Indian Pontius Pilate’s hands dripping with Sri Lankan blood
Posted on February 10th, 2014

Part II –  H. L. D. Mahindapala

The Sri Lankan delegates assembled in Geneva to combat the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in 2012 were tense. Though they were lobbying frantically no one knew which way the voting would go. The most critical issue was whether India would back Sri Lanka or its new found friend, USA. The Government delegation was going all out to kowtow to India hoping that  it  would not go against Sri Lanka.  India was  playing its card close to the chest.  It was a tactic to pull wool over the eyes of the Sri Lankan delegation saying that it has not made up its mind. India was stalling to keep Sri Lanka guessing. Sri Lankan delegates were still optimistic that India would not let them  down. My calculation was based on two simple factors: 1. India was “the strategic partner” of America in the region,  and (2) the  domestic compulsions facing Delhi left no room for India to maneuver.  Both factors combined could only drive India to vote against Sri Lanka.

I decided to question the role of India in Sri Lanka. I was the first to do so in the side-event presided by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. It was a packed session with ambassadors, INGOs, Tamil diaspora, including Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, waiting to have a go at Sri  Lanka.  While I was in the process of outlining my case against India Samarasinghe quickly rushed to overrule me. He said that India was invited to play its role by Sri Lanka. That is true. There was a clause in the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement signed on 29 July 1987 which stated that Sri Lanka may invite India to implement the agreement. But we did not invite India to commit gross violations of human rights. We invited India to make peace as the name of the Indian Peace Keeping Force indicated.

What happened after the IPKF landed on Sri Lankan soil was a nightmarish horror that shook the Tamil people of  the north and east to their roots.  The tragedy of the Tamil people is that their two self-proclaimed “saviours” ” both the Indians and the Tamil Tigers ” treated them as politically expedient sub-humans who deserved to be kept under their jackboots at any cost for both to achieve their respective political goals. Of the two overlords of  the Tamils the story of  how the Tamil Tigers killed more Tamils than all the other forces  put together is well known. But  the story of India committing atrocities against Tamil civilians, though documented in detail, has been swept under the carpet.  That chapter has been wiped clean off the slate and India is  now behaving as a Gandhian saint who should be worshipped for dragging Sri Lanka into the lowest depths in post-independent history.

The Indian horror story has now moved to a new grisly level with Amnesty International (AI) stepping in to pressure India to take sterner action against Sri Lanka. AI is lobbying globally ” particularly in India ” to make sure that an independent international investigation into the last five months (January 2009 ” May 2009)  of the longest running war in Asia is enforced.  In the meantime,  India is acting like Pontius Pilate washing  its hands off its bloody crimes  in Sri Lanka.  After committing some of  the worst crime in the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War ( from May 1976 ” May 2009)  India is now posing as the moral high  priest with the right  to dictate terms to its victims in Sri Lanka.

It is common knowledge that Sri Lanka would not be in this plight today if India kept its distance and allowed the Sri Lankans to settle their own domestic affairs. Besides, there is a growing consensus in the SAARC region that there was a  better  chance for it to leap forward if India had not obstructed the path to peace, progress and stability. SAARC has remained a backward regional bloc among all the  other regional blocs because of India’s unwanted Big Brotherly (oops, it should be Big Bully) interventions.  India has  never hesitated to rush into the SAARC region like a bull in a China shop. It has never ceased to display its arrogance of power. Both within its borders and outside it India has always moved hastily to quell any threat ” real or imagined —  to its power and sovereignty with brutal force.

India, however, had to pay for its arrogance. Whether  it is the raid into Golden Temple in Punjab to suppress Khalistan of the Sikhs or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka ” both  of which were its  own creations ” India had to pay for each dearly. Its interventions boomeranged with the Sikhs assassinating Indira Gandhi and the Tamils blowing up her son, Rajiv Gandhi.  Bhindranwale of  Khalistan and Prabhakaran of Eelam were two babies bred in the womb of mother India, Indira Gandhi. The Indian mother and the son paid for their creation of these two monsters with their lives.

