Thursday, May 12, 2011

Relatives of missing people ‘still in grief’

By Arthur Wamanan | The Nation

The people who were affected due to the war should be compensated and be given equal prominence, Dr Murali Vallipuranathan, a community medicine specialist attached to the Health Ministry, told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

He said people belonging to all communities, who had been affected due to the civil war and riots, should be equally compensated.

The government has the responsibility to accept the mistakes committed in the past, Dr. Vallipuranathan said.

He said the relatives of the missing people continued to suffer due to mental agony.

He therefore said the government should declare the deaths in custody and put an end to the mental agony of the relatives.

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan during the session on December 8 told the commission that it was acting in such a way that incriminated the LTTE.

He said the commission should not have called the doctors who served in the Wanni, as the cases against them were not dropped and they were at the mercy of the government.

He pointed out that certain questions posed towards the doctors incriminated the LTTE.
The LLRC maintained that it was not functioning to praise the government but to ascertain the truth as to what happened during the final stages of the battle last year.

He was quick to assert that he did not sympathise with the LTTE and did not approve of its actions.

The commission, responding to Dr Vallipuranathan’s views, said the questions were asked from the doctors to ascertain the truth as to what happened at the final stages of the war.

The commission pointed out that it was not incriminating any organisation.


In his submissions, Dr Vallipuranathan said his father (49) was among the 85 civilians who were massacred at Pankulam, Trincomalee, on their way to Jaffna.

He said the incident occurred the day after LTTE had attacked Pankulam police station.

“According to the few survivors of the massacre at that time, it was carried out by security forces. To date, no proper inquiry was held and nobody was charged for this gruesome massacre,” he told the commission.

In addition, Dr Vallipuranathan stressed that the displaced people should be resettled in their own places.

He pointed out that resettling them in their own places would help them overcome psychological and mental issues and get back to normal life.

He said that the military had put up luxury quarters on his father’s land in Vasavilan, a high security zone.

He said the land was not vacated even after a Supreme Court directive in 2006.

The commission in response to this issue said that it was looking into this matter, as there were several complaints.

The commission requested the doctor to provide the address and other details for it to look into the matter.

Dr Vallipuranathan also briefed the commission on the issues faced by the people who lived under the LTTE controlled areas in the 1990s due to restrictions on certain essential items.


In his submission, Dr Vallipuranathan said certain medicines were not allowed to be transported into LTTE-controlled areas during the conflict in the 1990s.

He added there were many deaths due to malaria in the LTTE-controlled areas during the late 1990s. He pointed out that 451 deaths out of 540 due to malaria were reported from the north and east between 1997 and 1999.

He also pointed out that during the final stages of the war, the government had claimed there were only 70,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone and had sent medicines and food items to the said amount.

“At the end of the war, the government statistics itself shows that the population that lived under LTTE control was more than 300,000,” he said.

In his submission, Dr Vallipuranathan also said he was not allowed to assist the war casualties soon after the end of the war.

“Though I gave my name to serve in these camps, my name was deliberately excluded,” he said.
He said he was aware of other Tamil doctors who were not allowed to serve in camps.

© The Nation

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