19 July, 2024


Historic Exodus Out Of Jaffna

By Rev. Fr. S. J. Emmanuel

Rev. Dr S.J. Emmanuel

Rev. Dr S.J. Emmanuel

This mass exodus of half a million Tamils proclaims to the world that our people are determined to live as free beings with dignity and prepared to face any form of suffering to be independent rather than subjecting themselves to domination by the aggressor’’ – (LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on 27th Nov.1995)

The night of Monday October 30, 1995 was a black night in the entire history of the age-old City of Jaffna. Never has history witnessed such an exodus of fear and panic stricken people screaming and squeezing themselves out of the narrow roads and lanes of Jaffna. Nearly half a million population in and around the Town was literally on the roads in pouring rain inching its way out of the densely populated town into the sparsely populated and ill-equipped suburban villages of the southern Peninsula. For each of these 500,000 it was a flight for survival.

1. Tamils fleeing away from Sinhala “liberators’’

In 1987 when the then Minister for Security Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali suggested that the people of Jaffna move to the South of Vavuniya so that the Sri Lankan Army could take on the LTTE in a straight war, the Tamil population laughed it off as a joke. It was such an impossible and ridiculous task to evacuate the large population of the once second largest town of Sri Lanka. But this “impossible and ridiculous’’ scenario was forced on us and was happening before our very eyes in 1995.

The fear and the horror the Tamils have for the Sri Lankan Forces are well known. The Colombo Government kept proclaiming loudly to the world outside that the State Forces were moving into Jaffna “to liberate the Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE’’. But the bitter lessons, the Tamils had learnt for four decades at the hands of the Forces, were never to be forgotten. Hence at every military operation the fear-filled Tamils were fleeing with all their might away from an advancing army as if all hell had been let loose on them! The Riviresa Operation to capture Jaffna and the consequent exodus out of Jaffna was no exception.

Those who sat in authority in Colombo continue to think that their army is disciplined and courteous. This may be true to a certain extent in the South where an almost hundred percent Sinhala army moves at ease among its own people. But when the same army is among those whom they consider as potential terrorists, if not LTTErs, their behaviour is charged with fear and anger reaching a heightened level of state terrorism. The attitude of a nearly one hundred percent Sinhala Army to the exclusion of Tamils has been an important factor in the escalation of anti-Tamil operations of the army. Even the break down of the cessation of hostilities on the 19th April 1995 many Tamils know, was largely due, to the Army being unwilling to implement or give in to the decisions of the Government

Hence on the whole, the Tamil experience of Sinhala army during the last few decades was never a fearless one, but one fraught with unforgettable incidents of death, disappearance, destruction, loot, rape and bribery. And these hard learnt lessons of bitter experience cannot be easily erased off from the Tamil mind.

2. Waves of Displacements

Already as a result of the earlier military operations against the LTTE, the Peninsula had experienced many waves of heavy displacements. As soon as Eelam War II started in 1990, the Army had forcibly occupied the villages of Mathagal, Ilavalai, Vasavilan and the islands of Mandaitivu, Kayts, Delft and Pooneryn. The people who fled the atrocities of that military occupation moved into Manipay, Sandilipay, Chunnakam and even Kilinochchi. Many were surviving in cadjan-sheds and tents made out of their rags without proper shelter against wind and sun. They had already lost their only means of livelihood, namely fishing, because of the military ban on going out into the seas. Their survival depended entirely on the rice-rations distributed by some cooperatives and non-governmental organisations. Their ill-fed children were accommodated in make-shift huts looked after by some volunteer teachers. This situation had already continued for almost five years and their survival under such inhuman conditions is almost a miracle.

The Talks between the Government and the LTTE broke down on April 19, 1995. The economic embargo on the Tamils which was partially lifted during the Talks were again brought into full operation with lightening speed and a series of three military operations followed. As a result, between April and September 1995, three mass displacements had already taken place in quick succession before operation Riviresa started in October for the take over of Jaffna.

After much planning and shopping for weapons from many countries around the world, the Government heaped up nearly four thousand troops with sophisticated weapons in about five large army camps around the Peninsula to take over Jaffna. The Sri Lankan Army’s first major operation in Eelam War II was operation “Leap Forward“. The army kept harassing and threatening the population from their Palaly Base with long-range artillery shells. Even after a limited operation the so-called “Shake- Hands“ the people didn’t have the courage to go back to their badly destroyed homes for fear of land mines.

Besides the heavy death toll for the Armed Forces and the LTTE, the destruction of homes and the displacement of people from almost 78 square kilometres of the Peninsula, Jaffna town witnessed the second wave of displacement from Valigamam West and its peripheries towards the centre of the Peninsula. Soon afterwards, in a bid to extend the Air Base at Palaly to suit the landing of planes with the monsoon change in the direction of winds, operation “Lightening Thunder“ started moving in the direction of Atchuvely. This brought a third wave of displaced people into the Jaffna area.

The newly occupied area of the Army around Atchuvely and Urumpirai was the rich red soil region of Jaffna which produces good fruits and vegetables for the Peninsula. The people who were chased by shelling and bombing had to leave behind all their fruits of labour to the state-forces and flee for survival. The Jaffna population, now swollen by many waves of displacements, was already experiencing heavy shortage of fish, vegetables even plantains and were driven further into malnourishment.

Above all, these shortages caused by the inhuman embargo of the Government on essentials for life coupled with the army occupation of Tamil lands with vegetables and fruits, there hang over the dense population of residents and refugees in Jaffna, the dark clouds of an imminent major military operation to capture the densely populated Jaffna. The artillery shelling of the outskirts of the town with increased frequency both during day and night, heightened this imminent danger and kept the population nervous and in a state of unending anxiety.

3. Presidential Excuses to cover up the Sinhala Invasion

Just before the longer, “Riviresa” Operation towards Jaffna, the Sri Lankan war planes dropped two types of handbills in Tamil around 10.00pm on October 12 and 13, 1995. Because of the monsoon winds, the handbills were carried largely into the army occupied areas. By some chance, some fell into the fields around Kilinochchi, a refugee-centre for people fleeing away from the Peninsula. What was in these hand-bills?

