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Today is 21st Anniversary of Nagerkovil School massacre

 

Today is 21st Anniversary of Nagerkovil School massacre

The Nager Kovil school bombing refers to a disputed incident in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Tamil sources claim that on September 22, 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the Nagar Kovil Maha Vidyalayam School in Jaffna, resulting in the death of, by varying accounts, 34-71 Sri Lankan Tamil civilians, primarily schoolchildren and the injury of many more. The Sri Lankan government denied bombing the school. Journalists and human rights organizations reported the imposition of censorship at the time of the alleged incidents.

According to University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), a Jaffna-based organization, the staff of Nagarkovil Government School noticed bomber activity by the Sri Lanka Air Force around the school the morning of Friday, September 22, 1995. Several children who had come out of school had sheltered under a tree, waiting for the bombers to leave. About 12:45 pm a bomb fell near the tree, instantly killing 39 and injuring others. The injured continued to die on subsequent days.

The 1996 Human Rights Watch annual country report described "a major offensive on the Jaffna peninsula" by the Sri Lankan government which began on September 22, and which included curbs on war-related reporting by both the domestic and international press. "Among the first stories to be subjected to these censorship requirements were reports that on September 21 and 22, heavy shelling and aerial attacks by government forces on the northern Jaffna region had killed some seventy civilians, including many school children." Human Rights Watch also cited a Reuters report from September 23 that the army had denied the incident and that the story had been "subjected to military censors, who deleted quotes from civilians on the reported deaths of twenty children.

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