19 November, 2019

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Karuna’s Allegations About IPKF’s Human Rights Violations

By R. Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Sri Lanka Deputy Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, known as Karuna Amman in his earlier incarnation as LTTE commander of Batticaloa, accused the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) of rape and killings during its war against the LTTE in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 90.

Speaking in Parliament on November 4, he said the IPKF had raped several Tamil women and also killed Tamils and “there is evidence for that.”

Of course, as a parliament member Karuna has every right to draw attention to human rights violations, though it was made 26 years too late. In a democracy, human rights violations committed by any person including the army, police or anyone including political parties is totally unacceptable and cannot be condoned. They have to be inquired into. Human rights watchdogs have been created for this purpose.

But I have a problem when Karuna talks about human rights violations and killings.  When he 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.

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.”

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.

This is not the first time such allegations against the IPKF have been aired. LTTE talked about them till its dying days. During IPKF days even the then Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi had spoken derisively of Indian People Killing Force; so did many other fringe Tamil parties (of course AIADMK was an exception to this).

But the DMK leader never thought of taking follow up action on the allegations during his nearly two decades of association as a coalition partner with the Congress at the Centre. Even Defence Secretary Gotabaya made a sly reference to IPKF’s alleged human rights violations when India voted against Sri Lanka in UN Human Rights Commission meeting. But he never went beyond this.

If Karuna had seriously wanted Sri Lanka’s human rights record set right he should have cooperated in an inquiry into the alleged killings and other crimes committed under his watch. Then his call for inquiry into the IPKF’s alleged human rights violations would carry conviction. But this has not happened. So why is Karuna raising this old issue now? Is he contemplating some serious follow up on it?

No such thought seems to have crossed Karuna’s mind. Karuna has been driven to political wilderness, marginalized by Rajapaksa and ignored Tamils. With little or no influence either personally or politically, his future looks bleak as he faces the parliamentary election next year. He runs the risk of being totally sidelined in the run up to the elections unless President Rajapaksa lends a helping hand.

So he is probably trying to ingratiate himself with President Rajapaksa by raising “vote-catching” issues in the coming elections. He probably wants to deflect the attention from the UN inquiry into Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes by raising the IPKF atrocities issue. Similarly Karuna has used the issue of President Premadasa (of the UNP) arming the LTTE to settle scores with the UNP which had sought action against him for involvement in crimes during his LTTE days.

In his speech Karnua has also accused Northeastern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran of working against Sri Lanka by supporting the UN probe into alleged Sri Lanka army war crimes in 2009. TNA has become bête noire of Mahinda Rajapaksa and any attack on them by a Tamil politician would be welcomed by him.

So Karuna’s parliamentary speech is not merely about IPKF only.  Allegations against the IPKF indirectly whip ups the hardy perennial of Sri Lanka politics – India-baiting – which comes to the fore during the run up to the elections. So Karuna’s purpose of the whole exercise appears to be limited to shoring up his own dwindling political fortunes and nothing more.  It deserves to be ignored by Indian public because Karuna has little say in the scheme of things of Rajapaksa or Tamils.

As regards Karuna’s allegations against the IPKF one may say wars always lead to human rights violations, though it does not lessen the seriousness of the allegations. But I feel, neither India nor Sri Lanka paid the attention the issue deserved either because human rights was not considered a big issue either politically or militarily at that point of time.

Personally, I felt that at least in two instances- Jaffna Teaching Hospital killings on October 27, 1987 (the day our family friend Rajendra Doraisamy SLAS, former Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, was also killed a few hundred yards from the hospital ) and the Valvettiturai retaliatory operations on August 2, 3, and 4, 1989 – Indian army should have done better than holding routine internal inquiries. But I am glad Indian army is now serious about human rights violations and has a mechanism in place to handle these issues.

*Col R Hariharan, retired MI officer, served as the head of intelligence of the IPKF (1987-90). He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-mail: haridirect@gmail.com Blog: http://www.col.hariharan.info

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    As people who have lived through the IPKF times, I know well the atrocities they committed.

    I will let Rajasingham Narendran tell his own story of woe with regard to the IPKF.

    Hariharen wanting to defend his army is understandable but pointing fingers at Karuna and his crimes is the same thing that the regime does. Which is point to the crimes of the terrorist LTTE. One does not absolve the other !
    Both committed crimes against innocent civilians, let us hold both accountable !

    The crimes of the Indian army in Kashmir are also well documented. As are the crimes of the US army in Iraq.

