SLA concedes on cyanide capsules
[TamilNet, Friday, 03 May 2002, 00:48 GMT]
Twenty-eight Liberation Tigers entered Jaffna last Monday under the terms of the permanent ceasefire, but only after disagreements with Sri Lanka soldiers manning the checkpoint at Muhamalai over body searches, press reports said this week. Following a heated argument over the LTTE cadres’ cyanide capsules, the Army commander has reportedly accepted that the carrying of these was henceforth not to be opposed.
The LTTE cadres’ scheduled entry at 9 am was delayed by around four hours when Sri Lankan soldiers insisted on conducting body searches and refused to allow telecommunication sets and cyanide capsules through.
The Tigers refused, saying body searches would contravene the terms set out in the indefinite ceasefire agreement between the two sides. The soldiers eventually allowed them through minus the telecommunication sets after several rounds discussions with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).
The group that entered Jaffna included twenty-two male and six female cadres. They were accompanied up to Muhamalai by a senior official from the LTTE’s political wing, Mr Pulithevan, and were received on the other side by their colleagues who entered the city in March in the first batch to enter Sri Lanka Army-controlled areas.
In the wake of the fracas over Tamil Tigers carrying cyanide capsules came a recommendation from the Sri Lanka army's commander that the practice is to be allowed henceforth.
In a letter to the Sri Lankan peace committee the commander reportedly said that so long as the LTTE cadres are unarmed they should be allowed to carry cyanide capsules.
The line taken on carrying telecommunication sets was different, however, with the commander insisting unlicensed equipment would not be allowed in army-controlled areas. A similar tough stance has been taken with regards to identity cards also, with the army commander saying those LTTE cadres without Sri Lanka national identity cards will have to lodge their photos and details with the district secretary and apply for a temporary pass.