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1,538 LTTE cadre freed

[Express Buzz, Friday, 2 April 2010 10:55 No Comment]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday ceremonially released 1,528 LTTE cadre at Pambaikulam in Vavuniya district, in a last minute effort to woo the Tamils of north Sri Lanka ahead of the parliamentary elections to be held on April 8.

According to Minister of Resettlement Rishad Bathiudeen, among the released, 1,175 were disabled or injured; and 178 were Jaffna University students. The released cadre would be united with their family on April 3.

Opening a computer-training institute for LTTE suspects kept in detention, the President said that he would make arrangements for the university students to find places to stay in Jaffna.

Addressing a public meeting at the Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna, the President broke into Tamil and said that he intended to solve the problems of the Tamils with the same determination as he had ended the 30-year war against terrorism. He sought the Tamil peoples’ “order” to carry out this mission.

Almost all Tamil parties, except those with the government, have sought the release of the suspects if there were no cases against them.

Most of them were very young and had been forced to join the LTTE in the last two years of the war.

The ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance and the Tamil parties of the North were sharply divided on the issue of political settlement.

Generally, the Tamils say that peace and economic development should follow or run parallel to, a political settlement, not precede it. But the government sees economic development as the panacea for all problems.

SEPARATIST DEMANDS: The UPFA has dubbed the Tamil National Alliance’s demands as separatist and as a bid to revive the LTTE’s agenda. According to the Tamil media, Defence Secretary Gota baya Rajapaksa had said that parties, which demand federalism with the provinces having control over the police, should be banned.

[Full Coverage]

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