    • 4
      3

      Dev

      “Both committed crimes against innocent civilians, let us hold both accountable!”

      Well I will have to agree with you.

      However can we agree that all accountability issues should not only cover this period but go beyond, addressing all war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all parties from 5th April 1971 to date?

      Could you also add members of EPRLF cabinet to the list of war criminals so that we can hold one of its former NE provincial minister responsible for war crimes committed against unarmed civilians under IPKF patronage.

      Uncle Hari forgot to mention one fact that Hindians fathered LTTE, EPRLF, TELO, all those star members of ad hoc scouts, VP, Karuna, KP,Pathmanaba, Suresh, ………… They were all Hindia’s babies.

      • 3
        0

        I wholeheartedly agree with you Native !

    • 6
      0

      Dev,

      Here is the link to the story that appeared in an Australian newspaper:

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1300&dat=19871030&id=TcwzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xpIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4820,7154549

      There are embelishments like my house in Kandy being burnt in 1977. The house was looted and we had to run for our lives chased by a mob.

      The bullets that killed my mother, brother and Rasaiyah were definietly fired by the IPKF and the left the bodies to run and be eaten by dogs and crows. The provocation for this killing spree was a land mine that was planted by the LTTE on the Kandy road that targeted an IPKF jeep.

      I was myself threatened by IPF soldiers bearing submachine guns when I went to cremate the dead.

      Dr.RN

      • 4
        0

        Thank you for sharing.
        I was aware of the story but it is important people are told this again esp. in light of stories such as this by Hariharen.

  • 4
    1

    THE UN INVESTIGATIONS SHOULD BEGIN FROM THE DAY THE IPKF LANDED IN SRI LANKA. IPKF COMMITTED WORST ATROCITIES INCLUDING RAPE OF WOMEN AND KILLING OF INNOCENT TAMIL CIVILIANS.

  • 11
    2

    Mr.Hariharan,

    This does not absolve the crime committed by India on Tamils in srilanka, your IPKF and GoSL are party to crime against humanity. Most Tamils in TN dont even celebrate independence days now if you have noticed post 2009. I am one of them, I did not even join IGCAR, in Department of atomic energy as a scientist when offered, I preferred to be non-indian in my entire life and will be always that way! Please note I was very patriotic till 2007, and was in DRDO.

    • 3
      6

      manisekaran

      “I preferred to be non-indian in my entire life and will be always that way! Please note I was very patriotic till 2007, and was in DRDO.”

      You must be another stupid Tamil.

      You are a marked man now.

      The Hindian establishment is going to come after you, When they can’t catch the real terrorists, you will become the convenient patsy whom they can arrest and frame up charges and throw you in cells for a very very very long time or you will be arranged to meet with an encounter.

      Their possible charges:

      LTTE sleeper

      Another suspect in Rajiv’s assassination, a line of inquiry being carried out to establish your involvement in Mahatma Gandhi’s murder.

      Working for Pakistan, as a DRDO scientist you have been passing all secrets to Jihadhi/ISI, evidence your bulging wallet with Pakistani currencies.

      You were seen with a beautiful Muslim women frolicking in Maldive beaches.

      You have been the main contact between Indian terrorists (Naxalites/Lashkar-e-Taiba, …. .Bhindranwale, Osama bin Laden)and LTTE. You provided safe houses for Pakistani agents from Sri Lanka.

      Please do drop us a line if you are alive and out of Poonthamalli.

      • 1
        0

        (:-)

        • 2
          2

          manisekaran

          “(:-)”

          What does this mean?

          Sorry I am not a member of any secret society hence I am unable to decipher your coded message.

          It looks like you are part of a fraternal organisation, possibly a member of Indian Freemasonry.

          Are you?

          • 1
            0

            No sign languages please :)

          • 2
            0

            Smiley for your points on possible charges….Freemasonry? Funny fellow.

  • 4
    4

    The IPKF was in Sri Lanka to maintain peace. Had not the LTTE proceeded to fight the IPKF so many lives would not have been lost. This fool doesn’t know that many Tamil women married Indian soldiers and happily settled in India . This man Karuna murdered 700 policemen who surrendered to him. He should be investigated by the UN panel. If there is sufficient evidence then he should be taken to the Hague for trial. When this man is allowed to speak in parliament which is legislative body, then this body is dropped to the lowest level. Yes both parties committed crimes and they should be investigated by the UN panel and punishment imposed whoever is guilty.

