SL propaganda aims to create fear psychosis in East- Ramesh

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 June 2004, 15:02 GMT]
Liberation Tigers Special Commander to Batticaloa-Amparai district, Col.Ramesh denied recent reports in Sri Lanka Government media on fighting in Thoppigala jungles in Batticaloa district, and dismissed the reports as propaganda to create a fear psychosis in the minds of eastern Tamils, during an interview with United Kingdom based Vectone Broadcasting network, Sunday.

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Real Audio Icon Interview with Col.Ramesh (Tamil) 16 minutes
Excerpts of a translation of the interview follow:


Radio: Recent reports in Southern and Sri Lanka Government media say that there have been fighting in Thoppigala jungles between the LTTE and renegade Karuna group with heavy death toll. What is your view of the situation?
Col.Ramesh: We have also heard of these reports and were puzzled by them. I can safely say that there have been no such incidents in the Batticaloa district.

Radio: One report said that the LTTE Intelligence chief, Pottamman also was killed in the fighting?
Col.Ramesh: That is a total fabrication. Our administration is functioning well in the district. The aim of these reports is to create a fear psychosis among people in our district. Many people are also disturbed by these stories. We are certain that given some time people will come to know the falsity of such propaganda.

Radio: When did you meet LTTE leader Pirapaharan last?
Col.Ramesh: We met our leader last month and discussed issues related to Batticaloa district. We also discussed development plans for the future of our district.

Radio: Reports in the media also indicate that militants from other groups have infiltrated the district.
Col.Ramesh: Only recently renegade commander Karuna was evicted from our district. There have been sporadic incidents in the last several weeks. We now have confirmed reports that the Karuna is being given shelter by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). He has sunk to the lowest level of collaborating with the security forces and is engaged in nefarious activities to prevent the people of our district in supporting the Liberation Tigers. His group has threatened and later killed intellectuals like Thambiah and journalist Nadesan. There have also been other incidents. These are traitorous activities designed to instill fear in the public.

LTTE women

Radio: Can you tell us where SLA is holding Karuna?
Col.Ramesh: Yesterday, four Senior women commanders, including Nilavini (alias Charlie) and Theenthamil [Premini and Lavanya are the other two] have rejoined us. According to information provided by them, Karuna left them in a house in Colombo and left with SLA soldiers. We therefore believe that Karuna is somewhere in Colombo.

Radio: Who do you think are behind the killings in Batticaloa district?
Col.Ramesh: Recently when we met Major General Shantha Kottegoda we told him that the killings are taking place in SLA controlled areas and that we have information on the group that is assisting the SLA to carry out the killings. He assured us that killings will not take place in the future and Sri Lanka President sent him to the district to ensure stability. This is clear indication as to who is behind the killings.


Radio: Do you think several cadres support Karuna?
Col.Ramesh: Definitely not. Many senior members such as Thaatha, Ram, and Thurai who worked closely with Karuna are already with us. Senior women commanders and other fighters are also joining us. There could be ten cadres maximum who may be staying with and engaging in traitorous activities with Karuna.

Radio: Do you think there are external forces behind Karuna?
Col.Ramesh: I like to reserve my comment on this.

Radio: Do you think the Sri Lanka Government is fully behind Karuna's splinter group in carrying out the recent violent events in Batticaloa?
Col.Ramesh: Sri Lanka Army is using Karuna to achieve some objective. We don't think that it will be successful. Our national leadership has confronted and overcome several situations similar to Karuna's. We are quite certain of our ability to deal with the current situation.

Radio: Are the cadres who were asked to return home by Karuna rejoing the LTTE? What is their situation?
Col.Ramesh: The fighters, men and women, are joining back in batches.

Radio: What do you like to tell our viewers in European and middle eastern countries?
Col.Ramesh: Our people have experienced false propaganda spread by the media and the Sri Lanka Government during the time of war. I ask them to be cautious in times such as now not to believe propaganda. Even the international community, we believe, does not take the Sri Lanka media seriously.

Radio: Head of LTTE Political Wing, S.P.Thamilchelvan recently expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in peace talks. Is LTTE losing faith in the peace process?
Col.Ramesh: Our national leader is fully committed to obtaining the support of the international community in finding a just and fair solution through dialogue with the Government of Sri Lanka. Our leader unilaterally declared ceasefire to create a conducive environment for peace talks. All of us know the consequences of the Sri Lanka Government's ill-fated offensive 'Agni Khiela' during LTTE's ceasefire. I can only say that if the Government cannot grasp this opportunity to negotiate peace with the LTTE, then consequences can be devastating to the people of Sri Lanka.

Radio: What is your comment on the SLA strengthening their camps in the NorthEast and their recruitment activities?
Col.Ramesh: Sri Lanka Government has always been active in its recruitment and building up its military strength. They seem to still harbor the idea of a military victory without attending to the legitimate aspirations of our people. Tamil people also must also clearly understand this and should not hesitate to provide full backing to our movement to ensure that our liberation struggle is successful.

Radio: Do you think there is a possibility of war breaking out in the future?
Col.Ramesh: I think this will depend on the actions of the Government of Sri Lanka.


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