The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Sri Lanka mass grave unearths ghosts from troubled past


MATALE, Sri Lanka (REUTERS) - A mass grave unearthed in Sri Lanka has stirred memories of the country's bloody insurgencies and sparked calls for an official inquiry in the island nation that has drawn global scrutiny for its chequered human rights record.

At a building site near a hospital in Matale, a central town 142km from the capital, Colombo, excavators have found the skeletons, or parts of the skeletons, of at least 59 people.

It is possible they died of natural causes many years ago but in a country rocked by two different insurgencies beginning in the early 1970s, the assumption many people are jumping to is that they are some of the forgotten victims of the violence in which more than 150,000 people were killed.

Mr Ajith Jayasena, the judicial medical officer at the hospital adjacent to the site, is keeping an open mind.