The chief minister of the Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran has criticised the continued militarisation of the North-East by forces that he describes as “threatening” and perpetrators of war crimes.
“In order for normality to return to our daily lives, the military must withdraw from our lands,” the chief minister said, speaking at the 150 year anniversary of Inuvil Hindu College.
“Saying we are all brothers and sisters and getting on stage and calling for goodwill and amiable relations between us while continuing to stations soldiers that committed war crimes to occupy our lands is not acceptable in any way,” he said.
Further remarking on militarisation, Mr Wigneswaran said:
“Saying they are protecting the country’s borders, while occupying our land and resources even six years after the end of the war, the army and the navy are a state force that has been forcibly placed among us. The government declares that the military has been placed here for our safety.”
“But none among us are known to have asked the military to please stay here and protect us.”
“The brutal crimes that have taken place here in recent times were unheard of to the people here prior to 2009.”
Mr Wigneswaran said that the environment created by militarisation impacted negatively on students and young people, preventing them from “developing the thirst for freedom, or excelling in knowledge or pursuing ambitious career paths.”
The chief minister also said that trusting in the generosity of politicians, whether Sirisena, Ranil or Chandrika was folly and that Tamil leaders should be open and clear in their demands, pointing out that “fearing that Sinhalese voters will not tick their box in elections if they showed any goodwill towards Tamils, all Sinhalese political leaders only offer us covert promises.”
Speaking on the future of the North-East, Mr Wigneswaran said “our resources have been damaged in various ways. Some resources are being ransacked and are being smuggled to other provinces” and called on both local citizens and the Tamil diaspora to take up their duty of building up the Tamil homeland.