Sri Lanka government's deplorable track record in failing to publicize the enormous sacrifices made and measures taken by her over the years in taking care of welfare of Tamils in particular and the minorities in general has given enough room to Eelamists and their supporters to set in motion a venomous disinformation campaign against her . In one of my previous posts titled 'Publish or Perish' I highlighted this common ailment afflicted with Sri Lanka for a long period of time. This interview with Minister of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reform D E W Gunersekera on Hot Seat in Daily Mirror online paper, uploaded some time back, gives some interesting facts about the ex- LTTE carders being rehabilitated by the government. Some of the facts given by the minister silence many a vultures here and abroad who are hell bent to criticize the government's effort in taking care of these ex-combatants. Here again it has been a story of abysmal failure on the part of the government to highlight the excellent work it does in assuring the welfare of ex-LTTEs
The categories of ex- LTTE carders surrendered and measures taken for their wellbeing
A total number of 11,000 LTTE carders surrendered to the armed forces at the end of the war. During the period from August 2009 to August 2010 August a total number of 4,485 LTTE carders have been rehabilitated and released. There are 03 categories of the surrenders. There is a large category of ex -carders who were either forcefully recruited to the LTTE or associated with the terrorist organization or attended the lectures. They are marginal cases and are the easy to rehabilitate.
Other category is the hard core carders which comprise of 800-900 individuals who are under investigation. They are the 'Real fighters' who were in the fighting fronts and are under investigations for murders and other crimes.
The next category, the largest bulk is those who were employed in various capacities such as tractor drivers, lorry drivers, Three-wheeler drivers, cooks, masons, carpenters, etc during the war time. They have been working with the LTTE for 20-25 years. They are being given refresher courses and are in the open air camps and attending schools as other student and also they can move about and play about as same as in schools. They do also engage in cultural performances. They are also being given psychological treatment and also engaged in sports activities.
They have also been provided with vocational trainings too. They are given Rs.2000 monthly amount during the training period. The training period is now coming to end. Among some 2000 women young girls have been brought to Colombo and given training on garment industry. About 700 trained such girls are employed in private garment factories set up in Jaffna and Kilinochchi.
Apart from that these ex-carders are given psychological treatment with the service of the qualified psychiatrists attached to government mental hospitals. The detainees are also given opportunity to engage in aesthetic activities like dramas and singings. For instance the veteran film actress Anoja Weerasinhe is conducting sessions on dramas and music which is also a part of psychological treatment.
The level of Education among the carders
According to the minister a ten percent of them have never gone to school, 70% have attended 1st to 7th standard. In other words 80% of them are uneducated. This highlights the fact that the provision of primary education should be the foremost emphasis. Even the education of those who claim to have attained certain grades are questionable as the minister highlights when one detainee who claimed to have studied up to the 08th standard could not even read a newspaper.
50% of the LTTE carders released in matter of 01 year while JVP insurgents languished in prisons more than 05 yrs:
Fifty percent of the ex-LTTE carders have been released in matter of one year while JVPs who were 100% Sinhalese were languishing in prisons and camps for 05 years. The minster himself has met the 800-900 hard core carders and had explained them that they should bear patient and the law should take its own course. He had also explained to them how in 1971 JVP insurgents were languishing in prisons and camps for 05 years. They never had a chance to enjoy the level of comfort now available to them. The minister had pointed out to them If they were cleared they would send home if they had charges the Attorney General would file cases and send them back to the prisons.
Calling by opposition parties and right groups to reveal the names of the detainees:
Responding this question the Minister charged that it was the NGOs and other interested parties who wanted the ex-carders details for various other purposes. The government has established the contacts with their parents and the parents are visiting them. The minister has met 9000 of their mothers personally in Vavniya, Jaffna and Kilinochchi and each of them have met their children. They had expressed their happiness to the minister.
Persons alleged to have been missing are those Missing in Action (MIA) in 30 yrs of war
To the quarry regarding 'a petition said to have been signed by the number of family members' the minister responded that they were those who were missing or killed in action. Missing in Action is common to the both sides engaged in the conflict in the 30 years of war in which so many people have been killed. He went on to say that even Tamil Chelvam's mother in law approached him.
The claim by International Commission of Jurists that there is a legal vacuum and no fair trial for hard core carders:
The hard core ex-carders are in pending investigation and some of them are on trial and the cases are being taken up. When the investigations are over when they are cleared they will be sent to other rehabilitation centers or back to the prisons to face trail.
Irritated by asking the same question again the minister responded. "That's what they say. They have gone to the United Nations and various other places. We are a responsible government .They are our own people and our own brothers. They are not belonging to European countries. We know how to handle our people. We act according to our law".
The minister's interview throws some light to few glaring facts
· The excellent work that the government is doing to rehabilitate the ex-LTTE combatants, the speed with which it has been releasing the ex-LTTEs and the commendable manner in which they are being treated is unprecedented as far as similar cases in other parts of the world is concerned. Example: Guantánamo Bay
· Those who are claimed to have been missing are of course those reported as Missing in Action(MIA) or killed during the war. As usual the Eelmaists and NGO vultures hell bent to do harm to Sri Lanka have found yet another fake issue to tarnish the image of the country.
· The education of the LTTE carders is at such a deplorable level that they are almost illiterate while the country's overall literacy level is amongst the highest in Asia. These carders have merely been cannon fodders or sacrificial lambs whose future was brutally snatched by the 'Sun God' and his cohorts for their own glorification.