Volcanic eruption

Volcanic eruption

Volcanic eruption
AP Photo/Koji Ueda

Otaki firefighters control access to a road leading to Mount Ontake, background right, as it continues to erupt Sunday. Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted shortly before noon Saturday, catching mountain climbers by surprise and injuring at least 34, including 12 seriously, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.


In U.N. speech, Obama warns Islamic militants to leave battlefield

In U.N. speech, Obama warns Islamic militants to leave battlefield

UNITED NATIONS Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:03pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014.


(Reuters) – President Barack Obama used his annual speech to the United Nations on Wednesday to warn Islamic State fighters to “leave the battlefield while they can” and asked the world to back a U.S.-led campaign against the militants in Iraq and Syria.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Obama said Islamic State must be destroyed, as British Prime Minister David Cameron weighed whether his country would join the military drive that includes U.S. Arab allies.

Before Obama spoke, U.S.-led airstrikes for the third time this week pounded Islamic State targets.

Obama used graphic language to condemn Islamic State’s methods, saying the militants had used rape as a weapon of war, gunned down children, dumped bodies in mass graves, and beheaded their victims.

“No God condones this terror,” he said.

“The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death,” he said in a speech that ran to just under 40 minutes.

Obama, whose legacy is based in part on his decision to extract U.S. forces from Iraq, said the United States does not intend to occupy any countries, but “will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.”

“Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Obama used his annual address to the 193-nation General Assembly to send messages toRussia to back down from its actions against Ukraine, for Iran to “not let this opportunity pass” to forge a nuclear deal and, indirectly, for China to ease its pressure on its Asia-Pacific neighbors.

In a departure from his prepared text, Obama urged Israel to extend an olive branch to the Palestinians after a summer of violence in Gaza.

Too many Israelis, he said, were ready to abandon the hard work of peace and added that this was something “worthy of reflection within Israel.”

“Because let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort,” he said.

The “worthy of reflection” comment was unlikely to be warmly received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has a rocky relationship with Obama and will meet him at the White House on Oct. 1.

Obama’s over-arching message was aimed at bolstering the fight, both militarily and diplomatically, against Islamic State, a group whose rapid rise and seizure of broad swaths of Syria and Iraq have stunned the Middle East.

Cameron was due to set out his position on Islamic State in a speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday night. British government sources have said he may announce this week that Britain is ready to join air strikes and that he plans to seek parliament’s approval for such action.


Many of Islamic State’s estimated 30,000 members are foreigners who flocked to the fighting. The U.N. Security Council was poised to approve a resolution later in the day urging governments to clamp down on the travel and financing of the group.

Obama, who has been stymied in trying to resolve long-festering disputes in the Middle East, called for a broader negotiation in which major powers address their differences directly “rather than through gun-wielding proxies.”

On Ukraine, Obama said if Russia took the path of peace and diplomacy, then the United States would lift its economic sanctions and would be prepared to engage in the type of diplomacy that in the past has reduced U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles and persuaded Syria to give up chemical weapons.

“That’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again if Russia changes course,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no inclination thus far to bow to Western demands that he end Russian actions in eastern Ukraine after seizing Crimea earlier this year.

On Iran, Obama said there remains an opportunity to reach an agreement between Tehran and world powers aimed at resolving longstanding differences over Iran’s nuclear program, which the Iranians say is not intended to develop a weapon.

“My message to Iran’s leaders and people has been simple and consistent: do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful,” he said.

Obama, who travels to Beijing in November, urged countries in the Asia-Pacific, without mentioning China in particular, to resolve their territorial disputes peacefully and in line with international law.

He called for many more countries to make concrete commitments to fight the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


WASHINGTON: His stomach will be empty for the most part but his schedule will be full and intense. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day US visit starting later this week in the midst of his Navratri fasting has put President Obama’s plans for a private dinner for him in jeopardy. But running on fumes of national interest and personal vindication, the Indian leader will be dashing from meetings to memorials to meaningful personal engagements in a high-voltage visit that will offer plenty of photo-ops, although what he will bring home is yet unclear.