After setting in motion a series of military operations against the Tamils from April 1995, President Chandrika came out on the 3rd. of August 1995 with a set of proposals which were held out to the Singhalese and the international media to justify her military operations. These proposals were not sent to the LTTE nor were they addressed to the Tamils in their language. But now on the eve of capturing Jaffna, war planes were dropping two types of handbills giving a summary of her peace-proposals to the Tamils who were fleeing for survival. These proposals at the time were of least interest to the majority of Northern Tamils living on that dark prison-peninsula in their refugee camps and shivering with fear about an imminent attack.

But the larger handbill, with a good colour picture of the President, carried a letter of the President, addressed specifically to the civilians of Jaffna, not to the de facto leadership- the LTTE. It was like an invitation into a spider’s web, to wean the people from the LTTE’s protective and defensive leadership into her destructive war. It was addressed to a people for whom she first promised “peace and no more war” but now dropping bombs over them. Even here she tried to speak of this destructive war as a “war made for peace”. Apologetically she spoke of “a war thrust on her”. And finally she to1d the Tamils, already shivering with fear for their lives, that this war was not against the Tamils, but only against the LTTE! Was this message of the President not a last minute effort to quieten her own conscience? With her promises of peace was she not trying to cover up the atrocities committed in that massive and murderous plan to take over Jaffna?

The Paris-educated lady knew only too well how densely populated the Jaffna town was. She knew of the waves of displacements which had made Jaffna already a badly congested town. She knew that it was a spacious town now reduced to be like a dark dungeon of a prison, without basic facilities of electricity, transport, and communication. She knew the desperate situation of a congested population eating the bare minimum and languishing on the borders of death and destruction . She also knew the anguish and agony of the increasing number of orphans and widows as a consequence of the twelve years of war waged by the State from 1983. But all these were drowned in her lust for power and in her loyalty to the chauvinistic ideals of her race and above all by her rage against the de facto leadership of the Tamils, the LTTE.

4. Last Days of Jaffna

Operation Riviresa” the finale for the take over of Jaffna, commenced on October 17, 1995 under a cloudy weather with signs of imminent monsoon showers. Day and night it thundered and shuddered and people trembled and shivered. The whole peninsula was vibrating day and night with the tremors of aerial bombs and shells, which were directed to scare and drive away the people from the approaching State Forces. They were falling far beyond the combatant area of Atchuvely, Neervely and Kopay obviously directed into the densely populated town of Jaffna. Powerful search lights rotating from the army camps lit up the skies periodically and kept up the fear among a people engulfed in darkness.

How could the population survive such aerial attacks, bombardment and artillery shelling and wait for the arrival of their “Sinhala liberators“? The Sri Lankan Army having learnt many useful lessons from the experiences of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) against the LTTE in 1987, started its own Operations after many weeks of intense military planning and preparation.

The approaching sounds and tremors sent a cold and frightening message into the heart of the Jaffna population, that was fast becoming a dense dungeon already overflowing with three waves of refugees from the peripheral villages. The message was fatal. It read – The Sri Lankan Army is poised for a ruthless and destructive but definitive takeover of Jaffna

In summary, with nearly forty thousand troops and tanks with modern weapons of destruction surrounding them, the population of Jaffna, shrunk with fear and hopelessness, summoned utmost courage to face the ordeal of a final encounter.

If the intended take-over was to be a direct confrontation on land, then the people could have, to some extent, relied on the defensive and protective strength of the LTTE. But the Army movement towards Jaffna was prepared for many miles ahead by indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombing against the civilian population. The State Forces purportedly coming “to liberate Jaffna and the Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE“, were not approaching them with a bouquet of sudhu nelum (white lotus) for the people of Jaffna, but with a shower of shells, bombs and bullets. The world has still to learn from the Sri Lankan government Forces how to liberate a people by showering destructive weapons over them!

5. A timely warning from a responsible Leadership

The Sri Lankan Government may have partially succeeded through its false propaganda in convincing the world that this war was a war for peace and not war against the Tamils. But the Tamils of the North knew by bitter experiences of forty years of death and destruction what the state with its military was up to.

Day by day the LTTE followed the advancement of the military operation code-named Riviresa and on the eve of October 30, 1995, the final warning was made by the de facto leaders of the Tamils and it was a necessary one. It said:- The State Forces are approaching the town of Jaffna and the Tigers will fight tooth and nail to defend it. It is advisable for the people to move to safer areas of Thenmaraadchy, Vadamarachy or Wanni.

This warning was enough to move a whole population into a panic-stricken exodus. There were no forcing or threats from the LTTE as made out by the Sinhala journalists and some anti-LTTE Tamils living far away from the North in their Colombo hide-outs. They were the Judasses earning their living by sending false media reports to the world outside.

Surprised by the massive exodus from Jaffna, the hired Tamil politicians of Chandrika, started shedding crocodile tears for the Tamils. They first accused the LTTE of having forced the people out from Jaffna at gun-point. Unable to sell their own version to the people, they turned around in favour of the Government and said that the Armed Forces gave wise and timely instructions to the people to move out of the war Zone. Naturally those who lived away from Jaffna did not hear the shells nor saw the bombs, they only saw Tigers in every nook and corner of Jaffna. They did not hesitate to tell contradictory lies to the world in an attempt to discredit the LTTE.

When there is a fatal threat to life of a people, it is the duty of all responsible leaders to warn of the dangers to life and even help people to move out of the danger zone. This is what the LTTE did on the days around October 30, 1995. They announced by means of loud speakers the growing threat to life and provided whatever transport possible to the old and the sick to move out of the danger-zone. It is true that this sudden exodus for safety caused much hardships, especially for the old and the sick, and deprived many of taking all their belongings with them. But the most important thing was survival.

Because the Tigers were successful in delaying the army-advance near Kopay the civilians were allowed and even helped with vehicles in the case of transferring the sick and the aged even to re-enter Jaffna and recover some more essentials. Many made use of the first week of November to re-enter Jaffna and collect a few more belongings while others were not able to do so due to reasonable fear and high cost of transport. A timely warning given to flee away from the dangers of bombs and a help-given by the LTTE for the orderly and safe removal of certain belongings from Jaffna was mischievously construed by the Government propaganda and anti-Tamil agents as ,,forcing the people to flight at gun point“

6. Squeezing out “through the Eye of a Needle’’!

The attempt of a few hundred thousand people rushing with their belongings to go through the one and only exit-bridge at Navatkuli was almost like the biblical camel attempting to go through the eye of a needle. But, thanks to the street-discipline maintained by the LTTE -Police Force, the population really went through this eye of a needle-bridge.

