It is sixteen
months since the three decade long war was brought to an end and
the country set on a new course of development and progress.
Amid this, the Government also took upon itself the huge task of
national reconciliation and set in motion various mechanisms to
accelerate this process.
All restrictions hitherto placed on the people of the North
are being lifted allowing for their free movement. There is no
more a ban on fishing and there is a gradual scaling down of the
military presence. Housing and infrastructure facilities are
being built at a rapid pace and the people are returning to
their original dwellings which are being rebuilt by the
Government and farmers are tilling their lands which were laid
waste by the war.
Now, moves are underway to release detainees held by the
Security Forces in the course of the war. These include former
LTTE combatants who are in the custody of the Security Forces at
present. This is done on an initiative by the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission which is presently holding its
sessions in Kilinochchi - one time hub of the LTTE.
This is a most welcome move and no doubt would accelerate the
reconciliation process that is currently underway in earnest.
For physical rebuilding of the North alone would not suffice
unless the people are made happy in spirit. Nothing would warm
their hearts more than to be united with their loved ones. This
gesture would no doubt be appreciated by the Tamil community
that would help speed up the reconciliation process.
It is appropriate that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Committee is in the forefront of this move. Tasked with going
into the root causes that led to the polarisation between the
two main communities and the resultant conflagration and to
recommending solutions that would not see a repetition of those
unfortunate events, the LLRC is certainly going about its duties
with the correct approach.
Its Chairman former Attorney General C R De Silva has met
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and made a number of recommendations
for the release of people detained by the forces including
former LTTE combatants. The President had agreed to evolve a
viable mechanism to facilitate their release and ensure their
integration into society.
This would no doubt go a long way towards mending fences
between the communities. The long detention of ex-LTTE
combatants has caused much heartburn. Besides a majority of
these youth had been conscripted by the LTTE. They deserve a
chance to enter normal life and enjoy their liberty in a free
society. These youth should be united with their families so
that they could pick up the pieces of their lives and turn out
to be worthy citizens.
Steps should also be taken to ensure these youth are given
all the wherewithal and facilities to build up their lives. A
good many of them may have lost their schooling and the best
years of their youth to the terrorist movement. Thus, they
should be given proper counselling and guidance to put behind
the ghosts of the past and enter into a new existence. The LLRC
has done well by getting the observations of many personalities
who matter and whose inputs could be vital in unravelling the
causes that fractured communal amity.
It has showed much energy and dynamism in trying to get to
the root of the causes. Its decision to have sittings in the
North - the epicentre of the conflict - is commendable and shows
a proper understanding of the task at hand. It is like a
Magistrate visiting the scene of the crime and observing all the
minute details before making his report. Similarly the LLRC too
would get a good feel of the atmosphere and the undercurrents by
its physical presence that could help in its observations.
No doubt the release could take time until the detainees are
properly vetted and given a clean bill of health. In this regard
steps should be taken to speed up the process. The mechanism
that would be suggested by the President would be a proper
guide. We have now entered a new phase in our independence and
it is vital that we put behind the past and start anew on a
clean slate. That is why the reconciliation process should be
accelerated and given impetus. The release of detainees is only
one way that could speed up this process. The LLRC we are sure
would touch upon many other vital areas that led to the break
down of relations between the two communities. What is needed is
a holistic approach that would go into all aspects in detail
leading to a lasting solution.