Commission of Inquiry on Indian War Crimes in Sri Lanka

Indian Air Force in Sri Lanka

– By Shenali Waduge –

India demands Sri Lanka holds a “credible investigation”. Sri Lanka must oblige India. That investigation must cover two important aspects. Firstly, it must cover India’s role in creating, training, financing and supporting the LTTE as a terrorist movement and India’s war crimes committed on Sri Lankan citizens by the IPKF. Accountability for these massacres by the Indian IPKF needs to be included to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. If US says the Resolution is an expression of support then the international community must support Sri Lanka to ensure India does not obstruct investigations into crimes by India. This is the conditionality with which the COI should commence under a clearly articulated mandate. RAW head said to Rajiv Gandhi “Don’t worry about the LTTE, they are our boys, they will not fight us(IPKF)” – LTTE fought back because IPKF were killing and raping Tamils in North Sri Lanka while a former Maj. Gen. of the Indian army declares Indian soldiers killed over 20,000 Tamil civilians in Northern Sri Lanka! IPKF prohibited the entry of international human rights organizations like Amnesty, ICRC from entering the North.

IPKF came to be called the Innocent People Killing Force because they killed civilians! IPKF was sent to Sri Lanka without the consent of the Indian Parliament.

The scale of crimes committed by Indian troops in Sri Lanka has gone unnoticed. Prabakaran himself said that it was the atrocities committed by the IPKF that contributed towards his decision to kill Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. This corroborates with Former LTTE military commander turned Minister V. Muralitharan or Karuna Amman who claims that the LTTE female cadre who killed Rajiv had been raped by the IPKF. While even the Supreme Court of India in its verdict claimed that the Rajiv assassination was a retaliation for the IPKF atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The background to the arrival of the IPKF is simple. On 26 May 1987, Prabakaran was cornered in Vadamarachchi and would have been caught by the Sri Lankan troops had India not intervened to threaten military intervention if Prabakaran was not released. Thereafter, Prabakaran was flown by Indian plane to India and to show India meant business, India violated Sri Lanka’s airspace dropping 25 tons of food in the North. The irony is that while no Sri Lankan has ever to date died of hunger hundreds die in India without food.

The international community has yet to speak on India’s role in birthing and nursing the LTTE. Part of that blames falls upon Sri Lanka’s Government and its failure to set the story straight. The root cause of the conflict is India and unless the Sri Lankan Government is brave enough to say so all these accountability and reconciliation is useless. Reconciliation cannot conceal India’s treacherous role to destabilizing and take over Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka must not shy from telling the world the truth. Indian media pointing fingers from Delhi certainly needs to wake up to this reality and an apology to Sri Lanka is certainly forthcoming.

IPKF Timeline:

