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DateLine Friday, 14 November 2008

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Government Gazette

LTTE's true face

The shocking disclosure of an LTTE female conscript doubling as a Government English teacher as revealed in the media shows the extent to which the three decades old conflict had brutalised the sensibilities of even intelligent normal human beings.

Of course she had joined the outfit not out of choice but to save her male siblings who would otherwise have been forcibly drafted into the outfit as per the edict that civilians sacrifice at least one member of the family to the LTTE.

English teacher cum Tiger cadre Nilaveli who is 28 years old had coached students from grade 6 to 10 class. At the time of capture she was still drawing her Government salary. She together with three other female cadres were captured by the Security Forces in the on going battles in the Wanni. According to her confession more than 100 of her colleagues most them her batchmates are still with the outfit.

She also gave details of her harrowing ordeal with the LTTE and that of other female cadres. She also said all Government officials in the uncleared areas such as clerks and minor employees are forced to serve on the frontlines on pain of death. If the tale of Nilaveli is to be believed there a sizable segment among the LTTE fighting cadres who are not volunteers but those forcibly conscripted and turned into killing machines.

We would like to ask those R2P advocates, where is the protection to these innocents who have been drafted into the LTTE at gunpoint and sent to the frontilines like lambs to the slaughter. It was only yesterday that this column described on the eagerness shown by the youth in the newly liberated East to join in the Government's vocational training programmes.

It is gratifying to see these youth who had been cut off from all mainstream activity all these years grab the opportunities now afforded them to start life anew. These youth who all those years had missed out on a lot no doubt.

They would do their utmost to catch up with lost time with their legendary drive and enterprise. Similarly there is little doubt that there is an Army of youth currently under siege by the LTTE who may be

praying for a miracle to break out of their enforced prisons and enjoy the fruits of normal life.

It is incumbent on the Government to afford them this opportunity by ridding them of the shackles that had bound them to a life of misery all these years. In fact, the President in his Budget propsals detailed measures to rehabilitate ex-LTTE cadres.

Like we commented yesterday these youth may well represent a sample of their enterprising forefathers in the North who contributed in no small measure towards the economic and social advancement of the country as outstanding professionals. Nilaveli's case no doubt may well represent the tip of the iceberg.

There are bound to be countless other youth with great talent and potential who are forced into battle against their will in a futile exercise of chasing after a mirage. It is hoped all those foreign lecturers on human rights would take note of Nilaveli's tale before pointing the finger at the Government for alleged human rights violations.

For, what worse violation of human rights can there be a for a youth just flowering out, to be hauled up and forced into combat against his or her will with death staring in the face.

Is this not the ultimate violation of human rights - the right to one's life. Isn't the right to life the most basic and fundamental of human rights ? The Government should seize on this latest episode to show the world the true face of the LTTE.

These Tamil Nadu film artistes who are shedding copious tears for the protection of the lives of Tamil civilians should ask themselves whom are they to be protected from ? It is indeed sad to note the North which once produced eminent professionals and geniuses in many fields is today an intellectual wasteland.

Like in the East many Tamil youth there are yearning to break free from their shackles and enjoy their youth in fulfilment. As mentioned earlier it is therefore incumbent on the Government to provide this opportunity to this section of our citizens who are waiting to be delivered from their hell hole. It is appropriate that the Government has described its current offensive as a humanitarian mission.

There may be hundreds of Nilavelis in the LTTE gulags crying out to be free. It will be the wish of all that their wait will not be a long one.

Self-reliance answer to global economic uncertainties

The address delivered yesterday by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Second ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC),’ Summit in New Delhi.

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‘LTTE must lay down its weapons’ - FM

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has dismissed talks of a ceasfire and said that the LTTE must lay down its arms. In an exclusive interview with Times Now’s senior editor Srinjoy Chowdhury, the Minister went on to talk about the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) issue and more.

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Defence Column

End of road for Tigers as troops close in on Pooneryn

As troops continue their forward march from all four major battlefronts the LTTE is hit with a problem regarding their priority to decide whether they should go defend their pride and prestige or to defend their strategic strongholds as they are fast losing their strength on all four fronts.

Full Story



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