Courts clear Mannar burials

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 June 1999, 13:53 GMT]
The Mannar Magistrate, Mr.M.Illancheliyan, today approved an application by the Police to bury the 37 bodies which the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) says were recovered from the battlefront at Periyamadhu and Vidaththaltheevu areas, at the state expense. The SLA says the bodies are those of Liberation Tigers killed in recent fighting.

On Monday morning, 36 bodies were brought to the Mannar hospital by the SLA.

Later that day, another body of a male person was brought to the hospital from Anuradhapura.

Hospital sources said that body was taken to Anuradhapura with the bodies of SLA personnel, but SLA personnel there identified it as that of a Tiger fighter.

The Mannar Police said in the application submitted to the courts that they had already informed the Sri Lanka Red Cross, International Committee of Red Cross and UN High Commission for Refugees about the 37 bodies kept in the hospital.

No one has claimed or come to remove the bodies they said.

The bodies could not be kept indefinitely at the hospital, which has no cooling facilities and therefore, the court should order for the burial of those bodies at state expense, they said.

The Magistrate approved the application and ordered the Divisional Secretary to take steps to bury each body in a separate grave. The Magistrate requested the police to video all the bodies prior to burial.

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