A Catholic priest who narrowly survived the final phase of the war in Sri Lanka has been questioned by the Terrorism Investigation Division over a book of Tamil poetry he wrote called ‘Uyirpathivu’ which literally translates as, “Life Records”.

The priest was allowed to be accompanied by a colleague and was questioned on Wednesday by three officers from TID in the Jaffna Bishop’s house. The interrogation focused on aerial bomb attacks on churches and schools that the priest witnessed during the last months of the war in 2009 and wrote about in his poems. The significance of an aerial bombing is that it can only have been carried out by the Sri Lankan government forces as they were the only ones with supersonic Kfir jets, whereas the direction of artillery shelling can be more difficult to prove. TID also questioned the priest about poetry that mentioned the erection of new Buddha Statutes along the main highway, the A9, through the former conflict zone. This is part of a post-war Sinhalisation and militarisation of traditionally Tamil areas.

Three school principals in Kilinochchi have also been questioned by TID over the book and others in the region are being summoned for questioning.