Colombo, August 5 (NIA): Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are investigating reports of former Tamil Tiger cadres dying mysteriously, The New Indian Express reports.
According to the Tamil media, 105 former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have so far died mysteriously, allegedly after being injected with a drug when they were undergoing post-war ‘rehabilitation’ in Sri Lankan army-run camps.
The deaths, allegedly due to poisoning, came to light when an ex-cadre, S.N.Sahadevan, reportedly told the Sri Lankan government’s Consultation Task force On Reconciliation Mechanism (CTFRM) at its sitting in Oddusuddan last Saturday, that he had been injected with a drug which has disabled him.
He told the CTFRM that while in the LTTE he could carry heavy weights and run, now he finds it difficult to lift even 10 kg. Other ex-cadres had also been given mysterious injections, he said.
“About three months after being brought to Nelukkulam, doctors came there wanting to give us vaccination. Many of us fell sick while some passed out as a result,” he told IBC radio.
Sick LTTE cadres were transported to hospital where they wee told that they were suffering from bird flu. Similar vaccination was given to him when he was transferred to Thirukkonamadu camp, Sahadevan said.
“They said vaccination was a must,” he added.
With the media reporting 105 deaths, TNA MP S.Sritharan charged that the deaths were due to cancer. T.Ravikaran, Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member for Mullaitivu district, and former TNA MP, Suresh Pramachandran, demanded that all the ex-cadres who had undergone rehabilitation be examined by a team of foreign doctors as Sri Lankan government doctors could not be trusted.
“Members of the ex-cadres families are very apprehensive since the news came out. I have therefore decided to move a resolution on this issue at the NPC on August 9. I spoke to Chief Minister Wigneswaran about this and he said he would also place some facts before the Council,” TNIE quotes Ravikaran as saying.
The provincial Health Minister Dr.Sathyalingam has promised to get the ex-cadres medically examined. The Sri Lankan Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne told the media that the Health Ministry is ready to conduct a health survey of the ex-cadres. But military spokesman Brig.Jayanath Jayaweera trashed the story that the ex-cadres were administered a poisonous drug during the rehabilitation process.
A leader of the TNA said that since nobody has an authentic figure of deaths nor information about the cause of deaths, the party is investigating.
“We do not want to comment on it without having the facts. In a few days we may be able to say something based on facts. We cannot automatically accept any figure that may be touted now,” the leader said.
According to TNIE, the only authentic case of an ex-cadre dying of a disease got during rehabilitation is that of the LTTE’s political wing leader, Thamilini. She was diagnosed as a cancer victim while she was in a rehabilitation camp and was treated at the government cancer hospital at Maharagama. But despite the best efforts of her Sinhalese doctors, she died. She acknowledged the service rendered by these doctors in her posthumously published Tamil biography, Oru Koovaalin Nizhalil (In The Shadow Of A Sharp Sword).