SLN sexually harrassed women, beat men in Pesalai- NESHOR

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 January 2006, 15:45 GMT]
Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers forced women to sit on the hot sand with their face to the sand, "asked crude sexually motivated questions and dropped their trousers in front of the women," and beat all 42 men, nine of them severely, said North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESHOR) in a case report issued Saturday on the revenge attack by the SLN on residents of "Hundred House Scheme" in Pesalai following the claymore attack on SLN convoy which killed thirteen soldiers on 23rd December.

PDF IconNESOHR Report on SLN attack on civilians in Pesalai

NESHOR report recounts, from interviews with the displaced residents of the Hundred-House-Scheme, the events preceding the burning down of Cruz's house where Suganthy Fernando, her 3-yer old child and the Cruz couple, Anthoniamma and Emmanuel were burnt to death.

One women resident stated, "Navy men came to the house where Fernando (Suganthy’s husband) had taken refuge with their older five year old boy. The Navy men picked up the five year old boy by his collar and was about to beat him. Fernando instinctively put his arm to take the blow. The Navy men had then turned to the father and said, “Are you so brave and strong thatyou can stop us?” They then severely attacked the father. Fernando sustained severe injuries on his arms, legs, and hips as a result of the attack. He was unable to walk," the report said.

All residents except, nine men and the four who were burnt to death, were rescued from Navy detainment five hours after the claymore incident, and were taken to the local church by the priest. Bishop Rayappu Joseph was able to obtain the release of the other nine men, in a severely beaten condition, only the following day at 12.00 noon, the report said.

When the Assistant Government Agent, and three of her officials got permission to visit inside the houses, after their return said: "“It’s hard to describe what we’ve seen, it’s really cruel. There is a lot of blood that hasrun from inside a house, outside, and down the front steps of the house. The verandah is covered in blood. Because there was so much blood, we couldn’t step into the house.The blood on the steps is still there. We found the hands of a small child just outside the house and a chunk of flesh inside the house among the ashes," NESHOR report said.

The following day, Sunday 25 December, when SLN allowed residents to visit their houses, the report describes what the residents saw: "Fernando immediately recognized the green skirt that his wife was wearing. It was halfburnt. In one area there was dried blood in a puddle, which the Bishop took pictures of. Only the Bishop was allowed to take a camera. They found Suganthy’s national ID (Identity Card), her army ID, and her bank account book as she must have run with her purse and these things were in her purse. Her homeowner’s identity card was also there. They submitted all of these things to the police. The National ID of Emanuel Cruz was also there."

The residents complained of SLN stealing jewellery and cash from their houses when the residents went to collect their belongings on the 26th.

The investigations by Mannar Police will not bring any redress to the affected residents of Hundred House Scheme, the residents told NESHOR officials, the report said.

Related Articles:
04.01.06   NESOHR documents Civilian Impact of war, Forced Evictions
25.12.05   Civilians burnt to death in Pesalai


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