Photograph: A UK mercenary pictured training Sri Lankan soldiers in the 1980s. JDS Lanka Britain’s Foreign Office plans to shred dozens more files about its relationship with Sri Lanka, in addition to the hundreds of diplomatic it has already destroyed, writes Phil Miller in JDS Lanka this week. “I found, from British air force files that had survived the shredder, that a senior British intelligence officer made two visits to Sri Lanka in 1979 to advise how to deal with the Tamil militancy,” writes Miller. “In 1980, a British special forces training team visited Sri Lanka to help set up an army commando unit.”
Mullivaikaal today is a picture perfect beach with a small fishing community. Boats line the seafront, stuffed with freshly caught fish, sting rays and even tiny sharks. It is hard to imagine that this beach was soaked in the blood of thousands of Tamils in 2009, as the Sri Lankan military indiscriminately shelled the last strip of territory controlled by the outlawed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The fishermen say they were allowed to return here in 2012, and the physical signs of massacre have mostly been erased now, apart from a few sand bags in a crater behind the beach. But the pain is still etched onto the memories of the survivors, and many live in ramshackle shelters struggling to make a living.