Vaddakandal  Massacre

Vaddakandal Massacre

The history of massacres against Tamils had started long before the Tamil youth took to the weapons. All the successive regimes in Colombo were backing the genocidal massacres against Tamils.

State sponsored pogroms against the Tamils in 1958, 1961. 1977, 1983 and the several frequent massacres since independence in 1948 forced the Tamil youths to take up arms as there is no alternative to protect the Tamil civilians.

Vaddakandal is situated in the Mannar district and it is a farming area. On 30.01.1985, around 5.00am in the morning, 200 Sri Lankan military men stationed in the Thalladi military camp came out and moved into the Vaddakandal village through Mathavachchi road and along the Kaddukarai Lake.

At 6.30 am they entered the homes of the villagers and began shooting and stabbing people. During this massacre the Sri Lankan Air Force helicopters also strafed the village. The military entered the Vaddakandal Government Tamil Mixed School and attacked the principal, teachers and students. Eighteen people were killed in the school.

Tamils were shot and butchered to death in execution-style by 300 Sinhala soldiers who had surrounded the village from all directions in the early hours of 30th January in 1985. Farmers, laborers, students, teachers and a school principal were among the massacred at various places in the village. The SL military had been wantonly targeting Tamil villagers in Mannar for more than a month since 04 December 1984, when the Tamil Tigers carried out an ambush on an armored vehicle of the SL military at Moon’raam-piddi, a village located on Mannar – Jaffna Road.

While this killing was going on, the military also attacked people working in the fields and people on the street. This attack went on for six hours. At 2.00pm the military ordered the people to load the military vehicles with the dead bodies and took the bodies to the Thalladi military camp. 52 people died in this massacre and 40 were injured.

Mayilvahanam Mohan’s account of what happened is as follows,

“The SLA from Thalladi Army Camp surrounded the following 3 villages, Palaperuman Kattu and Vaddakandal and Parapankandal. Around 1.00am, we heard vehicle noise. We had no idea they were coming or what they would do. At about 5am in the morning – we heard gun fire from all directions. People woke up and started running everywhere. There was a helicopter in the air which started firing.

They did not worry about a person’s age. Young or old – they were all shot and killed that day. They went into the paddy fields and picked up people with both hands, held them up and shot them for others to see. This is the first time we saw this happen. 35 people were shot in the fields, 15 people were shot in town.

At the school there were about 250 children studying. They dragged the principal and all the teachers out, tortured and shot them in front of the villagers. They were all asked to stand in a line – when they were shot. A few people escaped.

Kumarathasan Rasingam – Secretary Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.

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