Final days in Vanni: 600 Tamils shot and killed as stray dogs- First Person Revelation
More than 600 innocent Tamil civilians were shot and killed like stray dogs from 1 October 2008 to 18 May 2009 in the Vanni region, but not a single innocent civilian was killed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in the hostility campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The revelation exposes the vindictive nature and the revengeful mentality of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the flawed and distorted version of his so called Experts’ Panel Report and the vested interest of the Western leaders and the Human Rights Organizations in the West, who were parroting the rump LTTE’s allegations to bifurcate Sri Lanka.
A former TNA Member of Parliament, who was with the people who were held as human shield by the former Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and his men – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - makes this revelation and exposes the failed political agenda of the LTTE and the vested interests of the West.
Sathasivam Kanagaratnam, a former TNA Member of Parliament represented the Vanni electoral district from April 2004 to April 2010, made this revelation to
This is the first time Mr. S. Kanagaratnam has come forward to break his silence and reveal what actually has happened during the final days of the battle between the Sri Lankan Security Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Former TNA Member of Parliament said that he was with the people throughout in the Vanni. He said he represented the Vanni electoral district and as the hostility campaign started he was with the people looking after their interest. He said he has seen the horrors of the war and seen people - innocent Tamils, who were treated as stray dogs, shot and killed mercilessly by the LTTE gunmen.
Kanagaratnam was charged by the Sri Lanka Government for refusing Government's orders to leave the LTTE controlled areas and staying in the region during the height of the war.
Kanagaratnam said that United Nations and Western Countries are not privy to any firsthand information about horrors, killings, destructions and the human tragedies that occurred during the final days of the battle.
He rubbished the UN Experts Panel’s report and pooh-poohed it. He said the UN document was based on third or fourth person’s reports and on biased materials prepared by the rump LTTE campaigners and vested interest groups. He challenged whether those three UN Experts could authenticate any of those allegations they have raised and included in their so called report?
He clarified that even those people who were in the Vanni in the last days of the combat between the Government Forces and the LTTE were not privy to any firsthand reports, as they were never allowed to stray out of their bunkers and places where they were confined by the LTTE gunmen.
B.Nadesan and White Flag
When asked about the most hyped White Flag incident involving the LTTE leaders B. Nadesan, the political czar and Pulidevan, Director of the LTTE Political Office, Kanagaratnam said may be KP might have approached, through Western leaders, Sri Lankan Government to safeguard Nadesan, Pulidevan and few others. But, I was in touch with Nadesan right throughout, but Nadesan never openly displayed any sign of deserting Prabakaran and leaving to the government controlled area for his safety.
As far as I am aware, LTTE leader Prabhakaran never wanted any of his top lieutenants crossing into the government controlled areas. These leaders were always surrounded by Prabhakaran’s trusted armed men. They were instructed to shoot at any middle order or senior level leaders if and when suspected that these leaders were trying to betray him by crossing into government controlled area.
Prabhakaran introduced the cyanide culture in his outfit. Anyone at any circumstances was unable to overpower and overcome the enemies, and then they were supposed to bite the cyanide phial and commit suicide. Prabhakaran never tolerated betrayal by anyone.
In case if Nadesan and others tried to cross into the government controlled areas, Prabhakaran would not have tolerated such an act of betrayal. His men would have shot and killed Nadesan and others.
“I learnt when I was in the government controlled area on 18 May 2009 that Nadesan and few others tried to cross into the Government controlled area but they were shot and killed.
“According to my information, they were shot and killed by the LTTE gunmen. This is what I learnt, said Kanagaratnam.
Chellakili And Ambushing The Army Convoy
The 64 year old Kanagaratnam who revealed information about the tragic incidents of the last days in Vanni, was born in Sankli Thoppu, Nallur, located in the Jaffna City and had his secondary education at the Senkuntha Hindu College. He had two younger brothers and two sisters.
The one directly after him was late S. Chelvanayakam and the youngest brother was S. Rajaratnam, who is a farmer living in Udayar Kaddu.
