Vankalai massacre ‘2006

SLA soldiers armed with bayonets and knives entered the house of a family of four and slaughtered on 08 june 2006. The family had fled Tamileelam and was living as refugees in Tamilnadu returning only a year and a half ago to Vankalai.

Vankalai, a large Tamil Catholic  village in Mannar,(Tamileelam)  has been subject to continual massacre and intimidation from the Sri Lanka army men, who have a large base in the village. For fear of army atrocities, many families have already moved out of the village. Almost the entire village goes daily to the village church at dusk to stay the night.

A group of Sri Lanka army men had called on the neighbours of Moorthy Martin, the village carpenter, and demanded them to produce their identity cards for checking as the family was leaving for the church. And then the army patrol moved to Martin’s house. As Martin was late to return from work, his wife and children waited at home for him, to go together to the church for the night stay.

The following morning the neighbours returning home after their night-out at church, had gone to check on Martin’s family for not turning up at the church the previous evening. To their horror, they found the bodies of Martin, 35, his daughter 09, and son, 07, hanging from the roof inside the house, dripping blood. There were numerous stab-wounds on the female organ of the little girl, from which blood was dripping.

The little boy’s body was dismembered under the ribs. The body of the 29 year-old mother lay sprawled on her bed, with gunshot ripping through her female organ, the army gang-rapists expecting to remove evidence, perhaps. The Tamils killed were: Mary Medaline (Chitra), 27, the mother, Moorthy Martin, 35, the father, Ann Nilxon, 7, the son and Ann Luxica, 9, the daughter. Martin was a carpenter by profession.  Soldiers have also used the carpenter tools to kill the victims. Bootprints and a miltary badge with star were found at the massacre site. Bodies were discovered by fellow residents of the area.

At the post-mortem inquiries, the neighbours volunteered to identify the army culprits, pointed to a used condom and a button from an army uniform at the scene of crime. Three army uniforms also were discovered subsequently. But the commander of the army base has dismissed all charges and categorically denied involvement of any of his men in the incident, at a meeting he had with the Bishop of Mannar .

Eyewitnesses in the area, Thomaspuri Ward No 10 in Vankalai, have told Mannar Additional Magistrate that they could identify the soldiers involved in the massacre. Villagers alleged the mother was raped before the massacre. Tension prevails in Vankalai. Religious leaders including the Bishop of Mannar, parliamentarians and civil society members in Mannar have rushed to site. Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission officials have visited the massacre site.

(Photos : Tamilnet)


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