As part of a series marking 11 years since the atrocities of Mullivaikkal, we share a reflection from the homeland.
The following reflection was transcribed verbatim from an interview conducted by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research.
I am in grade 10 now. I want to score enough to be able to enter Advance Level soon. I love the subject history. I was four years old when I lost my leg, I am 15 years old now. My studies depend on the income we get from the coconut grove.
When our house was bombed in 2009, my father and my mother’s father were killed in it. I did not know what a bomb was or what it could do at that age. When we heard shelling, we all went to hide in a bunker but the bunker was filled with water, so my father went up to grab a spade. That is when a shell got dropped on to our house and my father and my grandfather got trapped and tragically died. My leg was cut off below my knee in that incident. I lost consciousness because I lost a lot of blood. I only remember waking up in Vavuniya getting treated. That is when I realised I did not have a leg anymore.
It was very difficult to walk with one leg or using an artificial leg. Now, it has became easier but it is very uncomfortable using the artificial leg. You cannot bend your knee with it, you can only sit with your leg fully stretched. I used a metal one before, so it scratched the edges of my flesh, but now I have a better one with sponge on the sides. At school, I am not included in games because everyone is afraid I might fall and hurt myself. However, if I feel pain in my legs, or if I have to walk a lot, my teachers and friends will always help me. Because of that, I do not feel like I am isolated. My teacher has also lost a lot to the war, I consider her a role model. I still do not fully understand who fought this war and for what reasons, but as innocent kids who do not know anything – we were victimised in this war.
I cannot play like others, but I can participate in some sports while standing. Once, I went to Colombo and participated in the Para-Olympics and won a silver medal. This was an opportunity to prove that disabled people are talented too. Transport is still an issue. If I take the bus, I do not always get seats. These days young people do not give up their seats for anyone, usually the older people give me their seats. If I have to travel far, we always have to take a three-wheeler, but it is expensive. I am the only disabled person in my school but the school still built me a western toilet with the help of an NGO. They also built a handle for me to hold on to when I walk upstairs, because the library is upstairs.
My dream is to become a teacher.
See more reflections on our website www.RememberMay2009.com