SLFP Batticaloa District Organiser Arun Tambimuttu yesterday urged visiting United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay not to be selective in examining accountability issues in Sri Lanka.
Thambimuttu said that those who had been demanding an investigation into the alleged war crimes claimed to have been committed during the final phase of the war in early 2009, had been silent on atrocities committed by various parties, including the Indian army during its deployment here under the Indo-Lanka peace accord.
The son of slain Tamil political heavyweight, Sam Tambimuttu, was speaking at a meeting chaired by Pillay in Trincomalee.
Pillay arrived in China Bay on Tuesday evening from Iranamadu following a series of meetings in Jaffna and Vanni on Monday and Tuesday.
Thambimuttu didn’t mince his words when he raised accountability on the part of India for causing death and destruction here and raising a private army (Tamil National Army) to fight the LTTE as well as the Sri Lankan military during the 1989-1990 period. He was referring to the period during which the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa engaged in direct talks with the LTTE.
Tambimuttu said the Indian army and Tamil groups, other than the LTTE, had forcibly conscripted children and those poor children ended up being cannon fodder when the LTTE went on the rampage. Some of those levelling war crimes allegations were in command of the Tamil National Army, Thambimuttu said. “Today, they represent the Tamil National Alliance,” he noted.
Recollecting killings caused due to fighting among various Indian trained armed groups during the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Tambimuttu emphasised the responsibility on the part of the UN to examine the entire gamut of issues without being selective.
Tambimuttu said it was absurd that the TNA led by R. Sampanthan was taking up the accountability issues after having declared the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil speaking people in the run-up to Eelam War IV. The TNA had remained silent when the LTTE brazenly used human shields on the Vanni east front, Tambimuttu said, underscoring the need to examine the TNA complicity in LTTE atrocities.
In spite of some of those present at the meeting interrupting, Tambimuttu questioned the TNA’s credibility as it had backed former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s candidature at the Jan. 2010 presidential election though he had been branded as a ‘war criminal’.
Thambimuttu also brought to UN human rights chief’s notice that Tamil speaking people were undertaking boat journey at the risk of their lives to reach Australia. Claiming that those seeking refuge in Australia were only economic refugees, he alleged that people fled the country on the pretext of political instability and security concerns to secure political asylum. Those wanting to undermine the government flogged the issue of bogus asylum seekers to paint a black picture of post-war Sri Lanka, he said.
Commenting on the push for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, Tambimuttu said that an exclusive solution for the Northern Province couldn’t meet the aspirations of Tamil speaking people living in the Eastern Province and other parts of the country. He said the needs of the people living in the Eastern Province were different from that of those in the Northern Province.
Thambimuttu also flayed a section of the NGO community for propagating lies.
By Shamindra Ferdinando