LTTE urges Muslim Tamil harmony in east

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 July 2002, 16:01 GMT]
"We, the Sri Lankan army and the Liberation Tigers, fought face to face in battlefields for 25 years. But today we are seated side by side as friends. All of us should explore the reasons why, while this is so, we, the Muslims and Tamils who speak the same language, are unable to live in amity," said Mr. N. Karikalan, a senior official of the political division of the Liberation Tigers addressing a peace conference in Batticaloa town Wednesday.

The peace conference was organised by Maj. Gen. Sunil Tennekoon, the General Officer Commanding of the 23 Division around 3 p.m. in the Charles Hall in Batticaloa town.

More than a hundred civil society activists and community leaders from the two communities attended the conference Wednesday.

In his inaugural address, Maj. Gen. Tennekoon said the purpose of the meeting was to develop confidence and understanding between the Tamils and Muslims and to discuss about the future.

Mr. Karikalan and Maj. Gen. Sunil Tennekoon observing two minutes of silence before the conference to pay homage to the war dead in the northeast. (Photo: TamilNet)
Lt. Col. Anthoniz the SLA commander for Batticaloa, Mr. Visu, the head of the LTTE's political division for Batticaloa/Ampara, the Bishop of Batticaloa, Rt. Rev. Kingsley Swanpillai, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa and members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission were also present at the conference.

Speaking at the conference Mr. Karikalan said: "We are firm resolved that incidents such as the violence in Valaichenai should not happen again in the future. The SLA and we have decided that law and order should be established to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. There are some people who are trying to scuttle the peace process in a systematic manner. All the communities in this island will have to evenatually suffer because of their actions. Our leader is not only negotiating peace with the Sri Lankan government but he has had discussions with representatives of the Muslims and the hill country Tamils. He respects the feeling of all the communities in this island."

Mr. Basheer Segu Dawood, Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for Housing, said that the Liberation Tigers who are the sole representatives of the Tamils are now directly involved in re-establishing good will and peace between Muslims and Tamils.

Mr. Karikalan said that his organisation is always ready to consider positive recommendations from the SLMM.

Addressing the peace conference Deputy Minister Basheer Segu Dawood said: "There have been many peace conferences between the Tamils and Muslims since 1985. But this conference is particularly unique because, unlike in the past, the Liberation Tigers who are the sole representatives of the Tamil people are trying to bring about peace and harmony among the two communities and are directly involved in the effort to re-establish good will among them. There are some youths among the Tamils and among the Muslims who have quick tempers. We believe that the Liberation can prevail on such Tamil youth. Similarly I believe that Muslim parties and leaders have the power to control quick-tempered youth among the Muslims."

Mr. Dawood is a senior leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

Mr. Basheer Segu Dawood, (left) Mr. Karikalan (centre) and Maj. Gen. Sunil Tennekoon at the coneference. (Photo:TamilNet)


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