With the successive coalescence of all the previous waves of displacements, the number of civilians fleeing from the threat of Sri Lankan Army atrocities during that fateful night of October 30, reached an unbelievable 300,000 people in flight.

The monsoon rains beating hard on the faces of weeping mothers and hungry children washed away the sweat and tears. They were all drenched, not so much by the night rains but in the sorrows and pains of leaving their houses in the much loved citadel of Jaffna. Most of them had to leave behind their treasured houses, furniture, gardens and produce – not once, not twice but even thrice, before they undertook this ultimate flight for survival. There was a sorrowful silence enveloping the slow and reluctantly moving crowds. Whenever they spoke each had a more sorrowful story to tell the other.

7. Moving out with deep sighs of desperation

They were like those rushing out of a house on fire, neither screaming in fear nor yelling in anger. It was a serious and sorrowful rush for survival, slowed down only by heavy hearts, massive crowding and bad roads. This panic and fear-stricken population evacuating the Peninsula was forced further to slow down as it approached the 6 feet narrow neck of the town – the Navatkuli bridge. Here they were literally trying to inch their way out of danger zone. True, they were moving out of a dangerous zone, but their destiny was still unknown and undecided.

They had no choice between life and death. For survival, they said “let us move out, as quickly as possible and with the maximum that we could carry in our hands, or on a cycle, or in a shared tractor or kerosene van”. But once they passed the Navatkuli bridge, they sighed relief, having come beyond the dangerous zone, but their journey continued. The biggest question of survival now was: “Where are we to seek shelter?“

While standing for hours in the rains in that long queue towards some unknown destiny in the Thenmaraadchy and Vadamaradchy districts, babies cried for food and drink, some vehicles impatiently tooted their horns while all the others were sunk deep in their silence of sadness.

Either about 15 people of all ages were moving in a single row or Six or seven bicycles or kerosene-powered motor cycles, each loaded with at least two bags of personal belongings on the carrier filled the narrow road. An elderly mother or father or a baby was seated on the bar of a cycle either ridden or pushed by a younger son or daughter.

Yet another scene was kerosene-oil powered tractors with trailers loaded with people as well as a variety of things – mats, pillows, kerosene oil lamps, cooking utensils, domestic pets and some food-stuff.

A third pattern was that of a few well-to-do and the aged – in an old Austin A40 car running on kerosene oil (Rs.200 a bottle!) packed with one or two families, their belongings loaded into an open dicky and on the hood-carrier. In between these modes of transport, walked the majority poor with their half naked little ones most of them carrying at least one plastic bag of belongings – their goats and cows meekly following them.

Even this inching in the rains ground to a halt when a heavily loaded lorry or tractor turned off the track or one of its tires went flat. Between 5.00pm on Monday and 5.00am on Tuesday three babies had died through the stampede and a pregnant mother gave birth on the road. Hundreds of the aged who crossed the bridge that night did not survive for long. They died a short while later in exile.

There was not a single good hospital outside Jaffna town to cater to the thousands who suffered. Chavakachcheri and Manthikai hospitals were too small and ill-equipped to cater even to a few hundreds.

The pathetic exodus of people carried the inhuman marks of cruelty inflicted over a long time by many of the anti-Tamil measures taken by successive Sinhala Governments, especially by the present one. The inhuman economic embargo enforced by the government on the Tamil people, reduced them to primitive forms of life. The embargo on fuel and closure of the peninsula for outside vehicles made all petrol fuelled vehicles disappear out of Jaffna. Only kerosene fuelled motor cycles and old cars were available for transport. Instead of diesel for lorries, some Tamil brains developed a new fuel from vegetable oils and other chemicals. Though the last 13 years of war and economic blockade have shattered the general quality of life of people, reduced many of them to their skins and bones, isolated them without communication and transport these have spurred them to new discoveries for survival.

8. Seeking shelter in the wilderness

Those who had some relatives or friends beyond Navatkuli, on the safer side of the Bridge, made a bee-line to those houses for refuge. But to each house in Thenmaraadchy and Vadamaraadchy came not just one relative or friend from Valigamam, but several hundreds were knocking on their doors for help.

Those who rushed for help claimed different degrees of relationship and friendship with the prospective hosts. Sri Lankans in general, and Jaffna Tamils in particular, cultivate an “enlarged family relationship“ which includes third and fourth degree relations. In Western countries there is a distinction made between a very small circle of people called “friends“ and a larger circle of acquaintances – people referred to as known to one another. In Sri Lanka, almost everyone, once met and shortly spoken to, is referred to as a friend. And in time of need, these quickly built relationships become very useful and made best use of. Hence almost every house in Thenmaraadchy was flooded with friends – guests without prior notice – and had to host at least five to six families of instant refugees.

Those who knew no one in these regions went to public places such as temples, churches and schools. In the temples and the churches, no place was too sacred to be reserved for the divine. Even the presbyteries (houses for priests), convents (houses for nuns) and sacristies ( preparatory rooms for divine worship) were overflowing with priests and nuns and some of their bed-ridden parents.

The poorest of the poor were still left on the roadside, under trees, in old and dilapidated shelters at bus-stops and in railway stations, unused for almost a decade. The Sri Lankan Railway and Transport Services had already stopped their services in the North for over a decade. We were a people not only forbidden to go out of the North but also ‘a frozen people’ devoid of mobility and transport services within our homeland in the North!

9. Providing minimum food-clothing-shelter for so many

A sudden and massive influx of refugees from the Valigamam urban area into the sandy suburban area of Thenmaraadchi with very limited facilities posed a huge human problem. Besides the inclement weather, the dewy nights, the food shortages, problems of sanitation, shelter and medical care there was the absence of any organizational structures to meet such a sudden and heavy demand. But with willing co-operation from all sides, the impossible ceased to be so.

It is to the credit of the LTTE that within two days of the exodus, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) with assistance of the Government Agents, Non-governmental and religious organizations set up a network of services to cater to the very minimum needs of such a massive population:- cadjan-sheds to protect the people from the rains, tube wells at crowded centres, temporary toilets-ditches to preserve sanitation, distribution of clothes, mats and sheets to stand the colder nights of November, dry rations or cooked food at least once a day kept the population alive.

