On Sunday, 11 March 2012, Callum Macrae wrote that "new footage" from the final days of the war in Sri Lanka shows that a child, Prabhakaran's son, had been summarily executed by the armed forces. This was featured in the 2012 Channel-4 TV allegations of war crimes by the Lankan armed forces.
(Many such pictures have been assembled by Tamil activist organizations at
The picture published one year ago (reproduced in Fig. 1), and the report may be seen in http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/sri-lanka-a-child-is-summarily-executed-7555062.html
← Balachandran Nadesan →
Fig.1 shows Prabhakaran's son, laid on the ground and said to be killed by bullets. We show in parallel the dead body of Nadesan (Prabhakaran's Police chief and later replacement for TamilChelvam, see Pic. www.ilamayil.com). The yellow circled area shows how a shot brings out swelling, blueness and blood. This is NOT seen on the `corpse' of the boy. Given that the maximum heart pressure is proportional to 220-(age), such swelling should occur much faster (almost immediately) on a young boy. We return to a discussion of the boy's body later.
Almost one year later, in the run-up to the new Geneva meeting (2013) of the UN Human-Rights Council, The Independent has once again resurfaced the same story as if it were a new now allegation, but now supported by two new pictures. The new story, written by Andrew Bunscombe and published on Saturday 16th February 2013 does not mention the previous articles, but claims that
"A series of photographs taken a few hours apart and on the same camera, show Balachandran Prabhakaran, son of Villupillai Prabhakaran, head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). One of them shows the boy sitting in a bunker, alive and unharmed, apparently in the custody of Sri Lankan troops. Another, a few hours later, shows the boy’s body lying on the ground, his chest pierced by bullets" (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/handed-a-snack-and-then-executed-the-last-hours-of-the-12yearold-son-of-a-tamil-tiger-8500295.html)
The new picture is shown below, as Fig. 2 where we have numbered certain locations for the purpose of discussion.
How is it apparent from this that the child is in the custody of
Sri Lankan Troops?
Why would the troops keep him in an LTTE bunker instead of taking him to an army post?
The child is not crying, not frightened, not perspiring, and seems to be with his own people, and NOT a captive. The person on the right edge may even be a lady (wearing a yellow-orange sari), or an LTTE person, and certainly not a soldier.
if a child aged 12 has been deliberated killed, that is a heinous crime.
It is important to examine the veracity of the `evidence' presented by The Independent which collaborates closely with Channel-4 and British Tamil Advocacy groups. These allegations have been rejected by the Lankan government. To what extent are the claims valid?
What raises suspicions is the surfacing of this picture after one year, with the claim that it is part of a successive footage from the same camera. Are there any other photos? Figure 2 clearly shows that the light comes to this
under-ground bunker from the area numbered 1, and radiates towards 2, 3 etc.
Nevertheless, there are hardly any shadows consistent with the light source around the boy's body or the head area.
A blow-up of the region around the left shoulder of the child shows that, far from there being any type of shadow, a shoddy job of colour filing has been done along the edge of the shoulder. The shadow seen in the sand bags just left of number 9 indicates what to expect. Furthermore, the shadow of the edge of
blanket near no. 7, on the arm, is completely in the wrong direction.
Furthermore, the end of the bench to the left of no. 6 does not show the planks, but appears to have been worked over on the initial canvas using graphic tools, totally obliterating the type of texture of the wood planks seen to the right of the boy.
It is also important to compare very carefully the trouser worn by the boy lying dead on the ground, shown below.
First, we notice a person wearing slippers. We also see an ordinary civilian shoe. Furthermore, the shadow on the boy shows a person whose hair does not have the crew-cut typical of Sri Lankan army soldiers.
This shows that the people around the dead boy are NOT SOLDIERS.
Perhaps a group of LTTE people found the dead boy much earlier. The camera belonged to an LTTE person who had other pictures of bunkers, or of the boy and used them for creating graphic art with photoshop or any other tool. Such doctoring of photos may have been done to clean-off any signs that may indicate that the child is in LTTE hands.
The narrow black flap on the pocket cover is 16-18 cm long and narrow, with a
width of 4cm. On the other hand, the trouser worn by the boy seated on the wooden plank has a pocket flap which is much wider. The artist, in positioning the boy seems to have drawn the flap in a way different from that on the trouser of the boy dead, and laying on the ground.
Two pictures of the boy sitting in the bunker have been published.
If the pictures in the bunker are authentic, then the picture of the dead boy wearing a similar but different
trouser is inconsistent with the claims of these British reports. In fact, one may surmize that the photo-artist modified the black flap without paying adequate attention to its geometry.
Hence the new picture raises troubling questions about the way photos are being used as `evidence' in an age where sophisticated graphic tools are readily available even to a child. Of course, the Tigers are well known to be past masters of publishing fake photos. Many pictures of Prabhakaran posing in groups with black tigers, or pictures of bodies blown up by them, and attributed to the army were published in the Tamil Net from as early as 15 years before the demise of the Tigers. Even after the demise of Prabakaran, Tamil sources published the now well known image of Prabhakaran sardonically watching his death announced on TV (see Fig. 4 below).
The British press has been rubbished for its devious ways many times recently, not only with respect to the Rupert Murdoch investigations, but with respect to many other scandals. The close associations of the producers of Channel-4 movies with key ex-LTTE UK-Tamils are well known. Clearly then, it is important that the British press authority or some other public watch dog requires that the sources of information be revealed in court and their veracity established transparently, in front of a suitable authority so that public can have some confidence of what they are shown. It is just not enough for reporter to say that `new evidence' has turned up, or that some unnamed `experts' have reviewed the material. Or, is it simply like expert-certified 100% beef lasagna turning out to be 100% horse meat?