Parents of child soldiers confront TNA protest


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Tamil civilians protested in Mullaitivu yesterday demanding action against those who abducted children during the conflict.

A group of parents as well as relatives of some child soldiers believed killed during the final phase of the army assault on the LTTE, confronted Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members of parliament near the Mullaitivu Pradeshiya Sabha secretariat during a protest by the latter yesterday.

The police prevented a clash between the two groups, though they exchanged words.

Irate relatives of child soldiers accused TNA members of having turned a blind eye to large scale recruitment of child combatants just few weeks before the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.

Mullaitivu based sources told The Island that the TNA had launched yesterday’s protest to coincide with a case being heard at  the Mullaitivu court regarding the disappearance of a group of persons including one-time Trincomalee District LTTE leader Elilan. The LTTEer was married to Ananthi Sashitharan.  

Mrs. Sashitharan, now a TNA heavyweight and a member of the Northern Provincial Council has moved court against the disappearance of her husband. She alleges her husband gave himself up to troops as the army overran the last LTTE bastion.

Sources said that parents accused the TNA of collaborating with the LTTE during the conflict. They alleged that Elilan had personally led a group of armed LTTE cadres tasked with seizing children to be used as combatants. Tigers at the time even raided a church where hundreds of children were taking refuge and took away many of them. Civilians accused the LTTE of having abducted at least 300 children from that church alone.

The abduction of children was also reported to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

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