Remembering the Kumarapuram Massacre 21 years on
By Together Against Genocide (TAG), Saturday, February 11 2017
Saturday, 11th February will mark the 21st anniversary of the Kumarapuram massacre.
On this date in 1996 24 Tamil civilians, including 13 women and 9 children, were brutally murdered by the Sri Lankan security forces in the village of Kumarapuram in Trincomalee. A further 28 civilians were left with significant injuries.
Two of the murdered Tamil girls had also been gang-raped. Arumaithurai Tharmaletchumi, who was 17 years old, was dragged to the village milk collection centre where she was raped and shot. Tharmaletchumi’s murder was widely reported and became a symbol of Tamil persecution during the civil war.
The massacre is believed to have been carried out in retribution following the shooting of two soldiers at the 58th milepost junction on the Kiliveddy-Muttur road, roughly half a mile from Kumarapuram.
Shortly after the atrocity, the Sri Lankan government arrested a number of soldiers and home guardsmen who it was alleged had been involved. There then followed, for reasons not entirely clear, an inordinate delay before the case was finally brought to Sri Lanka’s Eastern High Court in 2004.
On 27 July 2016, six former army Corporals were acquitted after being found not guilty of carrying out the massacre.
On Saturday the Tamil community in and around Kumarapuram will mark the anniversary by laying the foundation of a monument to the 24 victims.
"This case is a clear miscarriage of justice and TAG stands in solidarity with the families of the victims and the people of Kumarapuram" said Andrew Thorpe-Apps, Advocacy Officer for Together Against Genocide.