A remembrance has taken place in the north for more than 60 civilians who were killed in attacks by Indian peacekeepers 34 years ago.
At a function near Tiruvil Park in Velvettiturai, the TNPF paid floral tributes and lit lamps to commemorate the dead on 02 August.
Avenging the killing of six of their officers in a shootout with the LTTE, IKPF members ran rampage in the villages on 02 and 03 October, 1989, murdering children, women and men, looting and destroying properties.
A memorial that had stood in their honour had later been demolished by the Sri Lanka Army.
The Citizens’ Committee for the area has listed that 18 month old Ganeshalingam Shashi was the youngest victim, while A. Ilayaperumal and Nadaraja Nallamuttu, both aged 70, were the oldest to die in the attacks.
Survivors have described how the Indian soldiers, led by Brigadier Shankar Prasad and assisted by two captains Menon and Kapoor, targeted unarmed civilians.
A few days after the massacre, Indian journalist Rita Sebastian had written to the ‘Indian Express’ that some of the people had taken refuge at the home of a retired surveyor Subramanian as a retaliation had been planned.
The IPKP shot Subramanian and then shot the men first, followed by the women,
said Rajeswaran Pushparaja, who was 18 at the time and escaped unharmed by faking death.
He had returned two days later to find nine highly decomposed bodies, including those of his mother and brother, who were subsequently cremated.
An elderly person has said the IPKF had imposed a three-day curfew to prevent the holding of funerals in accordance with their religion.
During the incident, Indian soldiers had also set fire to 123 houses, 45 shops and 176 fishing boats.
George Fernandes, a former Indian defence minister, has described the Velvettiturai incident as India’s My Lai massacre.
The infamous My Lai massacre happened in Southern Vietnam on 16 March 1968, where American forces had killed more than 500 unarmed civilians.
Neither an investigation by Sri Lanka or India happened into the killing of the 63 civilians nor were the victims compensated.
Immediately before and after the Velvettiturai massacre, the IPKF waged similar attacks and killed nearly 60 patients and medical staff at Jaffna Hospital which they had stormed.