‘Humanitarian, Security issues demand gradual approach to HSZ’ – Nambiar

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 February 2003, 15:31 GMT]
Speaking at a conference held at the Jaffna district secretariat Wednesday evening, Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, retired Deputy Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, said that the humanitarian issue of the high security zone (HSZ) is very important, but the security aspect should not be ignored, and a gradual approach to the issue is warranted, said sources in Jaffna.

The Government Agent, Mr.S.Pathmanathan, presided at the conference, which was attended by two Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians, Mr. Mavai Senathirajah and Mr.N.Raviraj. The Jaffna area Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Major General Sarath Fonseka, Deputy Commander, Major General D.Ratnasabapathy, Navy and Police officials, and representatives of NGOs and welfare organizations, representatives of Jaffna University Students' Union and Tamil Eelam Students' Forum also participated at the conference, sources said.

The parliamentarians and representatives of people’s welfare organizations and NGOs spoke at the conference first and General Nambiar gave his views later. He said that representations made at the conference would be taken into consideration before finding a solution to the HZS issue. " I cannot give any answer to your demands right away. If I were to give one, I would be bluffing all of you," he said.

"All of you have come here with very high expectations. We have to study three aspects of the HSZ issue in finding a solution. The first is the political aspect. I am not competent to speak on that. The second is the humanitarian aspect, and there is no question that it is very important. Every one recognizes it. The third aspect is security. I have been asked by the GOSL to examine the security aspect in the HSZ issue. If you do not address the security issue, the peace process itself will be affected," said General Nambiar.

At the outset, he clarified two aspects regarding his participation in the HSZ matter. " I retired from the Indian army in 1985 and am a private citizen. I do not represent the Government of India. So please do not expect me to do some thing on behalf of India,” he said. The other aspect is that “I have been invited by the GOSL in my personal capacity to advise on the HSZ issue. With my experience and whatever I have, I can make some suggestions. You cannot expect a miracle from me. You live with a conflict of twenty fivers old. I cannot produce a solution within three days, seven days or so. I know my limitations."

Concluding his speech, General Nambiar said," I will come up with my suggestions after a careful study within my limited ability. Some may like my suggestions and some may not like. I cannot please everyone. I will contribute in a small way to find solution to the problem."

The NGOs and people’s welfare organizations handed over memoranda to General Nambiar requesting him to take steps to enable the resettlement of displaced people in their lands in the HSZ, the sources said.


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