Without a single hospital with reasonable facilities like sufficient medicines, drugs, antibiotics, lab-facilities leave alone operation-theatre facilities, the biggest problem was the sanitary-threat to the survival of the refugees. And that too was solved to some satisfactorily level within a week.

10. Government unwilling to accept the Tragedy caused

Unashamedly, the government was unwilling to accept the reality of this tragedy of a mass exodus and gave false statistics to local and foreign media. The President meeting a high religious dignitary as the Bishop of Jaffna dared to tell him that the exodus was forced by the LTTE and it numbered no more than 50,000 people! Mr. Kadirgamar, the Foreign Minister was reluctant to recognise the displaced as refugees by his sardonic reference that they had not crossed national borders! Based on his own definitions of “national boundaries“ and “refugees“ he found fault with the appeal made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations for international help to aid the half million ,,Tamil refugees’. Had these refugees been caused by a flood in the South, this same minister with a Tamil name would have brushed aside all definitions and protocol and himself appealed for help.

Reluctance in accepting the truth of this exodus caused inhuman delays on the part of the Colombo government and its offices. Aid delayed was aid denied and hundreds succumbed to hunger, thirst, inclement weather and sickness.

The growing restrictions imposed by the Government on the flow of food, medicine and other essential items for life, the restrictions on the NGOs in not allowing them to get their means of communication, the restrictions on the media and prohibition of journalists to the North, and continued aerial attacks even on the displaced population were all causing the slow death of the Tamil population as exiles even within their own homeland.

11. Humiliation and Fear of the Tamils in the South

While celebrations were high among the Sinhala majority in the South over the conquest of Jaffna , security measures had to be tightened up to prevent them becoming another anti-Tamil racial hunt for civilian lives. All the Tamils living in the South, especially in Colombo, whether they were supportive or not supportive of the Tamil political demands, whether they were supporters or sympathisers or even opponents of the LTTE, they were all reminded of the ghastly and genocidal horror of the 1983 Holocaust of Tamils. They stayed away from offices and abstained from using public transport. Staying behind closed doors they left no signs outside their houses as to their identity. Even the arch enemies of the Tigers, who might have wished a complete defeat of the Tigers, were not happy about the capture of Jaffna nor about the Sinhala euphoria that might spill over into anti-Tamil riots again.

At least for the previous few weeks following the capture of Jaffna there was a tightening of the security measures in the City of Colombo. The Tamils coming from the North and even those living in the South for many years, were subjected to tight security searches. By these measures the Tamils were painfully reminded who they were in this country and how they were tolerated in the South. The house to house search done on the Tamils, the suspicion cast on them even by their long-time Sinhala neighbours and even friends, the checking done on them by any Singhalese on the road humiliated them a lot. Even the three-wheel drivers and hawkers overnight turned out to be Sinhala security personnel suspecting every Tamil to be a potential bomb or Tiger. The unlimited detention of Tamils in police stations without questioning, the denial of public transport to them in some areas, and a number of inhuman checks done on their person and their belongings, insisting on special police passes in addition to their national identity cards, were all shameful and humiliating acts done as “security measures“ by a Government and people who keep just saying for the last fifty years that the Tamils are “equal citizens” in the island as if to satisfy their own conscience. Without finding the facts and the truth whether the Tamils in effect are treated as equals, whether the Tamils feel as equals, it is unwise and counterproductive to force them by military might to that conviction.

12. Irrepressible Truth emerges and challenges

After a few weeks, the euphoria of victory fades away, the celebrations too come to an end and real life begins. It is then that the true significance of this deceptive victory begins to emerge. The enlightened Singhalese begin to realise that it was an expensive pyrhic victory at the cost of peace and conflict-resolution in the country. So long as the Sri Lankan Army holds on to Jaffna, Sri Lanka has to pay the high price of occupying an alien territory and the Singhalese will be haunted by a continuous “fear of a Tamil victory’’.

The government conducted its war in the Northeast with draconian measures such as media blockade (war behind closed doors!) and using “inhuman weapons“ such as economic blockades. Not allowing local or foreign journalists to go into the war zone, dishing out military reports as media reports, censoring all war-reports in the Colombo media, cutting many essential food and medicine supplies to the North, were resorted to unashamedly by a so called democratic government of Sri Lanka. Were these measures intended to be a “ slow death of a population within a gas chamber? The diplomatic missions of the international community and the foreign media correspondents did far too little or nothing to cross into the war-zones to find out the whole truth about the war waged behind closed doors and to ascertain the plight of the population dying there. Thus the war waged by the Sri Lankan Government behind closed doors and economic blockades was in open contravention of all Geneva conventions.

Thanks to the modern ways of communication which pierced through military and diplomatic curtains, reports about the real situation found their way to the Home Pages of the expatriate Tamils all over the world. The international media, which depended heavily on government and Colombo-based reports and were deaf to the cries of the oppressed victims were questioned, if not challenged, by these expatriate efforts. A true interpretation and analysis of the political and imperialistic forces behind the Second World War emerged only after decades of search and study. And the reconciliation of those peoples, even after decades, is not yet complete. Hence the deaths and destruction in the Northeast of Sri Lanka through so many military operations – Leap Forward, Thunder Strike, Hand Shake and Riviresa just to mention a few within a short period of three months in the tiny peninsula – may remain hidden or covered up for many years, but truth will emerge sooner than later. And hopefully, there will be still time for repentance and reconciliation!

Already three months have elapsed since the alien Sinhala Military occupied Jaffna and chased out the indigenous population. The world has neither known the whole truth of this exodus and massive suffering nor has any Government condemned the actions of the Sri Lanka Government for its inhuman military action. Thus the world which is quick to condemn the counter-violence of a desperate people but reluctant, if not sinfully silent, to condemn state-terror or to search out and treat the underlying cause of violence will one day wake up to this reality and answer its own conscience.

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Latest comments

  • 24

    When the near 100,000 Muslims left the Jaffna peninsula with barely the clothes on their backs, they did not do so because they DID NOT desire to live as free and independent people there. They were ethnically cleansed by the LTTE ‘hero’, who had till then assigned himself the title ‘the sole representative of the Tamil-speaking peoples’. Yet there was no leader to voice their lament in their hour of need, not even those who today shed crocodile tears wearing their new found ‘human rights campaigner’ garb.

