Govt. insists P’karan killed in mangrove swamp

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dismissed a statement attributed to UTHR (University Teachers for Human Rights) that the army captured LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and tortured him before being killed.

He said that there was absolutely no truth in claims of Prabhakaran or any other hardcore being taken alive.

Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka and Major General Kamal Gunarathne, too, had denied reports that Prabhakaran was taken alive. They said that Prabhakaran was killed during a confrontation in the Nanthi kadal lagoon along with several dozens of LTTE cadres.

A senior officer who had been at Nanthi kadal at the time of the recovery of the LTTE leader’s body said that troops found his body as President Mahinda Rajapaksa was making a special statement in Parliament on May 19.

He said that nothing could be as ridiculous as the claim that the Prabhakaran was probably tortured at the headquarters of the 53 Division in the presence of a Tamil government politician.

The UTHR quoted high-level military sources as saying that Prabhakaran was tortured in the presence of "a Tamil government politician and a general".

The torture, it said, took place probably at the headquarters of the Army’s 53 Division, which battled the LTTE before crushing it last month.

"Several army sources have said that Prabhakaran’s (younger) 12-year-old son Balachandran was killed after capture. Our (sources) said that he was killed in front of his father," said UTHR, which has always been critical of excesses both by the military and the LTTE.

"These sources added that this information is correct unless officers at the highest level are fibbing to one another.

"Our sources, in addition to several others have said that all the LTTE persons remaining in the NFZ (No Fire Zone) were massacred," it added in a 48-page report.

UTHR pointed out that the government was evasive about the fate of Prabhakaran’s wife Mathivathani.

It quotes a brigadier as saying: "We had to look for Prabhakaran’s body because the world was interested in seeing it. But the body of his wife is not of any importance to us."

The UTHR report said: "That would be the fate of the unknown hundreds of civilians and militants killed in those last days (of fighting)."

According to the report, among the LTTE leaders who surrendered to the army included Baby Subramaniam, a member of the group since 1976 and one of Prabhakaran’s oldest associates.

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