30 October, 2020

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This Year Marks The 25th Anniversary Of Kattankudy Massacre

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Last year was the tenth anniversary of the devastating Tsunami. Survivors in the affected countries gathered remembering the estimated 230,000 people who perished. The majority were from the Indonesian island of Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh province, where around 170,000 people died followed by Sri Lanka. The devastating Tsunami also destroyed coastal communities in India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Seychelles, Bangladesh and Kenya. A tragedy of this magnitude was a first to Sri Lanka. From a disaster management perspective Sri Lanka was not well prepared. People help people in times of need. This was more than evident in the aftermath. Even before the government or the private sector could intervene fellow humans were the first responders, embarking with a conscience and risking personal lives.

An avoidable tragedy took place in 1990 during the peak of the ethnic conflict. A conflict that had already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans. The ghastly Kattankudy mosque massacre was the killing of nearly 150 Muslim men and boys in a mosque  by LTTE cadres on August 3, 1990. It took place when around 30 Tamil rebels raided four mosques in the town of Kattankudy, where over 300 people were prostrating for late evening Isha prayers. The attack widely attributed to LTTE, denied their involvement in the massacre. A crime blended with terrorism and racism committed again by the LTTE in the eastern region of the country. All peace loving citizens of the country were deeply shocked and anguished over the incident. This August marks the 25th anniversary and it’s like today, the gory incident flashing before our very eyes.

*Picture courtesy Kannan Arunasalam

Terrorists of all hues have absolutely no remorse, no consideration for human life and certainly no religion. The religion of the terrorists is violence. Their irrationality dictates that solutions can only be brought about by unleashing violence. Particularly violence perpetrated on innocent and unsuspecting people. This is so wrong. Throughout history people of violence have justified their actions by using nationalism, political marginalization and religion. This also provides them with gullible recruits. An unbiased media well-endowed with the subject should be in a position to disallow these people from using this ruse. The media no doubt has a very important role to play without exacerbating the situation. Who will have the mental capacity to empty a round of diabolical ammunition on a people who were worshipping their Lord?

The Kattankudy incident was just one of the many terrorist driven incidents that took the lives of innocent Muslims. The Muslims paid really and dearly. Even amongst the forces young and courageous Muslims fought the enemy and laid their lives for the sake of the country. One individual that comes to my mind automatically was the killing of young Major Tuan Muthaliff who was shot dead by LTTE gunmen at Polhengoda. Muslims paid in blood and lots of it to protect and preserve the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Instead of being commended for their vehement opposition for separation Muslims continue to suffer at the hands of extremists of a different type today.

The total lack of sensitivity of the Rajapaksa regime was a very conspicuous example in recent times. Memories of Aluthgama is so horribly vivid in most Muslims. Four Muslims were killed in overnight clashes with hardline Buddhists in southern Sri Lanka. The men died of gunshot wounds near a mosque in the town of Aluthgama in what was seen as Sri Lanka’s worst outbreak of sectarian violence in years. If LTTE eliminated Muslim worshippers the BBS with the tacit approval of the then regime destroyed mosques and Islamic learning centres at will.

Muslims unfortunately, whether they realize it or not had increasingly become mere numbers to extremist politicians, only to be lusciously manipulated for electoral gains. At one time we had the scary camouflaged clothed extremist who was hell bent on killing alongside the palpable manipulations. They are no more. It’s now replaced by the saffron clothed and those with the milky white Ariyasinghe dresses. The extremist has become somewhat unrecognizable now. Ironically, Democratic Party politics is churning out chameleons at remarkable speed. At opportune times they spew acerbic vitriol at minorities and when it’s convenient they become virtual paragons of virtue. They’re well gifted and are making use of their gifts with superlative admiration.

