COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka has opened an investigation into the 1987 massacre of Buddhist monks by Tamil separatists from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which attacked a bus and killed 31 people, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) said on Tuesday, Supreme Court of the country.
The attorney general’s attorney told the Supreme Court that a survivor, Buddhist monk Andaulpotha Buddhasara, made a statement about the attack. The LTTE, then fighting for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the northern and eastern provinces, carried out the attack on June 2, 1987 in Aranthalawa in the eastern district of Ampara.
Some 33 monks and three civilians were traveling in a bus on the day of the monthly Buddhist festival when the bus was attacked by the LTTE, who opened fire at random, killing at least 31 monks. No one was arrested and there was no prosecution as in the case of many attacks perpetrated by the LTTE.
It was later reported as a retaliatory murder by the LTTE for provoking the Sinhalese majority and came two years after they also opened fire on one of the holiest Buddhist shrines, Sri Maha Bodhi in the city. Anuradhapura, in the center-north.
The formation of three members of the Supreme Court will soon have the investigation report following a fundamental rights petition filed by Buddhasara, the public prosecutor told the court. The petitioner cited as respondent the then deputy leader of the LTTE Karuna, who later became a renegade and joined the government.
He even entered the national parliament and became deputy minister between 2010 and 2015.
The LTTE waged a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the island nation’s northern and eastern provinces for nearly 30 years before it collapsed in 2009 after the Sri Lankan military killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
According to Lankan government figures, more than 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts, including the brutal three-decade war with the Lankan Tamils ââin the north and east which has left at least 100,000 dead.
International rights groups say at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the later stages of the war, but the Sri Lankan government has disputed the figures.