The entirely Sinhalese Sri Lankan Army is set to recruit its first Tamil women this month.

At a special ceremony arranged by the Army in the former LTTE capital, Kilinochchi, on Saturday, about 100 women in the age group of 18-22 will be selected to undergo training into the Army, one official said. Asked if some of the former LTTE women wing members were also being recruited, the official said that all can take part in the selection process. The selection is into the soldier (other rank) category. The recruitment will be held at the headquarters of the 6th Volunteer Battalion, Sri Lanka Women’s Corps at Barathipuram, near Kilinochchi.

A government note said that “as part of the government’s effort at reconciliation, a recruitment drive targeting Tamil girls has been initiated by the Commander of the Army with the concurrence of Secretary of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.”

Early last year, Sri Lanka began recruiting Tamils to the police force. About 1,000 persons were selected for training, and later deployed. But majority of the force still remains Sinhalese in the Tamil majority areas. While this in itself is not an issue, the fact that the

officials are unable to converse in Tamil is a serious issue in the Northern Province.

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