Who was behind Trinco violence?
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo,
April 22, 2006, 5.16 p.m..
Questions have arisen as to whether last week's violence in
Trincomalee was the work of an 'organised group'.
The incidents which took place on April 12, 14 and 15, saw some 60
houses all belonging to Tamils gutted, between 30 to 35 business
establishments burnt (one of which belonged to a Muslim and the rest
to Tamils) and more than 300 Tamil families displaced. The Trinco
incidents also saw some 19 civilians' dead, including 10 Tamils, seven
Sinhalese and two Muslims.
Meanwhile, according to a report sent to the Government Peace
Secretariat, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Indian and Canadian
High Commissions and the US Embassy by the Akhila Illankai Tamil
United Front (AITUF) it has been alleged that on April 12, a Sinhalese
gang from outside Trincomalee went about setting fire to business
establishments belonging to Tamils both on Central Road and on the
North Coast Road. All of these, more than 30 business establishments,
were completely gutted.
AITUF is a newly formed political party consisting of top notch Tamil
politicos including former parliamentarians from the Tamil United
Liberation Front, Eelam Peoples Democratic Party, Eelam People's
Revolutionary Liberation Front, People's Liberation Organisation of
Tamil Eelam, North East Provincial Council members and several Local
Authority Chairmen. Recognition for the party by the Elections
Commissioner was granted on February 10, 2006.
On April 14th, at 3.00 p.m. a Sinhalese gang (from outside
Trincomalee) began breaking and burning houses belonging to Tamils in
Mihindapura where the Technical College is situated. Around 40 Tamil
families fled the area in order to save their lives. The number of
Tamil houses set on fire in Mihindapura is reportedly 15.
The gang, after slaying one Tamil civilian and damaging property at
Mihindupura, moved on to Sivayogapuram armed with swords. This group
then systematically set fire to 48 thatched huts in which families
affected by the 1983 ethnic conflict were living. The group also set
fire to the cadjan thatching around the Nadesar temple with the
intention of burning it down. The structure of the temple was charred
and the female devotee S. Maheswari who maintained the temple was
chopped to death.
However sources noted that these incidents instigated by certain
elements may also be a form of expressing their anger against the
LTTE's continuous harassment and killings of Sri Lankan Army, Navy and
Air Force personnel in the recent past.
The AITUF General Secretary K. Vigneswaran, a former parliamentarian
is also reported to have telephoned President Mahinda Rajapakse on the
New Year's Day requesting him to take necessary steps to arrest the
The report's concluding remarks stressed that, "the incidents of April
12, 14, and 15, 2006 are being described by the Tamils of Trincomalee
as a re-enactment of the July 1983 saga. The state is getting provoked
by the LTTE and is playing into the hands of the Tigers. Instead of
winning over the Tamils, it is driving them into the bosom of the
LTTE. The Tamils of Trincomalee feel betrayed by the Sri Lankan state
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Published: Sat Apr 22 08:20:26 EDT 2006