Lankan Tamil massacre pix release may overshadow FM's UK visit

Colombo, Oct 19 (ANI): The process of investigation into the alleged atrocities in the Sri Lankan civil war further intensified after the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) released photographs, which appeared to show a massacre of Tamils.

GTF, a group that includes former supporters of the Tamil Tiger rebels, has released photographs showing blood stained bodies of young men and women who had been blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs, The Telegraph reports.

Meanwhile, a group spokesman said the pictures had not been verified but raised serious questions, which only an independent investigation could address.

One of the photographs showed a semi-naked young woman lying, possibly dead, with blood floating out from her nose. She is surrounded by dead bodies of other young men, some naked, and all blindfolded and bound.

The GTF said these photographs had been passed to them by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elaam (LTTE) intelligence official who said had acquired them from within the Sri Lankan Army.

The release has come at a time when Professor G.L Peiris, the Sri Lankan foreign minister, who is scheduled to meet his British counterpart William Hague on Wednesday.

According to an UK foreign office spokesman, Hague would repeat Britain's demand for a "credible and transparent investigation" into alleged war crimes.

The paper quoted Father S.J Emmanuel of the Global Tamil Forum, as saying that the pictures showed a "blatant disregard for humanity." Although he says he is not sure about their authenticity, he said that these pictures indicate the need for a UN war crimes investigation.

"If Government of Sri Lanka has nothing to hide, why wouldn't they at least now admit to allowing the UN to investigate?" he said.

The Lankan government, however, has said that the photographs had been released to discredit it during Prof Peiris's visit to London by a pro-LTTE group, which admitted it could not verify them.

The United Nations estimates between 8,000 and 10,000 civilians died between January and May 2009 and claims the Sri Lankan army shelled a civilian 'no-fire zone'. (ANI)

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