The National Christian Alliance has questioned as to what legitimate right UN Human Rights Commissioner Navaneethan Pillay or anybody else has to focus on the last stage of the operation against terrorism in Sri Lanka without investigating the role of those among the international community who built up the terrorist outfit from a rag tag band of youth in the 1970s, to an outfit that was capable of challenging any army.
Bishop of Kurunegala Rev. Shantha Francis speaking to the Daily News said that the LTTE in the 1970’s was so weak, its members were surrendering to the Sri Lanka Army with petrol bombs and a few crude weapons in hand. They did not have any military training at that time. Yet they were transformed into a group of terrorists with training, massive funding and sophisticated weapons even unknown to the Sri Lankan Security Forces, within a few years, due to the support of sections of the international community. He said that thereafter, the terrorists unleashed a series of brutal killings on unarmed civilians, religious figures and villagers. He questioned the reason Navaneethan Pillay and others did not focus their attention on the initial stages of the LTTE campaign rather than directing human rights allegations against Sri Lanka based only on the last stage of the war.
The Bishop stated that the LTTE which started with only a few youth was later equipped with submarines, ships, air craft and other modern weapons with the funds of the diaspora resident overseas and the international community. He added that the international community supported the LTTE to wage war against Sri Lanka.
Rev. Francis said that the Buddhist community acted with patience when the LTTE massacred unarmed devotees at the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi in their hundreds, bombed the most Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy,and massacred novice Buddhist monks in Aranthalawa and tens of thousands of innocent people for three decades.
He added that the LTTE too attacked churches and mosques and devotees at these religious places. He added that the so-called international community that was sleeping during those 30 years of the atrocities of the LTTE against unarmed people has suddenly woken up to make human rights violations allegations against Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war, that defeated the most ruthless terrorist group in the world. He also added that it was not fair to accuse the government of human rights violations after defeating the war.
Rev. Francis said that he strongly believes in reconciliation and peace as a religious leader and there is no other way for long a lasting solution on this issue. He added that in order to achieve this objective, two significant features should be adopted . That is unconditional forgiveness and forgetting and burying the past altogether.
“We are not dealing with machines but with human feelings. “As a professional psycho therapist, I often deal with wounded minds and I know the gravity of it. It takes time for reconciliation”, said Reverend Francis adding “this is where I appreciate the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa” . “We cannot achieve reconciliation overnight” he said.
He further that he lives in Kurunegala where a large number of war victims live. There are a large number of parents whose children were killed by the LTTE during the war. “Most of the families have lost a breadwinner. I deal with them personally and know they have enormous problems”.
Navaneethan Pillay or anybody else should take these matters into consideration. This is not an ethnic issue. The international community should help in reconciliation and not open old wounds.
Courtesy : Daily News