithirabalu Thaneswary (17) 
  133. Sithirabalu Mahenthira (25)
  134. Sithirabalu Jeyabalalini (12)
  135. Sithirabalu Jeyamathi (27) 
  136. Sivakumaran Surekka (12) 
  137. Sivasothyrajah Pirasanna (10) 
  138. Sivalingarasa Ranjini (11)
  139. Siriskantharasa Kobikan (13) 
  140. Sasikala 
  141. Suwaminathar Sivabalasubiramanian (50)
  142. Saravanabavan Parasakthi (27)
  143. Saravanamuthu Sivamani (63) 
  144. Shanmuganathan 
  145. Vanniyasingam 
  146. Veerasingam Sartkunarasa (30) 
  147. Varatharasa Krishnakumar (15) 
  148. Ravisanthiran Thanisiya (08) 
  149. S.Piratheepa (11) 
  150. S.Ketheeswaran 
  151. S.Kemalatha (27)
  152. Lukas Jude Mohanathas (24)
Sources: 
"Massacre of Tamils 1956 - 2008", NESOHR (2010), pp. 135 - 140.
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