One of Kanagaratnam’s brothers was the famous Lieutinent Chelvanayakam alias Amman, Chellakili and also called Chandran. He was part of Sri Lanka’s history, whose action led to the unfolding of 1983 ethnic holocaust.
He was the one who organized the ambushing military convoy at Tirunelvely, (Tinnaiveli) in 1983.
Along with Chellakilili , Prabhakaran, Kittu, Iyer, Victor, Pulendran, Santhosam and Appiah were among others who took part in the ambushing of the Sri Lankan Army Convoy. They planted landmines and waited to ambush the Army convoy.
According to reports, it was Chellakili who was dressed in the Sri Lankan Army uniform, set off the mine, which went off with thunderous explosion, subsequently ended in the massacre of 13 Sri Lankan Army soldiers.
Though Prabhakaran and his men were victorious in their attack, they found Chellakili missing. It was Victor who went towards the shop where Chellakili took position in the ambush, found his body lay there bleeding. There was a fatal bullet wound in his chest.
Kanagaratnam said that his brother’s life ended mysteriously. He said his family members and friends placed the blame on Prabhakaran for shooting Chellakili, but he said that till end there was no way to prove the killing to Prabhakaran.
Kanagaratnam said that after the mysterious death of his brother, his family was not in any way associated with the LTTE.
According to Kanagaratnam’s version, after his schooling, he started working as a salesman in a convenience store in Jaffna, later obtained car driving license followed by one to drive motor buses. After obtaining the car driving license, he was employed as a chauffeur by a local ‘Mudalali’ in Innuvil and later worked in the ‘Anna Coffee’, Jaffna from 1969 to 1978. In 1978, he said that he joined the Ceylon Transport Board as a Bus Driver and was attached to the Mattakuliya Depot and later in 1980; he was transferred to the CTB Depot at Mullaitivu. He was with the state transport board till 2000 until he reached his retirement age of 55 years.
Kanagaratnam said that they had a 5 acre plot of land suitable to grow coconut palms at Suthanthirapuram, located next to Udayarkaddu. He said that they were living in the house in Suthanthirapuram with his wife and three children, two boys and a girl. The eldest son is Aathithan and the other one is Sancheevan and the daughter Niriththana.
After retirement, Kanagaratnam joined the Vanni Private Bus Operators’ Association, was the Manager cum Time-Keeper and was working at Kilinochchi.
He said that the majority of the private buses that operated from Kilinochchi belonged to the LTTE and their entire private bus operation came under one ‘Kutti’ who was assistant to Puhalenthi, the man in charge of the finances of the Tiger outfit.
Kanagaratnam said that while he was working with the Private Bus Operators’ Association in Kilinochchi, he came in contact with all the leading LTTE leaders, mainly with Tamilselvan who was in charge of the political division of the outfit.
He said that it was Tamilselvan who was responsible for nominating him as a TNA candidate for the Vanni electoral district in the 2004 Parliamentary General elections.
When his name was announced as a candidate, he said that he was surprised. Even after he was elected as a Member of Parliament, he remained in Vanni and lived with the people.
Given below excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with the former TNA Member of Parliament:
Asian Tribune: What happened, during your stay in Vanni?
S.Kanagaratnam: I have been living in Vanni since the year 2000. In fact after 2005, the war between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE began in earnest.
Asian Tribune: Where were you during the last days of the War with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)?
S.Kanagaratnam: Those days I was at Mullivaikkal.
Asian Tribune: Where were you at Mullivaikkal?
S.Kanagaratnam: In front of the Mullivaikkal Pillaiyar Temple.
Asian Tribune: How many of you were there?
S.Kanagaratnam: There were three to four families together with me, and including children we were more than 14 people living together. We were all in one bunker – underground shelter.
Asian Tribune: Then where were the LTTE leaders including Prabhakaran and his family members?
S.Kanagaratnam: They were near the Vattapalai Nanthikadal side. We were on the sea side.
Asian Tribune: Have you seen them?
S.Kanagaratnam: As an MP, who was with the people in Vanni, I was in touch with the LTTE leader, but at the last days, we could not move. But I came to know about them, as the boys who were with him later were with me at the 4th Floor in the police custody. They told that they were with him during the last days of the battle.