Now the Indo-Lanka story has taken another twist.  To white wash India’s past crimes AI is now asking the Indian Pontius Pilate to tighten the noose round the neck of Sri Lanka in Geneva. Sri Lanka is told to beware of the ides of March.  I shall come to the role  of  the  INGOs later. But in  the current context, where the do-gooders and busy-bodies are raising moral issues on the conduct of the last five months of the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War in Sri Lanka, it is necessary to focus on India’s violations of  human rights and  its failure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils. The focus on India’s criminal role in persecuting, torturing, raping, massacreing, incarcerating the Jaffna Tamils in particular should not be put in the hard basket never to be  touched  because focusing on Sri Lanka ONLY is a deliberate ploy to divert attention from India’s criminal record.  Lalith Weeeratunga’s move to focus  on India is a moral and legal  necessity for the universal application of international humanitarian law. In short, there cannot be two different judgments on what happened in the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War in Sri Lanka ” a war that was sponsored and fuelled by India violating international law.  There cannot  be one law to pin down Sri Lanka and another  to let India off the hook.

To bring some balance and sanity into the one-sided story of Sri Lanka the  immediate requirement  is to focus on the war crimes committed by India. There are accounts of Indian atrocities in the contemporary reports of the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), and The Broken Palmyrah, two of the reliable sources for the events that took place under the IPKF regime between 1987-1990. However, I am reproducing an edited account of the Indian atrocities published in the Tamil Weekly to convey the pain felt by the Jaffna Tamils under Indian jackboots.

India as Mediator

by Old Jaffna Man

The Indian Army came with the designation Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) but when they left it was felt that they were a Indian People Killing Force. There were no people to send them off in Trincomalee and no one to receive them when they landed in Madras.

Civilians Massacred by IPKF

Jaffna Hospital:- Perhaps the worst atrocity committed by the IPKF was the massacre of 68 innocent civilians inside the Jaffna Teaching Hospital in Oct. 1987.

The names of the people massacred are:- Dr. A. Sivapathasuntheram, Dr. M. K. Ganesharatnam, Dr. Parimelalahar, Mrs. Vadivelu, Matron, Mrs. Leelawathie, Nurse, Mrs. Sivapakiam, Nurse, Mrs. Ramanathan, Nurse, Mr. Shanmugalingam, Ambulance Driver, Mr. Kanagalingam, Telephone Operator, Mr. Krishnarajah, Works Supervisor, Mr. Selvarajah, Works Supervisor, Eleven (11) Minor employees and forty six (46) patients. One of the doctors killed was a Consultant Paediatrician and he was coming down the stairs wearing his cloak and with his stethoscope. When he saw the Indian soldier, he shouted “Doctor, but Was shot down.

Duraiswamy brothers :- On the way to the hospital, the soldiers passed the ancestral home of late Sir Waithilingarn Duraisamy, Speaker in the State Council. Two of his sons, retired and past 70 years, were residing in their ancestral home next to the Jaffna Clock Tower. One was R. Duraiswamy (SLAS) Retd. Secretary. Ministry of Local Government and M. Duraiwswamy Retd. Staff Officer Bank of Ceylon. Both were shot and killed.

Sivasubramaniam Family:- Mr. S. Sivasubramaniam, retired Director of Irrigation (now designated Director General), his wife, Mrs. Sivasubramaniam, retired teacher and their only son, a brilliant boy who had studied at St. John’s College, scored 4A’s in the GCE (AL) and was in the second year of Medical College.

Mr. Sivasubramaniam was a personal friend, a quiet soft spoken gentleman, brilliant in his professional field. His entire family was erased from the face of the earth.

Chief Justice Sharvananda’s sister and her family :– Chief Justice S. Sharvananda’s sister, her husband, son and two domestic helpers were shot dead. Justice Sharvananda, far from attending his sister’s funeral, did not even know for over one week that his sister and family had perished. There was blanket censorship over what was being done to the Tamils in Jaffna.

