Tale of two brothers
The episode surrounding the escape of young brothers
Sajeevan (13) and Sujeeva (11) from the clutches of the LTTE in
the No Fire Zone should provide food for thought to those
haranguing Sri Lanka about her human rights. It should also open
the eyes of the Tamil Nadu politicians shedding copious tears
for the Tamil civilians as to who the real inquisitors of their
brethren across the Palk Straits are.
The harrowing ordeal of two young escapees from the LTTE as
recounted on page three of our edition yesterday gives but a
glimpse of the oppression and the privations forced on the
population by the outfit.
The duo were among the fortunate to flee the LTTE when they
along with some 521 were rescued by the Navy and ferried to
Pulmodai aboard an ICRC vessel. As with the multitudes now
streaming into the cleared areas they too had a grim tale to
recount and poured forth their nightmare experience under an
outfit who claim to be their liberators.
Not so fortunate as they was their 20 year old sister who had
gone into hiding after refusing to join the LTTE fighting
cadres. Their parents were not allowed to accompany them. The
two lads had led a nomadic existence since January when the
battle for Mullaitivu commenced.
They had been moving from place to place leaving behind their
possessions at their home in Murukandi. Another sister is in
Batticaloa. Their only hope is to unite with their uncles in
Mannar. The duo had managed to survive living in a bunker to
escape conscription. This had been the familiar tale of all
youth who had managed to flee their liberators turned
How many such families have been similarly dislocated and on
the run to escape the wrath of the LTTE for refusing to enlist
their young no one knows. Nor is there any account of how many
more children are held prisoner in the LTTE gulags.
This episode is but the tip of the iceberg. We may not know
the anguish of many such youth who are striving to flee the hell
hole they have been consigned to.
This is why the forces should do itís utmost to finish off
without delay the on going humanitarian operation to rescue the
civilians trapped in the tiny pocket under Tiger control. There
will be more gruesome tales to be told which may even rival
those who survived Hitlerís pogrom.
As mentioned, this glimpse of the hellhole under the LTTE
laid bare by Sajeevan and Sujeeva would hopefully attract the
attention of those foreign busybodies who do not tire of
lecturing to the Sri Lankan Government on human rights.
It was not long ago that certain sections of the Western
Media likened the condition of the temporary shelters housing
IDPís to concentration camps. The narrative of these two youth
is self explanatory and we donít wish to point out where exactly
are the concentration camps.
What one cannot fathom is the failure of all those roving
ambassadors who descend on Sri Lanka at the drop of a hat to
prevail on the LTTE to let go of the child soldiers. The
question of child soldiers had been on top of the agenda since
the arrival of UN special Rapporteur on Children in armed
conflict Olara Otunu during the early days of the CFA. On that
occasion the LTTE gave a solemn promise to release all
under-aged youth deployed in itís fighting units.
The tale of Sajeevan and Sujeeva shows that child
conscription is still going on apace while the strictures
delivered by the UN and the West on the LTTE in this regard has
had no effect. It is time that a more concerted effort is made
by the international community to force the LTTE to let go of
all minors used as combatants, even at this stage of the war
where all is lost for Tigers.
In the meantime the Government should take immediate steps to
reach out to these innocent youth with a human touch do
everything possible to offer them a new lease of life. Steps
should be taken to erase the deep psychological scars they have
being carrying all these years.
First of all they should be made to resume their schooling
which was disrupted. Measures should also be taken to unite them
with their kinsmen as early as possible. The Government should
attempt to make their rehabilitation a model that catalyses itís
long term resettlement integration program.
The international community for its part should help and
assist the Government to complete the next phase of the
humanitarian operation to liberate more such Sajeevans from the
gulags of the LTTE.