Recalling ‘the saddest day in Lankan Police history’
June 11, 1990 according to many is the saddest day in the history of
Sri Lankan Police. It is the day, the LTTE massacred over 600 unarmed
policemen from several police stations in the East, who surrendered
allegedly following a request from the very top in the political
In a most cowardly way the LTTE murdered unarmed police personnel,
after giving an assurance that they would not be harmed, to the
political leaders with whom they were engaged in so-called peace talks
at that time.
According to eye-witness accounts Policemen who surrendered heeding
the call of their superiors were taken into the jungles blindfolded,
hands tied behind their backs and shot at close range with bullets to
the back of their heads.
Twenty one years hence the gruesome incident lingers in the minds of
not only the kith and kin of the murdered policemen but in many others
as well. At a time when all Sri Lankans are enjoying the dividends of
peace due to the sacrifices made by such heroes and many others like
them, it is the duty of all to ensure that they do not remain forgotten
In 1990 as peace talks between the LTTE and the then government led
by President R. Premadasa began to wane, the LTTE demanded the surrender
of police stations in the East on June 11, 1990.
The LTTE surrounded police stations in Batticaloa, Vellaveli,
Kalmunai, Valachenai, Kalawnchikudi, Samanthurai, Eravur and
Akkaraipattu. By the end of the day most of the police stations
surrendered to the LTTE, allegedly heeding calls from the top to do so.
According to some reports on June 11, the LTTE ordered police
personnel in the Eastern province to vacate all police stations with
their families by 2.30 pm, or face the consequences.
It is reported that more than 800 police personnel were abducted by
the LTTE later. Some had escaped but the majority of them had been
murdered in cold blood.
Eye-witnesses have said that they were lined up and shot with their
hands tied behind their backs.
Subsequently the LTTE is reported to have taken control of a number
of police stations, including Batticaloa, Vellaveli, Kalmunai,
Valachenai, Kalawnchikudi, Samanthurai, Eravur and Akkaraipattu.
Later the LTTE also stormed stations in the Jaffna district and
ordered the policemen to leave, stations at Kankesanthurai, Valvetiturai,
Point Pedro, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Murunkan.
On June 15, the LTTE had attacked the police stations at Elephant
Pass in the Jaffna district and Mud Cove in the Trincomalee district.
Also, the LTTE attacked several army camps in the area.
According to reports Police officers laid down their arms after being
promised safe conduct and subsequent release.
The policemen had surrendered following alleged orders because the
political leadership at the time had thought that they could
re-invigorate the talks with the LTTE which was in the wane during the
And they thought by doing so they could avoid armed confrontation.
That was, the way the LTTE effectively used negotiation as a tactical
ploy to achieve certain politico/military advantages.
The LTTE were holding talks with the then government. They were doing
so since the IPKF left the shores of Sri Lanka, but returned to armed
conflict soon after the departure of the IPKF having massacred over 600
policemen, marking the beginning of another phase of the so-called ealam
Recently, retired SSP Tassy Seneviratne had recalled incidents
concerning the massacre of more than 600 policemen in the East during
his testimony to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
Answering queries the retired police officer had told the LLRC that
the police then had even failed to conduct a proper inquiry into the
incident fearing the wrath of the political hierarchy at the time, the
This is not the only atrocity done by the LTTE during their reign of
terror spanning 30 long years. The enormity of the death and destruction
caused by them is well documented and would never be forgotten.
The LTTE massacred village’s, killed pregnant women and children,
sent suicide bombers to public venues. This is why the world is a better
place without terrorists.
So let’s not forget that this future of hope is built upon the
sacrifices made by many like the 600 plus police officers who laid down
their lives in June 11, 1990.