Fleeing civilians treated with dignity
The Government has ensured that civilians fleeing from the No Fire
Zone are treated with dignity and respect, Transport Minister Dullas
Commissioning a new factory for maintaining railway carriages
transporting goods and passengers in Maradana, the Minister said it was
necessary to ensure dignity to these innocent civilians since they were
taken hostage by the ruthless LTTE leader Prabhakaran for the last 30
"These civilians who had undergone untold hardships and sufferings
due to terrorism during the last few decades, are totally free now and
willing to be members of a single Sri Lankan family," he said. The
Minister also asked media to refrain from calling them refugees saying
only Prabhakaran fits the label in this highly distressed condition.
He said that the Government has undertaken the responsibility of
looking after the civilians and the Armed Forces have shown their
humanity to the entire world by protecting civilians even sacrificing
their own lives.
The Minister said Sri Lankans are very sensitive people. "Our people
are currently sending the bulk of cooked meals, dry rations and other
essential items to their counterparts in the North," he said. He
challenged Prabhakaran for a face to face fight with the Security Forces
without destroying their own community.
He said that the international community has no right to intervene
unnecessarily in this process since it is purely an internal matter for
us. "We will never be subjected to any outside pressure," he said.
Commenting on the Government's decision to stop using heavy weapons
and combat aircraft in the NFZ, the Minister said the use of such
weapons would cause a lot of harm to civilians as they are trapped in a
small strip of territory.
The Minister said this decision was not made based on any
international pressure. He said over 1,500 civilians have crossed over
to the Government held areas after this decision.