Channel 4 video : a figment of imagination:
Balachandran, marketable product
Why was Channel 4 silent when hundreds of children
were butchered by the LTTE?:
A death of a child, no doubt is a reason to mourn. Especially when he
or she is brutally killed, it is a grave crime which has to be dealt
with severely. The disturbing image of a bullet-ridden body of a boy
telecast in the latest controversial Channel 4 video has caused a
certain amount of anxiety to many.
In the video - Sri Lanka's killing fields: war crimes unpunished - a
12-year-old boy with five bullet holes in his chest can be seen and the
presenter, Jon Snow says that the boy is Balachandran Prabhakaran,
youngest son of LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. The director is
Callum Macrae, a former reporter at Channel 4, now turned director.
For many, who have viewed Channel 4's previous videos, this is
heart-rending as a body of a teenage boy is shown. The video 'accuses'
the Security Forces of executing the boy with five others, who were
identified as 'bodyguards' of the teenager.
It is good to highlight the killing of a child in a video, but
'Channel 4' has a 'reputation' of releasing concocted videos and has
well and truly missed incidents where thousands of little children
including new-born babies were killed in cold blood. The video shows
that the so-called investigators of Channel 4 have not done their
homework and are not aware of the ground realities in the North.
The history of the ruthless LTTE is full of such gruesome killings
where children, despite their ethnicity were chopped, smashed and
bombed. This article is an attempt not to justify the story of the boy
shown in the video, but to remind Channel 4 that thousands of Sri Lankan
children, who perished even before they blossomed into their teens, are
waiting for justice from Channel 4 to air similar videos of their
stories which also need to be heard.
The LTTE massacre of innocent Sinhala villagers to ethnically cleanse
the North started way back in 1984 with the attack of two farming
villages at Kent Farm and Dollar Farm in Mullaitivu.
LTTE terrorists made a killing field of these two villages and armed
LTTE terrorists chopped, gunned down and smashed 33 villagers, the
majority of whome were children and women at these two farms.
It was the LTTE's second attack on a Sinhala village - Kent Farm,
where there killed 29 civilians, including women and children.
On August 3, 1990, the LTTE killed over 147 Muslim men and boys out
of a crowd of over 300 people who were prostrating for 'Isha' prayers in
the Meer Jumma, Husseinia, Majid-Jul-Noor and Fowzie Mosques in
Kattankudi, a Muslim town 140 miles east of Colombo, in Batticaloa.
According to an eye-witness account quoted in the New York Times,
heavily-armed terrorists didn't spare small boys who were kneeling down
and praying and the firing lasted for over 15 minutes.
The Kebethigollawa Massacre
Mohammed Arif, a 17-year-old student who survived the massacre said:
"Before I escaped from a side door and scaled a wall, I saw a Tiger
rebel put a gun into the mouth of a small Muslim boy and pull the
It was June 15, 2006 that the LTTE killed 64 innocent civilians
including 15 children in twin claymore mines bus attack in a jam-packed
bus plying to Kebithigollewa. The victims, who were from the Sinhala
villages of Yakawewa, Halmillewa, Kanugahawewa, Thalgahawewa and
Nikawewa, most of them were attending the Kebithigollewa Hospital
The Aranthalawa Massacre, where 33 Buddhist Monks, most of them young
novice monks, were gunned down and is considered one of the most
gruesome killings committed by the LTTE. The massacre took place on June
2, 1987, when a bus carrying Buddhist monks and a few unarmed civilians,
were on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to the Kelaniya Raja
Maha Vihara. The terrorists ordered the driver to get the bus into the
nearby Aranthalawa jungle. After the bus stopped, the LTTE cadres went
on a rampage, attacking the monks with guns and swords and also shooting
some of them with machine guns.
Among the dead were 30 young novice monks and their mentor, the Chief
Priest of the Vidyananda Maha Pirivena, Hegoda Sri Indrasara Thera.
The Anuradhapura massacre in 1985 was the largest massacre, where
LTTE cadres opened fire indiscriminately with automatic weapons killing
and wounding many civilians who were waiting for public transport. LTTE
cadres then drove to the Buddhist Sri Maha Bodhi shrine and gunned down
nuns, monks and civilians as they prayed inside the Buddhist shrine.
Before they withdrew, the LTTE strike force entered the national park of
Wilpattu and killed 18 Sinhalese in the forest reserve. The LTTE cadres
massacred 146 Sinhalese men, women and children in Anuradhapura.
