Before his murderous assault on the so-called safety zone, Mahinda Rajapaksa has always been maintaining that the number of civilians there was only 70,000. But after the first bout of the capture of civilians last month, until Thursday, 247,908 civilians from the safety zone were registered in the internment camps of Vavuniyaa, Pulmoaddai, Mannaar and Jaffna. After the first bout, the Sri Lanka president was saying that only 15 to 20 thousand were remaining in the safety zone. Sunday evening Colombo’s militarised civil administration head of internment camps, Chandrasiri admitted more than 80,000 crossing after the latest onslaught. According to aid officials, some more thousands are still remaining.
The figures admitted now, added with the dead, disappeared and those who have given the slip to the SLA, crosses well over 350, 000.
Ever since the beginning of the creation of the so-called safety zone, TamilNet has been reporting a figure of 360,000, based on local official records and the accounts of its own independent correspondent. It has always been quoting a modest a figure of over 300,000. But the world bodies and the so-called international media were neither prepared to believe accounts coming from what was labelled by them as ‘pro-LTTE website’, nor had their own accounts correct, even by counting from the sky.
By quoting very low figures, Rajapaksa’s aim was to minimise the food and medicine supply in order to starve the civilians for a prolonged time. Starvation was a crucial weapon and a serious war crime deployed by Colombo to capture and incarcerate civilians claimed by it as its own citizens. Mahinda Rajapaksa will now be using the actual number to get aid money. The Indian Establishment has gone on record in openly abetting Colombo in this war crime by endorsing the number 70,000, quoted by Colombo.
The UN also to a large extent abetted the war crime by officially quoting a figure far less than the actual number. The UN estimated only 200,000 civilians in the beginning, roughly 50 percent of the actual number. In the later stage it quoted 50,000, again less than half of the actual number, while TamilNet quoted 120,000, based on the accounts of its correspondent.
Perhaps typical of its approach to the crisis by equating the attacked and the attackers, the UN was balancing the figures also. Its failure in both will go into history. Tamil circles fear that such accounts crimes are likely to be committed in future also when it comes to the dead, disappeared and to several other matters affecting the oppressed further. The international community is fully responsible for this accounts crime, by allowing Colombo to wage the war without any witnesses, but how to indict them, the Tamil circles ask.
– Written by a Human Rights Activist