Kent and Dollar Farm massacres
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|Kent and Dollar Farm massacres|
|Location||Kent and Dollar Farms, Vavuniya, Sri Lanka|
|Date||30 November 1984|
|Weapons||Submachine guns, automatic rifles, hand grenades|
|Perpetrators||Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)|
The Kent and Dollar Farm massacres were one of the earliest massacres carried out by the LTTE during the Sri Lankan Civil War. The massacres took place on 30 November 1984, in two tiny farming villages in the district of Mullaitivu in north-eastern Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government labeled this as an attack on civilians by the LTTE, whilst other parties state that the majority of the individuals who were killed were Sinhalese ex-convicts and armed settlers brought by the government as part of a forceful state colonisation in traditional Tamil homelands.
Backdrop to the events
The Kent and Dollar farms were located near Manal Aru a divisional Secretariat in the Tamil district of Mullaitivu. Manal Aru was of immense importance since it was situated on the border of three districts Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Anuradhapura and more importantly was the sole gateway between the North and the Eastern parts of the island where the Tamil community was the majority.
Realising its strategic importance and in a bid to quell the rising threat of Tamil Nationalism, Manal Aru was renamed as Weli Oya (Sinhalese translation of the Tamil name) and an attempt was sought to colonise the area, with Sinhalese.
In November 1984, Sinhalese convicts were settled in the Kent and Dollar farms after the Tamil civilians living there were evicted by the Sri Lankan Army. The settlement of prisoners was used to further harass Tamils into leaving the area. The Sinhala settlers confirmed that young Tamil women were abducted, brought there and gang-raped, first by the forces, next by prison guards and finally by prisoners.
A total of 13,288 Tamil families living in 42 villages for generations including Kokkulai Grama Sevakar Division (1,516 Tamil families), Kokku–Thoduvai Grama Sevakar Division (3,306 Tamil families), Vavuniya North Grama Sevakar Division (1,342 Tamil families), other Divisions of Mullaitivu District including Naiyaru and Kumulamunai (2,011 Tamil families) were asked to vacate their homes and farmlands within 48 hours. Simultaneously land given to fourteen Tamil entrepreneurs, including the Kent and Dollar Farms on 99 years lease, were cancelled by the government.
Among the Sinhala families later settled included those of Sinhalese ex-convicts who had served time for minor crimes like illegal alcohol brewing, thuggery, and intimidation.
From 1988–89 Sinhalese villages in Weli Oya was put on a war-footing. A total of 3,364 families, most of them landless peasants, were settled in Weli Oya. A further 35,000 persons comprising 5,925 families were also settled under the same scheme.
Attack by the LTTE
Tamils were pained and incensed by the eviction of the Indian Tamil labourers from the Kent and Dollar Farms and by the harassment meted out to the Tamils of the nearby traditional villages. They lost faith on the reasonableness of the Sinhala leaders.
About 50 LTTE cadres travelled in the night in two buses armed with rifles, machine guns and grenades. One of the buses went to Dollar Farm and the other to Kent Farm. The attacks was timed to start at about the same time in the early hours of the morning. The LTTE fighters shot and killed the guards, the women and children and most of the male members of the families. Some of the prisoners were thrust into a room in a building and blasted with explosives. Sixty-two Sinhalese including three jail-guards were killed. The second bus proceeded to the Kent Farm eight kilometres away and killed 20 more home guards.
The police and the troops conducted a cordon and search operation and the government announced that the troops had killed 30 terrorists.
The death toll of Sinhalese civilians killed by the LTTE attack numbered 62 males, mostly armed home guards or ex-convicts settled.
- Sabaratnam, T (2004). "Pirapaharan (Volume 2, Chapter 23)". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- Rajan Hoole – The Arrogance of Power, Chapter 14, Section 3 - On to Weli Oya (2001)
- T.Sabaratnam - Pirapaharan Chapter 23, Manal Aru becomes Weli Oya (2004)
- University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) Sri Lanka, Information Bulletin No.4, 13 February 1995, Padaviya-Weli Oya: bearing the burden of ideology http://www.uthr.org/bulletins/bul4.htm
- "LTTE genocide at Kent and Dollar Farms" (PDF). Daily News. Sri Lanka. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- Gunaratna, Rohan. (1998). Sri Lanka's Ethnic Crisis and National Security, Colombo: South Asian Network on Conflict Research. ISBN 955-8093-00-9
- Gunaratna, Rohan. (1 October 1987). War and Peace in Sri Lanka: With a Post-Accord Report From Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Institute of Fundamental Studies. ISBN 955-8093-00-9
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- Suicide terrorism: a global threat, Security, Jane's, 20 October 2000
- Kent Farm and Dollar Farm massacre; Pictures of murdered civilians, Lanka Library, 11 June 2006
- LTTE Tamil Tiger Atrocities, 2002