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Ex-LTTE Rebels Warned by Military

The Sri Lankan Army has warned ex-LTTE rebels that joining any groups looking to destabilise the country will result in their arrest.  Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Major General Chandana Rajaguru, speaking to The Sunday Leader, explained that any former LTTE cadre who is found to be involved with groups looking to destabilise the country will be arrested.

 He explained that all the rehabilitated cadres are free to take part in politics, but in doing so they must follow the legal channels. ‘Looking to overthrow the government in an uprising is illegal,’ he added.

 Rajaguru’s comments came in response to an inquiry over Udul Premaratne’s comments that the JVP dissidents had taken into their ranks former LTTE cadres. Rajaguru explained that such comments had not been taken seriously as the army had been monitoring the actions of the ex-LTTE combatants who have been rehabilitated.

 ‘Our people who are monitoring these people have not reported their joining this group. These comments have been made by an individual and do not represent the truth,’ he said.

 Earlier Premaratne had told media that former LTTE members have now joined the dissidents. He further added that this did not mean they in anyway supported terrorism or do politics with terrorists.

 He went on to explain that they are now working with the ex-combatants as they feel the problems in the country lie with class distinction. He further added that despite the LTTE having been defeated, members of the organisation are active overseas. Premaratne said that they could easily rejoin the LTTE unless they are drafted into mainstream politics in the country.

 When Premaratne was contacted over a response to the government’s stance, he asked under which law were they allowed to arrest former LTTE cadres. He called upon the government to clearly define what they see as anti-government action.

 Premaratne went on to state that these people cannot be sidelined just because of their past affiliations with the LTTE. He warned that if such stifling actions against these individuals continued a similar uprising could occur in the future. Premaratne finally said that if these former cadres are rehabilitated as the government claims, then they should be allowed to express their views.
By Dinouk Colombage

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