Five Tamil doctors who looked after the wounded and the dying inside the war zone during the final stages of battle between the army and the Tigers have said that they were forced to give out exaggerated civilian death figures by rebels.
On Wednesday, after eight weeks in the Criminal Investigation Department’s custody, the doctors were paraded before the media by the government.
“The LTTE forced us to give figures [statistics of dead civilians]. Figures were exaggerated. We had to do what the LTTE told us,’’ one of the doctors T Varatharaja said.
Varatharaja was one of the three health ministry doctors among the five. The other two were introduced as “doctors from the LTTE medical corps”.
Between 350 and 400 civilians were killed in fighting between April 15 and May 15, he said, adding that the doctors were working under pressure and risk to their lives.
During the last days of the war, Hindustan Times was in touch with at least two doctors.
The UN had called the final stage of the war as a “bloodbath” and estimated that over 6,000 civilians were killed.
Asked about their current condition, one doctor said they were in “prison” but changed into “protective custody”.
Meanwhile, the government has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to scale down operations in the country.