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Sri Lanka's ex-rebel leader says Tamils yearning for peace, calls for diaspora to help

Sri Lanka's ex-rebel leader says Tamils yearning for peace, calls for diaspora to help

2010 Dec 14

A former senior commander of Sri Lanka's vanquished terrorist outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) turned deputy minister said the LTTE could not be revived and the former LTTE cadres would never want to join a terrorist outfit again as they have suffered enough due to the war.

Giving evidence before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Monday (13) Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan known as Karuna Amman while in LTTE said the Tamil diaspora backed by the Norwegians and international organizations funded the rebel group's arms purchases.

"The LTTE basically used foreign money to buy weapons. Through the TRO they earned a lot of money. Those countries knew clearly that the LTTE used the money for purchasing weapons," he said.

He told the Commission that some sections of the Tamil diaspora are not aware of the current situation in the country.

"Rather than shouting slogans, they can collect money and help IDPs in the country," he said.

"People in the Wanni were yearning for peace and would not want to have another war as they had gone through untold suffering," he said.

Muralitharan pointed out that the government has launched many developments projects including vocational training and rehabilitation in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the rehabilitated LTTE cadres are living in peace.

Economic and educational development along with equal rights to the people could bring harmony among all communities, he said.

Muralitharan recalled that India provided training for the LTTE earlier but the assassination in 1991 of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE changed India's attitude towards the rebels.

The Deputy Minister said the power has to be devolved to the North and the East through the provincial councils but pointed out that in Sri Lanka it is an unreasonable demand to devolve police powers to the provincial councils.

Responding to a question, the breakaway rebel leader said he was in Jaffna when LTTE massacred 600 Sinhala policemen in the East in 1989.

The Deputy Minister accusing the LTTE of keeping 300,000 people as a human shield stressed to the Commission that no war crimes took place during the final stages of the war. The government had to save those people from the LTTE clutches, he said.

Muralitharan whose nom de guerre is Colonel Karuna Amman broke away from the LTTE rebel outfit in 2004 and founded the political party TMVP. His assistance was crucial in liberating the Eastern Region from Tiger control.

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