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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2648

International community must stop Tigers from killing Tamils leaving Jaffna in ships -- Douglas Devananda

Colombo,07 March, ( In an interview with the Asian Tribune, Douglas Devananda, Member of Parliament from the Jaffna district and the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, condemned the Tamil Tigers for threatening to attack ships ferrying Tamil civilians from Jaffna to Trincomalee. He said that the Tamils of Jaffna have been warned not to travel in the passengers ships as the Tigers have decided to attack all ships, including those carrying Tamil civilians.Douglas Devananda M.P. :"The Tigers are denying the Tamils their fundamental right to move freely."Douglas Devananda M.P. :"The Tigers are denying the Tamils their fundamental right to move freely."

Minister, who is also the Secretary General of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party, said that this was a calculated move by the Tigers to send the Tamils into a watery grave. "Enough Tamils have died on land and now the Tigers are planning callously, without any regard for human lives, to send the Tamils to the bottom of the sea," he said.

"The Tigers are denying the Tamils their fundamental right to move freely. Their intention is to keep the Jaffna Tamil in land-locked prisons as they have done in Mullaithievu and Killinochchi. The Tigers are concerned that the Tamil people are running away from their one-man regime into the democratic society in the south," he said.

"This is going to be the latest and the newest method of the Tigers to kill the Tamil people. It is an anti-people act and the international community must condemn and prevent such heinous crimes against the Tamils of Jaffna," he added.

After 11 August 2006 the A- 9 trunk road that links Jaffna with the south through the Vanni was closed down as Tigers continued to rain artillery and mortar shells on the Forward Defence Line of Governments entry / exit point at Muhamalai, in the Jaffna Peninsula.

It as this provocative act, that led to the closure of the A- 9 entry / exit through Muhamal FDL in and out of the Peninsula Douglas Devananda alleged.

When the Sri Lanka Government offered to open up the A - 9 route to supply food and other provisions needed for the civilians of the Jaffna Peninsula, the Tigers refused to cooperate with the Sri Lanka Government.

As this land route was closed the Government was forced to ship food and other essential items to Jaffna.

Douglas Devananda said: "I personally stayed in Jaffna for well over a month and worked with the Government authorities and local officials to bring in food and essential items by ship to my people in the Peninsula.

"Also I personally took pains to arrange ships for the people who were stranded in the Peninsula and others who wanted to go to the South Sri Lanka, as the Tigers refused to open up the A-9 roads. The offer was rejected on the main condition of the Government that the Tigers would not to impose taxes and tariffs on goods and passengers traveling to the South of Sri Lanka.

"Now the Tigers are putting out this cock-and-bull story that they do not want the Sri Lanka armed forces to use the Tamil civilians as human shield on ships.

"These Tigers yarns have been circulating from the day Prabakaran killed former Jaffna Mayor Alfred Durraiappah and many others including TULF leader A.Amirthalingham, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sri Lanka President Ranatunga Premadasa, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and hundreds of other Tamils. Even after the last shelling of the foreign diplomats in Batticoloa they spun a story to blame the Government.

“People no longer buy their stories. They have started questioning the Tiger cadres about these stories. As far as I am aware not a single Sri Lankan armed force personnel ever traveled in such passenger ships except those soldiers who go on board to provide security to the passengers if they are attacked by the marauding Sea Tigers.

"Earlier, the Tigers shot down near Iranativu, Lionair Flight 602 on 29th September 1998 which left from Jaffna at 1.30 Colombo. In this attack 48 passengers plus seven crew members were killed.

"International community failed to take note of such a serious crime against humanity inflicted by the Tigers. Embolden by the silence of the international community the Tigers have now made a public announcement saying that they will attack ships carrying ordinary Tamil passengers from Jaffna to Trincomalee and back.

"Even a t this time, I appeal to the Tigers not to put the lives of innocent Tamil adults and children at grave risk," said Devananda.

- Asian Tribune -

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