Soldiers drank toddy, shot tapper - witnesses

[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 August 2000, 20:30 GMT]
"I heard some gun shots near our house around 10.45 a.m on Wednesday. Some people came and told me that my husband was shot dead near the Sithaandy Murugan temple. When I ran to the spot, I saw some soldiers standing near my husband's body. Those who saw the shooting said that the soldiers had shot my husband" Selvarani, mother of four children, whose husband, Thiyagarajah Gnanathas, 29, was shot dead by Sri Lanka army soldiers on Wednesday at Sithaandy, 24 kilometers north of Batticaloa.

gnanathas_130800.jpgVillagers who witnessed the killing said that the soldiers had shot Gnanathas after they had drunk the toddy they had taken from him.

His wife said that she is scared to speak about the incident because she fears reprisals that might harm her and her children by the army which is camped in the neighbouring village of Morokkoddaanchenai.

Gnanathas was a toddy tapper in the village and the sole bread winner for the family. Selvarani said that they have now no means to eke out a living and look after her four children.


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