Rehabilitating over 10,000 LTTEers to be useful citizens a major task- Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake

Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake said that he had been entrusted the major task of rehabilitating 10,000 or more members of the LTTE to become useful citizens that the country could be proud of.

"As this is a matter of national concern, we are looking forward to the support of every community, Sinhalese, Tamils -- especially members of the Diaspora and Muslims", he said.

"At present we are working with the local business community as well as the international community who are very keen about the Government’s intention to rehabilitate these former terrorists into useful citizens", he noted.

"We are very hopeful and confident that they would extend their best possible support towards this humanitarian endeavour".

"At present, though we have won the physical battle against the LTTE terrorists, we have the major task before us to get the ideological and other perceptions out of these persons who have been subjected to brainwashing and exploitation by interested parties and transform them systematically into peace-loving and responsible citizens", Maj. Gen. Ratnayake said.

"This is the objective of the Government and we expect the number of LTTE cadres to increase to around 15,000 with the conclusion of the screening process in the IDP camps by the Army and the Police very soon".

Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Judicial Affairs, Suhada K.Gamlath was in charge of rehabilitating 1000 youths with the liberation of the Eastern Province earlier. Some of them have been released and at present, there are 110 boys and girls in the children’s camp at Ambepussa, 150 at Welikanda and 200 at Telippalai

"We have to counsel them and provide them with education, vocational skills, spiritual, cultural and sports development", he said.

If not for the concern, financial and other support and advice extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence Gothabya Rajapaksa, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, MP, and Minister of Justice and Judicial Reforms Milinda Moragoda this process would have not have been so successful, he explained.

"Presently, we are compiling all the personal data such as educational qualifications, parentage, the training they have had with LTTE etc. of those being rehabilitated".

There are also some hardcore cadres who had been with the LTTE since their childhood for 15 to 20 years. We have housed them at 12 temporary camps situated in school buildings in Vavuniya, Maj. Gen. Ratnayake said.

"The major task before us is to move the 10,000 or more inmates of these Rehabilitation Centers to five major Transit camps identified in Chettikulam before the Schools open for the third on September 7, 2009", he noted.

"These will not to be permanent camps but transit points. We have to set up these Rehabilitation Centers in several areas to house at least a thousand cadres each and we anticipate to construct 20 Rehabilitation Centers for which we look forward to the support of the international Community", he said.

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