Sri Lankan government helps 53 ex-LTTE couples
The Sri Lankan government on Sunday facilitated marriages of 53 couples, who were erstwhile cadres of the LTTE, at a function in a camp in Vavuniya district.
The rebels, who were either captured or surrendered to the military, have completed a rehabilitation programme conducted by the military. Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi was among those present.
According to Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Sudantha Ranasinghe most of the ex-combatants had been living together without formalising their partnerships. The weddings were conducted with the consent of the parents.
The marriage certificates issued by the authorities would remove legal hurdles faced by the couples and enable them to avail facilities provided by the government for the families being re-settled.
Over 10,000 former LTTE cadres, who were either captured or surrendered, were in the custody of the military. The military has said that it has launched a programme for rehabilitation of most of the detained cadres and till date 4,000 rehabilitated ex-Tigers have been sent back to their families or villages.
A parliamentary delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), after a recent tour of Vanni, has urged the government to consider general amnesty for all those detained.
The TNA in a report said that most of those detained were arrested on suspicion and maintained that some had assisted the LTTE in some way under compulsion.
“Many of them had surrendered in good faith on being told that they would be released after being questioned. A distinction should be drawn between those against whom there is no evidence or whose involvement was purely peripheral and others against whom there is evidence or who were seriously involved.”
It said that some persons from among those detained were reportedly taken away for questioning and not brought back to the original place of detention. There was immense concern about the safety of such persons.
The report recalled that at a meeting between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the TNA in 2009, there was agreement that the list of all persons detained would be displayed at the camps and the offices of the Divisional Secretaries and the office of the Government Agent/Divisional Secretary.
The TNA had raised the issue during its meeting with Mr. Rajapaksa before his official visit to India and the President had promised to act on his promise after his return.