ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sri Lankan Misadventure

Sri Lankan Misadventure THE Indian army in Sri Lanka, it has now been established beyond the slightest doubt, carried out a massacre of Sri Lankan Tamil civilians in Velvettithurai town in the Jaffna area in a deliberately planned operation which began on August 2 and went on for three days. The action was the Indian troops' reaction to the ambushing of an Indian army patrol by the LTTE in which six Indian soldiers were killed. The Indian army's murderous retaliation directed at the civilian Tamil population has been described thus by an Indian journalist writing from Jaffna: "Within hours the IPKF ringed the town, mobilising forces from nearby camps, and commenced shelling the area. When the shelling stopped, a search operation was launched as the troops fanned out on a house-to-house search looking for Tigers. The locals charged that the residents huddled inside houses were dragged out and shot in cold blood. The local citizens' committee says that at least 70 civilians, including women, were killed in the three-day operation. The Red Cross figures support this claim!' The report quotes a Jaffna Red Cross official as saying: "According to our estimate and that of the UNHCR at least 70 civilians have died. And about 15 are women. We are unable to give the exact figure as at least 58 persons, including many boys, are missing" In the two years that the so-called Indian Peace-Keeping Force has now been in Sri Lanka, this incident, while it may be one of the ghastlier ones, is by no means unique or exceptional. What lent it special political significance was that the killing of the Tamils and the plunder of Velvettithurai occurred at just the time when the Indian government was trying to make out, in its talks in New Delhi with the Sri Lankan delegation headed by that country's foreign minister, that the continued presence of the Indian army in Sri Lanka was essential for the safety and security of the Tamil population of northern Sri Lanka.

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