The army today insisted that Tamil girls in the north are not being forced to join the army and that those recruited have access to their families.
Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that that reports to the effect that the Northern Commander had gone from house to house and forcibly recruited girls was false.
“As outlined earlier the recruitment process was a pure voluntary recruitment which was open to all female citizens living in the north who are of that age group with required qualifications,” the army spokesman said.
He also said that yesterday (Sunday) 132 adults and 32 children visited the Killinochchi 6 Women’s Corps camp to meet recently recruited Tamil girls who are undergoing training.
He said that during training anywhere in the Military the trainees are allowed to have visitors only at a specified time, once a week, without disturbing the training program.
The LLRC in its report had made observations that only few Tamils are serving in the Army and hence the Tamils perceive the Army as a Sinhalese Army.
The spokesman said that the army was among the first State agencies which had taken cognizance of the LLRC Report and in order to implement the LLRC recommendations it was decided to recruit Tamils, both male and female, from the North to the Army.
“We have plans to recruit males as well and very shortly they will be recruited. We thought of giving priority to women because the very existence of Tamil female soldiers in the Army would be an ante-dote to false propaganda against the Army. Precisely for this reason, the LTTE rump domiciled abroad and other interested parties are making a hue and cry on this issue. They seem to worry that the success of this process would mark the end of their campaign for false propaganda,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)