மே 13 என்பது என் வழ்வின் அற்புதமான நாளாகத் தான் எப்போதும் இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும்.
1981 இல் மே 13 க்கு பின்னரான நாட்களில் தீட்டப் பட்ட கொடும் திட்டத்தின் படுகொலையின் செய்தியினை மே 31 நள்ளிரவில் யாழ் நூலகத்தில் கொழுந்துவிட்டெரிந்த தீ உலகிற்க்குச் சொல்லியது. 2006 அந்த படுகொலைக்கு 25 வயது.அதற்க்கு 18 தினம் முன்பாக மே 13 நள்ளிரவில் யாழ்ப்பாணம் அல்லைப்பிட்டியில் உறங்கிகொண்டிருந்த அப்பாவிகளை உயிர்பலிவாங்கின சில துப்பாக்கிகள்.
நான் மறந்தாலும் மே 13 என்னைச் சூழ உள்ளவர்களால் எப்போதும் நினைவு படுத்தப்படும் நாள்.இந்த ஆண்டு அதற்கு பல தினங்கள் முன்பதாகவே அது எனக்கு நினைவில் வலியாய் வந்தது.கடந்த வருடத்தில் யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில் அந்த மக்களின், சின்ன் சின்னப் பிள்ளைகளின் உணர்வினைக் சில நாட்கள் கூடவே இருந்து கண்டிருகிறேன்.அதனைப் பதிவு செய்திருகிறேன்.
கொலை செய்தவர்கள் குறித்த விபரம் தெரியும் என்று நீதிபதியிடம் சொன்ன சாட்சிகள் இன்றுவரை என்ன ஆனார்கள் என்று யாருக்கும் தெரியாது. பெரும்பாலும் இனியும் தெரியப்போவதில்லை.யார் கொலை செய்தார்கள் என்பதும் இனித்தெரியப் போவதில்லை.ஒருகிராமமே ஏதிலிகளானது........
அந்த மே 13 படுகொலையில் இறந்துபோன ஒரு வயது கூட ஆகாத சின்னப் பிஞ்சுகள் இரத்ததில் மிதந்ததைப் பார்த்த இளம் குழந்தைகளின் உணர்வுகளை, சென்ற வருடத்தில் கட்டுரையாக எழுதியிருந்தேன்.ஆங்கிலத்தில் எழுதப் பட்ட அந்த கட்டுரையை உங்கள் வாசிப்புக்காக தருகிறேன்.
(உங்கள் வேலைப் பளுக்களுகிடையில் இந்தக் கட்டுரையைப் படிப்பது கடினமெனில் நேரமிருக்கையில் வாசியுங்கள்)
Human rights: Fear stalks the survivors of Allaipiddy
Courtesy: Northeastern Monthly - July 2006
We are scared. We d not know why they kill little children. After the massacre that night we peeped through the window. Children were swimming in pools of blood. My uncle was also in the same state,? said a young girl.
Another girl added ?Those who did not see the actual scene saw pictures of the dead kids. We like to live at Allaipiddy but we are scared.?
These children (whose names like those of most others in this article are withheld for security reasons) are displaced in a Catholic church in Jaffna town after the massacre at Allaipiddy in Kayts on 13 May. Like this child others too are bereft of their homes and cannot return.
Ironically, none but the Sri Lanka navy and the EPDP cadres in Allaipiddy are willing to give protection to the civilians. Let alone being reluctant to accept security guarantees from the navy and EPDP, the civilians are also apprehensive of residing near camps in fear such places might be attacked by the Tigers.
The people of Allaipiddy returned to the village they abandoned in 1990 after the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002. They rebuilt their homes and businesses. Till 13 May this year they believed they could live in Allaipiddy though fighting was raging elsewhere. Today however residents feel the killings at Allaipiddy are without precedent because unlike on other instances where people of the area are arrested on suspicion after an attack on government forces, in the case of Allaipiddy, the navy deliberately targeted civilians, including children, without cause.
I am quite certain the victims had nothing to do with any subversive activity. It is precisely this reason that we feel there is no guarantee for the lives of anyone at Allaipiddy. That is why the whole village fled elsewhere for refuge,? said a displaced resident from the village.
Residents however believe that the navy was interested in acquiring the house where the family was massacred, but its owners were unwilling to part with it. This could be the punishment.
Allaipiddy, as was the case in most of the villages that are now within the 144 sq. km. high security zone (HSZ), first suffered displacement in 1990. Many of the survivors are fishing families from coastal areas such as Kankesanthurai and Keerimalai, while others are from the interior farms of Tellipalai.
The Sri Lankan security forces moved into Allaipiddy in 1990 because of a need to establish a camp to facilitate troop movement and supply lines to the Jaffna Fort, which was at that time under the control of the Sri Lanka government. The disappearances, extrajudicial executions and sheer terror perpetrated by the security forces on the civilian population at Allaipiddy forced them to vacate the village.
