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'Allegations against LTTE Must also be investigated' - Fr.Emmanuel

(The Sunday Leader’s Faraz Shauketaly spoke to Head of the Global Tamil Forum, Father Emmanuel, asking him to comment on the UN Advisory Panel Report. Excerpts:)

Q: What is your reaction to the UN Advisory Panel’s report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon?

A: We have seen a leaked report. We are at the first stage. It is an opportunity to find out the truth and to start a process of true reconciliation. The Report advises that an enquiry be held to hold both the Sri Lankan Government and the Tigers accountable. There has been a lot of emotional reaction from both sides – the Sri Lanka government and the Tamils. We Tamils of course welcome the report as being an objective one. It is an attempt to find out and bring out the truth so that justice can be done and a true reconciliation process can begin.

Q: Do you think that a report such as this could be detrimental to the reconciliation process?

A: A true reconciliation process begins with finding out the truth. The Sri Lankan government has also said that it can be detrimental. Knowing the truth as far as we can is the start so that a real reconciliation process can start. Justice includes accountability on both sides and we are all for reconciliation that’s what we all want.

Q: Some say that by asking for this type of enquiry and reports, it is a case of sour grapes because the Tigers lost the battle. What do you say about that?

A: It is true that the battle was lost but that is not the end. Despite signs of victory euphoria there has been no signs of a real reconciliation process that includes justice and accountability. The people in the war zones are still suffering, the names of those under incarceration have not been released, there is colonisation going on – so the real reconciliation is not there.

Q: What can the government do to assuage the fears of these people and what exactly can they do?

A: For the last two years we have been watching closely what is happening at the ground level. The displaced have been promised many things but the delivery is not there. The displaced have not yet found their homes. Some are still in camps, surrendees are still inside without their names being released. There is small development taking place by the form of colonisation taking place.

Q: You are talking of colonisation in terms of the homes that are being built to house the Army?

A: Yes, there is an increased militarisation, they are making special permanent military camps even though they say the war is over.

Q: Have you yourself been back to Sri Lanka since the war ended?

A: No, the last time was soon after the tsunami of 2004. It is my home and I hope to be able to visit again soon.

Q: Do you really and truly believe not just from this Report but from first hand knowledge that there were war crimes committed by perhaps both the SL Army and the LTTE?

A: Yes, there is more and more evidence surfacing. We also have evidence. We are talking of credible allegations. The evidence must come out.

Q: Your evidence is of crimes committed by the armed forces? What about the claim made by the former MP from Mullaitivu who says that over 600 persons were killed by the LTTE?

A: Such allegations must be investigated. Justice demands that. We must find the whole truth, not just one side. It is wrong for the government to react from the one side, they must think of the Tamil side too. The LTTE too must be investigated.

Q: Is all this designed to discredit and to remove the President of Sri Lanka?

A: Not at all, this is not a personal issue, it is to do with the reconciliation process of the whole country. Justice and accountability and finding out the real truth from all sides.

COURTESY:THE SUNDAY LEADER

5 Comments

At least now with the tide turning against them the very haughty government should reach out sincerely and bring an end to this 55 year curse.

As the good priest clearly states the suffering people are still being made to continue to be made suffering need redress the government seems to be more interested in saving themselves rather than resolving the cancers that they themselves have brought upon the destitute.

The good lord works in mysterious ways. Alleluia. R j.

Posted by: rohan j | April 23, 2011 05:26 PM

Dear Sir / Madam,What I can mention about the LTTE is that it was clear that they were caste and class driven like the JVP among the Sinhalese community, but because of ethnic riots against the Tamils in 1958, 1977 and the government sponsored ethnic riot of 1983, along with standardisation in education and holding back public service jobs, including colonisation consciously by successive governments in Sri Lanka made all Tamils in Sri Lanka to generally support the LTTE and Tamil cause for a separate state in the north and east of Sri Lanka . This was a fact, and it is not just my personal opinion. But, very sadly, the LTTE organisation oppressed and consciously discriminated the Vellalar caste Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, especially in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka where a predominate number of Vellalar caste of Sri Lankan Tamils lived. That is one of the key reasons or factors why the TNA was supported so overwhelmingly in the Sri Lankan general elections last year, especially the Northern Sri Lanka, and that is why also a good deal of Sri Lankan Tamils who are Vellalar by caste do prefer for Indian rule or intervention, rather than Sri Lankan Tamils getting self government, because these old wounds will reopen and it will make difficult for all Sri Lankan Tamils, least of all the Vellalar caste Tamils to live, especially in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This is a fact, which father Emmanuel did not mention in the interview, as it is politically incorrect to mention about caste. But what I have mentioned was a factual fact, and no sensible or objective minded person will deny it, because Vellalar Tamils were killed very significantly consciously by lower caste Sri Lankan Tamils from the LTTE to promote lower caste Sri Lankan Tamils to dominate and govern. Therefore the issue of caste is a significant problem both among Sinhalese and Tamils, but people do consciously hide this fact, as they fear being labelled as caste conscious. In conclusion, I am not denying that my forefathers  did discriminate against lower caste Sri Lankan Tamils in Jaffna, but I suppose two wrongs do not make a right, and that is just a fact, which we all people must accept, for us to move forward in Sri Lanka. Yours Sincerely,M. R. Somasunderam.     

Posted by: Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam | April 24, 2011 02:57 AM

The indifference to the LTTE's militancy does not come merely from the Vellalars only. I know many from the Karayar and other castes bitterly opposed to VPs fascism. VPs pronounced anti-Vellalar stand, it is believed, rose from his calculation the bulk of the non-Vellalrs will fall in line with this dream of the first Tamil Kingdom if he took a strident anti-Vellalar stand. There were many in the LTTE's heirarchy who came from the Vellalar clans. It is true historically the Vellalars committed many excesses against other people in the NEP (Temple Entry in the 1960s is a slight against all Tamils - more so the educated) but that was the class structure and behaviour then. Looked from today's prism it is patently wrong and inhuman. Society and outlook in the Tamil areas today is far different than what was before. VP and the leftist parties (1950-1980s) need to be thanked for accelerating the inevitable process of change.

ISS


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | April 25, 2011 06:58 AM

The political forum of the Tamils was taken over by the Tamil youths at some stage.Mr.Amirthalingam (Thalapathy) was responsible for creating a youth movement.He realised his folly in later years. But before that time he was assasinated by Prabaharan. The Tamil youths formed several groups and fought each other for power.Thousands of youths were murdered. I witnessed one murder wherein a boy from another group was tied to a lamp post, a tyre was put round his neck and set alive by th LTTE. Does anybody wants to watch this horrid muurder. I agree with Mr.Somasunderam's comments, which was one of the agendas of Prabahran. There was to be no caste system in the North, whether right or wrong. The Tamil youths taking up to arms to fight the government to partition the country was wrong and the result of it is yet to come.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2011 01:06 PM

The good priest surely must have more credible evidence of crimes committed by LTTE, who financed them and their overseas mentors who provided direct advise to commit such attrocities (including the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi, Amirthalingam & other Tamil parliamentarians, ethnic cleansing of Muslims & Sinhalese from the North, massacres in places of Buddhist & Islamic places of worship. massacre of surrendered govt security forces personnel etc etc). However, those credible evidence don't seem to have found their way to the UNSG panel.

Did the good priest forgot them or suppressed them?

Posted by: Hela | April 25, 2011 09:17 PM

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