A review of the Prime Minister’s schedule and agenda reveals no big-ticket items, but a raft of meetings, starting with one soon after his arrival on Friday with New York City Mayor Bill Blasio, followed by one with his predecessor Michael Bloomberg. He will then meet Nobel Laureate Harold Eliot Varmus, who is the current Director of the National Cancer Institute, and also a co-Chair of the President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He will also drop by at the iconic Central Park to attend and address the annual Global Citizens Initiative, which aims at building a sustainable world community for all.

(Modi will also meet the Hillary and Bill Clinton, an engagement that will not only recognize their contributions to US-India ties through their political and personal life (though the Clinton Foundation) but also cover for the prospect of Hillary ascending to the White House in 2016.)

Such unusual engagements suggest a prime ministerial mindset aimed at learning how to arrest India’s degradation and turn it around: Blasio is a votary of the smart city concept who is evolving NYC into an energy efficient and sustainable metropolis. The billionaire Bloomberg oversaw major redevelopment and rezoning in NYC, his three-term mayorship making the city vastly more hospitable. Varmus is a transportation alternatives veteran who is also a proponent of open source and open access science. Each is a champion of making NYC — and America — a better place.

Meaningful photo-ops meant to convey Modi’s personal respect for US struggles and ideals is scattered through his program — from visiting the 9/11 memorial in NYC to walking through the monuments in Washington DC, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Memorial, with floral tribute to the Gandhi statue in front of the Indian Embassy. Each is a hero to President Obama, and it remains to be seen if the US President will join Modi in these choreographed peregrinations.

The White House though is nonplussed about what to feed the Indian Prime Minister in the private dinner that President Obama is scheduled to host for him on Monday evening soon after he arrives in Washington DC. Not even the greens and herbs, forget the vegetables, from Michelle Obama’s White House garden will make it to the vegetarian prime minister’s dinner plate because he adheres strictly to a liquid diet during the period of Navratri. Sipping lemon juice is about as far as he will go, and White House creativity will be tested on how to turn that into a dinner menu.

Amid all these optics, the big question is whether the visit itself can be anything more than a lemon. Nothing in the prime ministers program suggests any big-ticket item or announcement, although officials are working through a raft of bilateral deliverables, from energy deals to education agreements, to dress them up as major achievements. There will be plenty of glad-handling and speechifying, at business meetings in NYC and DC and at think-tanks and state department receptions.

At its core, the visit seems aimed at signaling continuity and incremental enhancement of India’s ties with US., notwithstanding the personal issues between Washington and Modi, which is now a thing of the past.

UN appeal as Syrian refugees flood over Turkish border

UN appeal as Syrian refugees flood over Turkish border

Syrian refugees wait to cross border into Turkey. 22 Sept 2014Thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing fighting have massed at the Turkish border

The UN refugee agency says Turkey urgently needs help to care for 130,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border in recent days.

The UNHCR said this was the largest influx in such a short period since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

The Syrian Kurds are fleeing an advance by Islamic State (IS) militants, who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

IS fighters are reported to be closing in on the Syrian town of Kobane.

The capture of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arabon, would give the jihadists complete control of the area.

Even before the latest influx, Turkey was struggling to cope with more than a million Syrian refugees who have crossed into its territory since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than three years ago.

Carol Batchelor, the UNHCR’s envoy in Turkey, told the BBC that such high numbers of refugees would place a strain on any host community.


Mark Lowen, BBC News, southern Turkey

The sheer number of refugees would overwhelm any country.

Added to that, they are Kurds from Syria, many of them deeply hostile to Turkey. For 30 years, Turkish forces fought Kurdish rebels in a civil war that killed 40,000 people.

The fact that Turkey is accepting tens of thousands of Kurds is a sign of how allegiances are being forced to change with the onslaught of Islamic State. But deep-seated tension between Kurds and Turks have again come to the surface, leading to border clashes on Sunday.

Turkey fears that Kurds will cross into Syria to join the Kurdish militia. The worry is that, renewed by fresh recruits, it could ally with the outlawed PKK and launch attacks on Turkish soil.

