Forensic Studies Commence On 154 Skeletal Remains
- Matale mass grave excavation work concluded
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr. Ajith Jayasena said that 154 skeletal remains were exhumed from the mass grave when the excavation work was completed last week.
He explained that although some preliminary tests were conducted on the skeletal remains during the excavation work, the proper forensic analysis would now be carried out with the help of more experts including professionals in conducting dental forensics.
“We conducted some preliminary tests due to the fragile state of some of the bones that were exhumed from the grave,” Dr. Jayasena said. When asked if the skeletal remains would be sent overseas for further forensic examinations, he observed that samples have not been sent overseas so far and that it was up to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to organize the funds to send the skeletons overseas.
“I have requested courts to get some dental forensic experts from Colombo to visit Matale to carry out examination work since the bones are too fragile to be sent to Colombo,” Dr. Jayasena added.
According to the JMO, once the period of the skeletal remains are determined, DNA tests would be conducted to identify the dead.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the Matale mass grave has taken a new twist with the JVP calling on the government to hold a comprehensive inquiry into the largest mass grave to be excavated in the country.
The JVP last week claimed that the preliminary inquiries conducted on the skeletal remains has indicated that they belonged to the period between 1988 and 1989. It was also the period of the JVP insurgency. JVP parliamentary group leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the skeletal remains unearthed from the Matale mass grave belonged to the comrades who were murdered during the height of the insurgency in 1988-89. He pointed out that the preliminary investigations have also revealed that the persons buried in the mass grave have been tortured.
“The investigations on the bones that were uncovered have revealed that some of them have not decayed or broken according to the normal decaying process. Some bones have indicated that they had been broken with the use of force and skulls that have been separated from the rest of the remains have shown that the separation was due to an external force,” Dissanayake explained.
Dissnayake added that some persons involved in killings that took place during the 1988-1989 period were now members of the government. However, he urged the government to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the mass grave, reveal those responsible and take action against them.