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* Sri Lanka begins investigations on remains found at mass grave
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 01:20 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities have commenced systematic investigations into the remains found in the mass grave at the Matale Hospital premises in the Central Province.

Consultant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr. Ajith Jayasena has said that during excavations carried out from the 26th of November until the 12th of this month have discovered skeletal remains of 154 people.

The excavations have been completed and some preliminary tests have been conducted on the remains but the systematic forensic investigations of the remains would be commenced now, the JMO has told the Sunday Leader newspaper.

The authorities will seek the help of experts including professionals in conducting dental forensics, According to the JMO.

Preliminary investigations conducted on the remains have shown a varying degree of decay, according to Professor Raj Somadeva of the Post Graduate Division of the Kelaniya University. The bones have been sent for further laboratory testing, he has added.

He has said that soil samples will also be sent for further tests to ascertain the reason for the variance in the decay of bones, local radio Hiru FM reported.

The remains have yet to be sent for carbon dating to ascertain the era of the grave. The JMO has said that once the period of the skeletal remains are determined, DNA tests would be conducted to identify the dead.

Authorities say it will take some time to identify the remains and no conclusions can be drawn until an expert team had finished its work.

The collective graveyard was found within the Matale Hospital premises when a backhoe was digging the area for a new construction.

Department of Archaeology has verified that the remains recovered from site have no archaeological significance.

Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) believes the skeletal remains found at the site belonged to the Marxist youth agitated against the government during the 1988-89 insurrection when thousands of youth were killed by authorities.



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