British HC visits Mannar Mass Grave : Skeletal remains of 21 children unearthed & Three skeletal have been tied with cable.

Three skeletal remains uncovered at the mass grave found in Mannar appear to have been tied with some substance, according to the Judicial Medical Officer in charge of the inspection Dr S. Rajapaksa stated yesterday (11).

These skeletal remains have been submitted to the Mannar Magistrate and future inspections will be carried out to identify whether the substance that had been tied to the skeletal remains is a metal or part of jewelry item, he said. Accordingly, the skeletal remains will be initially subjected to X-ray tests.

Dr Rajapaksa further said that out of the uncovered 279 skeletal remains, 269 have been systematically removed through excavations and currently placed at the Mannar Magistrate’s Court complex. According to him, considerably smaller skeletal remains suspected to belong to 21 children have also been unearthed. Several skeletal remains had been discovered on March 26 from a mound of soil in the Emil Nagar area in Mannar, which had been removed from the demolished CWE building and investigations regarding the location were launched subsequently.

The investigations, led by Prof. Raj Somadeva of Archaeology at the Postgraduate Institute of the University of Kelaniya, the officers of the Archaeological Department, Government Analysts and the Judicial Medical Officers including Dr Sameendra Rajapaksa, Mannar police officers, have been conducted for 112 days at the location under the orders of the new Mannar Magistrate T. Saravanaraja.

By Dinasena Ratugamage

British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris, on Tuesday, (Dec 11) visited the Mannar mass grave. Dauris was accompanied by several officials. The visit took place close on the heels of the discovery of two pieces of human bones, bound by a cable, on Dec 7. The latest recovery has made the experts engaged in excavating the mass grave wonder whether some of the people buried there had been tortured before being killed.

German Ambassador in Colombo Joern Rohde visited the Mannar mass graves on Nov. 27.

Experts have so far unearthed skeletal remains belonging to 276 persons and 269 of them were removed from the grave for further investigations.

The human skeletal remains were first found by some construction workers while excavating the site behind the CWE Building in Mannar as part of a development project on May 25. On the same day a complaint was lodged with the Mannar Police. Investigations began under the supervision of former Mannar Magistrate Alex Raja. Excavations commenced, on May 28, after it was determined by a team of scientists that the area contained undisturbed skeletons.

As the excavation work continued and more and more skeletal remains were recovered, it was concluded that the place was a mass grave.

J.T. Prabhakaran, who succeeded Alex Raja, as District Judge Mannar gave some important rulings with regard to the mass grave. The excavations of the site are now being carried out under the supervision of incumbent Mannar Magistrate Swarnaraj.

Prof. Raj Somadeva, who leads the forensic archaeological investigation into the grave said that they were yet to date the skeletal remains scientifically. Prof Somadeva said that one section of the grave contained skeletal remains in a pattern that could be observed easily while the other section did not show such specific pattern.

Of the skeletal remains found from the grave so far, 18 were of children, he said, adding that there were skeletal remains of females as it could be inferred from the pieces of jewellery and accessories found along with them. Some skeletons showed the embrace position; he said adding that it was too early to assign a date or an identity to those skeletons.

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