Other Civilians Killed in Jaffna:- Prof. P. Chandrasekeram, University of Jaffna, Dr. R. W. Crossette Thambiah (must have been 80 at the time), Dr.
Selvaratnam Former DMO Maskeliya, Dr. S. Pararajasingham JMO, L. F. M. Samuel Rtd. Teacher (St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia & Royal College, Colombo – older Thomians and Royalists might remember him), K. J. Sambanthar Retd. DLO & Asst. Land Commissioner, Jaffna, Mrs. S. Sivanandaraja (mother), Mohanraj (son) Technical Officer, Irrigation Dept., Mrs. Krishnam, Mrs. M. Sebastiampillai, Mrs. N. R. Thuriappa, Mrs. V. Ruthiralingam, C. S. Aaron.

Urumpirai:- A. Subramanium Attorney at Law, Mr. & Mrs. Pancharatnam, Rtd. Teachers, K. Navaratnam Rtd. Divisional Supdt. of Post Offices, S. Nadarajah,
Formerly SLBC, Tamil Service, P. Arooran , M. Nadaraja, S. Rasanayagam Rtd. Credit Controller CCC Ltd.

Anaikoddai:- Mrs. M. Weerasegaram Pillai, (Mother), Pillai Yasotha Weerasegararn (Daughter), Mrs. S. Thanapalasingham (Mother) Miss N. Thanapalasingham. (Daughter) S. Kulasegerampillai, Retd. Station Master, Mrs. M. Arumugam Mrs. R. Gnanamuttu, A. Candappu Rtd. State Officer, S. Selvaranee.

Pirampadi, Kokuvil etc.:- A large number of civilians were killed in Pirampadi and Kokuvil and buried in mass graves. The whole matter requires a book to do full justice. Among those who managed to escape was late Justice K. Palakidner, who was then High Court judge Jaffna, his wife and two daughters.

More than our relatives, we mourn the death of the elder son of the chief priest of our temple, Subramaniya Kurukkal. He performed the ancient Hindu marriage ceremony for me and my wife in 1962. Young Kannan Iyer, 28 years old, very fair, very handsome, well versed in Sanskrit and Hindu neethi and also a fully qualified Accountant, managing his own Accounting firm in Jaffna told his father to stay at home and that he would go by bicycle by a circuitous route to the temple to light the lamps.

Instead of going to the temple, he went to heaven. He was shot just outside their gate and as it was raining heavily and the curfew was in force, nobody discovered what had happened till the following day. Twenty six persons lost their lives in my village alone, during the Indian army’s campaign to gain control of Jaffna Peninsula in October-November 1987.” (Tamil Weekly,  November 13 ” 19, 2005)

To be continued

5 Responses to “Indian Pontius Pilate’s hands dripping with Sri Lankan blood”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    The fault is with MR. He still considers Endia a relative and allows too many Endian businesses in the country. There are 41 Endian CEOs parasiting on SL! This is UNACCEPTABLE.

    This is how Endia pays MR back.

    If MR sleeps with Endian dogs he will wake up with Tamil fleas. He has only himself to blame.

    We need someone like Premathasa to tell the Endians off. Unfortunately MR doesn’t have that courage.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Whatever Mahindapala Ayya crying ( which is absolute truth) I don’t belive MR will ever threaten or challange India.
    I belive India has a storng latch on him.

    If he does this ONCE, I will be a slave to Sunil Mahattaya for ever.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    “To bring some balance and sanity into the one-sided story of Sri Lanka the immediate requirement is to focus on the war crimes committed by India”. Once accusations against India stick the other nations will be forced to look at human rights commited in Sri Lanka ( and not by the Sri Lankan forces) in a different light.

    What also stood out in the article is that the LITE killed more Tamils than any other force and to correct another statement. The Sri Lankan civil war was not the longest in Asia. It was the longest in the world in the 20th to 21st century.

  4. NAK Says:

    Investigations should begin from 1972 and not 76. If I remember correct it was KP who said that they were recruited by RAW somewhere in 1972.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    NAK is right. VP played with bombs in 1972. Alfred Duraiappah was killed in 1975. So it has to commence from 1972.

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