SLA troops kill student, wound another

Place: Kaluwankerny | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 20000819

"The army shoots civilians whenever it comes into Kaluwankerny. This is why innocent civilians in the village run for their life when they know the army is entering the area. My son went behind the house when he saw people running on the road, shouting "the army is coming into the village".

He was killed there by soldiers who shot him and his friend" said Vairamuthu Manikkavel, 48, at the inquest into the death of his son the M.Vijayatharsan, 20, before Batticaloa district judge J. Viswanathan at the Eravur hospital Saturday.

"My son is a student at the Morokkoddaanchenai Ramakrishna Mission Tamil Mixed School. He was doing his General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level). He had gone to see his friend Kokularaj near the Catholic church in the village which is half a mile from my house" said Mr.V.Manikkavel, 48, who is the principal of the Thirumahal school in the coastal village of Kaluwankerny.

The Sri Lanka army handed over the body of the student Vijayathrsan to the Eravur hospital last evening. The SLA had claimed that it was that of a Liberation Tiger they had shot in Kaluwankerny yesterday during an operation there around 5 p.m.

The judge ordered that the body of the student be handed over to his parents and directed the Police to produce the soldiers who were involved in the killing before the Batticaloa district court on Monday 21 August.

The judge also recorded the evidence of Sathasivam Kokularaj, 21, who was wounded in the shooting and who is now being treated at the Batticaloa hospital.

In his evidence Kokularaj said, "I am a GCE A.L student at Carmel Fatima college in Kalmunai (40 K.M north of Batticaloa). My friend Vijayatharsan come to my house to play our guitar and the organ. Music is our main hobby.

"My friend was playing the organ when we saw people running on the road shouting that the army was coming into the village. We ran from the house because some people who stayed at home before were shot dead by the army. But the army had come behind the house as well.

"When we saw them we put up our arms and pleaded with them 'we are innocent. Don't shoot us'. But the soldiers fired on us. I saw my friend falling dead. I was shot in my left leg and I fell on the ground.

"My mother came to help me. She was severely beaten up by the soldiers. The tied my hands and beat me up too. My mother was assaulted again. They took my purse and identity card".

Mr. J. Viswanathan visited the area in Kaluwankerny where the student was shot Friday upon a request by Mr.Manikkavel who said that as Kaluwankerny is frequently affected by the actions of the army the judge himself should see the place.

Eravur District Medical Officer S.Sukumar examined the body of the student killed by the SLA.


Killing of student ruled homicide

[TamilNet, August 24, 2000 12:26 GMT]

The Batticaloa District Judge Wednesday returned a verdict of homicide in the death of a student who was shot by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers on August 18.

M.Vijayatharsan, 20, a GCE (A/L) student of Ramakrishna Mission Tamil Mixed School in Morokkoddaanchenai, was shot dead by SLA soldiers at Kaluwankerny.

The judge, Mr.J.Viswanathan further ordered Eravur police to produce three soldiers, who had opened fire, for an identification parade in front of the victim's friend Kokularaj, who was also wounded in the incident. Kokularaj,21, is being treated at the Batticaloa Hospital for injuries. (Photo: M.Vijayatharsan)

The courts recorded statements of Kokularaj, his mother, Thavamany, Vijeyatharshan's father, Vairamuththu Manikkavel, District Medical Officer Dr.S.Sukumar and 2nd Lieutenant Weerasinghe of the SLA.

The SLA officer claimed in his testimony that the victim was a member of the Liberation Tigers and they recovered a hand grenade from him. According to the officer the youth was shot at from a distance of nearly 100 metres.

The medical officer, who conducted a post-mortem, however, explained to the courts that the youth was shot at close range. He said no rounds were recovered from the victim's body.

The judge in his verdict said medical officer's report contradicts with the testimony of the SLA officer. He further said that parents' testimonies clarify that Vijeyatharshan and Kokularaj did not have any connection with militant groups and that they were students.

The judge said it was an "unwanted killing" and ordered the police to produce three SLA soldiers involved in the incident before the courts on 6 September.