Sri Lanka is setting up a presidential commission to investigate a mass grave with the remains of more than 150 people, an official spokesman said on Sunday.
Two reports submitted to a court last week said that the human remains, in the town of Matale 142 km (88 miles) north of the capital, dated back to the period 1986-1989 when Sri Lanka faced a Marxist insurrection.
The president has decided to appoint a presidential commission to inquire into the mass grave. This will be apart from the ongoing police inquiry,” Mohan Samaranayake, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spokesman, told Reuters.
The decision to set up commission comes five months after the mass grave was found at a building site near a hospital.
Ajith Jayasena, the judicial medical officer at the hospital, said the excavation was still going on and there may be more remains in the grave.
Marxist rebels of the Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna (JVP), or People’s Liberation Front, launched the second phase of an insurrection in the late 1980s after the first one in 1971.
The security forces responded ruthlessly and many rebels were killed or disappeared. The JVP later transformed itself from a rebel group into a political party.
(Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Stephen Powell-reauters)
Mean while Ceylon Today Reported-
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday dismissed the announcement by the government that President Mahinda Rajapaksa intends appointing a Presidential Commission to probe the mass grave at Matale Hospital, as a sham and said what is needed is a proper judicial inquiry into the matter.
JVP General Secretary, Tilvin Silva, told Ceylon Today his Party intends going to court and request that those responsible for the heinous crime be punished.
Silva added the matter needs no further investigation, as the court had established the skeletal remains belong to the 1986-1989 period, and the victims had been tortured and killed. He said if they need evidence on the killings, it could be obtained from the report prepared in 1994 by Attorney-at-Law, Manouri Muttetuwegam, on the missing and disappeared persons.
He alleged that the government wants to buy time and play on people’s short memory by appointing a commission.