Feature Article

Ultimate subjugation by making Tamils lie to themselves

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 December 2010, 22:51 GMT]
“Humanitarian operation will not stop until the painful memories of terrorism and all thoughts of separatism are removed from people's hearts. You pass out today to contribute to this noble humanitarian operation”, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who believes in “winning the hearts and minds” of Tamils by military terrorism of state, told the passing out cadets at Diyatalawa Military Academy Tuesday. The ultimate point of subjugation comes when Tamils are made to lie to themselves. After Rajapaksa demonstrating that through the captured doctors of the Vanni war, another example comes in Government Agent Imelda Sugumar ‘evidencing’ before LLRC. More than felt towards such victims or Rajapaksa, the Tamil anger is in fact felt towards the external elements that have brought out the situation and now either talk about ‘home grown’ solution or back Rajapaksa through their bankers.

Giving ‘evidence’ before the LLRC on November 04, Imelda Sugumar who was Government Agent of Mullaiththeevu during the war and who is now occupying the significant position of Government Agent of Jaffna, was given the choice of making her submission either public or in camera. However, her submission and taped transcripts of questions and answers have reached media circles.

When the chairman of the commission questioned her, “Was there any reason for you to believe that the LTTE used the normal civilians as a human shield? Is that correct?", she said, "yes."

“They were keeping the people with them till the last minute. If the people with them, they can survive. If they left the people, then Army can easily identify the LTTE-people only there [and] attacking is very easy. With the people only, they should – they have to consider – how they can attack”, she said.

Mr. Palihakkara asked her: “As a civilian official, what is your opinion? Was it right a thing to do – to create a ‘no fire zone’, or was it a wrong thing to do that, because it allowed the LTTE to make people as human shield. So, what is your opinion?”

Imelda said: “Even ‘no fire zone – ‘peace area’ was declared, but LTTE were with the people. How the people can escape from the LTTE [...] When the safe zone was declared, LTTE also went to that area. Inside we cannot say that it is a safe zone. When with a group of fighting people – how can you say that it is a safe zone?”

In the ‘evidence’ given by Imelda, people wanted to escape towards the Army area, but the LTTE didn’t allow them to escape.

But, when Prof Hangawatte asked her why people even from other districts chose to come to Mullaiththeevu, she had no coherent answer.

While telling about piled vehicles stretching to 5 – 6 kilometres, and asked who piled the vehicles, she said: “People Sir. When they came up to Mulliwaikkal area – people were in confidence that they can come to some solution – and they can safeguard their life and property. That’s why they took their things to that area.”

* * *

On the shelling in which she had only a minor injury, but developed hypertension, she was not aware from where the shell had come. She didn’t name any party for the shelling in which some of her staff died. She was not sure from where the shells came causing the death of 5 or 6 village officers and causing ‘some other deaths’. But she named LTTE firing for the death of one development assistant and one village officer.

According to Imelda, she declared people to leave Puthukkudiyiruppu on January 22. When asked, “So, is it your position that there was no bombing in Puthukkudiyiruppu, area when people were there”, she said, “That is my observation”.

Imelda left the war zone on January 22. She had asked SLA commander Jagath Jayasuriya what should she do and was told that she could either move with people or, if she liked, she could go to Jaffna or Vavuniyaa. She went to Vavuniyaa after telling her staff members who could not go along with her that she was badly in need of medical treatment. She said that the pass she got from the LTTE was exceptional.

* * *

To her knowledge, people crossing over to the Army side carrying white flags, were never fired by the Army.

A question or rather lead was asked by the commission: “There was propaganda that when people were crossing with white flags, they were shot by the army?”

The answer was “No sir”.

Question: “So it is false”.

Answer: Yes Sir. I was with people.

Not a single such case reported, Imelda said. “There were no reports. People say when they saw with a white flag and when they saw Army talking in Sinhala language. They were not in fear”.

“These escaped people – they are living here – still they are living. If you need, I can produce that type of people”, Imelda said.

* * *

On a stray question by Mrs Ramanathan about a reported recent attack on the Jaffna Public Library, Imelda said that no complaints had come to her.

She further said that on that day she had been away in India. Since the Library comes under the Municipal Council she doesn’t want to interfere with ‘politics’, she said.

* * *

The most significant part of her ‘evidence’ was that she said, citing the captured doctors, that “no death has occurred by mal-nutrition or without any food like that or any other reasons”.

There were only 6 doctors for 360, 000 people and that too during an intense war situation.

According to Imelda, there were 360, 000 people and she had stored food enough for three months. “I am sure, at that time I was maintaining 3 months buffer stock. When I left from Mullaththeevu on January 22nd sufficient food was there for all these people in the district”, she said. But the problem according to her was that the moving people could not take the stock with them.

When food was transported by ship, the LTTE took some, especially for their family members, which caused anger among her staff, she said. 80 percent of the supply went to people, but she was not sure of 20 percent, she said.

While in Vavuniyaa, she counted the number and sent enough milk food for children, but in the war zone, a packet was sold for 3000 rupees, she said.

There was something that was neither asked nor answered:

If as GA, she had already informed Colombo of the presence of 360,000 people, why the SL government, Indian government and the UN failed in simple arithmetic?

Why food and medicine were not shipped to the actual number of people?

Where had she gone when the viciously estimated numbers were helping and masking the killing of people, whom she was referring to as "my people" in the LLRC?


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