The more harm they could cause on minorities the more they are able to rake in votes. Killing as collateral damage and psyching them coalesced as a main political instrument in the previous regime. This has got firmly rooted now, anyone can use it if he or she wants to compromise moral rectitude. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the unambiguous and ambidextrous exponent of the art of the possible extended exemplary leadership to pamper the needs of the ultra-Buddhists for electoral security. He picked on the marginalized minorities especially the Muslims with amazing adroitness.

We also have people like Patali Champika Ranawaka an ambitious MP and Minister who supposedly has a favourite but weird avocation to keep a close tab on global breeding of Muslims. He has at the tip of his mind demographic metrics of the world with special emphasis on hot spots of rapid Muslim breeding. He has this uncanny ability to recall at “electrical” speed using his own set of self-deduced algorithms about trends of Muslims breeding etc. When did procreation become unconstitutional or ill-legal in Sri Lanka? How can one allow sheer parochialism to besmirch the character of an able politician with a promising future?

If Slavery stood as an affront to human dignity in days gone by, intolerance and hatred is insidiously creeping like deadly ivy to destroy Sri Lankan society and the collective dignities of all Sri Lankans. Let’s reject politics that undermine the dignity of man. Let’s also reject those ruthless politicians who provide leadership to such politics.

Martin Luther King famously said in his immortal words “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Combatting and rehabilitating terrorists is a monumental drain on scarce resources but eliminating injustice on the other hand will act as a strong impediment against terrorism and will also contribute immensely to usher in peace and prosperity.

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Latest comments

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    Nishthar [Edited out] – Kattankudy Massacre may have been the wish of your god.[Edited out]

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    So, inform to all of your political gainers to celebrate the anniversary with sponsorship of some parties who wanted this issue for the forthcoming election.

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    Nishthar Idroos,

    RE: This Year Marks The 25th Anniversary Of Kattankudy Massacre

    This Year Marks The 25th Anniversary Of Kattankudy Massacre and The DOUBLE STANDARDS for those who are still living…

    You can’t do much for those who have been killed…However, you can do, everything for those survivors, so that they can get back to their LTTE destroyed villagers and Army occupied Villages. instead of languishing in the Wilpattu Jungles … Make Your agitation and against DOUBLE STANDARDS..

    Why DOUBLE STANDARDS? Because they are MUSLIMS? Also ask why is that there is All this delay in settling the Expelled Muslims 6 years after the war Ended in the original home villages, and why is that they had to bring families froim Hambambabtota into Wilpattu? Because Yala was cleared for the Mattala Airport?

    Forgotten People – The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka (English)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JV60McNQ9o

    Published on Jun 1, 2013 The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka. The expulsion of the Muslims and other nations from the Northern province was an act of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Tamil militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating a mono ethnic Tamil state in the North Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the 72,000 strong Muslim population from the Northern Province.

    LTTE Attacks and Killings,,,

    List of attacks attributed to the LTTE
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The following is a list of attacks attributed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers.[1][2][3] The attacks include massacres, bombings, robberies, ethnic cleansing, military battles and assassinations of civilian and military targets. The LTTE is a separatist militant group that fought for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka between 1976 and 2009. The rebel group has been banned by 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, India and the 27 member nations of the European Union

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attributed_to_the_LTTE

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      You could have added the reason why Kathankudy was razed by the IPKF and also the activities of Wahabbism in Kathankudy and its consequences to Nisthar Idroos.

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    The author appears to have “coming of age” to write about Kattankudi massacres after 25 years of his silence. This space has been created by Mahinda and the valiant Sri Lankan forces. When LTTE attacked and expelled Muslims in the northeast provinces where was Nisthar ? He appears to have forgotten what Martin Luther King famously said ” Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Nishthar has regained consciousness after long long slumber (silence) after the fall of the LTTE and he conveniently forgot the Chandrika government’s atrocities against the Mawanella Muslims. which was devastating and much worse than Aluthgama.

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      It’s not about Manwanall Musims, Aluthgama muslims or northern tamils, tamils of wellawatha or even Sinhalese who got vitimized in the hands of LTTE. The article is about an incident which occurred 25 years ago which had significant impact on the muslims and whole of Sri Lanka, the incident exposed LTTE’s brutality it’s like the arawantala massacre of Buddhist monks. The purpose of the article a timely reminder to people that there should be no room for such events in the future.