  • 3
    2

    The Sunday Leader of March 26 2006 whips India like this

    “That India has blundered on the Karuna issue which has led to untold headaches for the President has also now come to light raising questions whether there is a game afoot at the High Commission to keep Sri Lanka in a permanent state of instability though Delhi says she is fully supportive of the peace process.

    This follows evidence that Karuna left Sri Lanka for India after obtaining an Indian visa from the High Commission in Colombo.

    What Karuna had done aided by his handlers is submit his passport with two others for an Indian visa last year and gone through the Bandaranaike International Airport as a regular passenger.

    And just three days later, the passport of Karuna’s wife who had travelled to India on an earlier occasion was submitted for a visa and it is only then the visa officers at the High Commission had detected the identity of the traveller and stopped it.

    Indian issue

    By that time of course Karuna had already left for India and an inquiry got underway at the High Commission on how Karuna obtained the visa without detection by the authorities, particularly by the RAW agents who screen all visa applications.

    Given the internal politics at the mission, the question arose whether a top officer had given the okay, leading to the inquiry but it ended inconclusively with no heads rolling.

    It is following this detection, Karuna was forced to leave India and was joined by his wife later in Singapore from where he moved to another neighbouring country.

    Such bungling at the mission has also raised eyebrows in Delhi with questions being asked whether Nirupama Rao who is indulging in petty local politics is upto the job as head of mission particularly at a time Pakistan and China are making foreign policy strides in Sri Lanka and landing top projects.”

  • 5
    3

    I have no doubt that IPKF was involved in rape and murder of civilians as SL forces did. Mr. Hariharan, there is no point in challenging Karuna. It is coming from Karuna’s mouth but it is coming in the order of Mahinda Rajapakse. Mahinda is playing the game very well. Karuna, Douglas, Rauf Hakeem etc. are slaves of Rajapakse regime and they are there to just follow the orders, otherwise they have to face the reality. You Indians have no guts to challenge Mahinda because you were part and partial of massacre of Tamils in Mullivaygal. Indian Government is in a similar position that of Karuna because India has blood in their hands.

  • 5
    0

    Did Col Hariharan push the Indian military to punish the rapists and murderers of the IPKF? Did he call for the court marshalling of the IPKF soldiers who carried out the massacre at the Jaffna hospital?

    The answer is no! Now he is complaining about Karuna’s exposure of IPKF atrocities against the tamil civilians. Col Hariharan also should be investigated and punished because he, as head of intelligence of the IPKF, played a major part in the force in its actions in Sri lanka.

  • 3
    1

    The IPKF did what the Indian army did, and is doing now, in Kashmir.
    Rajiv said that “it will be a short sharp exercise” referring to what he expected of the IPKF – but the latter lost 1,200 soldiers to the LTTE.
    Karuna did what VP wanted him to do – till he defected to become a Vice President of the SLFP.
    The bogus passport provided by Gota and Karuna’s imprisonment in UK are now forgotten.
    He is now MR’s attack dog let loose on the TNA, and is doing the job well, assisted by Pillayan.

  • 1
    1

    Karuna is a rehabilitated LTTE , Mr.Rajapakse will proudly claim. The regime can arrest any Tamil in the pretext he/she is non rehabilitated LTTE , for their own convenience and frame allegations against them such as hiding an LTTE under the bed or distributing alleged forged UN forms.

    So a man who committed under his watch mass murder is sitting in the parliament and a Tamil walking the road is a potential min rehabilitated terrorist

  • 0
    1

    Col Hariharan

    Dont take speech seriously.

    It was speech after Jonny Walker.

    Cant you see his body language.

    The person who seated next Karuna said after the speech that “Karuna is a good booser”.

    Consider Karuna speech as Jonny Walker spoke.

    • 0
      0

      In future we will call him “Johnny Walker Karuna”.

      He is for women and whisky.

      We were told that he doesnt drink any whisky which is already opened.

      He carefully looked at the seal of the bottle.

      Anyway, Rajapaksa must be very proud that, Shakespear has re-born as Karuna in the Sri Lankan parliament.

      Some said they understood nothing out of his speech.

      Johnny Walker Karuna, don’t kill the Queen.

  • 0
    1

    Re Karuna Ammans speech in the Parliament, he could have spoken in Tamil which is his mother tongue,or Sinhalese which is also an official language and he is well versed. Instead he spoke in English and ruthlessly murdered the English language adding to the countless murders of ,Sinhalese soldiers,Muslim worshippers,and Tamils who opposed him. Had not the president nominated him as an M.P., he would have ended as a hireling, resorting to robbery,murder and extortion, for which he is well known for.

