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Improving welfare facilities for IDPs:

Govt takes up challenge

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had series of challenges from the international community after he decided to wage war against the LTTE to liberate the entire Tamil civilian population in the North and East from the clutches of the most ruthless terror outfit in the world.

Those challenges from the international community came in multiple faces that were more humane and the Government had to take up those challenges very seriously considering the humane nature of those challenges.

Armed struggle

At the initial stage the international community came up with the demand that Government should not go for any type of armed struggle with the LTTE as thousands of civilians were going to be affected if Security Forces wage a war. They were seriously concerned about the suffering of the civilians entrapped in the Vanni and charged that the Government was depriving the basic needs food, medicine and education for the civilian population.

Thousands of tents where civilians lived with least facilities in Puthumattalan before they were liberated by the Security Forces

But they were not aware that it was Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who was depriving all those basic needs to the civilians. The entire Vanni civilian population was living like frogs in a well, like the same manner the civilian population in Jaffna peninsula was living before the launch of operation Riviresa to liberate the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE in 1995.

It was Operation Riviresa that brought freedom to the Jaffna population. If not for that bold step to liberate Jaffna the entire Jaffna population would have had to live under the jackboot of the LTTE and suffer without seeing a ray of light in their lives. That was why when the people in the Vanni were suffering like slaves; the people in Jaffna had a completely different life style under Government administration.

If Jaffna peninsula too was under the LTTE they too would have lived in the same darkness as the Vanni people. Although the international community, especially the international Non Governmental Organizations kept faith in the LTTE and spent millions and billions of dollars for the development in the Vanni, the civilian population had not seen a semblance of development there for the past three decades.

Development projects

Many foreign nations funded those INGOs to build houses, roads, schools, hospitals and various other development projects to be implemented in the Vanni despite channelling those funds for the Government machineries which were also in operation inside Vanni despite LTTE controlling the area.

Today, any foreign Government, without any hindrance can observe the so-called development projects implemented by those INGOs along with the LTTE, if they really wanted to have a feed back on their funds spent for the Vanni civilians through those INGOs. They can observe that not a single infrastructure facility has been implemented in the Vanni although they had released millions of dollars from their coffers to fund those development projects.

Thousands of civilians arriving in military controlled area after they were liberated by the Security Forces. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage

Instead of observing infrastructure development in the Vanni they can see the underground bunker facilities, factories to build suicide boats, suicide jackets, claymore mines, anti personnel mines and factories to produce mortars and RPGs.

At the same time they can observe the way that the LTTE had developed their state-of-the-art factories to manufacture submarines and other underwater devices with the technical know how they obtained from the foreign nations through those so-called INGOs who had developed their ventures with the LTTE in the guise of assisting the tsunami affected people in the Vanni.

They were the infrastructure facilities developed inside the Vanni using huge amounts of foreign funds channelled to the Vanni through INGOs to assist the innocent civilians. That was how the funds collected by small children internationally through various fund raising activities to assist their friends affected by the tsunami with special focus on theVanni had finally ended up with the Tiger coffers through the INGOs, to develop their facilities for their terror campaign.

Tamil Diaspora

Therefore, those civilians in the Vanni instead of seeing any development had to observe the way the Tiger outfit was producing war material using the technical know how the Governments were providing for livelihood development programs and ultimately ended up with joining the LTTE to reach an illusive Tamil Eelam.

That was how the international community led by the strong Tamil Diaspora pushed the Tamil civilians into that miserable situation and today they have a responsibility to conduct their own investigations as to how their funds were utilized by those so-called NGOs and what happened to the millions of dollars they had channeled to those NGOs.

School children enjoying their right to education at the Menik Farm relief village (MCNS photo)

Ultimately, it was the Government which came to assist those Tamil civilians by launching the humanitarian operation to liberate the civilian population.

When intense battles were going on to liberate the Tamil civilians, the Government once again came under pressure to stop the war. This time they highlighted the displacement of civilians and civilian casualties as the key factors to justify their pressure on the Government to put a brake on the military thrust against the LTTE.

Fed by the LTTE, they came up with various figures about the civilian casualties and deaths to justify their arguments and based on those figures they continued to exert pressure on the Government to stop the war.

Battle zones

It was under these circumstances and due to the Government concern about the civilians entrapped in he battle zones, especially after the fall of Tiger stronghold Kilinochchi, the Government had to demarcate safe zones for the civilians.

Human shield

Ultimately, the demarcation of safe zones for the civilians was taken advantage of by the LTTE to mobilize the entire Vanni population at one point and continue its recruitment campaign very easily and to create a human shield around them.

So the Security Forces had to take up that sensitive challenge of liberating hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians under the Tiger grip effectively in two stages completing the world’s biggest hostage rescue operation in a successful manner.