29 July 1987 § Indo-Lanka Accord signed (J N Dixit a main architect to draft Accord)
An accord thrust on Sri Lanka with India threatening to land its forces unless Prabakaran was set free from capture. India forced Sri Lanka to amend its Constitution and introduce the Provincial Council system merging the North and East through the 13th amendment. Legality of the amendment is questioned because it does not have the mandate of the people. India promised 5million monthly payment to Prabakaran for his consent.
30 July 1987 Arrival of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) – numbers went upto 100,000
IPKF had not been briefed, they did not know what to do nor were they given maps.
October 1987 Just 2 months after IPKF arrival, orders were given from India to eliminate the LTTE and capture Prabakaran alive
Mar 1990 IPKF unceremoniously asked to leave by President Premadasa.
§ J N Dixit in a 2000 interview says “we were in a foreign country, the president of that country says “go away”, and you come back”. VP Singh Government and Foreign Minister I K Gujral were concerned about the legality of India’s presence in India. Fortunate for Sri Lanka VP Singh’s policy was “do the exact opposite of what Rajiv did” – thus agreeing to remove IPKF from India. Had Sonia been where VP Singh was the IPKF may never have left!§ Over 1200 Indian troops killed by LTTE. Thousands maimed. High Commissioner Dixit blames IPKF’s first commander for the heavy casualties (2000 interview)
RAW response RAW chief Chandran “We gave you training to attack Sri Lankan forces but never mentioned about Tamil Eelaam or a political solution to you” – straight from the horses mouth confirming that India/RAW used the Tamil discontent to merely destabalize Sri Lanka
2000 Interview
J N Dixit
The Indian High Commissioner J N Dixit claims that India had been training and financing the LTTE. If so how can he excuse IPKF failure as “underestimating the capabilities of the LTTE?”. If we accept this argument, we can then presume that RAW’s friendship with the LTTE ended up with RAW misinforming the Indian Government. This explains why RAW told the Indian Government “these are our boys, we know them very well, they owe so much to us, so once they say yes, they will not fight us, they won’t.” – it looks like the RAW has been taking the Indians for a good ride!In the same interview Dixit claimed that Ranil Wickremasinghe in 1995/1996 had told then Indian Premier Narasimha Rao that he would like Indian troops to come back!
IPKF memorial Serves as a reminder of India’s war crimes.The 480 Indian soldiers (Sikh Light Infantry) who took part in the helicopter attack on the Jaffna university and the 30 Indian soldiers who lost their lives were awarded “Vir Chakra” posthumously. The airdrop has different versions and revisiting the past will set things right.
April 1988Indian former Foreign Secretary – A.P.Venkateshwaran “…as an Indian I feel ashamed that under the Indo Sri Lanka agreement, our forces are fighting with Tamils whom they went to protect…”I believe that the Indian Government had betrayed its own culture and ethics… When I speak to the Indian army officers, whom I know and who have come back after serving in Sri Lanka, they are the most puzzled and most unhappy people because they do not know the cause for which they are fighting. The guilt, therefore, rests entirely on those who sent them to do this dastardly business of fighting in Sri Lanka against our Tamil brothers and sisters…”

Indian War Crimes in Sri Lanka

· Training, arming, financing and functioning as a state sponsor of terrorism in view of its training LTTE on Indian soil using former Indian army personnel and RAW.

· These Indian trained LTTE and other Tamil militant groups have killed scores of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. For every murder, assassination and destruction of property LTTE has committed over 30 years India stands equally culpable. If LTTE stands trial so must India.

· IPKF Indian forces not only killed scores of Sri Lankan Tamils but raped, looted, tortured and took part in indiscriminate shootings. This “killing field” is forgotten and ignored given that the main perpetrator is India. LTTE would not have become what it became if not for India.

· The allegations of civilian killings by IPKF on Sri Lankan Tamils is said to range from 6000 to 20,000 (Maj.Gen. Mehta – retired Indian army) – – these deaths need to be accounted for and a credible investigation can prove India’s war crimes and genocide.

· Indian IPKF role in displacing thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils also need to be investigated. Ironically no foreign Government, UN, Tamil Nadu, TNA nor any humanitarian organization challenged India or the IPKF. 50,000 is said to have been displaced at the height of IPKF artillery shelling. Is this why India has promised to build 50,000 houses as a resettlement offer?

· Allegations of rape of Sri Lankan women by Indian forces was brushed aside as “the Indian army are not angels….rape happens even in the West” – Brig Kahlon. Some of these very officers in the IPKF are today championing human rights!

