ECONOMYNEXT – The mystery over Sri Lanka’s biggest mass grave was laid to rest Thursday when the Mannar magistrate’s court was informed that people buried there pre-date even the European colonial era.
The Florida laboratory which carbon-dated six bone samples from the Mannar mass grave found that they belonged to a period between 1404 and 1642. Some skeletal remains were from over 100 years before the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka.
The findings clearly rule out the mass grave belonging to the period of Sri Lanka’s bloody ethnic war which claimed over 100,000 lives between 1972 to 2009.
The authorities found the remains of over 300 men, women, and children in the mass grave while construction workers were digging in the area exactly a year ago.
The newly established Office on Missing Persons (OMP) funded the tests after concerns that the victims may have been killed during the ethnic war.
Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces both held the Mannar region at different times during the conflict. Even the Indian Peace Keeping Forces had control over the area in the late 1980s.
A government-appointed panel found in 2013 that about 19,000 people went missing, including 5,000 security personnel, during the decades-long ethnic war. (COLOMBO, March 7, 2019-SB)