Udumpankulam massacre - 60 innocents killed

Place: Udumpankulam, Amparai | Courtesy: Amnesty
| Date: 19860219

On 19 February 1986, Sri Lankan police commandos rounded up as many as 60 Tamil farm workers from a paddy field at Udumpankulam and shot them dead.

The bodies were piled in a heap on partly threshed paddy and covered with straw and sheaves of paddy. Timber from a hut nearby was heaped on the pile and thereafter set on fire.

Eyewitness accounts stated that Sinhala speaking police commandos in camouflage uniforms, together with other armed men (presumed to be Home Guards) surrounded the farm workers at about 7 am.

They collected the men and women in the fields, tied the hand of the men and brought all of them to an adjoining gravel road where they were subjected to beatings, kicked and slashed with their reaping knives.

Subsequently the males were separated from the females and killed in the manner described above. One of the victims was 13 years old, three were over 60 years old and almost all were married with children.

Before the killings, a section of police commandos and Home Guards had ransacked the nearby Thangavelayathupuram and looted all the premises, including the village shops.

Statements attributed to the Ministry of National Security and published in the State controlled media claimed that all the dead were "terrorists". It further claimed that after the security forces left, the terorrists who had fled had ret8urned and cremated the bodies of the dead terrorists, but before doing so had taken video footage and photographs in order to falsely paint a picture of army atrocities on innocent civilians.

The government’s version of events was flatly denied by the Batticaloa Citizens Committee who visited the scene of the crime.

In view of the wide coverage given in the foreign media to this massacrem the government appointed a "Committee of Inquiry" headed by the commander of the Navy.

To date, the Committee has not published its findings.

Of those killed, the following are details of 50 of the victims (vide AI report 30 April 1986)

Name Age Status Children
 
From Aligambe (Arugambay)
Massana Jeyarajah 28 Married
Thassappu Selliah 32 Married 3
Thassappu Samithamby 30 Married 3
Thassappu Sebamalai 20
Thurai Ramalingam 26 Married 1
Muthusamy Muthulingam 20
Rangan Paul 35 Married 3
 
From Thankavelayuthapuram
Seenithamby Sivapalan 28 Married 4
Kumaravel Nakras 27 Married 4
Suwany David 29 Married 3
Seenithamby Thavanthan 30 Married 3
Seenithamby Arulselvam 18
Kanapathy Vadivel 27 Married 2
Ponnambalam Yogarajah 18
Visvakethu Rasa 23 Married
Rasiah Sathasivam 35 Married 4
Arumugam Somasuntharam 35 Married 5
Tharmalingam Sabaratnam 22 Married 1
Ganeshapillai, Mohanarajah 22
Rasiah Thaventhiran 18
Sylvester Innasi 32
Mylvaganam Thiyagarasa 13
Mylan Thiyaharasa 18
Suntharam Sinnavan 20
Tharman 22
Pathamanathan Ramasamy Kandiah 45 Married 6
Markandu Raveenthiran
Ponnan Rajadurai
 
From Akkaraipattu
Arumugam Nallathamby 65 Married 8
Nallathamby Vinayagamoorthy 34 Married 5
Nallathamby Gopalakrishnan 23
Kandappu Pakiyarasa 26 Married 1
Kathiresu Vyramuthu 60 6
Vyramuthu Suntharalingam 22
Aron Somasuntharam 32 Married 2
Kanthasamy Ramalingam 60
Seenithamby Thamotharam 40
Rasiah Sathasivam 35
Sinnathamby Thuraiappa 45
Nallathamby Kanapathippillai 25 Married 1
Nallathamby Vinayagamurthi 35 Married 5
 
From Kommathurai Chenkalady
Tharmalingam Kanageswaran 18
Kanapathippilllai Thangarasa 35 Married 2
Manikkam Kirupai 28 Married 2
 
  The names of the missing tractor drivers, presumed killed are:  
Name Age Status Children
Manahapdy Thiviyanathan 30 Married 1
Thasappu Chelliah 32 Married 5
Gnanamuthu Buventhiran 30 Married 1