The former military intelligence head of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) says Deputy Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, known as Karuna Amman, should apologize for the crimes committed during the time he was in the LTTE.
Colonel R. Hariharan, who served as the head of intelligence of the IPKF from 1987 to 90, said in a post on the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG) that whenKaruna took over as Special Commander of Batticaloa in 1990, LTTE cadres under his command perpetrated some of the heinous killing of innocent civilians including women and children.
These included the massacre of 175 Muslims praying in Kattankudy mosque and many other Muslims (some estimates say up to 300) including women and children in Kattankudy and Eravur.
Hariharan recalled that a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report of March 28, 2013 lists his other “achievements” in this period as LTTE leader: “In June 1990, 400 to 600 police officers who had surrendered to LTTE forces, many of whom may have been under Karuna’s control, were bound, gagged, and beaten. The LTTE then executed the Sinhalese and Muslim police officers among them. Karuna has admitted that the LTTE committed these killings in an interview with the BBC, but claims he was not at the scene. Under the legal principle of command responsibility, though, Karuna could still be criminally liable for the massacre even if he was not physically present.
“In another case, in July 1990, Karuna’s forces stopped a convoy of Muslims traveling in eastern Batticaloa district and executed about 75 people, including women and children. In August 1990 Karuna’s forces killed more than 200 civilians in two incidents in Batticaloa district,” it adds.
After Karuna broke off with the LTTE in 2004, he worked in support of Sri Lanka Army. During this period, he and his supporters have been accused of indulging in forced disappearances, recruitment of children as cadres, intimidation, extortion and even killings.
In March 2013 when Karuna asked for war crimes investigations for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)’s alleged links of with the LTTE, Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said “his [Karuna’s] LTTE forces were implicated in some of Sri Lanka’s most horrific abuses, so the government’s long-stalled war crimes investigations might as well begin with him.”
Hariharan says President Rajapaksa had chosen to ignore Karuna’s crimes for the support rendered by him and his cadres in aid of the Sri Lanka forces during the Eelam War.
“So far Karuna has not even apologized for his conduct during the LTTE days and thereafter, let alone showing remorse for the crimes,” Hariharan said.
Earlier Karuna had accused the IPKF of rape and murder when they conducted operations in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)