Bomb squad examines huge LTTE ammo cache
Posted on June 27th, 2018

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SP LOGANATHAN

Rameswaram: Less than 24 hours after a huge cache of ammunition was stumbled upon at the backyard of a house in the coastal fishing hamlet of Anthoniyarpuram near Thangachimadam in Rameswaram on Monday night, there was renewed hectic activity at the spot on Tuesday with the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) arriving there and examining each and every find in the cache.

The stunningly large amount of ammunition, believed to have been left behind by now defunct Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups during the heyday of their activities using landing points on Tamil Nadu coast to allegedly ship arms and ammunition, was found placed in several iron boxes when workers were digging the earth for making a pit for a septic tank in the backyard of a house belonging to one A Edison at Anthoniyarpuram.

Ramanathapuram SP, Mr. Om Prakash Meena was among the first to reach the spot last night and take stock of the cache.

So far 58 rounds of TNT (Trinitrotoluene) explosives, 250 light machine gun (LMG) cartridges kept in 19 steel boxes, four boxes containing 100 rocket launchers besides bullets, 15 ‘granite explosives’ , five ‘ground rockets’, eight rolls of fuse wire and one small dynamo motor have been recovered. (Photo: DC)

 So far 58 rounds of TNT (Trinitrotoluene) explosives, 250 light machine gun (LMG) cartridges kept in 19 steel boxes, four boxes containing 100 rocket launchers besides bullets, 15 ‘granite explosives’ , five ‘ground rockets’, eight rolls of fuse wire and one small dynamo motor have been recovered. (Photo: DC)

Ramanathapuram SP, Mr. Om Prakash Meena was among the first to reach the spot last night and take stock of the cache. The coastal hamlet was again agog with activity since Tuesday morning, as the BDDS team began a fresh round of stock-taking and examining the ammunition dumped inside the coastal sand. Much of the stuff was found to be highly corroded in the initial examination.

Sources said that the high-level police team has so far recovered 58 rounds of TNT (Trinitrotoluene) explosives, 250 light machine gun (LMG) cartridges kept in 19 steel boxes, four boxes containing 100 rocket launchers besides bullets, 15 ‘granite explosives’ , five ‘ground rockets’, eight rolls of fuse wire and one small dynamo motor.

The huge ammunition hail is also believed to include cartridges for medium machine guns and self-loading rifles (SLR). At the time of filing this report the BDDS was still examining the other type of cartridges and explosives that have been seized. It may take few days for the full inventory to emerge.

Those arms dumps were not ours”, said two of the main Sri Lankan Tamil groups that had been operating their camps and boat services in that region during the peak of the Eelam war in the 1980s and 90s. While the EPRLF (Suresh Premachandran) issued a statement in Colombo dissociating itself from the weapons dump on the Ramnad beach, TELO chief Selvam Adaikalanathan told DC in a phone interview that the area where the cache was dug out was never in use by us during that time”.

‘Eelam’ sources said while the TELO had its camp at Pirappanvalasai, about 40 km south of Anthoniyarpuram where the arms dump was dug out, the LTTE had its boat operating close to Vellunditheertham barely five km from the spot.
It should have been the LTTE stock, left buried for later use after being properly wrapped in thick plastic sheets to prevent corrosion. Of course, they were found to be corroded now but that’s because of the long period of time they were left buried in the saline sand”, said a source requesting anonymity.

Another ex-militant said the presence of a large stock of landmines showed that it was a LTTE dump because the Indian Army never gave us landmines, gave them only to the Tigers”.

It was possible that a LTTE leader in control of the Ramnad coastline might have left the dump buried there for later use but could not retrieve it as he himself got incapacitated, either due to the Eelam war or because of internal strife.

There could be several similar big dumps along the coastline from Nagai down to Dhanushkodi; just as the Sri Lankan Army found huge caches of big weapons of the LTTE in the north after the end of the Eelam war in 2009”, he said.

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