National reconciliation: Northern youth take to law enforcement

Those who survived forcible LTTE conscription drives in the North during war now have an opportunity to return to the North after completing training in the South

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Sri Lanka is ready to deploy the Tamil police personnel recruited and trained after the conclusion of the war in May 2009.

The police say 336 personnel enlisted from the Northern Province and trained in the South will pass out from the Kalutara Police Training College on Friday (Jan.7) evening. IGP Mahinda Balasuriya would take the salute, sources said.

Sources said that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had authorised the recruitment of Tamil youth from the Northern Province as part of Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process in the post-war era. Enlistment of Tamil youth would help with the restoration of the civil administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, sources said. The gradual increase in the police presence would help address a major post-war concern raised by a section of the international community and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that the military continued to play a major role in spite of the end of the conflict, sources said.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) sources told The Island that the enlistment of youth from areas previously held by the LTTE would give confidence to those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. That would also help counter the threats posed by armed groups operating in some parts of the two provinces in spite of eradication of the LTTE, sources said.

The LLRC in its interim submissions to President Mahinda Rajapaksa requested the government to take immediate action to disarm all armed groups operating in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. During its sittings in Colombo, the LLRC raised the issue of paramilitary personnel and armed gangs with Sivanesanthurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan, Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and EPDP Leader Minister Douglas Devananda.

Some of those who appeared before the LLRC called for recruitment of Tamil speaking personnel not only to the police but the armed forces as well.

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