All the regional complexities, added to the refugee influx, make for a precarious situation here.


She called for “increased solidarity and international assistance” for those flooding across the border.

“The situation is deepening. It’s becoming protracted. People are desperately in need,” she added.

Ms Batchelor said food, blankets and winter clothing – particularly for children – were needed.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said his country was preparing for “the worst case scenario” – an influx of hundreds of thousands more refugees.

“I hope that we are not faced with a more populous refugee wave but if we are, we have taken precautions. If necessary, we have planned how to send these people to safer and further places,” he said.

Turkish soldier stands guard as Syrian refugees wait to cross border in Suruc, Turkey. 21 Sept 2014Turkish troops are trying to control the flood of refugees, and stop Kurdish fighters crossing into Syria

On Sunday, Turkish troops fired tear gas at the Syrian border, as Mark Lowen reports

Anwar Muslim, president of the Kobane regional government, told the BBC that Kurdish fighters had inflicted heavy casualties on IS and pushed the militants back.

He accused the group of killing women, children and the elderly.

“All our ministers, like ordinary people, have picked up arms. Our people believe we can defeat IS. Our morale is high,” he said.

Border clashesOn Friday, Turkey opened a 30km (19 mile) section of its south-west border to Syrian Kurds fleeing Kobane.

Clashes then broke out on Sunday after protests by Kurds on the Turkish side of the border, some waving banners of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The BBC’s Mark Lowen, at the scene, said Turkish forces were trying to stop Kurdish fighters from entering Syria to take part in the defence of Kobane.

By Monday only two out of nine border posts in the area remained open, the UNHCR said.

Turkish forces clash with pro-Kurdish protesters in Suruc. 22 Sept 2014Turkish forces have used water cannon and tear gas against pro-Kurdish protesters near the border
Map shows Iraq and Syria, areas under IS control

Our correspondent says the Syrian conflict has reawakened old hostilities and shaken a fragile peace between Kurds and Turkish authorities.

The PKK, a banned militant group that fought a civil war for autonomy within Turkey for decades, has called on Kurds to join the fight against IS.

PKK-affiliated forces have been battling IS in northern Iraq for months.

In other developments:

  • The White House said it had rejected an Iranian proposal to support the US-led fight against IS in return for flexibility on its controversial uranium enrichment programme
  • At least 40 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 68 captured in an attack on the town of Sijir, near Falluja, on Sunday, a senior Iraqi commander said
  • A Syrian government air strike killed at least 42 civilians in rebel-held territory in the north-western province of Idlib on Sunday, activists said
  • IS issued a statement urging its supporters to kill “disbelievers” from the countries that have joined a international coalition against the group

The US has said it will attack the group in Syria, though so far it has carried out air strikes against IS only in Iraq.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France would not launch air strikes against IS in Syria despite having attacked the group in northern Iraq last week.

Tony Blair: ” Isis… kill without mercy and they’re prepared to die without regret”

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told the BBC on Sunday that air strikes alone might not be enough to contain the group.

“If necessary, we shouldn’t rule out the use of, particularly, special force capabilities,” he said.

US President Barack Obama previously ruled out the involvement of US ground troops, and has instead promised to provide arms and training to local forces fighting against IS.

Mangalyaan will send colour images of Mars from Wednesday

BANGALORE: Following the successful re-firing of the main liquid engine of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft for a minor trajectory change on Monday, Isro is planning to activate the colour camera payload and get the first images of the red planet by Wednesday afternoon.

With Monday’s success, the possibility of MOM acquiring the desired orbit around Mars on Wednesday has reached near 100 per cent. With respect to this, scientific secretary V Koteswara Rao told TOI: “Soon after the Mars orbit insertion operations on Wednesday is complete and things settle down, we will have the images transmitted back to earth. We are looking at afternoon.”

The images, once transmitted will be received by Isro’s Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) in Byalalu, Karnataka.

Explaining Monday’s operations, he said: “The whole thing happened on the dot. There was not even a minor deviation from our plan. The spacecraft, and the engine are in great health, giving us a lot of confidence for Wednesday.”



