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Tamil Catholic priests compel LTTE to return abducted orphans

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have released the sixteen Tamil orphans who were abducted on December 23rd by the tigers to be conscripted as “child” soldiers.

The tigers who refused to release the children in the age group of 11 – 14 despite entreaties by the Catholic church were finally compelled to release them because of strong protests by some bold and conscientious Tamil catholic priests.

Thirty Tamil catholic priests had planned to commence a “fast unto death protest fast in a Church from January 1st 2009.

Their demand was that the LTTE should return the abducted children immediately.

The LTTE already undr tremendous military pressure tried “soft” and “hard” talk to make the priests re- consider their decision.

The priests however remained determined .

Finally the LTTE fleeing Paranthan, relented and returned the sixteen children without any conditions.

Their objective achieved the priests called off the fast.

The Vicar – General of the Mannar diocese Rev.Fr. Victor Soosai has confirmed that the 16 children had been returned to the orphanage run by the church.

The shocking incident of abduction took place on the day of St. Stephen’s feast on December 23rd.

It happened at the Boys Home orphanage run by the Catholic Church at Tharmapuram in the Kilinochchi region.

Most of the children in the orphanage had gone out that day to visit relatives but some children remained.

Suddenly a group of tiger cadres had arrived and demanded that the children handed over to them as everyone was needed to fight for the Tamil homeland.

Rev. Fr. Arush Eric Rohan the orphanage director had refused and asked the LTTE to leave. The tiger leader had turned abusive and ordered his cadres to forcibly remove the children.

Panic – stricken orphan children had started running away screaming in fright. Some began hiding while others started howling and crying.

Though some managed to escape the LTTE succeeded in rounding up sixteen of the boys.

The cadres tied the hands and feet of the children and carried them like sacks and dumped them in a truck

Fr. Rohan and another priest tried to obstruct the LTTE but were thrashed and pushed to the ground

Fire-arms were also brandished.

After the shocking incident Catholic church leaders in the North made several entreaties to the LTTE that the abductees be released but the tigers refused

Finally a group of 30 Tamil catholic priests went to Puthukkudiyiruppu and pleaded with some tiger leaders but found no mercy.

As a last resort the 30 priests decided to commenve a hunger strike.

Finally the LTTE relented and released the 16.

The incident has created a massive amount of negative publicity for the LTTE

8 Comments

I never cease to be amazed at the sheer audacity and stupidity of LTTE leaders. What did they think was going to happen when they blatantly kidnap children? Whoever is making these idiotic decisions should be removed from the leadership.

Why don't LTTE leaders send their own children to fight instead of exploiting poor helpless children? The brutality of the SL Armed Forces is no excuse for abusing the community that the LTTE itself claims to represent. It is even more enraging that this is not new, the LTTE continues to victimize children in the name of liberation. These actions do not adhere to liberation but tyranny.

I may not be fighting in the battlefield nor do I claim to understand the stress of war, but conscripting children in the age group of 11 – 14 is outrageously disgraceful and even cowardly. LTTE leaders do not send their children to the battlefield but to safe western countries, but place double standards for the poor children by sending them to their premature deaths. Although at this point the GOSL has left many Tamils no choice but the LTTE, change your ways or risk losing support among the Tamil people.

Posted by: Nitharshan | January 2, 2009 12:32 AM

where is the true?? and humans kind of journalistic

Posted by: MR | January 2, 2009 01:33 AM

I think LTTE needs to do more of these. It is spitting on its own face. They should not sack the guy who is doing these - instead must promote him to second in command of thalaivar! Exposing exactly what it stands for to the whole world. This is very good news indeed for the diaspora who seems to be totally blind to the facts on the ground....

Posted by: Ishan | January 2, 2009 03:00 AM

Nitharshan,

Well were not LTTE & other liberation groups were called our boys sometime ago. It was vastly said that, majority of Tamils were or still behind their Sun god ? Sole liberator of Tamils.

That is what really happening in Wanni or happened in other areas under LTTE. Disregard of peoples will LTTE abduct underage children & holding Tamils selves as a human shield. Truth behind liberation of suffering people.
Regarding to brutality of SLA you mentioned, if SL army or the government is that brutal, Wanni is already freed from LTTE brutality. See what Israel is doing in Gaza. 2 days bombing 300 dead. Is that happening in Sri Lanka ?
At last Catholic church is coming out from hiding (forget their support earlier) and start protesting.

