The Army — at present entirely Sinhalese — is set to recruit 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, said an official. Asked if some of the former LTTE women wing members would also be recruited, the official said anyone can take part in the selection process.

The selection is into the soldier (other rank) category and the recruitment will be held at the headquarters of the 6{+t}{+h}Volunteer Battalion, Sri Lanka Women’s Corps near Kilinochchi.

A government note said “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”.

Last year, Sri Lanka began recruiting Tamils to the police force. About 1,000 persons were trained and deployed. But the 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 problem in the Northern Province.