LTTE official criticizes child rights double standards

LTTE official criticizes child rights double standards

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 February 2004, 15:51 GMT]
“More than twenty five thousand Tamil children, from a three month old infant to eighteen years old youth, were killed in massacres and murders during the two decades of war against our people. No one raised their voice against it then. But today the Sri Lankan state and representatives of some foreign organizations are accusing us of violating children’s rights. You should understand the politics behind this crass hypocrisy,” said Mr. S. Elilan, the head of the LTTE’s political division in Vavuniya addressing a function Sunday to gift equipment to the school in Othiyamalai in Mullaithivu.

Elilan, Head of LTTE Political Wing in Vavuniya

Sri Lanka army massacred 32 people and razed the village to the ground on 2 December 1984.

“You can see that we are the ones who care most for our children – for their education, health, and nutrition. The Sri Lankan state destroyed their schools, indiscriminately arrested, killed and raped their parents. Hundreds of children were tortured and jailed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Sri Lankan armed forces deliberately bombed schools, killing and maiming hundreds of our children. No one uttered a word against these atrocities then. Today our children are able to live in an environment free of discrimination, oppression, fear and state terror only because thousands of Tigers laid down their lives,” Mr. Elilan said.

“An American academic who met me recently said while his country appreciates the LTTE in many ways, America’s only problem with us is that we are spreading gun culture among our children. I told him no child in our society can buy or have free access to guns as in the US. Despite the trauma of the long war, we have endeavored to make life normal for children. I pointed out to him how an American schoolboy shot his teacher and fellow students with a gun he had bought in a shop. I explained to him how our Police and judicial system ensure a social environment free of violence against women and children, brutality, crime, discrimination and intimidation,” the LTTE official said.

Mr. S. Thangan, the deputy head of the LTTE’s political division, said that the Tigers are supporting the Tamil National Alliance to reiterate the Tamil people’s political unity and to express their aspirations.

He charged that the Sri Lankan is using some groups in the forthcoming elections to divide Tamil society to weaken it politically. “We should show these lackeys and the Sri Lankan state that we are united and strong,” Mr. Thangan said. On 2 December 1984 SLA troops surrounded the village and asked all able-bodied men to gather in the local library. They were all shot and hacked to death as SLA soldiers pillaged Othiyamalai, raping women and looting homes. The village school, library, and community center were razed to the ground.

Troops set fire to the whole village later in the day. Survivors, along with the wounded, trekked for days through the jungle to find safer areas. They were provided food and shelter with the assistance of local organizations and students of the Jaffna University.

SLA pillaged and torched twenty-four and settlements in the southern part of the Mullaithivu district in 1984. Othiyamalai was made part of the network of Sri Lanka army camps and armed Sinhala settlements of Weli Oya after the 1984 December massacre.

Armed forces of the LTTE captured the area in November 1999 during two weeks of operations during which the Sri Lanka army abandoned vast areas in the Vanni and retreated in confusion.

The Liberation Tigers de-mined Othiyamalai and its environs, including the fertile rice fields that had lain fallow for more than 18 years and helped families resettle here.




The horse eats dirt without showing displeasure

Other mass graves in Jaffna -TCHR

[TamilNet, Monday, 31 August 1998, 18:19 GMT]
The Tamil Centre for Human Rights said that it believes that there are mass graves of Tamil people murdered by Sri Lankan troops in areas of the Jaffna peninsula other than Chemmani. The TCHR also said it was concerned the evidence at Chemmani was being destroyed.

In a press release, the TCHR said that its sources in Jaffna “reported that the bodies of large numbers of Tamil civilians who ‘disappeared’ in Sri Lankan military custody may have been buried in the Vasavilan and nearby Punnalaikadduvan areas”.

The Vasavilan/Punnalaikadduvan area, located along the Palaly-Jaffna road, three miles from the Sri Lankan military complex at Palaly, has been under Sri Lankan Army control for several years.

