Demonstration over Jaffna mass graves

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 September 1998, 17:51 GMT]
More than five hundred people took part in the march and sit in today to protest against the government's apathy towards the Chemmani graves and missing persons in Jaffna organised by the Jaffna NGO consortium, Mothers Front, the Missing Persons' Guardian Association (MPGA) and a large number of public interest groups.

The march started from the MPGA office at Stanley road at 8.30 a.m. and wound its way through the Jaffna town to the office of the NGO consortium at Raasavin Thottam.

Here the marchers were joined by several organisations.

Then the marchers went to the office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Office around 10.30 a.m. and submitted a memorandum to the office assistant of the NHRC Mr. T. Sritharan.

The people told him that they would not move from the premises until they got a clear reply from the commissioners. The crowds waited in the rains until a reply was received.

Later they submitted a copy of the memorandum to the additional Government Agent of Jaffna and dispersed in the afternoon as planned.

The organisers said they were not satisfied with the NHRC's reply that they would initiate action on Chemmani by early October.

Hundreds of people disappeared in the Jaffna peninsula after the Sri Lankan military moved into the area in early 1996, according to human rights groups.

Amnesty International said last November that it believed that up to 600 of over 700 people who disappeared had been tortured to death or deliberately killed whilst in Sri Lankan military custody.

A Sri Lankan soldier on trial last month for the rape and murder of a Jaffna schoolgirl, Krishanthi Kumaraswamy said in court that he knew of the location on the peninsula of mass graves of 300 to 400 of people.

There have been widespread calls for the Sri Lankan government to investigate the allegations and excavate any graves found.


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