Diwali Day massacre at Jaffna General Hospital

Place: Jaffna General Hospital | Date: 19871021

It was a Diwali day - 21 October 1987. In the history of Tamils it will come to be regarded as a "dark day". Due to the military offensive started by the IPKF on the 10th day of October 87, many hospitals were not functioning, and there were no transport facilities. There was a tense situation prevailing as many innocent civilians had been either killed or wounded. Jaffna General Hospital was still functioning in midst of hardships.

But the barbaric acts carried out by the IPKF inside the Jaffna Hospital on that day killed many. The dead included those at work - in the X ray building, doctors in the resting room, in doctors' offices, in guest houses of the doctors, and also all those injured civilians who had been brought there from all over the peninsula.

Dr.C.K.Ganesaratnam who finished his medical studies at the Jaffna University and working as a Surgeon at Jaffna General hospital, Dr. Parimezhakar, head nurse Mrs. P.Vadivelu, nurse Mrs.Mangaitkarasi, the superviors at Leelavati Private Nursing Home- Mr.Selvaraja, S.Seevaratnam, Ambulance Driver V.Shanmugalingam, and active workers at the Jaffna General Hospital Mr.Peter, Mr.M.Thurairasa were among those killed on the spot by the IPKF.

An infant and few other children also became the victims of the IPKF when they made noise, watching these horrors. Struck by a heart attack an aged civlian died died singing the "sivapuraaNam" Barrels and barrels of bullets were spent on innocent patients who tried to seek help. They did the same to the children and the aged who asked for water.

On the next morning, 22 October 1987, Dr.Sivapathasuntharam, who had unknowingly came into hospital premises attempted to save his injured coworkers, was killed by the army personnel who were on guard. The next day the IPKF collected all the dead bodies and burnt all the bodies at the back of the mortuary.

A total of 68 innocent Tamils were killed during this particular barbaric offensive of the IPKF. This number included three Doctors, three nurses, seventeen coworkers at the Jaffna hospital and others were the patients admitted to the hospital.

The killings of Dr.Sivapathasuntharam and other doctors who continued to serve the Tamil community unlike the other doctors who fled to alien lands after 1983 riots has become a dark spot in the history of Tamil people. "