Asylum seeker says EPDP recruiting in India

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 December 2003, 07:22 GMT]
The EPDP cadre who sought asylum from the Liberation Tigers in Kilinochchi, Mr. Iyampillai Yogarajah, 33, told mediapersons in Kilinochchi Saturday that the paramilitary group recruited him from a refugee camp in India eight months ago. He said the EPDP is recruiting many Tamil youth like him from refugee camps in India promising good pay and perks. The paramilitary group works closely with the Sri Lankan armed forces in psychological operations, intelligence and counter insurgency.

The EPDP cadre, Mr. Yogarajah, speaking to the press in Kilinochchi
Mr. Yogarajah said the EPDP is going to start a military training camp for the young men it is recruiting from Indian refugee camps in Kayts, a large island near Jaffna dominated by the Sri Lanka navy and army.

Asked why he did not surrender to the Sri Lanka army, Mr. Yogarajah said: “The EPDP and the army are one. I was brought to Jaffna in a military flight. Surrendering to the army would have been like jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.

The ex-EPDP cadre, a native of Kilinochchi, said he was eighteen when he was abducted and forced to join an auxiliary armed force established by the Indian army in 1989to supplement its pacification operations against the Tigers in the northeast. Thousands of Tamil teenagers were conscripted into the force at the time.

Mr. Yogarajah's Identity Card issued by the EPDP
The auxiliary force crumbled almost overnight when the Liberation Tigers took control of the northeast as the Indian began withdrawing from the region in early 1990.

The Indian army took away the remnants of its conscripted auxiliaries. The Indian government placed them in refugee camps in eastern and southern India.

Mr. Yogarajah said that three EPDP cadres had contacted him in the refugee camp where he was living and had persuaded him to join the paramilitary, promising good pay and perks.

He was brought clandestinely by boat to Mannar and was then taken to the EPDP’s main camp in Colombo, Mr. Yogarajah said.

“There the EPDP leader ordered me to go to Jaffna and sell Thinamurasu there”, he said. (Thinamurasu is a weekly Tamil tabloid published by the paramilitary)

“I was confined to the EPDP’s main camp at the Sreethar Theatre in Jaffna town for more than three months. Later I was sent out to sell the paper. It was then that my relatives got in touch with me and helped me escape on 7 November. I lived in hiding in Jaffna fearing for my life. On Thursday, 4 December, I made it to Kilinochchi through the SLA checkpoint in Muhalamai and sought asylum from the Tigers”, Mr. Yogarajah told the press persons at the LTTE’s media coordinating office in Kilinochchi.

 

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