The day, 10th June 1986, dawned as usual on Kurunagar also. But, nobody anticipated the tragedy to follow little later.
31 fishermen from Kurunagar, a coastal village of Jaffna, embarked on the boat “ Thooya Oli” , popularly known as “Philipu Padavu” for their usual Beach sein net fishing(Karaivalai) at Mandaitheevu, in the early hours of the day.
While they were engaged in their fishing, death came screeching towards them in the form of Navy Boat. When gun fire was heard from Mandaitheevu area in the early, nobody thought that those sounds were from the bullets riddling the fishermen from Thooya oli.
However, the news of the tragedy reached Kurunagar soon and the whole village was filled with wailings of the relatives of the fishermen.
Thirty bullet riddled bodies were brought to Kurunagar shores. One body was brought to Kurunagar late in the day being found inside the half sunk Thooya oli.
A collective funeral was arranged for dead fishermen. 31 coffins lined the aisle of St. Jame’s Church, Kurunagar, where a requiem mass was offered for them. Their bodies were interred in a long grave at the St.Mary’s.
A commemoration was held yesterday at the Memorial for the fishermen killed in cold blood and without any provocation by the Sri Lankan Navy.