Among the list of attacks by the LTTE the last incident, before its
annihilation, took place on April, 12, 2009, two days before the Sinhala
and Hindu New Year. LTTE terrorists stormed into village at around 7.30
pm and killed nine Sinhalese including a one-and-a-half-year-old infant
and an 11-year-old boy.
Eye-witness accounts in the video - Ruthless - released by the
Government is a fine forum where people willingly gave their first-hand
accounts on atrocities committed by the ruthless LTTE against humanity.
Unaware of the fate which would befall them within the next few
minutes, several dozens of wounded Tigers, including forcibly
conscripted children, brought from a makeshift medical facility in a
Rosa bus, were helplessly gasping for life. Another group of Tigers, who
were guarding another bus load of wounded youth a few metres away, was
impatiently waiting for the final nod from their superior, to finish off
their task. Their intention was to get rid of the 'burden' and also not
to leave any room for the wounded to be interrogated in the event of
While those who fought unwillingly to make the dream of their
megalomaniac leader a reality, were struggling to breathe, the Tigers
hurriedly strapped explosives around the buses. In the next minute,
everything disappeared under heavy black smoke, triggered by the
The two badly damaged buses lay between Vellamullivaikkal and
Wadduvakkal, a grim reminder of the gravity of the final battle fought
against the LTTE in May, 2009.
Thiruchelvam Vardarasa from Wattappalai was an eye-witness to a mass
murder that had been intended to remain hidden forever. "The LTTE
brought a bus full of wounded boys, girls and elders who had been
forcibly thrown into battlefronts. Then the bus was exploded with the
people inside under the instructions of leader Nedumaran. I witnessed
this with my own eyes", Vardarasa, who was temporarily accommodated 200
metres away from the location, said.
It was on May 17, 2009, in the wee hours, that the above described
mass murder took place while the soldiers were pushing the terrorists
into their last tiny patch of land on the edge of Mullaitivu. Two days
before the LTTE's annihilation in the waters of the Nandikadal Lagoon,
the LTTE leader instructed his subordinates to destroy their battle
casualties, who had been ill-trained and conscripted to fight the
advancing military might. Ruthless LTTE cadres loaded disabled and
wounded cadres into a bus from the makeshift hospital and exploded the
buses, not leaving a trace!
Three victims of child conscription narrated the incident at the
church where the LTTE forcefully took them away. Nimalan: "My parents
used to hide me in a bunker which was well concealed inside the house.
Fearing my abduction, my father sent me to the church and he said the
LTTE would not abduct children from the church. But I was there only a
day, the LTTE stormed the place and abducted the children. Girls and
boys ran hither and thither inside the church while the LTTE started
shooting us. Pieces of roof fell on the ground. The LTTE left only one
door open and they pulled out the children - one by one. A woman was
shot at as she was obstructing the LTTE from taking her child away. I
too was thrown into the vehicle".
Vignesh: "We went to the church that day, but I could go only 50
metres and I started running home as I heard the LTTE firing inside the
church. I hid myself and later heard that the LTTE had taken all the
children away. When I went to the church later, I only saw women crying
and cursing the LTTE for abducting their children".
Bala was another child who was snatched away by the LTTE while he was
at the church along with many other children. "We were confident that
the LTTE would not enter the church and that they would listen to the
priest. But it didn't quite happen that way. They abducted many children
and I was among them. The LTTE took me to Mullivaikkal to fight".
Channel 4 which brought up the issue of a death of the 12-year-old
boy is now saddle with a bigger responsibility - to produce videos to
show the gruesome killings of thousands of children like 'Balachandran'
by the LTTE terrorists.
How can Channel 4, which boast of engaging in responsible journalism,
miss the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE? and what is the cover-up
Channel4 has for those innocent Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim children who
were executed by the LTTE for over three decades?
The video in question shows the images of those dressed in combat
uniform and wearing slippers at the scene, where 'Balachandran' and four
elderly people were gunned down. In this video clip where the faces of
the soldiers were not shown, Channel 4 concludes that the execution was
carried out by Sri Lankan soldiers. The forensic pathologist, Professor
Derrick Pounder, identifies the gunshot injuries on the boy's body being
a result of close-range shooting.
Channel 4, which claims that 'Balachandran' was executed after
interrogating him about his father's whereabout, lacks the knowledge of
ground realities in the North during the final months of the battle. It
is unaware of the hatreds of Northern civilians, who struggled against
conscripting their small children, with the LTTE and its leadership.
