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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2708

Child soldier next to Tamilselvan’s coffin speaks loud and clear

By Jaya Rohana

Tigers were caught red handed when they published the photo of a ten-year-old girl in a military uniform just next to Tamilselvan’s coffin, being carried by Tiger cadres in Vanni.
The photo appeared in a pro-Tiger website that gave an account of Tamilselvan's funeral.

A local English daily (The Island) reproduced it on Page One yesterday (06). The paper also mentioned that the embarrassed Tiger website later cropped the photo to hide the truth. Still many have the unedited version of the photo as evidence to prove that Tigers are continuing their hunt to run their "Baby Brigade".

The issue of forced conscription of children by the Tigers has been discussed at various levels including the UNICEF. Each time this allegation was put to the Tigers, they claimed that they have imposed strict rules and regulations to avoid children (or underage) joining their organization. Baby in the circleBaby in the circle

The Tigers also claim that the children were not recruited forcibly. According to them the children have joined voluntarily.

When international organizations like the UNICEF mount pressure on Tigers on child recruitment issue, they announced that they had started a separate division/section to monitor children recruitment. They also said that if children willingly join their organization, they advice them and hand them over to the parents. To show off the results of the said section/division, the Tigers handed over some of the underage child soldiers to their parents few months ago in a bid save their image. But the international NGOs and governments have refused to believe the tactics adopted by the Tigers to cover-up their war crimes and crimes against humanity. UNICEF and allied NGOs are still pushing the Tigers to abandon this practice with no success.

The picture in this story speaks volumes. Even though only one child is exposed in this photo, it is believed that many such tiger cubs were present at the funeral parading in front of the casket which carried the remains of Tamilselvan.

Those who were present at the funeral will vouch for this fact. It was highly unfortunate that high ranking Catholic clergies and Hindu priests were there to conduct final religious rites were witness to this cruelty to children without any protests.

- Asian Tribune -

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