Army occupation still prevails after a year of peace - Ramesh
[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 March 2003, 14:02 GMT]
"Twelve months have passed after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), but vast numbers of Tamil people are still living under Sri Lanka Army (SLA) occupation. Army camps are still being maintained in Tamils' homes and public buildings creating a sense of mistrust and skepticism on the strength of the MoU in Tamil peoples' mind. Only by the SLA fully complying with the provisions of the MoU can the faith on MoU be restored," said Ramesh, Batticaloa-Ampara special commander of the LTTE, addressing a meeting in Batticaloa Sunday, sources said.
Ramesh was speaking at a conference organized by the Eastern Humanitarian and Economic Development (EHED) organization, with the support of the Eastlanka Journalists Association, at the Devanayagam Hall, Batticaloa, on the resulting benefits and drawbacks of the MoU after one year of its existence.
R. Thurairatnam, Head of the Eastlanka Journalist Association, presided the discussions.
"The Government of Sri Lanka was forced to seek a negotiated solution to our struggle on realizing the formidable military power of the Liberation Tigers. Our leader agreed to cessation of hostilities so that our people who have suffered more than 20 years of war are given a chance to rebuild their lives. Our leader is patiently tolerating the provocative acts of security forces to show the international community that we are sincerly committed to achieving a just and fair solution through negotiations. We have no intentions of restarting the war.
"Sri Lanka Army is still occupying Tamil lands. Eight of the Nine divisions of the SLA are stationed in the North East. Four divisions are deployed in Jaffna district, and one division each is deployed in Batticaloa, Mannar, Trincomalee and Vavuniya. One can clearly see the SLA's objectives with these large scale deployment.
"We are also working hard to strengthen our relationship with our Muslim community. Certain politicians are trying to encourage divisions between our communities. We appeal to our Muslim brothers to work with us to resolve the differences," Ramesh said further in his address.
Selvam Adaikalanathan, MP
Selvam Adaikalanathan in his address said that, "In spite of recent incidents in Neunthivu, Manipay, Kanjirankuda and Thirumalai where security forces were engaged in incidents that infuriated the LTTE, the leaders of the LTTE acted with patience which has strengthened LTTE's stance within the international community.
"The Government of Sri Lanka appears to be giving priority to economic development and its commitment to strengthening the peace climate appears to have waned. Tamil people are viewing this current development with concern.
"There are also attempts to bring in the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in a different legislative form in the Parliament. The Tamil National Alliance will reassess its support to the GOSL, if new draconian legislations that will provide powers to the security forces to violate human rights especially of the Tamil people are introduced in the parliament," added the parliamentarian.
LTTE's head of the medical division, Vaaman, Colombo district parliamentarian Mano Ganesan, Commissioner for Human rights and development, N. Kanthasamy also spoke.
Secretary of the Eastlanka Journalist Association, Shan. Thavarajah gave vote of thanks and concluded the event.
(L-R) Parliamentarians Mano Ganesan, Selvam Adaikalanathan, President of Journalist Association R. Thurairatnam, Commander Ramesh, LTTE medical division head Vaaman and LTTE Batti-Amparai deputy head political division Kirushan