It is believed more than 100 persons were either killed or disappeared from that village during the military campaign of 1990. (An account of the depopulation of three villages: Mandatheevu, Allaipiddy and Mankumban are set out in a North East Secretariat for Human Rights ? NESOHR ? report published in 2005). What remained till resettlement began after the CFA was initialled were the navy and the EPDP.
Allaipiddy will remain a contentious spot because it occupies the strategically important position it does. As long as the LTTE retains its base at Pooneryan, the navy needs Allaipiddy to control LTTE sea movements between its base and the government facilities at Kankensanthurai. It will also be of some importance as a supply line for troops in Jaffna.
Rev Fr. Amalraj a Catholic priest attached to the parish at Allaipiddy rescued some injured people from certain death by taking them to hospital on the night of 13 May. The navy tried its best to prevent him in fear the survivors would later identify the killers. Through his prompt and humane action three persons survived and are now witnesses ? two old people and a child. It is believed that the woman took a glancing shot and fell down and the killers had left her for dead. The man was severely injured and was admitted to hospital, but lived to tell the tale. The child was hiding behind a door and saw all what happened.
Returning to Allaipiddy is almost impossible. There is no security for Tamil civilians. However, there is no difference between Allaipiddy and the rest of Jaffna. When I ride a motorbike even in Jaffna town I feel the small of my back tingling in fear of straying into the crossfire,? said Amalraj.
Many people in Jaffna think similarly. Rather than the day-to-day killings that are the order of the day at present, the period when there was total war was better they feel. After four years of the CFA, terror has suddenly re-emerged with disappearances and murder that make the residents feel very vulnerable.
According to the Human Rights Commission (Jaffna) 153 disappearances have been reported recently. But it is well known that those whose names are reported form only a fraction of those whose rights have been violated in some way. Due to the multiplicity of possible perpetrators, the public is scared to complain to the authorities. Second, it is mostly the educated and the city dweller that has access to the HRC not those in the outlying villages who have to cross checkpoints manned by the military to reach Jaffna. Young people do not complain nor do families with young people ? the high risk category.
Human rights activists feel that people living in groups are harassed more than others because if the military enters a place with a large group of people, they abuse more people. This could be because the demonstration effect of such abuse could have greater impact than in the case of few individuals. It could also be because nobody takes ultimate responsibility in an IDP camp and the security forces can behave with impunity.
An example of what happened recently is illustrative. When a claymore blast occurred near a welfare centre, soldiers entered the centre on suspicion the perpetrators could have run inside. When they could not find them they turned violent hands on the young males within the camp. Then they told the males and the older folk to leave the makeshift huts while the girls were kept inside. The soldiers and the girls remained together for around half an hour.
The victims are unwilling to speak because they might be victimised again. They are scared to report to the HRC either,? said an NGO worker laconically.
Another reason the public is scared to complain is because the perpetrators of violence are not easily identifiable. It could be the military, the paramilitaries or the Tigers. The confusion and the culpability of all parties in some way or another have given rise to distrust towards all of them.
A woman having love affair with EPDP cadre is killed, as much as the man who gives meals to the LTTE. The Jaffna public was trained to protect themselves when there was full-scale war, including air raids, but today, since individuals are the target there is no escape,? the NGO worker said.
The only option is to run away from Jaffna, but it will be better to go overseas,? said a resident.
It was when the Jaffna public was under such stress that the bodies were discovered at Kopay. The body of a Hindu priest was exhumed and identified. He had no political connections. The body of a youth was also discovered there, wearing a watch that was eerily still ticking. He too was identified but there was report about him with the HRC. Nobody had complained to the HRC he was missing because he had gone to his grandmother?s home and was not missed anywhere till the fateful news arrived of his corpse.
What is more, though there are details of killing people look at it as news and sensation. It has not acted as a preventive of further killing. Therefore, the acts of violence continue unabated. This is partly because the law enforcement machinery is impaired, but not entirely.
Civil society has lost its voice and the state acts as if it has no obligation towards one as a citizen. So even public opinion carries no weight,? said the NGO worker.
An existence wrapped with fear is beginning to tell on people?s minds. Psychological disturbance is not only telling on them in the way they handle conflict-related issues but also in other matters that they confront in their day-to-day lives. Amongst the groups vulnerable are children.
The next generation is badly affected because they see pictures in the media as well as in real life, which leaves them scarred,? said Dr. S. Sivayogam a psychiatrist at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital.
The public believes that anyone can kill anyone else and get away with it. It creates a great sense of vulnerability and futility, which is affecting their emotional well being.
Civilians do not carry arms. But in today?s war it is they who are worst affected. It is the government and LTTE that should guarantee civilian protection and how well they do it will play an important role in defining the politics of the future.