  • 1
    1

    This speech was his MASTER’S VOICE.

    So Hariharan has to challenge the Rajapakasa’s government, not this drunkard Karuna.

    If Karuna is really worried about IPKF raping Tamil women, what he is going to say about SL Army raping his old collegues LTTE women cadres and the innocent Tamil ladies.

    Karuna was blackmailed by Rajapaksa to make this speech.

  • 0
    2

    India’s continuing atrocities against Tamils is shocking!

    Latest is illegally sacking the popular Tamil leader “Amma” (Jayalalitha Jayaram) on bogus charges. India always want to keep Tamils subjugated, defeated and as slaves.

    Tamil Country should leave India. It is their choice.

  • 2
    0

    The numerous crimes committed by Karuna do not make the crimes and the atrocities committed by the IPKF less heinous. Even infants were killed and their bodies thrown on to the road. In fact the President Jayewardene encouraged the animosity between the LTTE and the IPKF by also clandestinely supplying arms to the LTTE.Bensen

  • 2
    1

    I personally know two cases where the IPKF raped (in 2 serepate parts of the town),one victim was murdered and left naked,the other was an old woman and the neigbour who went with her and her husband to lodge the complaint at the local IPKF camp was bullied that very night by a group of soldiers loitering near his house in an intimidating manner

    IPKF was very ruthless and brutal esp the north indian regiments

    but unlike david blacker uncle hariharan at least writes politely

    • 0
      0

      P Lover,

      Wasn’t your Vellala CM in Madras last week begging the same Hindians to kick the Army out of the North and get him and his Vellala mates self rule.?

      How can the Hindians help the CM without giving you another dose of .the same from Hariharan’s mates. I mean a PKF ….

      • 0
        0

        Dude K A Sumanasekera,I dont care two hoots if your good friend the CM was in Hindia or Timbuktu !

        But what the IPKF did is something that cannot be erased from history,be it IPKF,LTTE,JVP or Security forces a crime done is a crime done got it mate?

  • 0
    3

    Old Colonel seems to have solid evidence to convict Karuna Amman in any court, let alone the mother of all courts in the Hague, which is Ms Pilla’s old Turf.

    If the list of all dead bodies of Muslims and Sinhalese are counted , it is well over thousand years in the Slammer for Karuna Aman , even with just one year for each murder.

    Why on earth did Ms Pillai back date the Investigation only up to 2005….

    Did the Diaspora and the TNA have any input on the dates?

    • 4
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “If the list of all dead bodies of Muslims and Sinhalese are counted , it is well over thousand years in the Slammer for Karuna Aman , even with just one year for each murder.”

      You stupid man has a selective memory, change your hard drive if necessary connect one external drive to include Tamils who were killed by your brethren Karuna.

      If you kill one person you go to gallows. If you kill more than one person you become a hero. If you kill in hundreds you become party deputy leader and a minister. Remember this, if you ever want to become a minister kill in hundreds. If you ever want to become a life president kill in thousands.

      • 0
        1

        Dear Native,

        Did your external Drive spit out PM Rudrakumaran and his Cabinet….

        • 2
          0

          K.A Sumanasekera

          “Did “your external Drive spit out PM Rudrakumaran and his Cabinet….”

          Did your sex drive (or lack of it) makes you to spit and polish clan’s foot-wears?

          If it is your profession I have no complaints for at least you have a job. If not I pity for your parents.

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Hariharan I have a problem too.
    I have no doubt that Karuna is a war criminal should be dealt severely in the Hague or anywhere for killing innocent people in the Mosque and the monks and the police men in uniform.
    But I also have no doubt that IPKP were the ruthless army did all the atrocities including rape as a tool in the North and East.
    Fugitive Nazis brought before justice after 50, 60 years of Second World War. Why not the IPKF?
    There is nothing called ‘too late’ for justice!!
    Karuna, After all, was a commander of a terrorist organisation whom you cannot expect humanity or abide the rules of war but the being part of the biggest democracy in the world and it’s elite army committing acts of war crimes not only in Sri Lanka but also in Kashmir simply cannot acceptable and condemns severely.
    Shame on you Mr. Hariraharan for your one sided article.
    …..

  • 1
    0

    How come these things only come out during election time

    Did Karuna come out of his hibernation now

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