'Just solution will end armed struggle'
[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 June 2002, 14:10 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers are committed to the ceasefire agreement with the Sri Lankan government and will honour its terms and conditions, but must remain strong until the rights of the Tamil people have been secured, a senior LTTE commander said Monday.
"If a just solution is found, there will be no need for us to continue the armed struggle. But until our rights are granted, we need to remain strong," Col. Karuna, Special Commander for the Eastern Province, said addressing the passing out parade of the 52nd batch from the LTTE's training academy in Mavadi Munmari Koddam.
Col. Karuna said that people might ask why the movement needs to continue its training while a ceasefire is in place and peace efforts are going on.
"But, until a permanent solution is found for the ethnic problem, we have to remain strong," he told the trained cadres, their parents and officials who attended the ceremony in the eastern province.
|Col. Karuna, Special Commander for the Eastern Province and Batticaloa- Ampara Special Commander Ramesh (right). (TamilNet Library photo)|
"We honour the ceasefire agreement, and we won't violate it. The government should recognize the just rights of the Tamil people and put forward a solution to the Tamil national question," he said.
"We are not fighting for concessions. We fight for our rights. Some people mistake concessions for rights. We are not seduced by concessions. We have been cheated several times in the past. Because our leader [Vellupillai Pirapaharan] makes every move diligently, we remain unvanquished."
Dismissing allegations in the Sri Lankan press of conscription, Col. Karuna said "if we had conscripted people, an event like this would have been held inside wire fences. Here in this public playground, you can observe how free our fighters are."
The LTTE marked the completion of the training program for 436 cadres of its Special Forces at the Thirupalugamam Kandumani public playgrounds, with sports events, parades, and a mock battle. Col. Karuna inaugurated the event by lighting a flame.
Also speaking at the ceremony, head of the LTTE's political section in Batticaloa-Amparai, Mr. S. Karikalan said: "Currently we have an environment of peace. We wholeheartedly welcome this. We have said that if the government is genuinely interested in peace, it should first remove the [ban on our organisation] and talk to us."
Several other senior LTTE members from the movement's military and political wings attended the event. Later, regional commanders formally took charge of their respective new volunteers and an oath-taking ceremony was held. Music and dance performances were held.
Addressing the event, Special Commander of the Women section for Batticaloa-Ampara, Nilanthini said: "Today's event is something that has never happened before. Parents of newly trained fighters are participating in the event."
"Women fighters have made considerable achievements in the liberation struggle. Society can also learn from their achievements. The Vanni war was a turning point in the struggle," she said. "It is not enough for women to join us and become fighters. They should assume wider responsibilities. Only then will our success be complete."
Batticaloa-Ampara Special Commander Ramesh said: "Parents have gathered here to see [the fighters] who have completed the training today. They are no ordinary men and women; they are assets of Tamil Eelam."
"They have been trained to defeat the occupying enemy and regain our homeland. The training is very rigorous and disciplined, and that is why we don't allow parents to visit them during training," he said.