Killing of Rev. Arulpalan

Place: Konavil, Killinochchi | Courtesy: Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India
| Date: 19970909

A Tamil Nadu priest, Rev. Arulpalan was arrested by the Sri Lankan Army on 25 August 1997 and murdered when he went to visit the farm run by his church in Konavil, Killinochchi. Two people who accompanied him were also murdered.

The farm was in the vicinity of the army s positions near Killinochchi town. The Rev. Arulpalan and his companions were arrested by the army on 25 August, according to a local priest. Their bodies were discovered in the area on 9 September according to the ICRC.

Rev. Arulpalan s body bore evidence that he had been slashed and shot. The bodies of his companions were also found. The severity of the attack meant that the body parts could not be identified and the two people were buried in the same coffin.

Following adverse publicity following the discovery of the bodies, the Sri Lankan army denied having arrested the three victims.

However, the official denial contrasts sharply with other evidence. In a letter to President Chandrika, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India said that they had contacted the Ministry of Defence on 28 August and had been told that it would be a routine check .

In addition to the Jaffna Diocese, the World Council of Churches, the All Ceylon Hindu Congress have condemned the killings, and called for independent and impartial inquiries.

So far, the Sri Lankan government has not initiated any investigation into the matter.

The Sri Lankan army captured Kilinochchi town in September 1996, forcing the 200,000 Tamil residents to flee. In the twelve months afterwards, at least 100 people who tried to return their homes were arrested and murdered by Sri Lankan troops there.