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Monday 22 December  
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Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tamils in Sri Lanka doubtful about latest LLRC report

Published on : 5 January 2012 - 10:40am | By South Asia Wired (Photo via Flick : Lewishamdreamer)
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In December, the report of the Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was published. It called on the government to investigate war crimes by both sides (government armed forces and the Tamil LTTE army). It also stipulated requirements for long-term reconciliation between Sinhalese and Tamil groups. But are there signs of any form of reconciliation?

Many Tamils doubt the possibility of an unbiased investigation as long as the military continues to kill, abduct, torture or rape Tamil civilians, they say.

“There are around 40,000 troops in Jaffna alone with a population of 550,000. That is a civilian-military ratio of 1:11," says Ramesh, a Tamil academic from the Tamil-majority city of Jaffna. "It will be a joke to suggest that investigations can happen under this climate. He declined to give his real name because of fear of reprisals.

The government has been saturating Tamil-majority areas with military personnel mostly after the LTTE was defeated in May 2009 and its top leadership was killed. Human rights organisations say the manner of some of the rebels deaths are suspicious and could be classified as war crimes. 

While admitting there had been attacks on civilians by government troops, the LLRC report says they were the result of individual misdemeanours and not systematic military policy.

A farce
Anandan, a Tamil who also refused to give his name fearing intimidation, was as dismissive as Ramesh of the thought of an unbiased government investigation. “It is a farce and violation of natural justice to say that the culprit will [investigate] allegations against him or herself.”

Anandan believes that the LLRC’s report is aimed at exonerating the military while pinning all the blame for war crimes on the LTTE. He supports his view by giving an eye witness account of a deposition before the LLRC.

Doctor
Dr. Thurairajan Varatharajah was one of the three government doctors who treated Tamil civilians as the military shelled and bombed areas near their makeshift hospital during the final months of the war. During that time he gave an interview to the international media about civilian casualty numbers.

Later, in July 2009, he and other doctors were arrested. While in police custody however, Dr. Varatharajah made a public statement that he was forced to exaggerate civilian casualties by the LTTE to bring to disrepute the military.

Anandan says that Dr. Varatharajah was not only aware of the bombing of civilian areas, but also of the government denying civilians medicine and food.

However, at the deposition before the LLRC, the commissioners had directed their questions only to establish if the LTTE had artillery positions near Dr. Varatharajah’s hospital, thereby justifying the military shelling and bombing the area, rather than to find out what actually happened.

“They were only interested in incriminating the LTTE not in knowing what happened to the civilians,” Anandan claims.

The biggest threat
The LLRC has recommended to the government to disarm Tamil paramilitary groups to reduce violence. Among the groups mentioned by name is the EPDP that works with the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna and is accused by various organisations, such as the UNHCR, of murder, abduction and intimidating the media.

But to Ramesh and Anandan the recommendation is only pulling the wool over the actual culprits.

“Disarming illegal armed paramilitary groups is necessary and will help normalise things. But the biggest threat today is not these armed groups but the army. Will they cut down on the size of the army?”

Tamils like Anandan and Ramesh are convinced the government will not pursue an honest investigation into war crimes by the military. And the failure to do so will inevitably ruin any chances of genuine reconciliation between Sinhalese and Tamils.

“How can you have reconciliation when the culprits who committed genocide and war crimes are at large? That will only promote further crimes and escalate genocide,” said Anandan.

Tamils who live in the most violent and instable regions of the South Asian island feel that enduring ethnic reconciliation is still far away. They attribute this to what they believe is the continuing impunity enjoyed by the Sri Lankan government.

 

By our Sri Lanka reporter J. S. Tissainayagam

Discussion

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Trojan 12 March 2014 - 1:38pm / usa

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reveria 11 June 2012 - 1:49pm

Dr. Thurairajan Varatharajah was one of the three government doctors who treated Tamil civilians as the military shelled and bombed areas near their makeshift hospital during the final months of the war. bank po coaching in chandigarh
During that time he gave an interview to the international media about civilian casualty numbers.

Anonymous 27 March 2012 - 1:20pm

I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."
- President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, July 1983. chandigarh internet The LLRC has identified many steps for reconciliation but it does not mention one point but looks for the negative. For example the report fails to mention that the doctors were initially forced under the LTTE to exaggerate casualty figures as they were residing in LTTE controlled areas and that the LTTE using civilians as human shields wanted to create as many deaths as possible to bring in the west and save them ie Libya.

