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.
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
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.
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”.
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
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
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?
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
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.