NE students proved Eelam propagandists wrong, says former STF chief



By Shamindra Ferdinando

One-time commandant of the elite Special Task Force (STF), Senior DIG Nimal Lewke, yesterday told The Island that the Northern Province achieving the highest success rate of 63.3 percent, at the GCE Advance Level examination 2013, was proof of peaceful environment in the war-torn region.

Those who had been alleging that the intimidating military presence, four years after the conclusion of the conflict, was causing anxiety among the community were proved wrong, the veteran anti-insurgency specialist said. The Tamil political leadership, Western powers as well as the LTTE rump should re-examine their position on the post-war situation, Lewke said, adding that the examination results couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Northern Province comprises Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar districts.

Under Lewke’s command, the STF played a pivotal role in the overall combined security forces campaign during Eelam war IV.

Responding to a query, the ex-commando said that those who had sat the examination in the Eastern province, comprising the districts of Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, recorded a success rate of 60.1 percent, thereby proving that there was normalcy in the region. The Eastern Province was placed third in the rankings behind Sabaragamuwa Province.

The government brought the Eastern Province under its control in June 2007. The Vanni region was secured in May 2009.

Lewke said that the examination results meant that the eradication of the LTTE was having a significant positive impact on the northern and eastern communities. In fact, those who had been alleging uncertainty and insecurity. particularly in the Northern Province. in spite of the conclusion of the conflict. ended with egg on their face. Lewke said that the Tamil speaking student community would never have achieved such results if they were apprehensive of the post-war military deployment. The bottom line was that the eradication of the LTTE in May 2009 brought forcible recruitment of children to its fighting cadre, he said. Although the LTTE promised the UNO in May 1998 to cease child recruitment it continued the despicable practice until Prabhakaran was eliminated on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, Lewke said.

Lewke said that parents of those children who fared well at the examination should be grateful to the armed forces, the police, the STF and the Civil Defenec Force (CDF) for making it possible for their children to have four years of uninterrupted classes. The global community should recognize that the annihilation of the LTTE had been beneficial to the Tamil community, though the Tamil Diaspora and the Tamil political leadership pretended otherwise.

The retired policeman asserted that the outcome of the examination results wouldn’t be to the liking of many. The results would have come as a shock to those who had been accusing the government of depriving the northerners of even the basis democratic freedoms, he said. The recently elected Northern Provincial Council, run by the five-party alliance, led by the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), would have to re-examine its position, he said.

The armed forces and intelligence services paid a huge price for victory over the LTTE, he said.

Lewke said: "Those who had been painting a bleak picture of post-war Northern Province are likely to remain silent. They’ll never be able explain the tremendous improvement in the GCE Advance Level results at a time some local politicians and a section of the international community are alleging suppression of people in the Northern Province.

Canadian representative in Colombo for Commonwealth meet, MP Deepak Obhrai declared that the northern community was being suppressed by the government. Obhrai based his statement made in Canada after returning from Colombo to meetings he had in Jaffna with NP Chief Minister Wigneswaran, Bishop of Jaffna and those at Uthayan newspaper editorial.

Lewke said that the GCE Advance Level results could be part of Sri Lanka’s defence at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in March, 2014.

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