LTTE exploits cease fire
— Perumal

by Shamindra Ferdinando

A middle aged man living at Unnichchi, Kokkadicholai committed suicide a few days ago after the LTTE ordered him to hand over his son to the organisation, former Chief Minister of the North-East Provincial Council Varatharajah Perumal said yesterday.

"The man took poison," Perumal said adding that it was the latest in a series of tragedies in the east caused by the LTTE’s decision to take advantage of the MoU to engage in a major forced conscription campaign. Quoting sources in the east, the former Chief Minister identified the Unnichchi victim as Kandasamy who had been detained by the LTTE at one of its camps situated at Tharawa also in the Kokkadicholai area for about ten days. The LTTE had released him on March 31 after ordering him to hand over his son within three days.

"Unable to do that Kandasamy took his life," the former Chief Minister said while blaming the government for failing to prevent the LTTE from taking advantage of the indefinite cease-fire to strengthen its position. "The situation could worsen when the government re-opens the Kandy-Jaffna main road next week," he said adding that the LTTE would expand its recruitment campaign to the government-controlled Jaffna peninsula where over 500,000 people live.

Perumal said that he fully supported Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s efforts to end the North-East crisis by political means. "We endorse his government’s decision to engage in face-to-face talks with the LTTE," Perumal said while expressing the belief that other political parties that represent Tamil-speaking people should not be ignored.

He was critical of the TULF-led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for designating the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people. "The TULF has lost its identity," he claimed while pointing out that the TULF has no option but to endorse anything and everything the LTTE does.

He intends to keep the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission [SLMM] briefed of the situation in the North-East.

Responding to questions, he expressed shock at the TULF’s suggestion that the LTTE should be given the control of the interim council for North-East administration.

He expressed the belief that the TULF was making a huge blunder.