Details of Indian IPKF war crimes/genocide

14 August 1989 · Velvettiturai, 64 Sri Lankan Tamil civilians including children killed by IPKF.
10th Oct 1987 · IPKF entered Jaffna town, arrested journalists of “Eezha Murasu” and “Murasoli” and destroys printing machinery and blasts office building. IPKF also enters LTTE television service “Nidharsanam” in Kokkuvil and takes transmission equipment. The building is also destroyed.
12 October 1987 · IPKF attacks village of Kokuvil killing over 40 civilians’ in retaliation for loosing 29 Indian commandoes at the Jaffna University raid.
21 October 1987 · Deepavali Day, 68 innocent Tamils shot and killed by IPKF inside Jaffna Hospital including hospital doctors, nurses, staff and patients. Bodies are burnt. Dr. Sivapathasuntharan who entered the hospital the next day was also killed by the IPKF. Orders and executions said to be under supervision by Capt Bisht from Jaffna Fort military camp. These allegations need to be investigated as post mortems were not held. Cutting off the electrical supply meant the deaths of many including a child under a ventilator in the ICU. 3 days of mayhem by IPKF who also forced shut a government run hospital in Nellippallai and a private hospital “Green Meermorian” in Manippai. Isnt shelling of hospitals a war crime?18 days after the Jaffna hospital massacre Rajiv Gandhi says “The Indian Army ….outstanding discipline and courage ….protecting Tamil civilians (Lok Sabha 9 Nov 1987) 22 Oct 1987 – Bruce Palling UK Independent. “Jaffna hospital hit at least 7 times
9 Nov 1987 IPKF White Flag killings · 4 civilians injured by IPKF shelling in Sandilippai taken to Jaffna with a white flag but Indian army shot the car near Navallai and 2 inside car were killed. A letter had been sent to UN Secretary General regarding this in Nov 1987.
21 Nov 1987 · Trincomalee, a IPKF soldier kills 7 civilians and injures 4 by indiscriminate firing.· Trincomalee, Naik Baldev Singh of 270 Engines, rank berserk and killed 7 civilians and injured 4 by indiscriminate firing in revenge for his brother in laws death the previous day.
· More than a 100 Tamil civilian bodies were found in Chunnakam, Mallakam, Uduvil, Manipay, Maruthanamadam and Inuvil
January 1988 · Indian court-martial sentenced four Indian soldiers to one year in prison for raping Tamil women
July 1988 · an Indian newspaper reported in July 1988 that 2500 people were being detained by the IPKF in the northern and eastern provinces, and a writ of habeas corpus has gone unanswered.
August 2-3 1989 · Valvettiturai massacre -. 64 Sri Lankan Tamil civilians killed by IPKF retaliation for LTTE killing 6 Indian soldiers including an officer. Indian authorities claimed 24 civilians died in cross fire.· Approximately 300 Tamil civilians were seeking shelter in houses of Mr. Subramaniam and Mr. Sivaganesh. At 1.30 p.m IPKF entered and killed Mr. Subramaniam and 8 others.· At 4 p.m. Indian soldiers entered the house of Sivaganesh, took 8 men to a cowshed and shot them but 4 survived.

· VVT Citizens` Committee reported that 52 dead persons had been identified.

· Witness counts available with journalists – Rita Sebastian of the Indian Express, David Husego of the Financial Times and local Human Rights groups such as the University Teachers for Human Rights

· George Fernandes, who later served as defense minister of India (1998 2004), called the massacre India`s My Lai.

Just a few names of Tamil civilians killed by IPKF Dr A. Sivapathasuntheram, Dr M.K. Ganesharatnam, Dr Parimelalahar, Mrs Vadivelu, Mrs Leelawathie, Mrs Sivapakiam, Mrs Ramanathan, Mr Shanmugalingam, Mr Kanagalingam, Mr Krishnarajah, Mr Selvarajah, R. Duraiswamy (SLAS) Retd. Secretary, Ministry of Local Government. M. Duraiwswamy Retd. Staff Officer Bank of Ceylon, Mr. S. Sivasubramaniam, retired Director of Irrigation, Mrs. Sivasubramaniam, his retired teacher wife and their only son, Prof. P. Chandrasekeram, University of Jaffna, Dr R.W. Crossette Thambiah, Dr Selvaratnam Former DMO Maskeliya, Dr S. Pararajasingham J.M.O, L.F.M. Samuel Rtd. Teacher (St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia & Royal College), K.J. Sambanthar Retd. DLO & Asst. Land Commissioner, Jaffna, Mrs S. Sivanandaraja (mother), Mohanraj (son) Technical Officer, Irrigation .Dept, Mrs Kishnam, Mrs M. Sebastiampillai, Mrs N.R. Thuriappa, Mrs V. Ruthiralingam, C.S. Aaron, A. Subramanium Attorney at Law, Mr & Mrs Pancharatnam, Rtd. Teachers, K. Navaratnam Rtd. Divisional Supdt. of Post Offices, S. Nadarajah, Formerly SLBC, Tamil Service, P. Arooran , M. Nadaraja, S. Rasanayagam Rtd. Credit Controller CCC Ltd., Mrs M. Weerasegaram Pillai, (Mother), Pillai Yasotha Weerasegaram (Daughter), Mrs S. Thanapalasingham (Mother) Miss N. Thanapalasingham (Daughter) S. Kulasegerampillai, Retd. Station Master, Mrs M. Arumugam (sister of Senator S.Nadesan), Mrs R. Gnanamuttu , A. Candappu Rtd. State Officer, S. Selvaranee, S. Shanmugasuntharam, Electrician, Jaffna Municipal Council, S. Thambiah, (father of T. Sabaratnam), Mrs. Thambimuttu, Kannan Iyer… and thousands more…

