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Sunday, 24 February 2013





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Balachandran on sale! :

Another gimmick by Channel 4

Kebithigollawa blast: A father grieves for his son

A death of a child, no doubt, is a reason to mourn. The disturbing image of a bullet-ridden body of a boy and his pictures, said to have been taken a few hours before he had fallen dead; the latest pictures extracted from the controversial Channel 4 video No Fire Zone to be released has caused much pain to many.

In this documentary a picture of a 12-year-old boy with bullet holes in his chest can be seen and the director claims that the boy is Balachandran Prabhakaran, the youngest son of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The director is Callum Macrae, a former reporter at Channel 4 , now turned director. It is to be noted that some of these pictures had been largely circulated on the Internet and most of them have appeared in the previous Channel 4 documentaries.

For many who have viewed Channel 4’s previous videos, this is heart-rending as a body of a young boy is shown. It is good to highlight the killing of a child in a video, but hasn’t Channel 4 a ‘reputation’ for releasing fictitious videos?. What are the motives? What are its interests? Who funds them? Why at this time? These are the questions that beget an answer.

Indian Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said he had seen the pictures and the report on the alleged cold-blooded killing of LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran’s minor son by the Sri Lankan Army, but could not vouch for their authenticity. Khurshid was asked about the Government’s response to the Op-ed in The Hindu’s Tuesday edition based on a British documentary featuring the pictures of the killing of Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son, Balachandran.

Sri Lanka has dismissed the report as “lies, half-truths and numerous forms of speculation” and suggested such reports make a comeback around this time of the year when Sri Lanka’s human rights situation comes up for appraisal before a United Nations committee.

No credibility

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam too, responding to the allegations, had stated to the media that the photographs had no ‘credibility’ and said the photos in the documentary are “morphed” and ‘diabolical’ and deemed that it seems to be motivated for a particular purpose of influencing the debate in the Human Rights Council in the Sri Lanka situation. He added that the documentary was the propaganda of LTTE backers and that the Sri Lankan military did not kill Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son. “Prabhakaran’s son could have been killed in the crossfire while he was in a bunker”.

Has the Channel 4 team well and truly missed incidents where thousands of little children, including new-born babies, were killed in cold blood? The video clearly shows that the so-called investigators of Channel 4 have not done their homework and pretend they were not aware of the ground realities in the North, working to a hidden agenda. The history of the ruthless LTTE is full of such gruesome killings where children, despite their ethnicity were chopped, smashed and bombed.

The bus blown up at Kebithigollawa

While this is not an attempt to justify the purported death of the boy shown in the video, it is to remind Channel 4 that thousands of Sri Lankan children, who perished even before they blossomed into their teens, are waiting for justice from Channel 4, to air similar videos of their stories which also need to be heard.

The LTTE massacre of innocent Sinhala villagers to ethnically cleanse the North commenced way back in 1984, with the attack on the two farming villages of Kent and Dollar in Mullaitivu.

LTTE terrorists made a killing field of these two villages and armed LTTE terrorists chopped, gunned down and decimated the village, killing 33 villagers, the majority of whom were women and children, at these two farms.

In the LTTE’s second attack on the Sinhala village - Kent Farm - they killed 29 civilians, including women and children.

On August 3, 1990, the LTTE killed over 147 Muslim men and boys from a crowd of over 300 worshippers who were prostrating for Isha prayers in the Meer Jumma, Husseinia, Majid-Jul-Noor and Fowzie Mosques in Kattankudi, a Muslim town 140 miles east of Colombo, in Batticaloa where they continuously fired at the worshippers for over 15 minutes.

In June 15, 2006 the LTTE killed 64 innocent civilians including 15 children in twin claymore mine attacks on a fully packed bus consisting of the sick enroute to the Kebithigollewa hospital.

Aranthalawa massacre

The Aranthalawa massacre on June 2, 1987, where 33 Buddhist monks, 30 of them young novice bhikkhus below 15 years, were gunned down and is considered one of the most gruesome and barbaric killings committed by the LTTE. The bhikkhus were on a pilgrimage to a temple in the South when the terrorists stopped and ordered the driver to divert the bus into the nearby Aranthalawa jungle. Thereafter, the LTTE cadre went on a rampage, attacking the bhikkhus with machetes and swords in a macabre and gory manner.

The Anuradhapura massacre in 1985 was the largest massacre; first the LTTE cadre opened fire indiscriminately with automatic weapons, killing and wounding many civilians who were waiting for public transport. Thereafter, the LTTE cadre drove to the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Shrine, venerated by Buddhists and gunned down bhikkhnis, bhikkhus and civilians as they prayed inside the Buddhist shrine.

While withdrawing, the LTTE strike force entered the national park of Wilpattu and killed another 18 Sinhalese in the forest reserve. At the day’s end, 146 innocent Sinhalese men, women and children in Anuradhapura ended being massacred by the LTTE cadre.

Aranthalawa where 33 bhikkhus were massacred

LTTE terrorists stormed into the village at around 7.30 p.m. and killed nine Sinhalese including a one-and-a-half-year-old infant and an 11-year-old boy on April 12, 2009 just prior to the Sinhalese new year.

In Ruthless , a video released by the Government, eye-witnesses provide accounts of atrocities committed by the ruthless LTTE which indeed are crimes against humanity.

The two badly damaged buses lay between Vellamullivaikkal and Wadduvakkal, in which forcibly conscripted children: wounded and injured were gunned down by the LTTE in May 2009, to prevent them being witnesses to the plight the LTTE forced them to be as child soldiers, a grim reminder of the brutality the LTTE forced on the children in their final battle before their fall.

