Jaffna Railway Station: Emerging From The Ashes
Pictures by Rajendran Rajini
The date was August 9 and the year 1990. The war in Sri Lanka was at its peak. Parts of Jaffna were under intense aerial bombing as the military attempted to regain land lost to the LTTE.
The Jaffna railway station comes under attack and 40 families who had taken refuge there narrowly escaped death A special report released at the time by the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) said that the bomb fell on the railway line damaging 6 train carriages.
The report goes on to say that on the 16th of that month the Jaffna railway station came under attack once again by Chinese built Y12 bombers.
Ukama, a 65 year old Sinhalese lady from Kurunagala was hiding under the concrete underground of the Jaffna railway station.
She was found dead, caught in the concrete debris and was buried under the auspices of the Red Cross, after futile attempts by the Red Cross to hand over her body to her relatives, UTHR said.
Two years after the war came to an end the Jaffna railway station is set to put behind its bloody past and emerge from the ashes.
Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna is scheduled to inaugurate the track laying at the Jaffna railway station this week Preparations for this are already underway with shrubs around the Jaffna railway station being cleared. The railway track will be placed between Omanthai in Vavuniya and Kankesanthurai in Jaffna. Once completed the north and south of the country which has already been re-connected by air, sea and land following the end of the war, will have the icing on the cake with railway links also being re-established and the gap between communities in the north and south further narrowed. (ER)