Quotes: International Organizations / Worldwide Reports on IPKF

It needs to be reiterated that whilst India continuously insists on safety, dignity and integrity of the Tamil people while Indian troops were running amok killing and raping Sri Lankan Tamils, India prohibited external players – no journalists were allowed and no humanitarian organizations were permitted to the North.

Jan-Dec 1987 Amnesty International Report 1988 – seven cases of rape by IPKF. “IPKF was increasingly accused of raping Tamil women and of deliberately killing dozens of unarmed Tamil civilians, among them elderly people, women and several cases there was eye witness evidence that the victims were non combatants shot without provocation… Several dozen Tamil women, some of whom needed hospital treatment, testified that they were raped by IPKF personnel. A local magistrate in the north reportedly found the IPKF had been responsible for seven cases of rape in December.” “Several dozen Tamil women, some of whom needed hospital treatment, testified that they were raped by IPKF personnel. A local magistrate in the north reportedly found the IPKF had been responsible for seven cases of rape in December.” “Most of the charges of Human Rights abuses began after the IPKF commenced its military operations to disarm the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in October 1987.”“In one instance, the Indians were involved in a gun battle with LTTE forces in a Jaffna hospital. While the LTTE was using the civilians as shields, it appears that the IPKF attacked without discrimination and later killed some of the wounded”“Newspaper reports alleged that 40 civilians were killed in the village of Kokuvil by Indian forces the same day that 29 Indian commandoes were lost in a raid on a Tamil base at Jaffna University”“An independent observer has also corroborated charges that the IPKF undertook a reprisal in the village of Kaluwanchikudy for a landmine explosion which killed four soldiers”

One area of concern to Amnesty International were the reports of rape committed by Indian soldiers. [Amnesty International Statement on the Situation in Sri Lanka with Respect to the Return of Tamils to Sri Lanka Amnesty International has also documented, up to August of 1988, ten cases of people who have disappeared after arrest by the IPKF

Asia Watch Committee and Amnesty International were able to corroborate a number of the charges. Sri Lanka Red Cross, senior official – “Tens of thousands of refugees are living in appalling conditions in makeshift camps in Jaffna”

