Sri Lankan security forces cordoned off the roads leading to the Sencholai children's home in Vallipunam, Mullaitivu, in an attempt to block any commemorations of the massacre from taking place.
On this day 15 years ago, four Sri Lankan air force jets flew over the Vanni and dropped sixteen bombs over the Sencholai children's home for orphans, killing 53 school girls and 3 teachers.
Relatives of the slain children were sent away as they tried to lay flower garlands to remember those that were killed in the attack. Commemoration events are usually held annually at the memorial arch at the Vallipunam Junction near the site of the bombed home. Those passing by the area were also interrogated and searched by the Sri Lankan security forces.
"We came here to mark the 15th anniversary of the Sencholai massacre and pay our respects, but the army and the police have stopped us from doing so. We need justice for this massacre," said one of the relatives who wanted to pay her respects to the victims of the massacre.
In recent years, Sri Lanka's security forces have clamped down on Tamil memorialisation efforts in the North-East and have routinely perpetrated several incidents of harassment, threats and physical violence.
Read more on the massacre here: Remembering the Sencholai massacre 15 years on.
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