11th Anniversary of Sencholai Massacre

Source: http://sangam.org/sencholai-massacre-7-years/

Imagine yourself in a classroom, in the midst of a civil war. You are fearing the worst, but continue your life as a normal day. You head to your all female school and are in the classroom. Around 7:30am, when you are barely awake you hear an aircraft flying above you. You have been taught to duck and seek shelter. However, it is too late. Everything goes dark, and you hear a huge blast. What is it? Am I alive? Can I open my eyes? These questions run through your mind. You open your eyes, and try to move. Your leg is pinned down by a piece of debris. You start to scream, “Amma!”, meaning mother in Tamil. You look around; however, you can barely see. It’s like a dust bowl, so you shut your eyes. Once, you shut your eyes you focus on your other senses. You can feel blood pouring out of your leg, you can hear people screaming and yelling, you can smell the thick smoke around you. You begin to taste your own blood. At this point you know it is time you try to get up and leave.

Your leg still pinned, you pull yourself free. But just as you get up, the fog clears. You are horrified to see your classmates, scattered around the premise. You run to the closest girl. She opens her mouth to speak to you. You put her head on your lap. But just as she takes a breath to speak, it ends up being her last. You cry, thinking of all the memories you have had with her. You look up, there are so many girls that do not seem to be moving. You fear the worst. You continue going from girl to girl, trying to help them. There isn’t much you can do. You lay on the ground and close your eyes, wishing this is just all a nightmare. You wake up in the hospital.

This was not the fate of many girls who were present during the Sencholai Massacre. The Sencholai children’s home had been designated as a humanitarian zone. However, the government found it to be the perfect cite to target the future of Tamils. The girl in this story could have been among the 130 students who were injured but survived. Among the injured, according to the statement from the North-East Secretariat on Human Rights, one had lost a leg, and another had lost an eye. However, 53 students and 3 staff members were killed in this ruthless attack by the Sri Lankan Air Force. There were not one, but multiple air strikes that took place. With each round of attacks more individuals were injured and killed. The age of the female students in the Sencholai Complex ranged between 17-20 years old. These women were young, innocent, and most importantly vulnerable to attack. These young women had a lot to look forward to in life, and bright futures.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the attack. But now we ask the most pressing question. Where is the justice for these innocent girls? Who will answer our questions? We are the voice for Tamil around the world, and we want answers. We want them now.

Lishma Ravinthiran is a final year Political Science student at Ryerson University. She is a human rights activist who is passionate about her nation, Tamil Eelam. Lishma is the current Human Rights and Advocacy director of CTYA.

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