The Sri Lankan government plans to release detained former guerrillas of the Tamil Tigers, who were undergoing rehabilitation programme, to mark 2,600th anniversary of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, has said that LTTE cadres will be reintegrated into the society upon completion of their rehabilitation programme to mark Sambuddhatva jayanthi in Sri Lanka.
Even as he did not give the exact number of former Tamil Tiger guerrillas to be released, Ranasinghe was quoted as saying by the ColomboPage online that several rehabilitated LTTE cadres will be set free on the Vesak Poya Day next week. Some 11,700 former LTTE fighters surrendered during the last phase of the civil war that came to an end in May 2009 when the government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers, the report said. So far 6,539 LTTE cadres have been released and further 4,360 are being rehabilitated in camps, Ranasinghe said, adding they have been provided vocational training and education to reintegrate themselves into the society.
Sambuddhatva jayanthi is celebrated in several countries as a festival to mark Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. The government last month said a special committee of the Attorney General’s Department headed by a deputy solicitor general is looking at ways to expedite the legal process against the LTTE cadres who are in detention. “It is not easy to hurry up cases against nearly 10,000 members of the LTTE. This committee would take a close review of the charges against them with a view to indict them,” said Rauff Hakeem, the Minister of Justice.
The LTTE waged a bloody three-decade civil war for a separate state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, alleging discrimination against the minority community at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed in the conflict.