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Fascist Regime in the North & East

A.A.M.NIZAM MATARA.

The latest report of the human rights group UTHR(Jaffna) giving detailed description of atrocities being committed by the terrorist LTTE, facilitated by the MOU vehemently criticizes the government and the neo-colonialist Norwegians for their failure to check the mounting crimes. It says that abductions and extortion have in fact increased and the continuing child conscription is a painful reminder that optimism of peace indeed is ill founded. The report adds that most NGOs avoid reporting human rights violations in the North-East by the LTTE, and the Government of Sri Lanka by not wanting to offend the LTTE fails to protect its own citizens in the North-East.

Despite guarantees provided in Article 2 of the MoU that both parties will abstain from hostile acts against the civilian population, including such acts as torture, intimidation, abduction, extortion and harassment, the last four acts are in fact carried out routinely, extensively and publicly by the LTTE. The taking of children, many of them under 15, for military service, remains widespread. These practices are so deeply entwined with the LTTE as an institution that whether it ever intended to do without them needs to be questioned

The situation was made worse by the conduct of the Government and the Norwegians to suppress, or minimise, mounting, substantiated reports of grave violations by the LTTE, especially regarding the conscription of children. Statements by the Defence Minister exonerating the LTTE, the report explains were greeted with incredulity in view of contrary reports appearing in his own ministry's web-site. It blames General Trond Furuhovde, the Norwegian head of the Cease-fire Monitoring Mission, for his statement that none of the complaints examined by him were violations of the MoU, that they were rather criminal matters to be looked into by the Police. It says that he is just passing the buck, since the Police, as is widely evident, have been instructed not to act on complaints involving the LTTE.

Delving on acts of extortion it points out that school principals have been ordered to collect 8% of the salaries paid to the staff to be handed over to the LTTE. Despite the assurance given to Rauf Hakeem by the terrorist leader, Muslims in the East continue to be subjected to blackmail. The report says that when some Muslim leaders in Oddaimavady met some senior local LTTE leaders to sort matters out they were told, "Whatever America, Norway or even Prabharan might say, the money will have to be paid". In Colombo, the report adds that the LTTE is extorting amounts in crores of rupees each from several Colombo-based Tamil businessmen from the North. The group of businessmen concerned, who had supported the UNP at elections, appealed to the Prime Minister to use his good offices to deal with their problem of extortion and the answer they got was the Government will not intervene. The report also explains in detail on various forms of other taxes being levied from fishermen including from their catch, millers, shopkeepers, farmers, cattle owners etc.

The report extensively deals with all forms of forced child conscription, and abductions including the number of children forcibly abducted from each area recently with names and addresses of many children. It says that the LTTE's attention is now diverted towards recruitment in areas previously under army control into which it has been allowed entry for 'political work' as stated in the MoU. Although the peace process is the context behind the LTTE being given open entry to the government controlled areas, LTTE members barging into schools say not one word about peace. It is all about war. One child from each family rule carried out in the Batticoloa district has now been extended to cover Ampara District as well. The total number of children recruited, after the signing of the MoU from a single school in a Trincomalee suburb - Chelvanayakapuram High School - is placed at well over 100. The total number taken recently from Trincomalee town alone is estimated at above 1000. The total for the East is estimated at more than 5000. The aggrieved parents of many children are reported to have committed suicide. The cause officially recorded for many of these suicides would typically be snakebite. By sharp contrast, a large number of unsuccessful suicide attempts resulting in hospital care have gone down on record.


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