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Kumarapuram massacre remembered 25 years on amidst Sri Lankan army intimidation

Photograph: IBC Tamil 

Tamils gathered in Trincomalee yesterday to remember the victims of the Kumarapuram massacre where Sri Lankan army corporals went on a rampage killing Tamils in the village 25 years ago.

Photograph: IBC Tamil 

The remembrance event took place at the site of the memorial despite intimidation from the Sri Lankan army who also attempted to block journalists from entering the memorial site, IBC Tamil reported

On February 11, 1996, a group of Sri Lankan army corporals brutally murdered 26 Tamil civilians, injured 24 and gang-raped a 15 year old girl. 

Survivors of the masscre reported that the soldiers, some of whom were inebriated, shouted "death to Tamils" as they entered the village in Trincomalee. 

Six Sri Lankan soldiers who were standing trial for their involvement in the killings in 2016, were all acquitted of the 101 indictments they each faced. The High Court judge overseeing the case decided the soldiers could not be prosecuted despite survivors identifying the perpetrators of the massacre. 

In 2017, PEARL, a US based advocacy group, released a report examining the failure of successive Sri Lankan governments to ensure accountability and justice for the massacre. 

"In a case with overwhelming evidence, including 40 eye witnesses at trial, the acquittals of all six alleged perpetrators are an accurate reflection of the Sri Lankan criminal justice system's lack of competence and commitment to prosecute atrocity crimes," the report noted. 

"The killing that has become engrained in the minds of all of all villagers is that of 15 year old Arumathurai Thanaluxmi. Villagers recounted how the soldiers found her hiding ina. roadside tea-shop with two others, including a 16 year old boy, Vinayagamoorthy Suthaharan. Soldiers immediately killed the people hiding with Thanaluxmi, then proceeded to drag her into an empty building nearby and gang rape her. At least two villagers remember hearing her screams from where they were hiding. Eventually one soldier, NM Ajith Sisira Kumara, allegedly shot and killed Thanaluxmi."

                             -  PEARL report: 'Impunity Reigns in Sri Lanka: The Kumarapuram Massacre and Acquittals' 

The names of the victims are: 

1. Subbayya Sethurasa
2. Alaguthurai Parameswari
3.Arumathurai Vallipillai
4. Kidnan Kovinthan
5. Arunasalam Thangavel
6. Sellathurai Packiyarasa
7. Vadivel Nadarasa
8. Rajenthiram Karunakaran
9. Sanmuganathan Nithanthan
10. Ramajeyam Kamaleswaran
11. Kanthapodi Kamalathevi
12. Sivakolunthu Sinnathurai
13. Sivapackiyam Nisanthan
14. Packiyarasa Vasanthini 
15. Amirthalingam Rajanikanthi
16. Thangavel Kalathevi
17. Stephen Pathuma
18. Suntharalingam Prabhakaran
19. Suntharalingam Subajini
20. Kanagarasa Suvathirasa 
21. Subramaniyam Packiyam
22. Vinayagamoorthy Suthaharan
23. Ananthan Annamma
24. Vijayakanth Luxmi
25. Arumathurai Thanaluxmi 

* There were 26 victims but one victim was not identified. 



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