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Ex-prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa accused of destroying records of mass graves

The mass graves were discovered in the Matale district of central Sri Lanka in 2013

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Press Trust of India Colombo

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Sri Lanka's former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa reportedly destroyed police records of a mass grave discovered in the country when he was the military coordinator during the Marxist rebellion of 1988-89, an international rights group has alleged.
The report titled Mass graves and failed exhumations in Sri Lanka', authored by four organisations Centre for Human Rights Development (CHRD), Families of the Disappeared (FOD), International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) was released on Thursday.
The mass graves were discovered in the Matale district of central Sri Lanka in 2013.
The report aims to analyse shortcomings in the Sri Lankan exhumations which include 155 bodies at Matale, and at Mannar where 81 bodies and 318 skeletons were exhumed.
The report said that Rajapaksa's alleged action was a prime example of political interference.
The report advocated that the Sri Lanka state should take action against Rajapaksa under Article 12 (4) of the International Convention on the Protection of People from Enforced Disappearances.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (who had been Military Coordinating Officer of Matale district between July 1989 and January 1990, and who later became President of Sri Lanka) was reported to have ordered the destruction of all police registers and records older than 5 years at police stations in the Central Province including Matale.
This report was never denied by officials, a report from the rights group, the International Truth and Justice Project has said.
It said that Rajapaksa, who was ousted as the Sri Lankan President a year ago through a popular uprising, had been the military coordinator in Matale during the Marxist rebellion of 1988-89.
Rajapaksa was elected President in a popular mandate in 2019 and faced public anger for his mishandling of the island's ongoing economic crisis. After months of public agitations against him, he fled the country in early July last year and resigned from the post in exile in Singapore. He later returned to the country.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 23 2023 | 6:28 PM IST

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