An eye witness states “The LTTE brought a bus full of wounded boys, girls and elders who had been forcibly thrown into battlefronts. Two days before the LTTE’s annihilation in the waters of the Nandikadal Lagoon, the LTTE leader instructed his subordinates to destroy their battle casualties, who had been ill-trained and conscripted to fight the advancing military might. Ruthless LTTE cadre loaded disabled and wounded cadre into a bus from the makeshift hospital and exploded the buses, not leaving a trace!

Three victims of child conscription narrate the incident of forced abduction from a Catholic church where they sought refuge. “Fearing my abduction, my father sent me to the church and he said the LTTE would not abduct children from the church. But I was there only a day, the LTTE stormed the place and abducted the children. Girls and boys ran hither and thither inside the church while the LTTE started shooting us. The LTTE left only one door open and they pulled out the children - one by one. A woman was shot at as she was obstructing the LTTE from taking her child away”.

Children abducted

Vignesh: “I hid myself and later heard that the LTTE had taken all the children away. When I went to the church later, I only saw women crying and cursing the LTTE for abducting their children”. Bala was another child who was snatched away by the LTTE while he was at the church along with many other children. “The LTTE took me to Mullivaikkal to fight”.

It is now the responsibility of Channel 4, which brought up the issue of a death of the 12-year-old boy, as a responsible media outlet to produce a video to show the gruesome killings of thousands of innocent children who too are ‘Balachandrans’ for whom they seem to not cry nor shed tears. Are they children of a lesser god?

How can Channel 4, which boasts of engaging in responsible journalism, miss the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE? What excuse could Channel 4 give for those innocent Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim children who were executed by the LTTE for over three decades?

Are they aware of the anger and hatred of Northern civilians, who fought against the forced conscription of their innocent children by the LTTE and its leadership? Did not the LTTE leaders hide their children from the public as civilians protested against them for safeguarding their children while the LTTE leaders ordered the conscription of other innocent children to fight their cause?

Victims of the blast and shooting at Buttala

Is not one such child protected with care, Balachandran - Prabhakaran’s son. This is evident even in the Channel 4 documentary where it is shown that the boy was killed with five of the LTTE bodyguards. Not only civilians, even LTTE cadre vehemently criticised the LTTE leaders as their siblings were conscripted during the final months of the end battle. “Many families in my village lost their small children”, said ex-LTTE cadre Raju. They assaulted and killed one LTTE policeman who helped civilians, whom they kept as hostages to flee the Government-controlled areas. Civilians whose lives were reduced to zero came to Government-controlled areas and cursed Prabhakaran and his family for destroying their lives”.

Channel 4 and the pro-LTTE fronts are still trying to give a fresh breath of life to the defunct LTTE. Did not the Security Forces save the family members of their leaders - Soosai and Thamilselvan and other prominent LTTE members?

What could preclude civilians and ordinary LTTE cadre venting their anger against and even killing the family of the LTTE leader, who destroyed their future with blood-letting for over 30 long years?

Though the spotlight is forced on this 12-year-old boy, how many boys and girls of his age were killed on the orders of Prabhakaran? Did he and his LTTE leaders not send a schoolgirl to blow herself up to prevent civilians fleeing LTTE control? There may be numerous such incidents where the LTTE used the innocent children to commit murder and killing for them.

How ethical is it for Channel 4 to allege the killing of Balachandran on Government Forces who indulged in a humanitarian operation in rescuing over 300,000 Tamils from the terror of the LTTE? Is it not because of the LTTE’s intransigence that the civilians had to undergo such trauma and hardship till they were rescued by the armed forces? Did they listen to the voice and pleas of the international community?

Family members

If the soldiers intended to kill family members of the LTTE hierarchy, why did they bring the family members of Sea Tiger leader Soosai and leader of its political wing S.P. Thamilselvan safely to Colombo? Then the Government even took steps to secure their future. How has Channel 4 slipped up on this positive story in their videos?

It is strange as to how Channel 4 identified the boy in the picture as Prabhakaran’s son and came to the conclusion that he was killed by the Security Forces.

Has Channel 4 marketed ‘Balachandran’ at the behest of others who wish to achieve their ulterior motives, or aroused by pro-LTTE fronts to attack the Government at the UN Human Rights Sessions.

Unfortunately, Channel 4 has missed out on the sadness and the plight and stories of the sons and daughters of Sirisena or Murugesu or Hakeem, who as ordinary civilians, had many dreams for their children. Are they less important? Perhaps those innocent children are not marketable like Prabhakaran’s son?

An innocent child, whose killers are yet unknown, is on ‘sale’ once again in Channel 4’s latest endeavour No War Zone - the killing fields of Sri Lanka . The Channel 4 team waits enthusiastically, vulture-like each year, till the UNHRC sessions to release such controversial video to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. Human rights activists will now clamour for action against their allegations in the video, but their silence and duplicity will also be questioned over the many incidents where innocent Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim children were butchered to death. Ironically, the question that begets an answer is where was the conscience of these so called independent media when Sri Lanka was under the throes of terrorism for 30 years?

Now they have suddenly developed a conscience regarding a few incidents they say happened during the final stages of the war against terrorism and developed an amnesia to the suffering the civilians underwent for over two decades due to the tyranny of a despot. The conscience of the so called free media awakens every year only at a given time, and which only tends to open a healing wound. Do they wish for reconciliation? Or is it that they wish to assist the LTTE sympathisers to achieve their goals in a devious manner, which they failed to achieve militarily? Anyway, some organisations will market even a dead horse to survive.




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