TNA’s call for second opinion on Mannar bones receives NPC, CPA backing

OMP says it is up to court to decide


By Shamindra Ferdinando 

The National Peace Council (NPC) and the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), yesterday, threw their weight behind the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) call for a second opinion after the Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory, in Florida, USA, cleared Sri Lanka Army of responsibility for Mannar mass grave by declaring the skeletons belonged to a period that covered the Portuguese and the Dutch rule.

Mullaitivu District MP Sivamohan on behalf of the TNA called for another set of bones to be tested at some other facility in a different country because of the importance of the matter.

Executive Director of CPA Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, in response to a query by The Island, said that a second opinion could settle the matter for once and for all.

Asked whether the NPC as an organization engaged in post-war national reconciliation process believed a second opinion on this matter was necessary, Executive Director of NPC Dr. Jehan Perera told The Island that it was needed. Perera said: "It will be a sign of respect to the TNA which represents the majority of the country’s second largest population group on a matter that they think is of utmost importance. A second opinion will help allay doubts. It will also show that the government wants the truth and is willing to go that extra mile for it.

Now that the NPC backed the TNA’s call for a second opinion, The Island asked Dr. Perera whether HRC should have examined Lord Naseby’s disclosure which cleared Sri Lanka of unsubstantiated war crimes accusations. The NPC spokesperson said that those including the UN who had alleged 40,000 civilians died should explain from what verifiable sources that number comes. "Lord Naseby has provided a number from a verifiable source. This continuing problem highlights the need for the government’s proposed Truth Commission which is reportedly on President Maithripala Sirisena’s table awaiting approval."

Responding to The Island queries, Chairman of Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Saliya Pieris, PC said that his Office hadn’t received request for a second opinion on the matter. "The OMP is an observer in respect of the Mannar graves. All decisions are taken by the Court. Our position is that we await a comprehensive report being made to court in respect of all tests including JMO, Archaeologists Govt. Analyst etc., in order for the court to decide on the further course of action. Any decision on a second opinion being sought should be by the court.

The President’s Counsel said that the OMP was not financially backed by any organisation or countries. The reports were public documents in court custody and "we have no need to officially (or for that matter unofficially) inform any country or organisation of the same."

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