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Nedunkerni junction massacre – 11 November 1987

Nedunkerni is the main town of the Vavuniya north AGA Division in Vavuniya District. Most of the people of this village are either farmers or labourers working for daily wages. Following the start of clashes between the Indian forces and the LTTE, Nedunkerni was the preferred refuge village for the IDPs displaced from Mullaithivu villages like Mulliyavalai and Thanneeruttu.
The displaced people were staying in schools, temples and other public buildings. On 11 November 1987, the Indian forces carried out rocket attacks from helicopters on the densely populated buildings around Nedunkerni junction, including the Nedunkerni hospital. 15 civilians were killed and more than 25 were injured in these attacks.
One Nedunkerni resident from Marailuppai, T Thavamany said,
“My daughter Nanthini was unwell and she was admitted to the Nedunkerni hospital. I was also staying with her at the hospital. Around 5.00pm, a helicopter belonging to the Indian forces started circulating above the hospital. People in the area, believing that the hospital will not be attacked, ran inside the hospital for safety. The pilot of the helicopter, noting this,fired in front of the hospital. The hospital window glasses shattered. At this time I was injured in my head.
While those injured fell down, others ran in panic. When I tried to run with my daughter I noticed blood running down her leg. She fainted. There was no one to help. I grabbed a piece of cloth and bandaged her leg and also bandaged my injury.
There were no medical people left in the hospital to treat us. Only at 10.00pm that night, doctors from a private medical clinic came and treated us. We could not travel in vehicles even on the next day because there was curfew. We were later sent in a bus to the Vavuniya hospital where we stayed for three months receiving treatment.
I still have a shell piece in my head and as a result I cannot do any work. My daughter’s condition is the same.”
Sivarasa Yogaratnam of Mulliyavalai said of this incident,
“In 1987, people were displacing from Mulliyavalai, Thanneeruttu area due to attacks by the Indian forces. At that time I was working as an assistant to our Gramasevakar Sithamparapillai. We were doing our best to help the displacing people by taking them to Nedunkerni and arranging them to stay in schools and temples there. On that day, it would be around 5.00pm, Indian MI-24 helicopters referred to as “Crocodile helicopter” by the people was circulating above. Frightened we all sought safety. The attack took place in front of the Nedunkerni AGA office.
At that time, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, a CTB driver from our area, who came there to take a ladle for cooking for the IDPs, was killed on the spot. Mahenthiran, son of Mahathevan, an employee at the AGA office, was killed while travelling on his tractor. Thambiaih of Kulavisuddan, older brother of Sivarasa, also an employee at the AGA office and Thuraisamy, driver of a tractor-trailer helping the displacing people to move were also killed on the spot.
The second attack took place on the displaced people staying at the Nedunkerni MV School. Many civilians died and their body parts were scattered everywhere. Doctors from a private clinic in Nedunkerni, Dr Jeyanatha, Dr Kajendra as well as the Medical Officer of the government hospital treated the injured and checked the dead. The injured were then sent to Vavuniya hospital for further treatment and the dead bodies were sent to their relatives.

It has been several years since this took place. I can still see the scene in my mind as if it all happened only yesterday. I carry this memory as a deep scar within me.”
Available details of those killed (No., Name, Occupation, Age)
01. Kandaih Sritharan, Farmer, 22
02. Kathirkamu Karthikesu, Farmer, 44
03. Thambaih Natkunam, Farmer, 31
04. Mahathevan Mahenthiran, , 31
05. Mohamud Sarif Raheem, , 26
06. Muthaih Thuraisamy, , 64
07. Abdulkathar Mohamud Limas, ,24
08. Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Driver,