Asian Tribune: Do you know what actually happened to Prabakaran and his family members?
S.Kanagaratnam: No, there was no way of knowing the occurrences of the last two or three days. According to the information, those boys who were providing security to Prabhakaran and his family members have also deserted him and there was no way to ascertain as to what has happened to him and his family.
Asian Tribune: Were you not able to come across people who could reveal what happened to Prabhakaran?
S.Kanagaratnam: Not a single, who could in fact reveal the truth. You all should know that Prabhakaran never took anyone into his confidence and he never let anyone to be near him.
Asian Tribune: What were you then doing those days?
S.Kanagaratnam: At the last days of the conflict, in May 2009, we were making arrangements to leave Vanni and cross over into the government controlled area. But we were prevented from moving out into the government controlled area.
To The Government Controlled Area
Asian Tribune: Who prevented you?
S.Kanagaratnam: There were LTTE sentries around civilian residential places. Two of those LTTE cadres stopped us leaving from Mullivaikkal area via Vadduvahal to Mullaitivu. Those days we were unable to leave to anywhere. There were so much of restrictions by the LTTE. But we were told on the 16th evening that the LTTE cadre who was manning the sentry died when his hand grenade accidentally exploded. The other sentry was missing after that incident. Then only we started moving out from Mullivaikkal. But we were unable to reach Mullaitivu on that day. We waited whole night in some hiding places and managed to reach only on the following day.
Asian Tribune: This was on the 17th. Where did you go?
S.Kanagaratnam: To Mullaitivu.
Asian Tribune: From Mullaitivu when did you leave for the Government camps?
S.Kanagaratnam: We went to Mullaitivu on the 17th morning. When I said that I am a Member of Parliament, Army men detained me for a day for inquiry.
Asian Tribune: How did you go to Mullaitivu?
S.Kanagaratnam: We went up to the Vadduvahal Bridge and from the bridge we went into the army controlled area on the 17th morning. Then I was allowed to proceed to the Government controlled welfare centre only on the 18 May.
Asian Tribune: When did you know that the LTTE leader Prabhakaran and his family members were dead?
S.Kanagaratnam: That, sad incident we came to know only after we came to the welfare centre at Cheddikulam and not before that.
Asian Tribune: There were allegations that during the days you were in Mullivaikkal and other areas, that Sri Lankan army indiscriminately firing artillery shells and dropping bombs and killing people? What is your comment about this?
S.Kanagaratnam: In fact, shells were falling all over. We were simply helpless.
Asian Tribune: Who was involved in those shelling?
S.Kanagaratnam: We learnt that shells were fired by both sides - Government as well as by the LTTE. And we started to flee to bunkers and other safe places whenever bombs and shells started falling in our areas.
Asian Tribune: Can’t you specifically say who was in fact firing the artillery shells?
S.Kanagaratnam: No, it was very difficult to point the accusing finger at one party or the other. Shells were fired at people who were in the safe places – No Fly Zones, which were allocated as places where people concentrated for safety, as well as in hospitals and in other places.
Asian Tribune: Who was behind all those shelling?
S. Kanagaratnam: No Fire Zone was allocated by the Sri Lankan Government. People started concentrating in those allocated places, hoping they would not be subjected to any shelling by the Sri Lankan armed forces. They also thought that they would be able to cross safely into the government controlled areas.
Government only allocated some areas as no fly zone, but those areas were under the control of the LTTE. The big Guns of the LTTE started firing towards those no fly zone areas to threaten civilians from trying to leave for those marked areas and prevent them from crossing into the government controlled areas.
They shelled rampantly and indiscriminately. Civilians were affected very badly.
Many died. But it was blamed that they were victims to the artillery fire of the government forces. But as far as I am aware, whenever shells fell in no-fly zone, it was alleged that government forces were shelling the civilians. But I am one who lived there and had the privy to mingle with the LTTE cadres; I have personally seen the ‘big guns’ located in the midst of the civilian population of the LTTE firing towards the no-fly zone.