    • 18

      @RAM… Well said you beat me to it. These Bogus Human Rights Defenders are always exposed in the duplicity of their crimes. They Pick and choose Human And Tragic events. People like this socalled ‘REV’ does not speak of the other side of the ‘FORCED EXODUS’ of his once neighbours by the Very Many he is so foundly quoting. His silence on those historic issue shows that in his Black Heart and Mind he supports certain policy of the WAR CRIMINAL and the Group.

      • 3


        “@RAM… Well said you beat me to it.”

        Ramuuuuuuuu is a noted exponent of bull ….

        “These Bogus Human Rights Defenders are always exposed in the duplicity of their crimes.”

        Could you name one honest, authentic, …. Human Rights Defender.

        Come to think of it MR was the only fearless Human Rights Defender during the late 1980s, who went all the way to Geneva, hoping UNHRC would stop the carnage in this little island.

        Its not too late now, you could/should nominate him for Nobel Peace Prize for his services to humankind and VP for winning the elections and war for MR.

    • 9


      We know you are a habitual liar, your claim could not be substantiated without evidence.

      Read this excerpt from two intellectually honest scholars:

      The Displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka: Special Problems and the


      ARM Imtiyaz
      Temple University, USA

      MCM Iqbal
      Sri Lanka Civil Service (retired)

      Journal of Asian and African Studies
      46(4) 375–389


      Special Problems of the Displaced Muslims of the Northern
      Province Northern Muslim Expulsion The Muslim community of the Northern Province was expelled en masse by the LTTE in October 1990. The mass expulsion of the Muslims from the North was carried out in the following manner.

      On 22 October 1990, quite unexpectedly, the LTTE announced over loudspeakers in the streets of the Muslim settlements in the Northern Province that the Muslims must leave their homes, villages
      and towns, leaving all their valuables behind, or face death. The ultimatum was that Muslims should leave this region within 48 hours from the 22 of October 1990. In Jaffna town the time given
      was only two hours.7 ‘On 27 October 1990, I was working in the fields. LTTE cadres came and asked us to leave the place within two hours. We took a few clothes in plastic carrier bags and walked a long way’, said an elderly man now living in a Puttalam camp.8

      There is no official estimation of the numbers of expelled Muslims from all of the Districts in the Northern Province. Some say it could be around 60,000.9 But some Muslim opinions give different numbers and put the number of Muslims from the North affected by the Tamil Tigers’ action as high as 100,000. However, according to a report published by Department of Census and Statistics, Census on Population and Housing, Colombo, 1981, the entire Muslim population of the Northern Province in 1981 was 50,831 (Jaffna District – 12,958; Mannar District – 27,717;
      Vavuniya District – 6,505; and Mullativu District – 3,651).10
      If the figure of 100,000 displaced Muslims, as the Tamil opinion points to, is to be believed, one of two demographic miracles must have happened in Jaffna between 1980 and 1990. First, there
      should have been a large scale immigration of Muslim population into Jaffna region between 1980 and 1990. Or second, an unprecedented birth of Muslim babies should have occurred for 10 years due to some
      kind of divine blessing.11

      Any reasonable-thinking Sri Lankans, including Muslims, were aware that neither of the two miracles had happened; therefore, it is misleading to put the expelled Northern Muslim number as high as 100,000.

      The LTTE did not officially release any logical reasons for the Muslim expulsion. However, one reason, according to LTTE watcher DBS Jeyaraj, was suspicion of a possible conspiracy by the Northern Muslims against the LTTE.12 ‘It was suspected that the security-intelligence apparatus
      could be using Muslim businessmen traveling frequently to Colombo as agents to engage in sabotage or act as spies. Preemptive action was required it was felt’.13

      • 6

        Your LTTE ‘slip’ is showing.

        Suspicion about conspiracy is considered sufficient reason to practice ethnic cleansing …. perfect tiger logic

    • 13

      Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism do not understand the value of human life. The brutality of this fundamentalism started with gunning down of its own Prime minister and thousands of innocent Tamils in 1958. The burning of women and children who were begging of life in the streets of colombo cannot be justified.

      • 7

        ‘Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism do not understand the value of human life.’

        And the Tamils do? Who has killed more Tamils, the ‘Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists’ or the Tamil funded, Tamil run LTTE?

    • 17

      out of curiosity, was any Muslim killed, raped or something like looted and burnt alive as in the other Sinhalese on Tamils ethnic riot in the southern Sri Lanka in 1983?
      Thank you.

    • 4

      This man is worse than even Dr.Goebbels. The stories of those who managed to make it to Colombo is one of the LTTE threatening them and often physically assaulting people to leave the peninsula.
      Does this monster even know (let alone practise) the Christian precept of being truthful?

  • 13

    There you go…

    Half a Million Tamils followed Mr Piraharan away from Jaffna City and into the bushes , and then on to Nanthikadal..

    Was this the sum total of the Tamil inhabitant population there ?.

    This is s definitely a War Crime.

    Will the Reverend Father be the first witness at the Hybrid War Crime Trials?.

  • 3

    [Edited out]

  • 19

    I think this guy fled to Europe and became a refugee because of this exodus.

    This Exodus was engineered by the LTTE in the 1990s. The second exodus, “Last Phase of the war” was identical to how LTTE engineered people into their control.

    There is a reason LTTE take people with them. Quite simply its because they make excellent sand bags to create war defenses.

    A more balanced view point of that exodus is here authored by Jaffna University Union is here.

    The Exodus

  • 22

    Mr Emanuel,

    This is a sad episode that never should have happened.It should be condemned by all right thinking people.But did you write something like this when the LTTE chased away the thousands of Muslims with just what they were wearing? Did you write something like this when Muslims were murdered in their hundreds when they were at prayer in Kathankudi .Did you write something like this when innocent Buddhist monks were slaughtered in Arantalawa?

    Oh ya you would have been praying to Jesus when these acts were done only to wake up when Sri Lankan forces were approaching Jaffna.!!! Have you really a conscience?Are u really a man of god underneath that cassock?Only you can answer these question.Even if don’t answer them now you will one day answer to Christ.Going by your age that day of reckoning seems not too far.

