22 May, 2022


Video: Sri Lanka Mass Grave Called ‘A Crime Site’

Human remains in central Matale district is “the scene of a crime”, a forensic medical officer has told Al Jazeera.

The remains of more than 150 people have been excavated in the town of Matale in central Sri Lanka.

The skeletal remains were discovered late last year by workers building a facility at a hospital in Matale.

Dr Ajith Jayasena, Matale hospital’s judicial medical officer in charge of the investigation, told Al Jazeera that the site “is a crime scene”.


Bone samples will be sent abroad to find out when they died and soil analysis of the area is also being done, investigators said.

Basil Fernando, the executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, told Al Jazeera that “criminal justice” remains the “greater area of difficulty”.

“This is only one mass grave, I’m sure there are many, many mass graves in Sri Lanka,” he said.

‘Crimes were committed’

There are allegations that the bodies are those of victims of a small pox outbreak from a hundred years ago, while others believe they may be those killed by a flood some years ago.

But other theories hold that the people died in political contexts.


The Matale area was an epicentre of a late 1980s uprising by leftist Sinhalese group, the JVP, in which the state matched the guerrillas’ extreme violence.

The group says this site could potentially be where some of its members may have been buried.

Jayasena told Al Jazeera that no real conclusions could be drawn until a detailed analysis of the skeletal remains is carried out.

“The real story behind the dozens of people found buried here can only be known with more comprehensive investigations,” he said.

He added that “evidence of decapitation, dismemberment and concealment” indicates that “crimes were committed”.

“There were bundles and bundles of skeletal remains. Another thing is the direction of the bodies and certain injuries, that I have informed [the] court about, so it is unlikely to be a routine burial site.”

Courtesy Al Jazeera

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Latest comments

  • 0

    It seems that the mills of god are grinding steadily and those who killed and destroyed evidence are now being confronted with evidence of their brutal behaviour from an earlier era. If it is proven that this is from the late 1980’s one of our vips will have a lot of explaining to do.

    • 0

      It is said that Gota while serving in the Army was posted to Command Matale district around this period. It is very unlikely there will be anything further on this matter as it will reveal more of this Mass Killer of Nandikadal fame.

      • 0


        Wasn’t there a team comprising Janaka, Fonseka, Gota and 3 more army officers?

  • 0

    What this gruesome discovery highlights is that the Sri Lankan governments have been ruthless in dealing with both the Sinhalese and Tamils who tried to challenge their authority. The LTTE during its reign over the north and east, was equally ruthless towards both these communities and the Muslims. No wonder that the Sinhalese and Tamils are more related than we acknowledge. We are flip sides of the same coin!

    I think the Sinhalese will join the Tamils, if the demand is to inquire into how both JVP insurgencies and the LTTE insurrection were dealt with by the Sri Lankan state, and how the JVP and the LTTE fought for their respective causes. If there is need or closure as many Tamils and sections of the international community demand, the Sinhalese deserve such a closure too.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    What is more ruthless is that Basil fernando has jumped into the band wagon on fours for a bout of CHEAP PUBLICITY.

    Singing for his supper and for his paymasters, he is in search of self glorification.
    Like the Rajapakshes, Basil Fernando at others expense seeking to enter the history books.
    World is now looking at Basil fernando the Clergy, the english tutor, who ran for his life from Sri Lanka now turned Investigator before Al Jazeera and Authoritarian on Sri Lanka.
    Its time someone asked Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe to shed history on Basil fernando.

    Like the vultures to carcasses……….the anti- SL NGOs.

    • 0

      Is this guy Dicky Bird under the impression that it was Basil Fernando who is behind the mass killings? Or is Dicky a bird brain, or is his brain located in his dick?

    • 0

      dicky Bird

      “Singing for his supper and for his paymasters,”

      I would be very grateful if you would please let me know who his paymasters are?

  • 0

    Having lived in Colombo during the height of the JVP insurgency and having seen the methodology adopted by Mesers Wijeweera and Co. Surely they received that which they dealt out to their opponents. The govt of the day did what was needed to be done. It was brutal yet effective. We were faced with a group of armed angry young men motivated by poverty who were rebelling against a system to which they presented no credible alternative.

    Had they succeeded, a Khmer Rouge kinda situation was definitely on the cards.

    Depending on what side of the situation one could view these mass graves as either ‘crime sites’ or ‘part of the cure sites’.

  • 0

    We don’t know where we are being led by our totally 101% greedy and corrupted, self centered politicians of our land. Surely the destination is destruction.
    Crime site
    Killinng fields
    No Fire zone


  • 0

    goigamayas killing bathgamayas, paddies over rice, paddy power

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