According to ex-LTTE cadres, the LTTE leaders had to hide their children
from the public as civilians protested against them for safeguarding
their children while the LTTE leaders ordering to conscript innocent
children to fight.
One such child who was given a strong protection ring was
Prabhakaran's son - Balachandran. This is evident even in the Channel 4
documentary where it shows that the boy was killed with five of the LTTE
Even now, after rehabilitating over 11,600 ex-LTTE cadres the
Government faces the problem of reintegrating them into society as some
families in the Northern villages are not willing to welcome them as
they had forcibly snatched away their children, most of them breathed
their last in deadly battlefields in 2009. The families of some of the
LTTE leaders had to hide themselves while they were in welfare centres
in Vavuniya as civilians hated them and threatened to kill them for the
atrocities they had committed against their people in the North.
Not only Northern civilians but also LTTE cadres selves criticised
LTTE leaders as sisters and brothers of LTTE cadres were conscripted
during the final months of the end battle.
They were up in arms against the LTTE for deviating from its own
policy, which only recruited one member from each family.
"As I need to save the lives of my brother and sister I joined the
LTTE and fought until I surrendered to the Army on May 1, but the LTTE
police had taken away my 13-year-old sister and without any weapons
training she was sent to fight with other cadres.
They have also taken my older brother and he died in the battlefield.
My small sister who had not hold a gun in her life was found dead later
and I had to bury her in Puthumathalan before my surrender.
Many families in my village lost their small children", said the ex-LTTE
He said they assaulted and killed one LTTE policeman who helped
civilians, whom they kept as hostages to flee the government controlled
He said civilians whose lives were reduced to zero came to Government
controlled areas and cursed Prabhakaran and his family for destroying
Channel 4 and the pro-LTTE fronts are still trying to give a fresh
breathe of life to the defunct LTTE and have forgotten how the Security
Forces saved family members of the leaders - Soosai and Thamilselvan and
many other prominent LTTE cadres facilitating their children to have
their education in some of the leading schools in Colombo, which is a
distant dream for many.
In this scenario, what is the assurance that civilians, who sometime
did not spare ordinary LTTE cadres, would not kill the family of the
LTTE leader, who tainted their future with blood for over 30 long years.
Though the world is talking about this 12-year-old boy, how many boys
and girls of his age were killed on the orders of Prabhakaran.
The best example was the schoolgirl who was sent by the LTTE to blow
herself to prevent civilians flee the LTTE control. There are hundreds
of such incidents where the LTTE used small children in their crimes.
If the soldiers intended to kill family members of the LTTE
hierarchy, why did they bring families of Sea Tiger leader Soosai and
leader of its Political Wing S.P. Thamilselvan safely to Colombo and
then the Government has even taken steps to secure their future. How has
Channel 4 slipped up on this positive story in their videos?
How ethical is it for Channel 4 to throw allegations of killing
Balachandran on government forces which maintain hundred percent
discipline throughout its humanitarian operation and rescued over
300,000 Tamils from LTTE terror?
With no source to identify the boy as being LTTE leader Prabhakaran's
son, Channel 4 refers to the victim as Prabhakaran's son. Prabhakaran's
son lived comfortably.
It is true that it is heart-rending when a child is killed, whoever
he might be. Those who are aware of the reality on how the LTTE played
with the lives of innocent children whom they used as suicide bombers
and also as ill-trained fighters, accuse Channel 4 for weaving a story
around a terrorist, forgetting the thousands of small children who were
butchered by the LTTE.
Yes, when they produce a video about Prabhakaran's son, there is a
'market value' which the world will talk about. Here, Channel 4 has
given market value to 'Balachandran' to achieve their ulterior motives,
roused by pro-LTTE fronts to attack the Government at the UN Human
Rights Sessions. Human Rights activists will now clamour for action
against the alleged execution shown in the video, but in turn people
will question about their silence over heaps of incidents where innocent
Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim children were butchered to death.It is
apparently a 'fine' initiative of Channel 4 to telecast images of body
The world would give their blessings to the TV team if they aired the
stories of thousands of other children who are in their graves waiting
for justice - at least an opportunity for them through Channel 4 to tell
the world how brutally they were hacked to death by the world's ruthless
Unfortunately, Channel 4 has missed out on these sad stories as these
innocent children are not marketable like Prabhakaran's son but are the
sons and daughters of Sirisena or Murugesu or Hakeem, who are just
ordinary civilians who had many dreams for their children, any less