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2ND LEAD

SLA explosive expert arrested for van bomb

[TamilNet, Saturday, 03 October 2009, 10:19 GMT]
A Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldier and explosive expert attached to Minneriya camp in Polonnaruwa was arrested by Kurunegala Police Friday night in connection with the school van bomb blast Friday that killed a 11 year old girl student and injured 11 others including school children and the driver. The soldier, a neighbour of the van owner, is suspected for making the bomb by smuggling C4 explosives from the military installation.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has formally discharged nearly 25,000 Sri Lankan military personnel, who deserted its forces at the height of the war, AFP reported Friday, citing officials. The discharged include 20,000 from the army and 5000 from the navy and air force.

According to military sources, the idea of getting the deserters off the books was to make way for fresh recruits. Thousands of deserters who had been jailed were freed in recent months and those who were discharged will not be court martialed.

During the war SL government was wooing the deserters to come back and fight.

Deserters and discharged of a military, orientated not to observe human rights, have become a serious social problem in southern Sri Lanka, social-work circles in the island said.

A few days back Guardian reported that almost ten percent of the prisoners in UK are ex-soldiers and there is a 30 percent increase of them in the prison population in the last five years.

An estimated 20,000 ex-soldiers are in the criminal justice system of UK and 8500 are behind the bars.

The number is more than double the total British deployment in Afghanistan, Guardian said.

The involved ex-service persons served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. A survey found most of them having chronic alcohol or drug problems and half of them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Most conviction cases are connected to violent offences, particularly domestic violence.

Guardian quoted clinical psychologist professor Tim Robbins “If we are asking people to do appalling things, to take part in regular firefights and hand-to-hand combat, you get to the stage where it de-sensitises them to violence. It is not just these specific things, but also [for soldiers] there is the constant rising and falling of the level of tension. In combat, they are constantly on edge and after a while they become constantly on edge."

A heavy price the contemporary world civilization pays is that in the name of ‘war on terror’ the establishments have brought in terror within their own societies. Sri Lanka that waged an unjustifiable war branding a people asking for political justice as ‘terrorists,’ is likely to get the worst of it, commented a social anthropologist in Colombo.

A country like UK having an effective judicial and social system may able to bring the situation under control. But judicially failed in implementing human rights and deploying an ethnic biased military to rule ‘conquered people’, the crisis in Sri Lanka is going to be manifold, the anthropologist further said.


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