blaming LTTE for destruction’
hospital’ doctor testifies at LLRC hearing
The Tamils now hold the LTTE responsible for the
destruction caused, as it failed to utilise the
opportunities of peace during the ceasefire period,
Dr P Sivapalan, who served in the Wanni during the
final stages of the war, said.
He made this observation while giving evidence at
the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
(LLRC) in Colombo.
Dr Sivapalan was among the few doctors who served
in the war-torn area till the last moment.
He served in Mathalan till May 17, 2009.
During his submission to the commission, Dr
Sivapalan said Tamil people did not consider the war
as a terrorist act and added that they considered it
as a struggle to win their rights.
“Many who enrolled in the LTTE considered it as a
noble act,” he said.
He, however, said the parents of the cadres were now
suffering the loss of their children. Now their
parents are suffering.
In his submission, Dr Sivappalan also said the
Tamil people now rejected the concept of a separate
According to him, the concept of a separate state
for the Tamils was put forward by the Tamil
politicians, who he thought, were not serious about
the concept. He said the concept of a separate
homeland for Tamils was taken seriously by the youth
at that time.
“They (Tamil political leaders) thought that they
would be given something reasonable, if they
demanded for a separate state,” Dr Sivapalan said.
This ended up in a war that lasted for 30 years, he
He said the LTTE continued to prolong war despite
facing severe setbacks and being cornered.
He told the commission that the LTTE continued
conscription irrespective of age.
“Civilians were prevented from moving to safer
areas by the LTTE,” he said.
When asked by the commission whether there were
instances of LTTE shooting civilians, Dr Sivapalan
stated there were very few instances of that nature.
He said there were very few deaths due to such
He said the LTTE prevented the civilians from
fleeing by firing towards the security forces.
Dr Sivapalan said the LTTE thought that the military
would retaliate and therefore the civilians would
not take the risk of being caught in the crossfire
while crossing the 300 to 500 metre lagoon, which
divided the two sides.
He pointed out that the army did not deliberately
shoot at civilians.
He said more than half the people had lost at least
one of its family members and many more had been
disabled due to the fighting.
Families in gief
He said that they were not in a position to go ahead
with their livelihood activities and look after
“Many of the middle-aged heads of families have lost
all what they had and are dejected.”
When asked by the commission as to whether he had
spoken to any electronic media while serving in the
Wanni, he responded that he was not interested in
giving interviews to the media, as he thought it
would prolong the suffering of the people.
“I was not compelled to give interviews,”
When asked about the state of the Mullaithivu
hospital, Dr Sivapalan said a few shells had fallen
on the premises of the hospital, but not on the
He said that a few people were injured and that the
ICRC too was present at the time of the incident.
The commission then questioned Dr Sivapalan as to
who fired the shells towards the direction of the
Dr Sivapalan said he could not say as to who fired
the shells as the fighting was in close proximity to
He, however, told commission that the LTTE had
positioned their guns about 200 to 300 metres away
from the hospital.
In his submissions, Dr Sivapalan also briefed the
commission about the situation of the hospitals and
the workers in the Wanni during the final stages of
He said the Health Ministry had provided the
hospitals with the medicines to be used for the
people who were affected.
He, however, said there were many problems due to
the lack of facilities when the hospitals were moved
from their original places.
He said government schools were converted to
hospitals and added that they faced problems, as
these buildings were not equipped to treat the
He said the Health Ministry continued to send
medical supplies through the ICRC ship.
These supplies were sent from February to the first
week of May, according to Dr Sivapalan.
Dr Sivapalan in his submissions pointed out that the
LTTE had its own medical setup before January 2009.
According to Dr Sivapalan, the LTTE established its
own private hospitals, which were run by a group
appointed by the organisation.
He said he had worked in these hospitals and was
paid for his services.
Further, he said that they had their own medicines
in large stocks.
When asked by the commission as to how the LTTE was
able to get the medicines, he said that the
organisation could have bought them from Colombo
during the ceasefire period.
He also pointed out that the LTTE did not provide
any financial assistance to the government hospitals
functioning in the Wanni.
However, the situation changed after January
2009. Dr Sivapalan said the LTTE doctors and medical
staff utilised the government hospital medicines and
facilities after the said period.
When questioned by the commission whether the LTTE
took any of the supplies sent through ICRC, Dr
Sivapalan said there was no need for the LTTE to do
it, as both medical teams were working together at
Speaking on the expectations of the Tamil people
after the cessation of hostilities, Dr Sivapalan
said the people expected a political solution based
on something more than the Provincial Council.
He said the Provincial Council system was proposed a
long time ago and the people had faced losses during
“The people have suffered a lot. Therefore, they
feel that they need something more than the
provincial council,” he said.
The Vavuniya hospital treated nearly 1,250
war-injured people during the last two weeks of May
2009, Dr Bavani Pasupathiraja, told the LLRC last
She was serving in the Vavuniya hospital during the
final stages of the humanitarian operations.
She told commission that patients who were brought
to Trincomalee and Padaviya were brought to the
Vavuniya hospital after being given the initial
Dr Pasupathiraja, who is now in the Jaffna hospital,
said the patients were released to their families or
to the welfare centres, if they had no families.
She added none of the patients were held in
custody by the army.
She added there were still some patients in the
hospital when she left and added that these patients
included those who had to be amputated and who had
She pledged her assistance to the commission in
finding the details of those whose whereabouts were
unknown after being treated at the Vavuniya hospital
soon after the war.