It is very difficult to understand the elusive mind of Prabhakaran and his men. When they fired at the no-fly zone, normally Sri Lankan forces retaliated to silence the LTTE guns.
It is very difficult to understand the propaganda ploy of the LTTE. They always succeeded in blaming the Government for their entire anti—people activities, duplicity of the Tigers incomprehensible.
Asian Tribune: There was an allegation that innocent civilians, - non-combatants were shot and killed. Who was behind those killings?
Killings Of Civilians
S.Kanagaratnam: It was the LTTE which shot at the civilians. They shot the innocent civilians to frighten them not to leave for the Government controlled areas.
Asian Tribune: Did they kill many civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: In fact countless. I lost count of it. LTTE cadres were deployed all over and civilians were shot at to frightened and to prevent them from leaving the area.
Asian Tribune: So you think that may be fifty to hundred people would have been shot and killed by the LTTE?
S.Kanagaratnam: It will be many times more than that.
Asian Tribune: Do you mean more people were killed by the LTTE?
S.Kanagaratnam: Those days I was maintaining a record of those who were killed and injured. But as I had to flee, I was unable take with me all those documents. When I fled, I only had a shirt on my back. I can still remember an incident. The Education Officer of the Mullaitivu District, I think it is one Mr. Thiagarajah and his children were shot and killed – a total of five members in that family are no more. I think his wife has survived and many others were mercilessly shot and killed by the LTTE.
When the Sri Lankan Army was accepting the displaced persons arriving into their controlled areas, LTTE was shooting at the fleeing civilians to prevent them from leaving. I have seen many dead bodies littered all over the places, who were victims to the brutal killing of the LTTE.
Asian Tribune: But there is a general allegation that innocent civilians were killed by the government security forces. So you mean to say that mostly civilians were killed by the LTTE? You were the only person who was with the people till the last moment in Vanni. Furthermore, you were an elected representative of the people also.
S.Kanagaratnam: OK. I have seen with my own eyes, the tragic and horrendous scenarios unfolding those days and seen people being ruthlessly killed by the LTTE - Rule of the gun prevailed.
Asian Tribune: OK. Have you seen any Sri Lankan Army personnel entering the civilian area and shooting and killing them? Have you seen any civilians fled to the Government controlled area was shot and killed by the Sri Lankan Army personnel? Have you seen any women been raped by the Sri Lankan army men?
S.Kanagaratnam: No, not at all. I haven’t seen any civilians being killed by the Sri Lankan Army. I haven’t heard any women being raped by the Army men.
But I have seen the Army personnel collecting all those injured persons while receiving the fleeing civilians and took them and treated them and actually saved the lives of a few hundred civilians.
Asian Tribune: Who are those people who were injured? How they were injured? How they were safeguarded?
S.Kanagaratnam: Those were the innocent Tamil civilians who were caught up in the fighting. Majority of them were given treatment. As the Army advanced to the LTTE controlled areas, those civilians were hiding in many places. Those are the people who were picked by the Army and transported to the Army controlled areas and treated. I was later told that those who were severely injured and in critical conditions were air-dashed to Trincomalee, Anuradapura and other hospitals in the South for treatment.
Asian Tribune: Were the majority of them civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: In fact majority of them, more than 75% of them were LTTE cadres. Army was able to identify them as they were from the armed group of the LTTE. But still they took them and treated them.
Asian Tribune: How do you know the Sri Lankan Army personnel safeguarded the injured LTTE cadres as well as the injured civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: It was a known piece of information for those who were living inside the Vanni those days. People used to talk that injured persons were normally taken by the Army men for treatment. But I saw that with my own eyes, when I was in the Army controlled territory on the 17 to 18 May 2009.
I told earlier that when I reached the Army controlled area and declared that I am an elected Member of Parliament; I was detained for interrogation and was subsequently allowed to move to the government welfare centre.
So, when I was with the Army men, I saw in front of the Reception area, which was meant to receive the displaced persons arriving from the LTTE controlled area, there was an Army medical centre.
I saw dozens and dozens of injured persons being brought from the LTTE controlled area and treated, and those found critical were rushed to Vavuniya in Army vehicles and persons in critical conditions were taken by helicopters to hospitals all over the country.