    • 9

      Tsk tsk Brian, you better hope your LTTE paymasters stay away from that Izeth article. It wont end well if they go in there, connect the dots between your multiple sockpuppets and then see what you’re saying here (I assume in a pathetic attempt to dissociate this silly Alan de Cruze act from your LTTE loving public persona now that you’ve been caught with your sarong around your ankles, but they might not figure that out) :D

      • 6

        Why don’t you post your anti Tamil vomit under the identity ” Para Chingkalla Nai” this suits you better than this stolen Tamil Brahmin identity Siva Sankaran Sarma. Poor Siva Sankaran will have a fit if he knows that a Sinhalese racist is posting Tamil hating venom at various forums under his name

        • 6

          Cool story, bro :D
          ‘Paul’ also lost his lungi while using multiple fake identities so you can understand his frustration at all these champions of We Thamizh Eezham being exposed and humiliated like this :D

          • 3

            You are correct Siva. Could it be schizophrenia?

        • 7

          Now when people tell the truth what happened during the ltte terror reign they become anti-tamil or racists! Right?

        • 1

          The truth hurts so you become abusive

      • 6

        That is Brian Senevirtne masquerading as a “human rights champion” is it?

        I think we need to remind ourselves what this fella has been in the past.


        He is responsible for the Tamil genocide.

    • 9

      Yes the LTTE chased away thousands of Muslims from Jaffna as many of them were spying for the Sinhalese armed forces. This was wrong and you are correctly concerned, however the Sri Lankan government the Sinhalese armed forces/police the Muslim home guards in the east and the Sinhalese armed forces and the illegal Sinhalese colonists, chased away hundreds of thousands of native indigenous Tamils, who are the real owners of the north and east, Not the Muslims nor the Sinhalese (the Sinhalese only arrived here and were deliberately settled illegally by all Sri Lankan governments including the present one after independence. This was done to deliberately to change the demography and make the indigenous Tamils a voiceless minority in their own lands. These immigrant Dravidian ( Not Arab as they falesely claim) Tamil Muslims from India only arrived in the North and East of the island seeking asylum, a few centuries ago as refugees. Especially in the east where they were settled by the Tamil Naicker kings of Kandy to escape Sinhalese and European persecution). None of them have been settled, in fact more and more of them are still being evicted even under the present government and their lands illegally appropriated by the army. However not a single Sinhalese and their backstabbing Muslim allies, politicians intellectuals Journalists seem to be concerned about what happened and is still happening to the Tamils. In fact they are very silent mum and seem to be very happy about this, but jump and down about the small amount of Muslims and illegal Sinhalese settlers who should not have been there in the first place to be resettled. This also includes you and most of the Sinhalese and Muslim bloggers here. Shows the double standards and hypocrisy of the Sinhalese and Muslims. all communities suffered during this conflict that was basically started by the racist genocidal policies of all Sri Lankan governments including the present one towards the island’s Tamils. These fake Arab immigrant ethnic Tamil Muslims from India aided and abetted the Sinhalese and actively took part in this genocide against the island’s entire Tamil population ( Indian origin and indigenous) This was done for their own selfish petty benefits with the ultimate aim of stealing the ancient Tamil lands in the North and East for a Wahhabi Salafist homeland for their immigrant community. To facilitate this they denied their real immigrant Indian Tamil Hindu origin and their ancient almost 1000 years old Tamil Sufi Islam and created a myth that they are all purely descended from Arabs and started to become some sort of cheap imitation of the Gulf Arabs. They also actively killed murdered raped burnt and destroyed Tamils their home and businesses in the south of the island and east. In the east they joined hands with the Sri Lankan armed forces and ethnically cleansed thousands of Tamils and stole their lands. These Tamils still have not been allowed to return. A Muslim politician from Mannar instead of settling the displaced Tamils and Muslims from the north, was busy settling thousands of out of area Muslims along the border areas of Mannar Vavuniya. I did not hear a single protest from any Sinhalese or Muslim. Where were you when this happened? The Northern Muslims instead of living amicably with their fellow Hindu and Christian Tamil ethnic kindred who gave them asylum in the first place, as usual started to backstab by spying against them for the Sri Lankan armed forces. After doing all this the Muslims and Sinhalese trying their best to play innocent victims of the LTTE does not wash.
      Trying to compare the immense suffering inflicted on all the island’s Tamils by all Sri Lankan government the armed forces the Sinhalese and these backstabbing fake Arab immigrant Dravidian Tamil Muslims from India , with the miniscule suffering and inconvenience suffered by the Muslims and the Sinhalese is a joke. This is like the Nazis trying to equate their suffering with what they caused to the Jews the European Gypsies and all the other occupied people. They started and caused the suffering and then blame the victim for retaliating. This what the Sinhalese and Muslims have started to do. They started this racist genocidal war dance against the Tamils. The former the perpetrator the latter the willing supporter and collaborator. No illegal Sinhalese settler should be resettled in the north or east as they should not have been there in the first place. Most of them were criminals and murderers deliberately settled in the Tamil areas to create mayhem, with the help of the Sinhalese armed forces and Police, so that more Tamils will flee and more Sinhalese could be brought in to these ethnically cleansed Tamil lands. These immigrant fake Arab Tamil Muslim refugees from India, instead of being grateful to their fellow Hindu and Christian Tamils only constantly backstabbing them and overtly and covertly sided with the Sinhalese racists armed forces and colonists and still are doing this in the east. They can never be trusted. How can you trust a people who deny their own real heritage language and culture do everything to destroy it and shameless try to claim a false heritage. Even the Arabs have stated that they are South Asian converts and not of Arab descent. If there is any Arab it is very miniscule. Even now it was the TNA that won most of the seats in the east individually. however what the SLMC instead of forming a coalition with the TNA joins hands with these Tamil hating Sinhalese parties in the east in order to deny the Tamils of the east anything.
      As I have stated many times ethnically cleansing an ancient original indigenous population (Tamils)is a far bigger crime than chasing away illegal settlers( Sinhalese ) and recent immigrants who largely settled as refugees(Muslims). Over 300000 innocent Tamil civilians were killed 99% by the Sri Lankan government/Sinhalese armed forces. Around 1.2 Million ethnically cleansed and many chased out of the land largely to live in the west. That is all fine and not an issue. For these Sinhalese and Muslims but a few thousand Muslims collaborators and illegal Sinhalese settlers who should never have been there is the issue. No Sinhalese has been chased off or ethnically cleansed in the south by anyone. However the opposite happened to the Tamils at the hands of the Sinhalese Muslims the government and the armed forced. The LTTE are not saints but trying to equate the 2% atrocities committed by them against the 98% atrocities committed by the Sinhalese the Muslims the Sri Lankan armed forces and the government is a joke.
      All genuine displaced Tamils and Muslims from the North and East should be returned to their lands. All illegal Muslim and Sinhalese settlements should be disbanded, including the illegal Sinhalese settlement of Welioya along the Mullaitivu Trincomallee border, where the UNP government deliberately ethnically cleansed around 38 Tamil villages in the Manal Aru area and then settled thousands of Sinhalese families from the south and literally renamed the area Weli Oya. This was done deliberately to break the continuity of the Tamil north and east. However when the litterly renamed this Weli Oya. They did not realise that these two so called Sinhalese words are derived from pure Tamil. The Sinhalese word Weli( Sand or Manal in Tamil is derived from the Tamil word Veli which literally meand the sand open space. Eg NilaVeli Muth Veli) Oya river is derived from the ancient Tamil word for river rivulet Odai or Oyaval. So basically Manal Aru ( Sandy river) or its litteral Sinhalese translation Weli Oya( sand river) again a both Tamil. What an irony the so called Sinhalese name to hide the original Tamil name place is it self purely derived from Tamil.