Asia Watch Committee “in analyzing these charges “one should bear in mind the difficulty of mounting a peace-keeping operation in the midst of communal and political clashes.”
Asia Week (17 February 1989), During the run-up to the February 1989 parliamentary elections, the Indian forces in Sri Lanka blacked out newspaper coverage of the decision by the Eelam Revolutionary Organization (EROS) to withdraw its candidates, and placed its leader under virtual house arrest. [“Sri Lanka: Faith, Hope and Charity”
European Country of Origin Information Network – Allegations of abuses committed by the IPKF in Sri Lanka since July 1987
IPKF atrocities brought to the attention of international authorities. Nothing happened against India.,45a5199f2,45a519bd2,3ae6ab3c86,0,IRBC,,.html
Nov 1987 – observations Eduardo Marino, Report to International Alert “”Over a period of about 20 days (commencing 9 October 1987) , the Indian Army’s direct attack on LTTE positions, and defence from LTTE attacks, was coupled with the Indian Army’s attack and storming of still unevacuated Jaffna – and many villages and settlements throughout the Peninsula – with widespread (insofar as territory), indiscriminate (insofar as targetting) and sustained (insofar as intensity) artillery shelling.”
21 October 1987 International Herald Tribune “India forbids journalists from entering the combat zone, and no independent confirmation of the situation in Jaffna was available… Reports from officials and refugees said two thirds of the city’s 150,000 residents had fled or sought refuge in schools, Hindu temples and public buildings..”
25 October 1987 ‘one Tamil family executed by the Indians by having a tank run over them‘ Simon Freeman, Sunday Times
8 November 1987 London Sunday Times – ‘the countryside is just as ravaged as the towns’.
Books · Intervention in Sri Lanka – The IPKF Experience Retold by Maj. Gen. Harikirat Singh. A set of memoirs gives shocking disclosures. He was sent as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the IPKF in 1987. This book reveals a lot of things we did not know but should know. He claims he was shifted out of Sri Lanka because he refused Dixits order to shoot Prabakaran (14/15 Sept 19887)· Assignment – by Lt. Gen. S C Sardeshpande took over from Harikat Singh· The IPKF in Sri Lanka by Lt. Gen. Depinder Singh – the book gives a damning indictment of the political decision-making process in Delhi, incompetence of RAW and the material help given to LTTE in Tamil Nadu while LTTE were killing IPKF in Jaffna. Maj. Gen. A S Kalkat who headed the Operational and Intelligence staff worked under Singh.

· Memorial for IPKF – Innocent People Killing Force
personal accounts by Dr. T. Somasekaram Retd. Surveyor General “ the Indian Army came here, massacred innocent Tamil civilians, raped our women and plundered our valuables….I was collecting this material to submit to the International Criminal Court, when it was about to be set up. Unfortunately, the crimes of the IPKF are time barred; the Court considers only cases after it was set up in July 2002. If not for this time bar, there is enough evidence against the Indian Generals and others higher up to indict them before the Court. Instead of facing the Court, they and former High Commissioner Dixit are writing books and making money out of the tragedy”

· Those Who Cannot Remember the Past are Condemned to Repeat It
· “In the Name of Peace:IPKF Massacres of Tamils in Sri Lanka” documented by the Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR) and published by the Delhi Tamil Students Union. The book covers 12 massacres committed by the IPKF.

· Role of IPKF – Mahinda Balasuriya former IGP

Websites · – several cases of IPKF killing Tamil civilians
Periodicals · – Tamil Times, gives a detailed account of IPKF crimes· University Teachers for Human Rights, says that M.G. Ramachandran, gave £3 million to the LTTE.

Sri Lanka’s Presidential Commission of Inquiry must investigate on all the training camps set up by the Indian Government, assisted by RAW and the former Indian army personnel that trained LTTE and numerous other Tamil militant groups from Sri Lanka.

The Inquiry must cover the Tamil Nadu links with the LTTE inclusive of its politicians. It must also look into the international organizations that also had links with LTTE and their local stooges. Every area that prolonged the conflict from ending in view of their links to LTTE must now come into the open. This is what accountability is and only this will pave way towards genuine reconciliation. Indian Penal Code does provide for extradition and Sri Lanka can open trial according to Sri Lanka’s laws.

India deserves no seat in the UN Security Council if its atrocities of state sponsored terrorism is proved on Sri Lanka and upon all of India’s neighbors. Indian Government continuously has been preventing war crimes investigations of India’s war crimes in South Asia region.

Some words of advice to Sri Lanka’s present leaders who seem to be naïve to think we can expect better of India no matter how many times India ends up “disappointing us”.

If victory was to be achieved, it could not be done by uniting all opposing forces but by dividing them and creating dissension among them… Sri Lankan Kings never opposed the entirety of India. When there was conflict with the Pandyans, they sought the aid of the Cholas and acted against the Pandyans. When the Pandyans and Cholas combined, they sought the aid of Kalinga. Sinhala Kings had that high intelligence and knowledge of statecraft. – National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali -27 May 1984