I saw those injured persons were brought in tractors and other vehicles. Majority of them were known to me and almost many of them were LTTE armed cadres.
I found that those injured LTTErs were handled politely and humanely by the Sri Lankan soldiers.
Inside The Army Controlled Area
Asian Tribune: In Mullativu, where did you enter the Army controlled area?
S.Kanagaratnam: You know, just passing the Vadduvakal, about 1 mile away; there was a big paddy field. That was fenced by barbed wire. There , people were received and kept in separate open spaces according to their arrival from the LTTE areas and were called and identities verified by the Army men.
There was no roof above the head. In this place only displaced persons were received and their identities verified and dispatched to the welfare centers.
As and when the verification process was over, every time a group of people, around one hundred and more were transferred from there to the welfare centres in Cheddikulam.
Asian Tribune: So, you say that when you were there, you saw injured LTTE cadres and civilians being brought by the Army men and were given treatment? Were you able to talk to those injured people?
S.Kanagaratnam: Yes, I saw them being brought and treated. But it was not possible either to meet or talk with them, as the Army medical centre was on the roadside and we were held in an area behind the medical centre, and it was barbed wired.
Asian Tribune: OK, you mean to say that the Army was able to bring the injured people. That means the army was able to enter into the LTTE controlled area by the 18th of May 2009?
S.Kanagaratnam:Yes … yes, by then the army has managed to enter the LTTE controlled area by the beach front.
Asian Tribune: Which beach front you mean?
S.Kanagaratnam: Not by the Nandikadal, but by the ocean side.
Asian Tribune: Do you know which army unit managed to enter the LTTE controlled area?
S.Kanagaratnam: That I won’t be able to tell you, as I am not aware of it.
Asian Tribune: Can you tell me where the army men came?
S.Kanagaratnam: To the places where we all lived. They have come to Mullivaikkal area, to the temple area which was the last temple on the eastern side of Mullivaikkal. – Pillaiyar Temple.
Civilians Were Herded By The LTTE
Asian Tribune:Can you tell us why you all went along with the LTTE instead of trying to enter the government controlled area?
S.Kanagaratnam: There was no way of going to the government controlled area and we were also not allowed to cross into the government controlled area.
Asian Tribune: Is it possible for you to give some detail as to how more than three hundred thousand civilians were herded as human shield by the LTTE?
S.Kanagaratnam: As the war raged, people by small groups started joining and thus they were herded.
For example, I was initially living at Mulliyawalai. Then from there I was forced to move out and went to Udayarkaddu. When the Army from Kilinochchi came via Dharmapuram and started attacking Udayarkaddu, then we managed to flee via Devipuram, Suthanthirapuram along the sea side and we reached Iranaipalai and then arrived near the Valangnenmadam Church area. We stayed there for more than 21 days.
When we were there only, my wife was injured due to a shell exploding. My driver named Prabhakaran also died. He also succumbed to injuries.
Then we moved from Valingenmadam on to Mullivaikkal near the Pillaiyar Kovil.
Asian Tribune: Why did you leave for Mullivaikkal?
S.Kanagaratnam: The Army was behind us. As the Army moved towards new positions in the LTTE controlled areas, we were all kept on herded by the LTTE armed men towards new positions at the point of the gun.
But from there, more than 100,000 displaced persons managed to slip into the Army controlled areas.
Asian Tribune: During that time did you not see any top level LTTE leaders?
S.Kanagaratnam: There was lot of middle level leaders who were trying to convince the disheartened and disillusioned civilians that they would overcome the Army and win the war.
But when anyone questioned them, that person was always shot and killed at pointblank range. This was done to instill fear in the minds of the people.
B.Nadesan And His Duplicity
When I opposed this inhuman behavior of the middle level LTTE cadres, I was taken in front of B.Nadesan, the political czar of the LTTE. I was detained for one long day. He said I should continue to work with them and work with them wholeheartedly.
He said that this was an order from the leader Prabhakaran. After that I was allowed to go back to Mullivaikkal.
Once I arrived back in Mullivaikkal, I found that the people have lost confidence, and they were not ready to stay any more.
