TNA calls for Tamil home guard

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 October 2002, 03:12 GMT]
The security of the Tamil people can no longer be left in the hands of Sinhala dominated Army and Police, the Trincomalee district parliamentarian of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Mr. R. Sampanthan, told Sri Lanka’s Interior Minister, Mr. John Amaratunge Sunday afternoon. Arguing “the security of Tamils should be entrusted to Tamil youths,” the TNA leader urged the Minister to take immediate steps to form home guards units comprising Tamils.

Ministers Mr. Gamini Lokuge, Mr. T. Maheswaran and Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.M. A. M. Maharoof accompanied Mr. Amaratunge to the meeting with Mr. Sampanthan at which TNA MPs Messrs M. K. Sivajilingam and K. Thurairetnasingham also participated.

Mr.Sampanthan and Minister John Amaratunge.
TNA MP Mr. Sampanthan speaks to Minister John Amaratunge.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. Indra de Silva, Trincomalee Senior Superintendent of Police Mr. Upali Hewage and several police officials also attended the discussion.

"Ninety five percent members of the Sri Lanka Police are Sinhalese. Ninety nine percent members of Sri Lanka Army are Sinhalese. One hundred percent of the home guards are Sinhalese. Sinhalese people think that the Police, SLA and home guards are theirs. SLA and police also behave as the guardians of the Sinhalese people. How can the Tamils expect protection from thse state armed forces and paramilitary groups?" Mr Sampanthan asked of Minister Amaratunge.

“The Police and the SLA were mere onlookers or joined hands with Sinhalese extremists when they attacked Tamil civilians with guns and grenades last Friday. There was evidence that the Police and home guards were directly involved in unleashing violence against innocent Tamil civilians,” Mr.Sampanthan said.

"I can trust you. But how can we trust the lower rungs of your forces?", Mr. Sampanthan asked the Senior Superintendent of Police Trincomalee Mr. Upali Hewage.

Mr. Sampanthan gave the minister a detailed account of what took place on Friday in Trincomalee.

"According to injured civilians, police fired tear gas, charged grenades and started shooting at Tamil civilians. The attack was premeditated one. Police and home guards had asked the Sinhalese people at Srimapura and Abeyapura to move out from their places before they attacked Tamils.”

“Three of the sixty-three injured Tamils have been sent to Colombo for further medical attention. The injured had said that they were able to identify those police personnel and home guards involved in the attack. All the victims were Tamils and not a Sinhalese injured or dead."

Mr. Sampanthan brought to the notice of the Interior Minister that no injured persons could be transported to the hospital by ambulance. The ambulance sent to the scene to recover the injured was not allowed by the police and Sinhala youths to reach the area.

Finally injured were taken by three wheelers to a refugee camp at Alles garden and from there by sea in fishing boats to the hospital, he said.

Mr. Sampanthan pointed out to the minister "the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE are now engaged in peace process seriously. At that time miscreants in the State armed forces are bent on creating violence against Tamils.”

“What is the use of having peace talks in Thailand when the armed forces have started harassing and killing Tamils in the country at a time the LTTE is strictly enforcing the ceasefire agreement having laid down their weapons?" he asked.

The minister replying said that there was a proposal to recruit retired Tamil police officers to the service. Mr. Sampanthan said, "instead of mobilizing retired Tamil police officers, you must take steps to recruit Tamil youths and provide with them weapons. You can supervise those home guard units. Please leave the security of Tamils in their hands".


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