Even after the Government taking up those challenges effectively after liberating the entire civilian population and defeating the LTTE, the international community once again raised an issue alleging the Government of committing war crimes and being responsible for huge number of civilian deaths based on the information they received from undisclosed sources.

Ultimately, it has been proved that they have made those charges against the Government, based on unverified sources and on their own assumptions. Even after those false charges have evaporated the international community is now closely observing this situation as to how Government is going to take up this challenge.

So far the Government has proved its metals by providing all basic needs for the displaced civilians at relief villages. The civilians now feel the difference between living under Tiger grip and the way they are living in those welfare villages with all the basic facilities whilst the Sinhala community is extending the hand of friendship to the displaced civilians.

Basic needs

The Government has given them all their basic needs freely and facilitating the education of the displaced children at relief villages. They have been provided all the facilities that are available to any village folk in the country as Government has set up schools, hospitals, pre-schools, co-operative shops, recreational facilities for these villages whilst providing vocational training for the youth.

If someone is trying to compare the facilities provided to the civilians with the facilities available for the developed nations that would be unrealistic. The comparison should be with the way they were living in the safe zones in Puthumathalan, Vellamullivaikkal and Karayanmullivaikkal under LTTE.

The civilians can recall the orgy they had undergone in those safe zones in six feet tents erected in the sandy beaches in the coastal belt without any basic facilities. The so-called INGOs that operated among those civilians could not manage the situation.

Welfare villages

Those well recognized INGOs and even UN agencies who tried to operate their own welfare villages with their facilities, after the civilians were liberated from the clutches of the LTTE ended in failure as they tried to run those welfare villages according to their own foreign standards.

The Government mechanisms are put in place to provide the basic needs, shelter, sanitary facilities and other requirements according to the local environment but not according to the way the international organizations are fulfilling the requirements of the displaced civilians.

Therefore, it is a futile attempt to force these civilians to live in tents even for a temporary period.

The Government has taken up the challenge of fulfilling the requirements of the displaced civilians at a high level and is now heading towards the challenge of the resettling the civilians in the Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts while providing them with all basic infrastructure facilities.

Displaced civilians

The Government is now implementing its master plan for the resettlement of the displaced civilians in the North under Uthuru Vasanthaya program and the international community and the displaced civilians will get a chance to observe how the Government mechanisms get activated in providing all basic infrastructure facilities for the displaced civilians. Whilst, the Government was taking up those challenges effectively, the entire international community is also observing the way the LTTE is going to re-organize themselves internationally as LTTE elements like Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP and Visuanathan Rudrakumaran are attempting to reorganize the Tamil Diaspora under LTTE again.

It has been proved that the attempts of KP to become the so-called Tamil leader to launch a political struggle to achieve Tamil Eelam has no base as he had no room even within the LTTE for the past three years although he is trying to emerge as the new leader of the Tamil Diaspora.

Records about his connections now reveal that KP had not contacted Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran or even Sea Tiger leader Soosai over the phone for the past three years although he was trying to give the impression that they were in contact with him even at the last moment.

Intelligence reports now indicate that even Political Chief Nadesan had not contacted him through the satellite phone at the last moment of their attempt to surrender despite claims by KP that he had tried to make arrangements for their surrender.

It has been proved that the he had direct access only with very lower level cadres in the LTTE and the top Tiger leadership had kept him away from the organization.

Therefore, these facts very clearly indicate that KP was a very remote person to Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran at the last stages of the LTTE and the LTTE had never kept faith in him.

KP had proved that he was an ineffective leader who could not even arrange a mechanism to protect the leadership of the LTTE. Therefore, chances are very remote for the Tamil Diaspora who heavily funded the struggle of the LTTE to establish a Tamil Eelam in Sri Lankan soil to have faith in a leader like KP.

Tamil Eelam

The Tamil Diaspora is very well aware that it was totally an unrealistic attempt to go after an illusionary Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam in exile as proposed by KP and Rudrakumaran as it has no legal base at all.

The Government of Sri Lanka has already shattered the dream of Tamil Eelam on Sri Lankan soil with the defeat of the LTTE. Therefore, leaders like KP have no ground to establish Eelam anywhere in the world. Even M.K. Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has accepted the fact that Tamil Eelam is no longer a realistic possibility in Sri Lanka.

If under any circumstances the LTTE makes an attempt to reorganize and launch another terror campaign, the Sri Lankan Government and the Security Forces have made it impossible for them to do so by deciding to further expand the Security Forces, recruiting another 50,000 to all three Forces very soon.

The establishment of a powerful position of Chief of Defence Staff to coordinate all three Forces is also aimed at curbing any attempt by any terror movement to raise its ugly head on Sri Lankan soil. The Act which was passed in Parliament last week laid a strong foundation for this position.

So the Government has so far not only faced all the challenges it came across and laid a strong foundation to face all the other challenges that may come across in its effort of enshrining the Tamil community with its true freedom and taking this country towards prosperity.


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