The Tamil National alliance (TNA), today, called for an independent international probe into the mass grave found in Mannar.
The skeleton count rose to 59 today, after the 20th excavation at the site was completed. Evidence of bullet holes have been found on the skeletal remains whilst others bodies have been found with hands bound.
Speaking to Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, the TNA parliamentarian for Mannar, Selvam Adaikalanathan, implored,
“We are also aware that some of the western countries, including the US, who are experts in forensic tests, excavation and investigation have expressed their willingness to assist the local excavation and investigation processes, but they have not been granted necessary permission. We, the Tamils, cannot simply rely on the Sri Lankan government for justice. If the investigations are to be independent, it has to be an international one.”
Outlining the risk of losing evidence, Adaikalanathan stressed the urgency of his calls, stating,
“One more human skeletal remain was recovered when digging took place yesterday for the 21st time, taking the total number to 59. At least one of them was said to be of a child. We still don’t know the extent of this mass grave. Some of the skeletal remains had bullet holes while some others have been found with their hands bound behind their bodies. We urgently call for an independent international investigation into this mass grave. Otherwise, there is risk of evidence being tampered with or destroyed completely.”
Adaikalanathan outlined future plans to hold demonstrations with thousands of family members of the disappeared, who fear for the fate of their loved ones,
“We, the TNA have also organised a massive protest really in Mannar on March 12 with the participation of families of tens of thousands of disappeared, leaders and members of the civil society and leading human rights activists, to demand an immediate independent international investigation into this mass grave.”
The mass grave was first discovered when construction workers found two human skeletons on December 20th when digging in Thirukketheeswaram.
The following week, a further four skulls were unearthed, with more over subsequent weeks (see also here, here, here, here, here and here).
The Bishop of Mannar, who has called for an international investigation into the mass grave due to the lack of credibility associated with any internal process, had earlier said that the holes in many of the skulls were believed to be from gunshot wounds.
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