LTTE for strengthening UNF peace initiative -Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 January 2002, 11:45 GMT]
"We respect the reasonable feelings of the Sinhala people. We only want our people to live in their land with honour and freedom and to enjoy all their rights sans military restrictions and intimidation. We want our people to have the freedoms and rights which the Sinhala people are able to enjoy now.

I request you to clearly and openly convey this message from our national leader to the people in the south and I urge you to continue the work towards bringing about just and permanent peace to the country", said Mr. S. P.Thamilchelvan, the leader of the LTTE's political wing, addressing the ten prisoners of war who were released in Kilinochchi Monday evening.

"Our national leader directed that the 10 POWs be released as a goodwill gesture to further improve and strengthen the present peace environment and towards the peace initiatives of the present Sri Lankan government," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

In his address he further said: "Thousands of young Tamil men and women continue to be arrested without reason, subjected to horrendous torture and jailed for long periods without trial. Jail guards and other prisoners have killed Tamil political prisoners in the prisons of the south. The massacres in Welikada, Bindunuwewa and Kalutara are some instances.

"However, all of you have been looked after well and humanely and with camaraderie. You have been cared for without any feelings of animosity and you have not been subjected to any form of torture".

We made many efforts to take up the question of your release with the Sinhala governments in the past. But they ignored our humanitarian appeals regarding your release.

Your own experiences show clearly that the Sri Lankan state did not care at all about the interests of Sinhala soldiers arrested in war or about securing their release.

The Tamil people wish to secure all their legitimate rights and live peacefully in their homeland with honour and freedom like the other communities.

The attempt to crush this reasonable desire of our people with the strength of arms saw the rise of our national liberation movement.

Therefore you should tell the people of the south about the realities here. And you should tell the Sinhala nation and your people that thousands of young Sinhala men and women who were inveigled by the propaganda of the former Sri Lankan government and the military have uselessly diedî.

"Our national leader has, from time to time, released prisoners of war directly to their parents and through the ICRC on humanitarian grounds and gesture of goodwill towards peace. All of you are going to be released on humanitarian grounds according to a directive from the national leader. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and maimed and properties worth billions of rupees have been destroyed in the meaningless war in this island".

"Our leader conveyed a clear message to the Sinhala people in his Heroesí Day speech - that they shouldnít be troubled or puzzled by our struggle or us. We sincerely hope that this goodwill gesture by us would further strengthen and consolidate this new atmosphere for peace and help all communities of this island live with honour and freedom", Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

The president of the organisation of the parents of missing soldiers, Mr. T. P Nanayakkara who also spoke at the function, thanked the leader of the Liberation Tigers on behalf of his organisation for releasing the prisoners. He said he was duty bound to strive for the release of Tamil political prisoner who are languishing in prisons in the south. The president of the organisation of women affected by the war, Ms. Visaka Dharmadasa also thanked the Liberation Tigers for releasing the prisoners.

The delegation led by Mr. Nanayakkara and Ms.Dharmadasa was welcomed by Thamilchelvan Monday afternoon.

LTTE's Political wing leader Mr. S. P.Thamilchelvan with Sutha Master (on his right) at Mallavi in the northern Vanni region.


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