A the remembrance event took place on 11 Feb 2024 the requesting justice for the residents of Kumarapuram, who were killed a massacre by Sri Lankan military in 1996
They have been denied justice for decades. The event was held people affected in the massacre in the village of Kumarapuram.
In 1996, due to the brutal violence perpetrated by the Sri Lankan military, many innocent civilians were killed.
The commemoration of the 28th year of the incident has been observed by the villagers of this village. This remembrance has brought together various civil society organizations, human rights activists, communities affected by war, youth, and media personnel from many divisions in the Trincomalee district.
In this 28th year, the affected villagers requested justice for the injustice they suffered, and they presented a memorandum to the responsible authorities through a peaceful demonstration. Along with this, the remembrance of the rights of the affected people in this environment highlighted the challenges they faced and the people expressed their concerns in this regard.
(AHRC release. )
The letter sent to President by the residence of Kumarapuram.
His Excellency the President!
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
A demand for justice by the people of Kumarapuram who were denied justice
On February 11, 1996, 26 people including men and women belonging to Kumarapuram
village were killed by being cut, shot and subjected to grave sexual violence. Many were
seriously injured. Their properties and residents were set on fire. These unaccepted
merciless incident started on 11 th of February 1996 at four o'clock in the evening and continued till past twelve o'clock in the night.
These massacres and violence were planned and carried out by the government
security forces. Among them were soldiers on duty at the Kiliveddy Thurayadi check
post. They are well known to the villagers. This was clearly pointed out in the court
hearings held in Muthur and Anuradhapura where the victims identified the perpetrators.
However, we perceived that the judicial investigations held in relation to these
massacres were conducted with the aim of protecting the soldiers. Because this case
was conducted in Anuradhapura itself, which is not safe for the victims. Going to
Anuradhapura, where the Sinhalese population is concentrated, to testify against the
Sinhalese army was extremely dangerous during the conflict of war. We requested to
transfer these investigations to Trincomalee district but it did not happen. This shows that the government is not concerned about the protection of witnesses and victims.
There was a court summons for 108 people belonging to the people of Kumarapuram
as witnesses in this case.
However, living with economic hardships and difficulties and not knowing Sinhala language, they faced colossal difficulties in going to Anuradhapura for many years for hearings. During the investigation, there was no innocuous environment in this village. Even whoever spoke to them was prudently watched by the state intelligence agencies.
Exhausted of fighting for justice for 19 years, we supposed that with the change of
regime in 2015, we would get justice at least in the "good governance" government of which you were the prime minister. With that hope, we went to Anuradhapura court for 11 consecutive days from 25 th June to 3 rd July 2016. Testimonies were obtained from 26 of us. Some of them continued to testify for up to four hours. However, a Sinhalese jury ultimately acquitted the perpetrators of the crime. Victims were denied justice.
His Excellency the President!
While we were denied justice during the time of the “good governance government” in
which you served as the Honorable Prime Minister, we have been taking many steps to
demand justice for us from every head of state who came to power in Sri Lanka for the
past 28 years. We, the people of Kumarapuram, faced violence by the army during the
height of ethnic conflict. Today we must remember that we were persecuted. Also, since
2022, you have been sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka and your government is
providing services to the people of Sri Lanka.
We remind the Sri Lankan government that it is obliged to take responsibility for the past
human rights abuses and violence against the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, and we
appeal to the people affected by the Kumarapuram massacre to have mercy on us. On
the 28 th anniversary of the Kumarapuram Massacre falls today, we request the
President of Sri Lanka to bring justice for the innocent victims and etc.
The investigation should be taken up and the victims continue to oppose the
establishment of a jury system to inquire this horrified incident.
Adequate protection should be provided to witnesses and victims.
Government should bear the cost of prosecution of witnesses.
Notification of government measures to ensure non-recurrence
People of Kumarapuram
11 th March 2024