Sri Lanka to dig up suspected Muslim mass grave

Updated 24 June 2014

Sri Lanka to dig up suspected Muslim mass grave

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan authorities are to dig up the site of a suspected mass grave next week after claims it contains the bodies of scores of Muslims killed by Tamil rebels 24 years ago, police said.
The move comes amid criticism that Sri Lankan authorities have been turning a blind eye to recent attacks against Muslims carried out by Buddhist militants. At least four Muslims were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed in rioting last week at two southern resort towns.
"The site will be exhumed on July 1," a police statement said adding that security has been tightened in the area ahead of the exhumation.
"According to the complainant, the bodies of nearly 100 Muslims killed by the Tigers are buried there."
The announcement came the day after a judge ordered the dig to be carried out following a complaint from a local resident that nearly 100 people were killed by militants in the east coast town of Kalavanchikudy in 1990 before then being buried on the beach.
Sri Lanka's 37-year civil war, which ended in 2009, mainly pitted the majority ethnic Sinhalese, who are Buddhists, against the minority Tamils, who are mainly Hindus and live in the north.
The Muslim community, which accounts for around 10 percent of the island's population and is concentrated in the east, largely avoided being caught up in the fighting.
But there have been allegations that the Tigers carried out several massacres of Muslims in the east as part of their push to create a separate Tamil homeland.
Several mass graves have been found in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict, mainly inside the former war zone but also in areas which were largely unaffected by the conflict which claimed around 100,000 lives.
Sri Lanka's government, whose troops are accused of the mass killing of civilians in the latter stages of the war, has been heavily criticised for failing to prevent last week's riots.

"We are happy to have our son back"

Updated 59 min 19 sec ago

"We are happy to have our son back"

  • Parents of Indian national released from Peshawar jail rejoice
  • Detained for alleged espionage, Ansari had reportedly entered Pakistan from Kabul to meet a girl he had befriended online

NEW DELHI: After spending six years in a Pakistani jail on charges of alleged espionage, Indian national Hamid Ansari finally saw the light of day after being released by Islamabad on Tuesday.

In search of a better livelihood, Ansari had reportedly left his hometown of Mumbai in India to look for a job in Afghanistan.

In 2012, however, he allegedly entered Kohat, in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to meet a girl he had befriended on social media.

Pakistan, however, said that Ansari, an engineer, was an Indian spy who had illegally entered the country while accusing him of being involved in anti-state crimes and forgery, prior to sentencing him to six years in jail.

Since 2015, Ansari had been lodged in a jail in Peshawar where he ended his prison term last week.

“We are happy that we'd be able to see our son again,” an emotional Nehal Ahmad Ansari, his father, told Arab News.

His mother, Fauzia Ansari, added that Ansari's release was "an end of a painful period in our life".

Speaking to reporters, she said: "It’s a new birth for Hamid. He will begin his new life. We will support him for his rehabilitation, good health and better future.”

Nehal, on his part, thanked the government of India and Pakistan "for every effort" made in helping repatriate his son.

Ansari's entire family, along with a large number of peace activists, were present at the Wagah border to receive him. 

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs expressed “great relief, especially for the family members, that six years of incarceration of the Indian civilian in Pakistan jail is coming to an end.”

In a press statement released on Monday, Kumar asked “Pakistan to take action to also end the misery of other Indian nationals and fishermen whose nationality has been confirmed and who have completed their sentences, but continue to languish in Pakistan jails.”