“Recently, the skeleton of a Tamil civilian, Ratnasingham, was recovered from the lavatory pit of Vasavilan Mahavidyalayam (school). The skeleton was identified by his wife, Indranee Ratnasingham by a waist chain and ring it was wearing,” said the press release.

The TCHR cited an Amnesty International report, published last year, which stated that Amnesty said it “had found reliable evidence suggesting that the bodies of as many as 600 people ‘disappeared’ in Jaffna may have been disposed of in lavatory pits, disuse wells and shallow graves in the area”.

Amnesty also said it believed that these people had been tortured to death or deliberately killed in Sri Lankan military custody.

The TCHR also said “unconfirmed reports from the Jaffna peninsula say that, on occasion, smoke has been seen rising from the direction of Chemmani since the area was sealed off. This has contributed to concern that Sri Lankan soldiers who might have been responsible for ‘disappearances’ may currently be deployed to protect the evidence at the site.”

“Since the claims of mass graves emerged in July this year, the Sri Lankan government has not taken any active steps to investigate them, despite considerable international concern over the issue” said TCHR.

“After numerous calls by several human rights organisations for the Chemmani site to be protected from tampering, the Sri Lankan Army sealed off the area. This took place several weeks ago. Since then, no further action has been taken.” Said the press release.

On 23 August, Somaratne Rajapakse, the former Sri Lankan Army soldier who said he could point out the locations of the Chemmani mass graves, was attacked by his prison guards, and hospitalized.

The attack may have linked to an attempt to persuade him to withdraw his claim, according to Amnesty International.

Skeletons found in toilet

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 October 1998, 11:13 GMT]
Three skeletal remains were found last week in a toilet pit, close to a former Sri Lanka Army (SLA) sentry post, at Uthayanakar in Kilinochchi said sources. The skeletons had their hands tied behind their backs, and the skull of one showed damage from a heavy blow, they said.

The skeletons are believed to be of people who had returned to examine their homes, which they had fled after the Sri Lanka Army took moved into Kilinochchi in late 1996.

It is believed that the residents had been arrested and subsequently killed by the SLA troops in the region.

Many disappearances still unaccounted for

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 January 1999, 13:10 GMT]
Kachcheri sources in Kilinochchi said today that 164 persons of the district were reported missing in 1998. The fate of 109 of these persons is not known they said. Eight of these were arrested and killed by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and forty seven were released by the Sri Lankan security forces.

The release of 22 persons was officially communicated to the Jaffna government agent by the Sri Lankan security forces headquarters at Palaly.

The others who were released have reported to the Kilinochchi Kachcheri said officials.

Of the 109 whose fate is not known, some, including women and children, may have perished in mid sea while trying to cross the Palk strait to Tamil Nadu they added.

The majority went missing in the environs of the large no-man’s land surrounding the outer defence perimeter of the SLA base at Kilinochchi which was overrun by the Liberation Tigers in September last year.

It was believed that they were apprehended and killed by the SLA’s forward patrols while they had gone to inspect the homes that they had abandoned when the army moved into Kilinochchi town in October 1996.

The Liberation Tigers who overran and captured the base last year found skeletons suspected to be those of the civilians who went missing in these parts after October 1996.

Skeletons found in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Friday, 26 March 1999, 08:54 GMT]
Jaffna municipal workers digging a cesspit near the Duraippa stadium came upon a number of human skeletons today. The Jaffna Municipal Council stopped the work today following the discovery. According to initial reports, there are several rows of human skeletons in the place where the cesspit was dug.

Municipal workers had found many bone fragments just beneath the surface when they had started work last week.

They had ignored the fragments, assuming that they were from the carcasses of animals slaughtered in the area during peace time in Jaffna more than a decade ago.

However, yesterday they had come upon a human skull. And later the municipal diggers had found what appears to be a row of skeletons piled up and buried.

Sources in Jaffna said that bodies could have been buried when this spot was a no go area for civilians.