Posted by: Sinha | January 2, 2009 03:28 AM

Now we can see that the true picture of the LTTE brutality. I feel ashamed and dismayed to see that the Tamil Diaspora still support a group use poor children of their same blood as cannon fodder. It's happening because the Diaspora never wanted to sacrifice their own children in this war but wanted the war to continue so they can thrive in the West. It is also shows the double standards of the so called Western'human right' organisations. They show a blind face to the LTTE atrocities but to loud on GOSL. As a Tamil I hope the end of the LTTE is sooner than later. Otherwise it would a curse for Tamils for many years to come.

Posted by: Surya | January 2, 2009 12:12 PM

Sinha, in my opinion, Prapaharan is no sun god and MR is no hero. It is true that the majority of Tamil people support the LTTE because they are left with no viable alternative choice. The other militant groups are submissive to the SL Armed Forces, who behave like an occupation force. I would have no problem disowning the LTTE if the SL Armed Forces and its lackeys halt the rapes, abductions, extra-judicial killings, and arbitrary imprisonments carried out against the Tamil civilian population. The most effective method to resolve this ethnic conflict would be political dialogue, but the GOSL continues to launch military offensives without offering the Tamil people any political solution. What is the logic behind denying Tamils a political solution? Please do not answer with "there will be a political solution after the LTTE is exterminated," that would insult both of our intelligence.

Posted by: Nitharshan | January 2, 2009 01:28 PM

Nitharshan,
From your words and amazement about the LTTE doings, it looks like you have been away from the country for so long.

Right now, right now, there are so many Tamils in Colombo and other sinhala areas, trapped behind LTTE lines, who just wish that the war and the LTTE be done away with asap. The solution they are seeking and hoping is not the political solution you yearn living in a foriegn land. They are looking forward to lead a normal life, nothing else.

Once the LTTE is gone, there will be no reason for GOSL army to commit crimes like you mentioned more over to hide behind after doing that.

Hasn't both sides paid enough in this crazy game of killing people...we all have bank rolled for this long?

Posted by: Kandhia Suresh | January 2, 2009 07:09 PM

Kandhia Suresh, irregardless of where I personally reside, I have vested interests in Sri Lanka because I still have blood relations suffering due to this war. You talk of Tamils living in the south and argue that the war is purely the LTTE's fault, which is rather childish. An analysis will show that everyone is at fault. In fact, you are personally at fault for failing to speak out against all human rights violators, whether it is the LTTE or GOSL, perhaps you do not have that luxury.

Furthermore, you deny the urgent need for a political solution, citing it as a luxury that is not a priority among Tamils residing in Sri Lanka. Why is there an on-going war between two heavily armed sides that are represented by their ethnic identities? The roots of this war is political, where else do you suggest the solution lies other than the political root? A prime example is the Eastern province, where the government has evicted the LTTE, but human rights violations blatantly continue. Additionally, Pilliyan is now butting heads with the central government over police powers, a political dispute similar to denial of autonomy that lead to a civil war. You talk of everyone wanting to lead a "normal life," but the LTTE has been engaged in a largely protracted guerrilla war for over 25 years. What is the essential ingredient for guerrilla war? The support of the local population. Of course the local population also wants to lead a "normal life," but then why do they lend their support to insurgents such as the LTTE who will disrupt their normal lives? The LTTE's support is derived from the brutal oppression of the local Tamil populace in the past and present. Just like you, these poor civilians want to lead a normal life and feel the LTTE is a necessary evil.

Once the LTTE is gone, there will be no reason for GOSL army to commit crimes? What do you think is the cause of this devastating war? These crimes occurred before the existence of the LTTE and will continue as long as the SL Armed Forces behave like an occupation force. It would be naive to presume that the SL Armed Forces will change after the LTTE disappears. Perhaps due to your residence in the south, you are unable to speak out against government atrocities but I'm under no such obligations. I'm not a hypocrite; I do not support war option while enjoying peace. In my honest opinion, if sustained civil disobedience was utilized instead of arms there would be no war. Although I support the aims of the LTTE to better the political condition and physical safety of the Tamil people, I refuse to keep my ears shut to their atrocities. I have no problem criticizing both the LTTE and GOSL because today this war is being exploited by the leaders of these organizations for personal gains while the poor are sent to their deaths. There is no excuse for the denial of a political solution other than the reasoning that a weakened LTTE would allow for a political band aid and the continued oppression of the Tamil identity.

Posted by: Nitharshan | January 2, 2009 09:28 PM

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