Asian Tribune: Do you know what happened to Nadesan? Was he killed?
S.Kanagaratnam: When I was in Mullaitivu Army Reception area there were some LTTE cadres, and they told me that they saw Nadesan and few others moving towards the Government controlled area. I was told that Prabhakaran was against these people betraying him and moving into the Government controlled area. Those boys told me that LTTE gunmen were after them. But I was not aware what happened to him and who killed him.
But I wish to say with certainty that Prabhakaran has never endorsed the plan of surrendering to Sri Lanka Army. I know for certain that LTTE leader has not approved Nadesan and Pulidevan surrendering by carrying any flag. I was told Prabhakaran sent his elite group to stop the duo fleeing the LTTE controlled area. Thus the duo must have, I am sure received the fatal blow by the very LTTE gunmen who were loyal to Prabhakaran.
Asian Tribune: Did you know about others, like Lawrence Thilakar ?
S.Kanagaratnam: Yes, I met Lawrence Thilakar and many other commanders crossing into the Army controlled area.
Asian Tribune: We wish to reiterate that there are serious and grave allegations that Sri Lanka Army shot and killed innocent civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: No. It can’t be. When the Sri Lankan Army treated even the LTTE cadres humanely, is there any need for them to kill any civilians?
There is no logic in that argument. I can say that nothing like that happened. I wish to strongly emphasize this.
Asian Tribune: So you deny that Sri Lankan Army has not shot and killed innocent civilians. Tell whether you are denying this allegation?
S.Kanagaratnam: Yes, I deny such frivolous allegations. I must be truthful in the name of the God. I am also answerable to Almighty the God.
I know these are propaganda ploy of the rump LTTErs in the West.
Killing Of Innocent Civilians
Asian Tribune: OK, we have to agree with you that you are the only person who has for the first time come up with the true scenario. You were there with the people till 18th May 2009. We have to accept your version, not because you are an individual who was there, but you were a Member of Parliament representing the Vanni people and nominated to contest the election on the TNA ticket by the LTTE.
OK, now tell us then who was responsible for the killing of the innocent Tamil civilians, who were in the LTTE controlled areas during the last days of the battle between the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the LTTE?
S.Kanagaratnam: People have also succumbed to crossfire as the battle rages. They were shooting to safeguard the civilians.
Asian Tribune: Who was firing to safeguard the civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: When the Army chased the LTTE and fired artilleries, the LTTE was also firing at the Army. And Army was interested in taking back the displaced Tamil civilians into the government controlled areas and they pointedly fired at the artillery installations of the LTTE and cleared the way for the people to leave the LTTE controlled areas to move into the government controlled areas. This move by the Army was a good one which paved the way for the civilians to move into the government controlled area.
Asian Tribune: Can you tell us how many civilians would have been killed from October 2008 to May 2009, in the final days of the battle?
S.Kanagaratnam: During those days as a Member of Parliament I was moving all over to find for myself the situation prevailing over there. When I came to know that some civilians were killed, I used to go to that place, inquire how that person or persons were killed, console the family members and participate in their decent cremations.
Asian Tribune: Tell us where and where you went to check the plight of the people?
S.Kanagaratnam: In the last days, I used to travel to those places where civilians were killed. I never stayed in the bunker with the view to safe myself. I managed to move around in a bicycle and travel in pillion with the help of some youngsters who were incidentally happened to be in that area.
Those days I was powerless and could not be of any service to my people, but was present at the place where someone died or injured to console the family members and to participate in their funeral. That is all I was able to do.
Asian Tribune: OK, according to your investigations, tell us who must be held responsible for the killing of the civilians?
S.Kanagaratnam: Many people perished because of the artillery fire. I am not in a position to say who was actually responsible for those killings. It was very difficult to predict. But many people were shot and killed. Civilians were shot and killed by the LTTE, while they were trying to flee into the government controlled area.
Asian Tribune: Can you tell us how many people who were fleeing were shot and killed? We asked you this question earlier also.
S.Kanagaratnam: Unable to give an exact figure, but many hundreds would have been killed.
