JVP dissident Udul Premaratne, who is an executive member of the organisation, ‘We are Sri Lankans,’ said that there were around 900 political prisoners in the country, and that he interacted with 500 of them. Mr. Premaratne, who is also a former convener of the Inter University Students’ Federation said that ex-combatants of the terrorist outfit would be encouraged to join hands with his political movement. “We must make it clear that former LTTE members are now with us. We should not be afraid to say it. We should announce it to the world come what may. We do not approve of separatist terrorism. We do not do politics with any separatist organisations. Yet, we are with the ex-combatants,” he said. He said that it had been difficult for the dissidents to convince the former LTTE activists initially because the members of his political movement had supported the war against terrorism in the past.
“However, we explained to them that the real cause of the problem lay elsewhere. We admitted that they had a problem merely because they were Tamils. Yet, the root cause of the problem is class distinctions — the gap between the rich and the poor. There is a class problem. We must address this issue,” he said. Also, Mr. Premaratne noted that unless political opportunities were created for the former members of the LTTE, they would be driven towards separatism again.
“The LTTE has been decimated here. However, it is active in other parts of the world. These elements can win over these former LTTERS unless they are absorbed into the political mainstream here,” he said.
Asked about the abduction of Kugan and Lalith Kumar Weeraraju on December 9 last year, he said that the issue had been taken up with the UN.
“The UN has started inquiries. We will pursue the case,” he said.
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka
Jan 13, 2011