A surviving staff reporter of the Eelanaatham daily, one of the few media to directly witness the last phase of the genocidal war in Vanni, released this week a set of photos and video clips from one of the digital cameras used by an Eelam Tamil humanitarian worker during the final days of the onslaught in 2009. Apart from serving the purpose of documenting the genocide, the material would also be useful to the kith and kin of the victims who perished in the onslaught and to those who are searching for their loved ones, says Suren Karthikesu, the journalist who is exiled in Vancouver, Canada.
Suren Karthikesu has gained access to the photos as he has been helping some of the families of the victims to trace their loved ones by publishing the pictures in the social media.
The material, 577 photos and 19 videos, are being released as a compressed zip archive to be downloaded and viewed by the readers.
***WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: You may find this video distressing***
>> Download ZIP archive (895 MB) <<
Suren, along with fellow Eelaanatham journalists, witnessed a cluster bomb attack on civilians on 20 February and 21 February 2009, at a locality between Ira’naip-paalai and Maaththa’lan Junction.
Two months later, he also witnessed the Sri Lankan military dropping hand grenades into the bunkers where the civilians, particularly the wounded people, had taken refuge at a between Maaththa’lan and Valaignar-madam. The date must be either 21st or 22nd of April, he says.
Three days later, on 25 April, the reporter was injured in his chest while collecting news details at a former vaadi (fishing hut) along the coast between Iraddaivaaykkaal and Valaignarmadam. The incident took place around 9:30 a.m. near Valaignarmadam church.
The Eezhanaatham daily was published last on 09 May 2019.
The Sri Lankan Navy and the Sri Lankan Army launched a two pronged attack on Mullivaaykkaal makeshift hospital which was functioning at Mullivaaykkal GTMS school. The injured reporter is seen in one of the photos from the archive (DSC05013).
The photos and the video clips depict the nature of the bunkers and the makeshift hospitals in the last three months of the genocidal war.
Thoroughly burnt corpses and vehicles are also seen from the photos from the final days.
Although some of the photos in the collection have been published earlier by online media, most of them were rendered in low-resolution. The images being released now are in original resolution.
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 July 2018, 23:39 GMT]