      Our gorakoyo are so good at finding faults. Raz is one of them. This is all they do it’s like that singhala saying “Balla piduru kanneth naha kana gona ta denneth naha” This gorakaya does not have the brains to figure out the wider picture exposed in this article.

      “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do”
      Benjamin Franklin

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    My comments were both observations and questions directed to the author. It appears a gorakoyo jumped the gun to reply or the author is using a pseudonym. The Kattankudy massacre took place some 25 years ago in 1990 and it is remembered every year by Kattankudy people. The author, Idroos has waited for the successful defeat of the LTTE was by the brave Sri Lankan soldiers before having the courage to write this kind of article. If he had written anything about the Kattatnkudy Muslims, it is up to him to reply but not his agent, gorakoyo . The Arantalawa massacre of Sinhalese was not cited by the author and it’s not an issue for dispute.

    However, Gorakoyo (kamal) cynically plays the race card to appease the Sinhalese readers of this site as if he is against the LTTE for its atrocities against all communities.
    The author does not extend his sympathy with the victims of the LTTE all over Sri Lanka, as gorakoyo misinterpret him.
    Idroos is drawing an absurd comparison between the attacks on Muslims of Kattankudy by the LTTE and the attacks on Aluthgama Muslims by a group of Sinhalese extremists. However Kamal – gorakoyo- has proved that he cannot tolerate comments or write in a descent way like the author.

    How can gorakoyo calls a person who is exercising his right to question the author or making comments on his writing, a fool. The Gorakoyo , known as Kamal is indeed intolerant and indignant . No one is exempt to criticism or fallacy but what lacks among the Muslims is intolerance which is a worldwide phenomenon. It is noteworthy to point out to him what Benjamin Franklin said about critics. “Critics are our friends, they show us our faults.” . I believe I ahve a right to make comments or put my questions to Idroos not his self-appointed gorakoyao.If Kamal is not Idroos , let him explain himself . Let gorakayas do not play Idroos.

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    My comments were both observations and questions directed to the author. It appears a gorakoyo jumped the gun to reply or the author is using a pseudonym. The Kattatnkudy massacre took place some 25 years ago in 1990 and it is remembered every year by Kattankudy people. The author, Idroos has waited for the successful defeat of the LTTE was by the brave Sri Lankan soldiers before having the courage to write this kind of article. If he had written anything about the Kattatnkudy Muslims, it is up to him to reply to me but not by his agent, gorakoyo . The Arantalawa massacre of Sinhalese was not cited by the author and it’s not an issue for dispute here. However, Gorakoyo cynically plays the race card to appease the Sinhalese readers of this site as if he is a person who is concerned about not only Muslims but also all others.
    The author does not extend his sympathy with the victims of the LTTE all over Sri Lanka, as gorakoyo misinterpret him. Idroos is drawing an absurd comparison between the attacks on Muslims of Kattankudy by the LTTE and the attacks on Aluthgama Muslims by a group of Sinhalese extremists. However Kamal – gorakaya- has proved that he cannot tolerate comments or write in a descent way. .
    How gorakoyo can calls a person, who is exercising his right to question the author or making comments on his writing, a fool. The Gorakoyo , known as Kamal is indeed intolerant and indignant . No one is exempt to criticism or fallacy but what lacks among the Muslims is intolerance which is a worldwide phenomenon. “Critics are our friends, they show us our faults.” Benjamin Franklin. If Kamal is not Idroos , let him explain himself . Let gorakayas do not play Idroos.

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    In Kattankudy 147 people were killed by the LTTE in two mosques.The information is wrong in this article.I think Mr. Nisthar Idroos does not know exactly what happened then.Put the facts correct man and do not find apology betwen the Tamil terrorists and a small group of Sinhalese rable rousers. LTTE are not rebels but a mass murderers.

