The Sri Lankan army vandalised the Mullivaikkal memorial monument located in Mullivaikkal East earlier today, just hours after the security forces blocked Tamils from erecting a memorial stone at the site where tens of thousands were massacred 12 years ago.
Troops began cordoning off the area late yesterday evening, just hours after locals had begun preparations to mark Tamil Genocide Day on May 18th.
Journalists who attempted to access the area at approximately 10.30 pm last night were prevented from entering by armed Sri Lanka troops. All four roads leading to the area had been blocked by soldiers, who refused to allow anyone through.
When they finally were allowed access in the early hours of the morning, the constructed site lay in ruins.
A memorial monument, which depicts a pair of outstretched hands, had been broken off and tossed into the nearby sand. In recent years the monument was the site of annual memorials, with survivors of the massacres lighting flames of remembrance on it.
Tamils also arrived to find that a memorial stone that had been specially constructed and engraved for the 12th anniversary had disappeared entirely.
The memorial stone being brought in by Tamil organisers last night
The inscription on the now missing stone.
“The military must have used heavy machinery to move it somewhere, maybe one of their camps,” said a local journalist. Military boot prints were strewn across the sand, amidst the scattered debris of the memorial.
This morning, however, the military refused to take responsibility for the destruction, telling reporters that they had nothing to do with vandalism or the disappearance of the memorial stone. “Look at how they are lying,” added the journalist.
The destruction comes just days before the 12th anniversary of the massacres will be marked on May 18th, and amidst a ramping up of military intimidation and surveillance across the Tamil homeland.