Colombo: Making it clear that Sri Lankan government will not tolerate any groups in the east carrying arms, former Prabhakaran aide and now a Union minister, Karuna Amman, asked them to disarm themselves.
"If any people carry legal or illegal weapons in that area, we cannot accept that situation. Because now only people are enjoying freedom after thirty years. They suffered a lot. Now they are starting to enjoy their lives," Amman said.
"Already we have disarmed all the eastern people. There are no armed cadres there now," Deputy Minister for Resettlement Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman said of his Eastern bastion.
The old people of the group have joined with the major political parties and they are doing major politics, the 44-year-old Amman told a private channel in an interview.
In January, 2008, Amman was sentenced to nine months in imprisonment by the Isleworth Crown Court in West London for travelling on a forged passport to Britain.
Amman considered the one time number two in command in the LTTE after Vellupillai Prabhakaran, led a split in the militant group in March 2004 and collaborated with the government to fight the tigers in Eastern Sri Lanka.
He formed the Tamil Makkal Vituthalai Pulligal (TMVP), a party he subsequently left and joined President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Freedom Party and was appointed its vice president.
He quit TMVP following differences with his party colleague Pillayan, who became the Chief Minister of Eastern Province. On his differences with Pillayan, Amman said there were no major differences with him now.
"There is no major problem between me and Pillayan. Personally I don't have any problem with him," he told MTV channel.
"Obviously, I wanted to convey a message. After I broke away I started the TMVP. I wanted to explain to the people and the world through the political party (and not through a group).”
“During those times if I had joined with the government, the LTTE propaganda would have been successful. They would say we have already joined the government and were traitors etc," Amman said.
“Later I considered the situation that through small political parties we cannot do any work or any help to the Tamil people,” Amman said.
"At the same time we cannot solve the problem also. I like to join with the national politics. That is why I am with the SLFP. I try to change the people also by involving them in national politics," he said.
In reply to a question, Amman said of the nearly three lakh people who were put up in welfare camps during the peak of LTTE war, only 50,000 were left in the IDP camps.
"Problem is people are mentally affected by the war. Now they want to go to their own houses, their own places. When ever I visit those areas they ask me when they will be sent from the welfare camps to their areas. That is a reality," he said.
"We have rebuild the reconciliation among them. The people, the government and political parties. Our Army in those areas are coordinating very well in the resettlement areas with the people," the Tamil minister said.
First Published: Sunday, June 06, 2010, 16:10