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    @ Nishanthar Idroos

    While the mosque massacre is not correct. The muslims were not entirely inncoent. It is a known fact that in the eastern province the SL govt armed muslim paramillitaries. Many of these paramillitaries commited rapes and murders against civillians. While the massacre of innocent civillains is wrong the muslims were not innocent either.

    Also another fault line of the muslims is that when the tamils were facing racism from the 50’s onwards none of them objected it and in many cases many even joined in the badnwagon. So while it is unfortunate that the muslims today are facing attacks by the sinhalese, as the bible says what goes around comes around.

    Secondly the racism in many in the sri lankan muslim community is highlighted by their denials of their tamil/south indian origin. Many prefer to idenify with the arabs eventhough the arab percentage amongst them is small and limited to the elite. The majority are descended from local/south indians. Why is this only the case in sri lanka. A bangladeshi muslim will not indentify themselves as arab the identify themselves as benaglis. Why cant sri lankan musilms do the same.

    For example just because i am a christian i do not identify myslef with the portugese i identify myself as a sri lankan christain.

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    This is a tragic massacre that should not have happened, just like all the other unnecessary massacres in Sri Lanka. There is one thing that bugs me. How are you able to accuse the LTTE of the massacre when they have strongly denied it. The LTTE NEVER denied an attack the did commit, since they wanted attention for them. ‘The attack widely attributed to LTTE, denied their involvement in the massacre. A crime blended with terrorism and racism committed again by the LTTE in the eastern region of the country’ – you still accuse the LTTE of committing the massacre without any evidence. Here are the reasons for why the SLA committed the massacre and NOT the LTTE:

    Here are some:

    The Sri Lankan Government had desperately tried to create animosity between the Muslim and Tamil minorities. Especially since, in its early stages the LTTE recruited Muslims as well.
    Every time a SL minister was going to visit a Muslim country to implore for military aid, a massacre against Muslims would mysteriously take place, and then the LTTE would get blamed for it.
    The LTTE had support from Arabs and were even trained by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The SL wanted to destroy their good relationship by lying about LTTE killing Muslims.
    The LTTE were highly secular with an atheist leader. They are respectful of other religions and it is hard to believe that they would shoot dead people whilst they are praying?! The SL Government on the other hand, was known for being homogeneously Sinhala-Buddhist and even Islamophobic at times. They are also not afraid of killing people in holy places. P. Joseph was killed during midnight mass (in Batticaloa)
    There was no official inquiry held on it. Why? Because the SL Government would be exposed/busted for this inhuman massacre and scapegoating the LTTE.
    The Government and Sinhala news insisted that this was an attack by the LTTE. However:
    ‘The only impartial scrutiny of this incident to date was by Gerrit Busch, a journalist with der uberblick,( a German publication). He, accompanied by Fr. Miller (an American Jesuit Priest who resides in Batticaloa), visited Kathankudy and interviewed several residents. Both concluded that the LTTE was not responsible for these attacks. What happened to him?

    Fr. Eugene Herbert and Fr. Miller, were arrested by the army a week after these massacres and has disappeared. What happened to them?’

    The people that survived the brutal massacre, were taken by Sri Lankan helicopters – to be treated I presume. When interviewed, asking them ‘Who did it?’, all of them were consistent in saying it was the ‘rebels’, despite being disguised. Why did they make this response? Where they scared into it by the Government? Very likely so, if you disagreed with the Sri Lankan Government – the would end your life. No doubt, even Sinhala people that condemned in the killing of innocent Tamils were assassinated.
    All in all, this was an extremely tragic event that should not have happened. Just like all the other large-scale state terror attacks on the minorities.

    People are too focused on blaming the LTTE (with no evidence), when the answer to ‘Who did it?’ is right before them. What is even sadder is, people are using the tragic loss of life to stir hate.

    Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji’oon to all the individuals that perished in this brutal massacre.

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