Army insists war was not against Tamils

The Army has told a visiting UN human rights delegation that the war was not against the Tamils but the LTTE.

Jaffna Security Forces Commande Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe told the delegation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the number of troops present in Jaffna is less as compared to some districts in the island.

The delegation headed by Hanny Megally, Chief Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch of the UN Human Rights office met the Jaffna Commander during a visit to the north.

“We fought against terrorists and not against Tamils. We saw the agony that people in Jaffna underwent due to war. With the successful end of terrorism in Sri Lanka, we have identified their basic needs and Army has launched a number of community welfare programmes soon after the country was liberated. Livelihood activities for Ex-LTTE combatants, housing project for destitute families, scholarships for students from low-income families are a few among them. Now the entire peninsula is functioning under the civil administration and it has taken root well”, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe told the UN officials.

“Sinhalese and Tamils here lived as brothers for generations. Unfortunately, some egoistic Tamil elite lured Tamil youths to embark on searching for a separate land for Tamils. This was not the need of the Tamil majority but they had no option other than surrendering to the threat of LTTE,” he said.

Hathurusinghe also said that the Army has already handed back a majority of the houses in the north to the owners while the owners of other houses are paid rental until they are also released.