Mar 09, 2019

Mannar Mass Grave: Final decision pending Featured

The authorities have decided to study several other specialist reports prior to taking a final decision regarding the Mannar mass grave future activities. A laboratory from the United States had determined that these skeletal parts recovered from the grave and sent for carbon dating, were hundreds of years old.

The carbon dating report prepared by US-based Beta Analytic – Radiocarbon dating services has revealed the samples obtained from the Mannar Mass Grave belong people who had died 350 to 600 years ago. Five Bone fragments and one tooth recovered from the Mass grave in Mannar was sent to Beta Analytic for a Carbon 14 test on the remains.

Subsequent to the report being received, the Mannar Magistrate Saravanarajah had ordered the excavations to be halted indefinitely.

However, the courts has not yet issued the final decision with regard to the time period of the bones found in the mass grave. 

To come to an agreement:

According to the Specialist JMO in charge of the excavations, discussions would be held within the next few weeks among all those involved in the Mannar mass grave excavations regarding the future activities at this site. 

“Not only the carbon dating report, but all parties connected with the Mannar mass grave would meet and discuss about what should be done regarding the Mannar mass grave,” Consultant JMO Dr. Saminda Rajapaksa noted. 

“Some of the reports have been received by the courts, but others have still not been received.  After all these reports are received and all parties concerned have discussed the matter, then a final decision could be taken. Having obtained the views of all parties, the Magistrate will issue a final order on what action needs to be taken regarding the future activities of the Mannar mass grave,” he said. 

He further noted that members of the OMP, archaeologists and relatives of the missing persons would all join in the discussions. 


“The OMP is waiting for the advice of the Mannar Magistrate to take a decision regarding the future action,” the OMP said. 

Meanwhile, the lawyers representing the families of the missing persons said that a hasty decision regarding the time frame of the skeletons found in the Mannar mass grave should not be taken based on just one report, adding that more reports need to be examined. 

“We are vigilant about the enthusiasm and attention paid to the Mannar mass grave and we want to notify the public that this specialised report is just from one source,” the lawyers said in a statement. 

They said that the reports on the other materials and soil samples from the Mannar mass grave have still not been received, adding that based on just one report a decision could not be made regarding the whole exercise, which could have a negative impact on the whole exercise. 

The statement was signed by President’s Counsel V. Puvidharan, Ranitha Gnanaraj, V.S. Niranjan, G. Rajakulendra and K.S. Ratnavel. 

The Consultant JMO Dr. Rajapaksa said that the excavations at the Mannar mass grave had unearthed the remains of 342 persons including 30 children and the excavations had been done for 156 days at the site identified as a crime site. 

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