MO to investigate Jaffna skeletons

[TamilNet, Monday, 29 March 1999, 20:41 GMT]
Legal sources in Jaffna said that the Jaffna district Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), Ram Manohar, who is currently in Colombo will arrive on or before April 6 to investigate the site near the Duraiappa stadium where Jaffna Municipal workers found human skeletons on Friday March 26.

They said that he will collect more bones of the human skeletons buried at the site discovered on Friday under the supervision of Jaffna’s additional magistrate S.A.E Ekanaathan.

Three plastic bags of bones from the skeletons discovered in the pit dug by Municipal council workers were collected on Saturday by a medical officer of the Jaffna hospital on instructions issued by the additional magistrate.

The bags were sealed in separate boxes in the presence of Mr.S.A.E Ekanaathan to be sent to Colombo for forensic examination.

A section of the Tamil press reported yesterday that the three boxes containing the bones from the human skeletons found in the pit had already been sent to Colombo for investigation.

Court sources in Jaffna, however, said that the boxes have not yet been sent to the capital.

More skeletons found in stadium grave

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 April 1999, 15:04 GMT]
Investigators digging the stadium grave discovered two more human skeletons this afternoon 2.5 feet from the grave site where the bones and skulls were found on March 26. The first skeleton that was found this morning with its hands and feet tied appears to be that of a female said the Jaffna Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), S.V.Sri Rajeswaran.

Pieces of broken plastic bangles were discovered by the side of this skeleton.

Two more skeletons were found under the first one after it was carefully removed intact from the soil by the JMO.

About eight human skulls are immediately visible in the pit where the three bodies were found today.

Municipal council diggers assisting the Jaffna JMO came upon the three skeletons today when they began excavation near the pit in which human bones were first found.

The skeleton believed to be that of a female is well preserved. It is that of a well-formed person the JMO observed.

The additional magistrate, Mr.S.A.E Ekanathan, and the Jaffna JMO suggested to the officer in charge of the 10 member Sri Lankan Police team detailed to assist the stadium grave excavation that the skeleton suspected to be that of a female be sent to Colombo for forensic examination intact.

The Police officer, however, refused to do so and told them that the skeleton should to be taken apart for it to be flown to Colombo by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).

The JMO therefore separated the bones of this skeleton and sealed them in a large bag. Samples of the soil were taken from the site of today’s excavation to be sent to Colombo for examination.

The SLA and the Police took photographs of the grave site, the skeletons and the human bones and skulls during the excavation.

Members of the EPRLF who were present at the stadium gravesite today also took photographs of the site and the proceedings.

The additional magistrate, however, took strong exception to their action and seized the film roll from their camera.

Digging will continue Mr.S.A.E Ekanathan said.

Mass grave found in Veala’nai off Jaffna

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 September 2014, 20:14 GMT]
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers, who dug postholes along the wall of Ooraaththu’rai Civic Council secretariat situated in Veala’nai in the Ooraaththu’rai islet (Kayts) off Jaffna, came across human skeletal remains in all the seven postholes they had dug on Friday. The SL Police has immediately sealed off the site from public access, news sources in Veala’nai said. The residents in Veala’nai alleged that the CEB workers have discovered a mass grave similar to the one that has been recently discovered in Thirukkeatheesvaram in Mannaar.



The SL Navy in the adjacent island of Ma’ndai-theevu has also been blocking the public from accessing some of the abandoned wells in the area as the military had dumped dead bodies of Tamil victims, they further said.

More than one thousand Tamils were slain in early 1990s by the advancing and retreating Sri Lankan troops when the LTTE seized the Jaffna Fort from the occupying military, the residents said.

The islands off Jaffna were de-populated for some time during that time as the people had fled the islands fearing persecution at the hands of the occupying SL military. Some of the victims slain by the SL military could have been dumped at the locality, they said.

The Colombo government and its military have blocked excavation of alleged mass grave sites that have been recently located in areas that were earlier SL military camps or so-called High Security Zones the Jaffna peninsula.

Last year, resettling residents at Pallappai in Vadamaraadchi in Jaffna were warned by the SL military not to dig the abandoned wells at the locality, where the SL military had seized 52 houses for more than 14 years since 1999.