Tigers say recruitment rising

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 September 2001, 23:27 GMT]
(NEWS FEATURE) The Liberation Tigers' Batticaloa and Amparai district political leader, Mr. Karikalan, said this week that his organisation was drawing large numbers of new volunteers and denied press reports of forcible recruitment. In an interview with Tamil language Uthayan newspaper published Tuesday, Mr.Karikalan said many recruits were coming forward with the support and encouragement of their parents amid active participation from many villages in the LTTE's recruitment drive. "There is a firm belief amongst the people that the struggle will succeed. This has given us a fresh impetus."

"Many are joining our ranks due to the realisation amongst our people that armed struggle is the only avenue to win back our lost lands and rights," Mr. Karikalan said. "Large numbers of youth, male and female, have joined our ranks out of a sense of duty to the nation."

"The Sri Lankan forces, unnerved by this, have been spreading rumours that we are forcing youth to join us. These are malicious rumours spread by the military and the government media. There is no truth in this," he said.

"If we wish to forcibly recruit, we can capture a thousand youth in a day. But that will be of no benefit to our struggle. The struggle canít be undertaken by kidnapping people, training them and then keeping them locked up. It will be foolish to forcibly train someone like that at great expense."

"We are campaigning of the need for the Tamil people to retake our own lands, to safeguard them and to live in freedom. The people are exploring ways to aid the struggle. They themselves are deciding how many from each village are needed to continue the struggle and are volunteering their youth to join the fighting ranks."

"We were deeply moved recently to witness parents bringing their children to enrol to fight. Mothers of Arasaditivu and Kokkadicholai have written a new chapter in the history of the Tamil struggle by their bravery."

"The thought that, rather than stay away from the struggle only to die by Sri Lankan military shelling, shooting and rape, it is better to save our country by becoming fighters to defeat the enemy and to safeguard our motherland has very much come to the fore."

Mr. Karikalan said the LTTE's strength was growing to match the "firepower, technology and manpower" of the Sri Lankan military, which he said would be driven out of Jaffna and the east. "We will capture the whole area. Our people are giving us full support for that," he said.

When asked about the position of the Muslim people were the Batticaloa district to come under the control of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Karikalan said "We will ensure conditions for them to live freely and according to their culture. Muslims are a distinct group living in Tamil Eelam. We accept that they have a distinct culture. They have every right to live according to those. We are joined as one by the language we speak. This is a strong bond. They also need to be freed from the oppression of the Sinhala armed forces."


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