END THE MASSACRE OF TAMIL CIVILIANS – urges TNA

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The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), in an urgent press statement, has called upon the international community to use all its influence with the Sri Lankan state to bring an immediate end to the massacre of Tamil civilians, TamilNet reports.

The TNA further appeals to the international community to intervene to secure immediate medical supplies and medical personnel to be sent to treat the affected civilians.

The statement, dated 26 January 2009, reads:

‘URGENT APPEAL

‘THE Sri Lankan State has announced “Safe Zones” within Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) administered areas where civilians have been asked to move into for their safety.

‘Over the last few days civilians have been concentrating into these areas.

‘Despite the Sri Lankan State declaring these areas “Safe Zones” the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have been bombing these areas causing many civilian deaths and injuries.

‘The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) reliably learns from medical sources in the affected areas that within the last 48 hours the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have launched non-stop bombing campaigns on these self-declared “Safe Zones”.

‘It is estimated that several hundred shells have been fired, reportedly causing over 300 civilian deaths and about 500 gravely injured.

‘The TNA also learns that due to the continuous shelling even the dead and the injured are unable to be transported to the makeshift hospitals that have been set up by the medical staff.

‘Further, the medical supplies and personnel are grossly inadequate to cope with the current number of casualties.

‘There can be little doubt that if immediate steps are not taken to stop the shelling, and emergency medical supplies and medical personnel not sent into the affected areas, there will be many more hundreds of civilian deaths as a result of lack of treatment.

‘Under these dire circumstances the TNA calls upon the international community to use all its influence with the Sri Lankan State to bring an immediate end to the massacre of these Tamil civilians.

‘The TNA further appeals that the international community intervenes to secure immediate medical supplies and medical personnel to be sent to treat the affected civilians.

‘The TNA reiterates that these steps must be taken within the next 24 hours if the civilian death toll is not to increase by several more hundreds.’

In its report of the incident, TamilNet said that ‘in a scene of carnage of untold proportions on civilian targets hit by hundreds of Sri Lanka Army fired artillery shells, within the last 24 hours more than 300 people have died and several hundreds are bleeding to death amidst pouring rain inside the “safety zone” declared by the Colombo government.

‘Houses and vehicles burn for a stretch of three km between Va’l’lipunam Kaa’li temple and Moongkilaa’ru towards Paranthan Road, reports from Vanni said on Monday.

‘Unattended bodies and injured people unable to move are lying around everywhere, while a remaining doctor fled and helpless ICRC officials virtually cried at the scene from their bunkers’, a TamilNet correspondent said.

TamilNet has also published ‘direct eyewitness accounts from the street of Udaiyaarkaddu.

‘Nearly 400,000 people have been told by the army to confine themselves to a stretch of 30 square km.

‘A part of this terrain is marsh and jungle.

‘People have flocked to the remaining patches of coconut groves and they stay there without any amenities or food and with the risk of being attacked even in the “safety zone”.

‘There is only one road in the locality, which is choked by fleeing people.

‘Even this road is targeted by barrages of shells and people have died. The shelling prevents even people from fleeing.

‘The exact number of people dead could be more, as it is not possible to take a count in the other places.

‘Those who are injured are sure to die, as the remaining two hospitals, which were functioning at Udaiyaarkaddu and Va’l’lipunam (Mullaiththeevu hospital), are defunct now.

‘The injured, if they cannot move on their own, are left unattended to bleed to death.’

The fleeing people, including infants, have nothing to eat, mother of a three months old child, S Thayalini, told a TamilNet correspondent.

‘It is not merely a humanitarian crisis, but a shame on human civilization. What a world, watching and abetting the whole thing, having no conscience’ said K Kamalanthan, a social activist who talked to TamilNet while fleeing Udaiyaarkaddu.

In the meantime, says TamilNet, ‘Indian and International News Agencies operating from Colombo have not published any accounts of the mass genocide taking place in Vanni.

‘They continue to eulogize Colombo’s military victories, painting a picture of LTTE “terrorists” using civilians as human shields.

‘These news agencies, which didn’t have the guts to find out what is happening on their own, are spinning stories for the government and are a shame to the profession of journalism and to the Information Age.

‘They cannot deny their role of being a party to the war crime’, said a Tamil journalist who was among the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

l Family members of the sub-postmaster of Vidaththalpa’lai in Mirusuvil, Thenmaraadchi have registered a complaint with Human Rights Commission (HRC) Jaffna that Satkunathasan Kulathasan, 32, the sub-postmaster of Viddaththalpa’lai post-office, has gone missing after going to bed around midnight last Monday.

Vidaththalpa’lai is an area in Thenmaraadchi which is under complete control of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).

‘The abducted sub-post master is a resident of Mirusuvil from where he travels to Vidaththalpa’lai daily for duty.

‘Vidaththalpa’lai is located between Ki’laali and Kachchaai, behind the Ki’laali Front Defence Line (FDL) area in Thenmaraadchi.

‘Earlier, a postal department employee of Nelliyadi post office had gone missing while another postal employee in Pungkudutheevu has also been reported missing.’