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Tamils in Batticaloa remember 1987 Kokkadichcholai massacre

Remembering the 83 Tamils shot dead by Sri Lanka's elite police officers in Kokkadichcholai on January 27 1987, residents of Batticaloa held a memorial event on Wednesday.

The Special Task Force (STF) officers raided a prawn factory in the village in the East, shooting dead the workers, which including seven boys aged between 12 to 14.

Relatives of those who were massacred lay candles and flowers in their memory.

"Martyrs may die, sacrifice never dies," read a memorial banner by the event organisers, the Ilangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK).

According to relatives of the victims, the night before the massacre, government helicopters were seen circling the area.

When STF officers arrived, the workers were rounded up and their identity cards checked, as the officers searched for LTTE fighters. Some of the workers were then taken to nearby road and shot dead, whilst forty others, who had been hiding in a nearby farm were also killed. The bodies of those killed were burnt on old tyres, the relatives of the victims said.

The massacre, known as the 'prawn farm massacre' took place during the then UNP government. No one has been brought to justice for the crime.