The 24th remembrance day of Krishanthi Kumaraswamy, the Tamil schoolgirl who was kidnapped, gang raped and brutally murdered by Sri Lankan soldiers in 1996, was commemorated on Monday. Tribute were also paid to her family and other victims of the massacre at the Chemmani mass grave. Former Northern Provincial Councillors, Ananthy Sasitharan and M. K. Shivajilingam attended the commemoration tribute.
The 18-year old, who was an A-Level student at Chundikuli Girls' College, was walking on the road before she was forced to stop at the Kaithady Army checkpoint in Jaffna for ‘questioning’ on the 7th September 1996. Eleven Sri Lankan army officers kidnapped and gang raped her before killing and burying her dismembered body in a ditch.
The villagers who had witnessed Krishanthi being detained by the army, informed her mother that Krishanthi had been detained at the Semmani army camp. Krishanthi’s 16-year-old brother, Pranavan Kumaraswamy, her mother, Rajamma Kumaraswamy and family friend, Kirupamoorthy went in search for her at the Chemmani Army Camp. All three were brutally killed by the army with their bodies killed by midnight that day and buried by the army outside a field in the Chemmani area.
The incident, also referred to as the Chemmani massacre, caused international outrage and cast the spotlight back onto the Sri Lankan Army’s atrocious track record of sexual violence and abuses. Despite the prosecution of the perpetrators, many human rights activists believe that the limited exposure given to this massacre had disguised countless other rape cases involving the Sri Lankan security forces.
More than 600 abductees and missing persons in Jaffna were massacred and buried by the military in the Chemmani fields around the time.