Human remains were discovered in the Mullaitivu Kokkuthoduvai area on June 29, when workers employed by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board were replacing water pipes.
The police department in Kokkilai has been informed and is conducting investigations. The police have submitted a petition to the Magistrate court to initiate the exhumation process. Initial reports in the area suspect that the remains may be of female cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The initial assessments were made relying on the garments found around the remains which also include green uniforms.
Local politicians have told reporters that the site is not part of any Maaveerar Thuyilum Illam in the area. Thuyilum Illams - resting homes- were constructed across the North-East by the LTTE to house the bodies of Tamil fighters who had lost their lives in the liberation struggle. Following the end of the armed conflict, the Sri Lankan state destroyed all of the cemeteries and in some areas, built army camps over them.
The discovery of a new site with human remains has triggered apprehensions among Tamil people that the site may possibly be another mass grave. This discovery comes on the heels of a damning report released by the International Center for Ethnic studies on the history and legal framework of mass graves in Sri Lanka and a joint report by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) and the Families of the Disappeared (FoD), which details a pattern of systematic failures by Sri Lanka to exhume and investigate mass graves across the island.
On June 30, Magistrate Court Judge T Saravanarajah visited the site and ordered the exhumation process to be conducted on July 6th in the presence of a Judicial Medical Officer and other forensic experts. He also ordered the police to secure the site so as the remains are not disturbed.