      • 10

        Dear Paul,

        Is ‘Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, morally justifiable. This approach undermined the Tamil struggle for justice and equality. The corroding consequences are very visible in Tamil society is very visible in Tamil society today. To a large degree this is also true of the rest of Sri Lanka. We are a people who lost our moral/ ethical compass!

        Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

      • 10


        “Yes the LTTE chased away thousands of Muslims from Jaffna as many of them were spying for the Sinhalese armed forces.”

        Later we found out Tamils “were also spying for the Sinhalese armed forces”.

        Why didn’t LTTE chase away all those Tamils from North if spying was the sole reason?

        Why did LTTE confiscated all their valuables and cash before they were being herded away only with 200 rupees?

        Is there anyway anyone could justify ethnic cleansing especially the Tamils themselves have claimed they had been subjected to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide?

        Its a disgrace to defend what LTTE did to Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese. No amount of words would console the victims or their near and dear.

        You are also equally guilty of ethnic cleansing for harbouring the idea that Muslims asked for it.

        • 3

          Hi Native, if you read my posts I have never condoned the LTTE chasing away the Muslims from the north and want these genuinely displaced Muslims resettled. However I condemn the selective amnesia of most Sinhalese and these Tamil Muslims about what really happened and what caused the conflict. Their immense contribution to the cause of this conflict but now trying to play the innocent victim, when they started the conflict. Their silence about the immense suffering of the island’s Tamil population at the hands of all parties including the LTTE trying to equate this the little they suffered. Their double standards when it comes to resettling the hundreds of thousands of Tamils who are displaced but jump and down to settle the small amount of displaced Sinhalese and Muslims whose numbers are not even 10% of the displaced Tamils. The LTTE are no saints however their part in all these atrocities is very small compared to what the government or the Sri Lankan armed forced did. Even the UN has admitted to this. The LTTE did not expel so called Tamil traitors but killed them

          • 2

            Cool story, bro :D

      • 5

        You are a good fiction writer.

        • 4

          Even better than the Mahavamsa?
          May be fiction for you, as you do not want to accept the reality of what happened. For Sinhalese racists like you only the Mahavamsa and its racist anti Tamil garbage and a fake Aryan origin for the Sinhalese, and not the real Dravidian Tamil origin, is the truth.
          For these immigrant fake Arab Dravidian Tamil from Tamil Nadu/Kerala their fake Arab origin Arabian Nights tale is the truth and their real largely low caste Hindu Indian Tamil origin is a fiction, as they have been do brain washed to hate it that they cannot accept this reality anymore. All this acceptance of fiction as reality and the truth is main cause for this conflict.

        • 4


          What is the difference between you and a knife?

        • 3

          I hope we get to see all these stories gathered together in a complete collection of We Thamizh fairy tales at some point :D

          • 2

            Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

            However much Wee Tamihz try they will never be able to match Mahavamsa.

  • 14

    This priest who likened Prabhakaran to Jesus Christ is crazy. How dare this man claim to still represent us after white-washing our forced expulsion from Jaffna by the LTTE! And on the anniversary of the Muslim expulsion. The govt insults all minorities by entertaining this mad, blood-thirsty monk as our representative.

  • 5

    Do you all think your lies can win for ever???

  • 7

    The writer Fr.S.J.E. has first to explain why he calls this ‘Forced
    March’ historic. What was historic about it?

    The quote from VP encapsulates the thinking behind the use of force to accomplish an exodus.

    It was designed to prate that the land of the Tiger was a more hospitable arbour. It served publicity purposes and gave propaganda mileage.

    In just 6 months why did the Tamils beat a retreat in April next? They ‘voted with their feet’. The return was characterized so.

    Every day of the 6 months were they not straining at the leash feeling ill at ease in the Tiger haven? Haven’t they remained in their homes even as the military stayed put in the Peninsula, for 20 years 1995 to 2015? Cogent reply cannot be shirked by the author.

    Tamils are not for diddling.

  • 0

    Historic Exodus Out Of Jaffna

    This can not be an excuse for accepting an invitation from Sirisena government.

    S.J. has no political connection.

    Government using S.J. for brain storming indicates that government is in a desparate position

  • 15

    It was a mass movement of people forced by the LTTE. The Muslims were expelled, while the Tamils were forced out of most of Jaffna! Both instances were inhuman and shortsighted. For a former man of the cloth to appreciate the Tamil exodus and not condemn what was done to the Muslims, is disgraceful
    and an insult to Jesus Christ!

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 7

    This man is a terrorist and a LTTE racist. He’s supposedly a Catholic priest but actively endorsed murder and suicide bombers. He’s an LTTE diaspora mouthpiece and not a representative of innocent Tamils.