Asian Tribune: Is it possible to give us a rough figure of civilians shot and killed by the LTTE gunmen?
S.Kanagaratnam: Indeed many hundreds were killed, but at present I am unable to give you an exact figure, as I have lost all my documents when I left Mullivaikkal to the government controlled area. Innocent Tamils were shot and killed indiscriminately by the LTTE gunmen from Puthumatthalan up to Mullivailkkal. This kept on going for several months.
Asian Tribune: Is it OK, if we say that nearly 250 to 300 Tamils were killed by the gun wielding Tamil Tigers?
S.Kanagaratnam: It is more than that amount. It can be nearly five hundred to six hundred?
Asian Tribune: So you mean to say that about six hundred civilians have been shot and killed by the LTTE in the last days of the battle with the Sri Lanka Government?
S.Kanagaratnam: Yes, it can be little more. When civilians were trying to escape and flee to the government controlled area, they were spotted and mercilessly killed. I have visited the places where civilians’ dead bodies were littered around and initiated investigation to find out whether those dead were killed by the Sri Lankan Army. But to my disgust and regret, I was told that every time LTTE gunmen shot and killed innocent civilians like stray dogs. The demented Tiger gunmen simply sprayed bullets on civilians with their lethal weapons and the civilians used to drop death for no fault of their own.
This was done on the orders of the LTTE leader to prevent civilians from leaving to the government controlled areas.
I also often visited the Puthumaththalan hospital and most of those civilians who were killed by the Tigers were brought to this hospital. I used to meet the people who brought these dead bodies and inquired from them. They have always told me that the dead ones were killed by the LTTE gunmen.
Asian Tribune: Why no one has approached you for your statement of the final days of the war with the LTTE? At that time you were an elected MP? Am I right?
S.Kanagaratnam: Yes. I was an MP at that time. Later when I was taken to the Fourth floor, the CID officers recorded my statement, but I don’t know what happened to that statement.
Asian Tribune: That means you made a statement, unfortunately the police intelligent officers who questioned you and recorded your statement have failed to comprehend the importance of your statement?
S.Kanagaratnam: When I was at the Fourth Floor, they also had doctors who worked in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts - T Satyamurthy, V Shanmugarajah, T Vardharajah, Ilanchelian Vallavan and N Ketheesh and they took up their statements as important and must have thought to ignore my statement.
Asian Tribune: What about the LLRC? Did they contact you? Why you did not contact them to narrate your version?
S.Kanagaratnam: They should have contacted me. They should have known that I was the elected Member of Parliament who was with my people till end of the bloody conflict. For reasons not known to me, they did not invite me to hear my version. I too was not happy to be present before them without being invited to give the miseries encountered by my people - the tale of deaths, the tale of woe and the harrowing episode of more than three hundred thousand people in the ‘land of grave’ in Vanni under the control of Prabhakaran.
From Mullaitivu, I was taken to Omantai and there also I made a statement and from there I was taken to the welfare centre – Zone 4, Chettikulam.
At Chettikulam, Police CIDs came and arrested me and brought me to the regional police headquarters in Vavuniya. There they recorded my statement and took me on the same day to Colombo to the 4th floor.
At the 4th floor I was questioned and my statement was recorded.
Three months after my detention in the 4th Floor, I came to know that my eldest son Aathithan too has been arrested and kept in the 4th floor as a LTTE suspect.
I have already said that after the mysterious death of my brother Chellakili at the hands of Prabhakaran, we did not support the LTTE, but in 1995 my eldest son was forcefully recruited.
I have appealed to Balarajh several times to free my son; he adamantly refused to release him.
Asian Tribune: Tell us when you were released from the police custody?
S. Kanagaratnam: I was released on the night of 13 January 2010. From Colombo I was taken by the Police to the Vavuniya Magistrate.
The Vavuniya Magistrate Alex Raja ordered my release. One of the charges against me was, “refusing Government's order to leave the LTTE controlled areas and staying in the region during the height of the war.”
I was not charged yet, but the Magistrate ordered me to surrender my passport to the courts. And I was released on conditions.
- Asian Tribune -