Kanjirankuda report unacceptable - Vivekanandan

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 November 2002, 19:34 GMT]
"The report on the Kanjirankuda violence is mainly based on the statements given by members of the Special Task Force (STF) and representatives of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). No prominence is given to statements from the people affected by the violence and therefore I am not accepting the report," said Samithamby Vivekanandan, the only Tamil member of the three member committee appointed by the Sri Lanka Government to investigate the killings of eight Tamil civilians wounding at least 20 at Kanchirankuda on 9 October when the STF opened fire on protestors.

The committee is comprised of Air Force Commodore (retd) Harry Gunatilake (Chairman), Mr. Oliver Weerasena, retired judge and Mr. Samithamby Vivekanandan. The senior Superintendent of Police Mr.M.J.Savanagan functions as its secretary and conducted sittings in Thirukovil till October 24 followed by two further days of sittings at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo on October 25 and 26.

Samithamby Vivekanandan
Samithamby Vivekanandan, member of Committee investigating Kanjirankuda violence
"I am also a member of this Committee. But the report was prepared solely by the chairman Harry Gunatilake," Vivekanandan told TamilNet.

"After I read the report at the Ministry of Defence yesterday, I told the chairman the report was totally unacceptable. I pointed out that there was no mention in the report about taking disciplinary action on STF members or on the issue of removal of Kanjirankuda camp," he added.

"The report discusses the removal of STF camp from the premises of Thirukovil Hospital and on expanding peace committees through the peace secreatariat. I told the Chairman that I am in agreement with these sections of the report. However, the report only recommends transferring the STF personnel implicated in the Kanjirankuda violence.

"Personnel transfers cannot be regarded as an adequate punishment for murders and deliberate killing. Such soft action would only encourage impunity and will set a precedent for further violence when peaceful protests to highlight their grievances are undertaken by Tamil people in the future.

"Conflicting evidence was given by STF, SLMM and the civilians witnesses. From the evidence given by the STF I have identified and pointed out in my report that the STF have committed seventeen legally convictable offenses. I have submitted a 7-page report to Minister John Ameratunge on the conduct of the STF violating the rights of Tamil residents of Ampara and Kanjirankuda after the signing of the MoU and the background to such action.

"I have not endorsed nor given my signature to Harry Gunatilake's report. I have no intention of doing so in the future. I have firmly resolved to work for a fair and just resolution to this issue, especially at this current juncture when the world community is keen to have peace prevail in SriLanka," Vivekananda further told TamilNet.

 

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