  • 1

    A collective schemed torture was unleashed on the population in Jaffna from mid 1990.
    Indiscriminate long range artillery barrages and crude bombs dropped from British aircraft flown mostly by mercenaries was the norm in 1990 and 1991. This situation evolved little until the Operation Riviresa in 1995.
    All this resulted in feeding the LTTE with committed recruits, convinced that it was not hungry bellies that that was forcing them to join a openly ruthless organisation but a desperate fight for survival of their race.
    God bless the many tens of thousands who joined the LTTE under such conditions of external manipulations, only to perish capturing the salterns of Elephant Pass or if lucky surviving, as victims, till Ananthapuram or Mullivaaikal.
    God bless, even more, the innocent Tamil civilians who feared to strike back with violence. It must be also acknowledged that many Tamil people who could have fought back fearlessly had the foresight to evade the LTTE bait.
    Sinhalese army on the contrary, with glaring leadership examples such as Gotabhaya and Fonseka only continued to become more barbaric by the day from 1990. The Sri Lankan armed forces transformed itself in to a barbaric Sinhalese genocidal army centered structure from 1990.
    Rev. Emanuel’s article above needs welcomed but with reservations that he probably toned down and timed many points to help facilitate his forthcoming visit back to Sri Lanka.
    Unsurprising for a man of robes, he also displays worrying ignorance of how Jaffna society was structured with many deep internal inter-Tamil splits over the centuries making any rifts between earlier forcibly displaced Jaffna Muslims and other Tamil people near inconsequential.

    Long live the unbreakable determination of Tamil people against a modern sophisticated genocide unleashed on them, from well before the 1990s.

  • 7

    This Catholic priest endorsed suicide bombers. That is unCatholic. He is a terrorist promoter. The Report in CT from University Teachers gives a far more balanced perspective. LTTE ORDERED it. They ethnically cleaned Jaffna of Sinhalese and Tamils. There were at least 95,000 muslims and 1,000 sinhalese like bakers and migrant fishermen. To this date, Tamil racists like this “priest” and others are in denial. If Sinhalese were so bad even after 1983 etc why is that most Tamils live and prosper amongst us? Why cant they all leave Wellawatte of traditional Sinhala areas? Why cant they leave Matara, Kandy, Galle? NO THEY SHOULD NOT BECAUSE THEY have a god given right to live and work and prosper anywhere and so should the Moors, Muslim Tamil speakers or Sinhalese. Yes or No father? Yes or No. Do a Sinhalese peolple have a RIGHT to live in Jaffna equal to how Mano Ganeshan or a lot of upper caste Vellala Tamils live in Anderson Flats, Bamba flats, Wellawatte, Kandy? Ratnapura etc: ? I am not talking about Estate Tamils. I think Tamils must have a RIGHT to live anywhere. So should Muslims and Sinhalese.

    Those in Jaffna who switched on to the LTTE’s radio bulletin that night were astonished to discover that no reference was made to the exodus that had been ordered. In the days that followed, while doing everything to force civilians to leave Jaffna, the LTTE went on denying that it had ordered people to do so.

    There had been a steady exodus of people from Jaffna fleeing the fighting and the bombing and shelling, owing to the fact that the Government had failed in its duty to give confidence to the civilians that tangible measures for their safety had been taken. What is worse, it was denying or greatly underplaying civilian casualties and suffering behind a mask of censorship. By its reprimand (and subsequent suspension) of the Government Agent of Jaffna, the Government was behaving as though it was treachery to talk about such matters – an ironical position for a Government that had staked much on openness, democracy, political accommodation and human rights.

  • 6

    IS this Father from Mannar diocese.

    If so, he may have experience transporting Suicide jackets to the south.

  • 4

    with regard to my article on the historic Exodus on the 30.10.1997, there has been some misunderstanding and false accusations. I wish tostate
    1. I wrote it as s direct victim and witness of the whole Exodus, not from Colombo basing myself on some press reports and hearings.
    2. I am sorry that I did not write at least a description of what I saw of the Muslim Exodus.
    3. In the Company of my Bishop Thomas Saundranayagam, when I met the LTTE leader, I told him that sending the Muslims away like that was a mistake and that they should be called back. (This was call was made later by the LTTE)


    • 4

      Adding a little more ‘lime’ into the whitewash still won’t cover your stripes

    • 5

      With great respect to you father, could you please respond to this article. Thank you.
      Sri Lanka Breaches Agreements & Promises! By S. V. Kirubaharan

    • 3

      Oh !! for this statement you go directly to heaven.
      One snag…. You have no faith in consecrating Body & Blood that as of Jesus when celebrating mass.

      So make sure you pave the way Thomas Savundranayakam too to reach heaven.

  • 10

    Emmanuel is a Rev.Father from hell. He is lying through his teeth in order to ensure his place in purgatory is kept reserved for him when he goes back. He is doing a fine job as confirmed by the following Bible verses:

    You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. [Exodus 23:1]

    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [Revelation 21:8]

  • 5

    ‘ when I met the LTTE leader, I told him that sending the Muslims away like that was a mistake and that they should be called back’

    Well that was very mild wasn’t it? Rather like smacking Adolf Hitler on the wrist and telling him that gassing the Jews was a mistake. Why didn’t you threaten VP with fire and brimstone? Why didn’t you tell him he would burn in hell for ever? That’s what you guys preach on Sundays isn’t it?
    Well I can answer the questions, its because you are a Tamil racist first and a Catholic priest second no different to Gnanasara.

  • 5

    At least now could you please honestly write what was your thoughts and what you have seen of Muslims eviction without any dignity and the robbing of all their possessions. Could you please offer your apologies to them for this cruel act on behalf of Tamil Diaspora you are representing now.

    Thank you

  • 3

    When the TNA associates itself with people like this (so called) priest how can anyone have confidence in the TNA’s claim that they don’t want separation and that they want reconciliation?

    • 1


      “When the TNA associates itself with people like this (so called) priest how can anyone have confidence in the TNA’s claim that they don’t want separation and that they want reconciliation?”

      When Premadasa and Mahinda relied up on VP and LTTE for their own short term gain how can anyone have confidence in the state and its rulers that they are really opposed to terrorism and believe in democracy, unity in diversity and are working for the ordinary people of this island?

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