The 36th anniversary of the massacre of 32 Tamils in Othiyamalai, Mullaitivu, by the Sri Lankan army in 1984 was remembered on Wednesday.
On December 2, 1984, Tamil men in the village were rounded up by soldiers, dragged to the village community centre where they were stripped naked and tied up by their clothes. 27 of the men were shot and killed on the spot. A further five were detained and are believed to have been murdered at a later date.
Lamps were lit land flower garlands were laid at the memorial site where the men were brutally murdered.
Kandasamy, who witnessed the massacre, recounted his experience:
“Earlier that morning, many Sinhala armed mobs broke into our village and forced the men in our homes to join them at the community centre. Armed kaadaiyar came and stayed the first night in the foothills of our town for this massacre. This was a planned event. The army moved from the Mullaitivu region, where a curfew was imposed to prevent vehicles from fleeing and people from leaving.“
“An investigation was conducted by the officials. After the inquiry, we gathered all the dead together, stacked all the bodies under a nearby tree and cremated them all at once.”
“We are still living with the grief of losing our loved ones, even today”.
Aatma Shaathi Poojais were held at the Othiyamalai Pillaiyar Temple on Wednesday with the attendance of former TNA MP Shanthi Sriskantharajah, former Northern Provincial Council member Durairasa Ravikaran, and Puthukkudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha member E. Sathiyaseelan.
A list of the 32 men that were murdered by the Sri Lankan army on 2 December 1984