by Ananth Palakidnar
A group of nine Tamil intellectuals including former prominent militant sympathisers who had been operating internationally for the militant outfit along with Pathmanathan (Kumaran), the former head of the LTTE’s activities abroad said they would assist in the post conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the country.
The delegation of sympathisers of former militants domiciled in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Australia met Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris in Colombo with regard to the Sri Lankan Government’s peace building efforts.
Pathmanathan who played a key role in bringing down the nine-member delegation to Colombo was also present at the meetings held with the Defence Secretary and the Minister of External Affairs.
Pathmanathan, known as `K.P’ commenting on the change of heart of Tiger sympathisers abroad and the delegation’s visit to Colombo told the Sunday Observer that several Tiger activists living abroad had now begun to understand the ground realities.
The Tamil diaspora have been observing the situation in the country since the conflict came to an end in May last year.
At the early stages there were misunderstandings due to adverse campaigns carried out by certain organisations which did not seem to like the country enjoying peace. However, during the past one year there was a vast change in the minds of the Tamil diaspora, particularly those who remained supporters of the LTTE, according to Pathmanathan.
Apart from their key meetings in Colombo, the delegation from abroad also received first-hand information on the post-conflict humanitarian activities by visiting Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna.
The delegation pointed out certain shortcomings in the resettlement process which the Government agreed to look into.
The Security Forces Commanders in Vavuniya and Jaffna briefed them on the progress made with regard to the resettlement and reconstruction activities carried out in the North.
They also met representatives of civil societies. They were impressed with the construction of houses by the Army in Chavakachcheri for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The Security Forces are in the process of building 400-500 houses in the North for those who had lost their dwellings.
Elaborating on the collection of funds from the Tamil diaspora, Pathmanathan said that an understanding has been reached to set up a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) to streamline the financial assistance for the post-conflict humanitarian programs from abroad. The NGO is expected to be called North and East Development Program.
Apart from receiving assistance from abroad, the NGO will also work towards creating awareness among the Tamil diaspora on the post-conflict humanitarian programs.
This will go a long way to counter the adverse campaigns carried out by organisations abroad against the peace building efforts in the country. Detailing the Tiger assets, the former international chief of the Tiger outfit said that the assets are worth several million dollars. Those who are handling the funds collected by the LTTE abroad are now willing to transfer them for humanitarian programs in the country.
Welcoming the TNA’s new stance to cooperate with the Government in the peace-building process the ex-Tiger stalwart said that there should not be room for petty differences and all must work towards stabilising the hard earned peace. ~ courtesy: The Sunday Observer ~