Lankan army draws blood as Tamils run for their life

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: New Ind Express
| Date: 20000500

MADURAI: The Sri Lankan Tamils caught in the crossfire between the LTTE and the army have discovered that they cannot escape shedding blood in order to leave the island. According to a majority of the refugees who have arrived in Dhanushkodi near Rameswaram during the past 48 hours, the Sri Lankan army has made blood ``donation'' by Tamils mandatory for catering to their wounded defence personnel.

``Even old people and children are not being spared,'' said a refugee to the Indian authorities who rescued them. The Lankan army and navy have tightened their grip around the coast in a bid to restrict the movement of Tamils to India. ``The idea is to extract blood and use us as human shields,'' the refugees alleged.

A qualified nurse, who was among the refugees, said on her arrival on Monday that two civilians had died of excessive blood extraction recently near Jaffna.

The refugees said the Lankan army had established several medical camps to treat the injured defence personnel and a team of soldiers was engaged in forcing the Tamil civilians to give blood. Even those fleeing the island were compelled to make last-minute donations.

Sources on Monday said that over 5,000 refugees were waiting for ferries at Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka. The refugees who have arrived here said a proper boat service was needed between Thalaimannar and Arichamunai to save those fleeing the country. The refugees leaded for the International Red Cross to intervene and rescue the civilians.

Nine more Lankan Tamil refugees arrived on the Indian shores this morning from the fourth island, where they were dropped by illicit boat operators late last night. The refugees, including five women and a girl child, who belong to areas in Jaffna and Mullaitheevu, boarded a boat at Thalaimannar on May 21 evening and reached the fourth island the same night.

They were spotted by Rameswaram fishermen and officials of the Fisheries Department brought them to Dhanushodi. They were sent to the Mandapam refugee camp, sources added.