Chitranganee Wagiswara 8 January 2012 - 8:51am

“Some 6000 Tamils have been killed altogether in the last few years… These events are not accidental. It can be seen that they are the result of a deliberate policy on the part of the Sri Lankan government… Democracy in Sri Lanka does not exist in any real sense"
- Senator A.L.Missen, Chairman, Australian Parliamentary Group of Amnesty International, expressed his growing concern in March 1986:

"I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."
- President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, July 1983

"Mobs of Sinhala youth rampaged through the streets, ransacking homes, shops and offices, looting them and setting them ablaze, as they sought out members of the Tamil ethnic minority."
- London Daily Telegraph 26 July 1983

Christopher Kay 8 January 2012 - 8:17am / Scaborough, Ontario, Canada

It is a damn shame that Sri Lankan Tamils have lost the respect from the World community. These are criminals of the 1st rate and the world is becoming tired of their tricks that don't work.

Sri Lingam 8 January 2012 - 8:34am / ceylon

Yes, Sri Lankan genocide maniacs increased their respect by raping 13 year old Haitian girls while on UN Peace mission!

Sri Lankan genocide propaganda team, your time is up. Get ready for jail time.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7075866.stm

Ponniah Mahalingam 8 January 2012 - 5:19pm

Poor, frustrated lingam. He must still think it's a coincidence that Tamil terrorists are the only ones being hauled up, locked away and deported from the west. LOL.

OaOAsithri 7 January 2012 - 8:47pm / EU

So your "Sri Lankan Reporter" talked to two Tamils in Jaffna who said all this uh? And that too on condition that their identities should not be revealed uh? How very convenient - that is convenient for the LTTE TERRORIST remnants who have not given up their violent, horrific battle to carve out a racist-fascist "Tamils only" separate state in Sri Lanka! Is this Journalism or is it Jokeism I wonder! I traveled to Jaffna recently and strangely enough I met over 25 Tamils who spoke to me and told me how grateful they are to the Govt. of Sri Lanka for finally bringing peace to their lives. Today they are getting about rebuilding their lives and they all said how glad they are that today there is no more LTTE to come and kidnap their children to be used as the baby-brigade child soldiers - and many told me how they never saw their kidnapped children again. This article surely make me LMSSAO!!!

Sri Lingam 7 January 2012 - 11:38pm / Ceylon

Yeah right. These Sri Lankan war criminals have LTTE #2 as a Minister.

Sri Lienkans also have LTTE arm dealer as their NGO head!

Sri Lingam 8 January 2012 - 8:43am / c

Journalists, Watch out!

Sri Lankan genocidal general killed over 20 Media workers in just 3 years. These smooth talking Sri Lankan war criminal snakes are very dangerous!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7496367.stm

Thamilselvan's ghost 7 January 2012 - 8:47am

Bravo to "our Sri Lanka reporter"! It seems this chap managed to find a couple of my disciples. I'm a lttle disappointed that they used the same tired cookie cutter propaganda lines, but they did at least manage to slip in a couple of my recommended "high impact buzzwords" like "genocide".

And a special thanks to our "Sri Lanka reporter" for doing your best to present a half baked hatchet job as actual substantive journalism.

Sri Lingam 7 January 2012 - 11:41pm / Ceylon

Sri Lankan genocide propaganda team paid bell pottinger $10 millon a year to lie.

Sri Lankan regime killed 146,000 Tamil civilians!

Sri lankans also train Pakistani terror groups.

Ponniah Mahalingam 8 January 2012 - 5:22pm

So how much are you getting paid to lie here and now I wonder, lingam. A couple of cents per post perhaps?

Ken 7 January 2012 - 3:05am / Australia

Another joke of an article... getting bored of hearing the same thing.
The report only looks to punish the government and belittle the LLRC. The LLRC has identified many steps for reconciliation but it does not mention one point but looks for the negative. For example the report fails to mention that the doctors were initially forced under the LTTE to exaggerate casualty figures as they were residing in LTTE controlled areas and that the LTTE using civilians as human shields wanted to create as many deaths as possible to bring in the west and save them ie Libya.

Every country has the right to build up their army to ensure security and to place their troops anywhere within their territory. We are not occupying another country afterall.

Sri Lingam 8 January 2012 - 4:12pm

Sri lankan state terrorists killed 20 French NGO workers for not handing over tsunami aid.

Sri lankan navy war criminals killed over 500 Indian fishermen.

Sri lankan goons attacked western and un offices.

Sri Lanka is the new north Korea with a dictator family and a million armed Sinkalla thugs!

Sri Lingam 7 January 2012 - 11:43pm / Ceylon

Sri Lankan dictatorship was smuggling north Korean
Weapons to Iran.

Sri itself is an Iranian word.

Sri 6 January 2012 - 8:59pm

The Report is factually correct. How can there be reconciliation when the perpetrators of war crimes and other gross crimes are in full militari-
sed power under the PTA? Even the recommendations of the farcical LLRC Report has been ignored so far by the government! The LLRC was a mere contrivance and an escape route from a full independent UN sponosored investigation but even here it has failed to implement its very limited recommendations! To talk of ethnic reconciliation is a joke when everything points to the contrary in occupied militarised areas. Even little girls of 8 are unsafe from predators with no action.

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