CHANNEL 4 NEWS STORY OF RAPES AND UNNATURAL DEATHS AT IDP WELFARE CAMP IS A HOAX SAYS MODERATE TAMIL LEADER SANGAREE
Posted on May 8th, 2009
By Walter Jayawardhana
The moderate Tamil leader in Sri Lanka, V. Anandasangaree told the Indian Express newspaper that the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 Television news story that unnatural deaths have occurred and some girls have been raped by the army at a government IDP camp is a complete hoax.
The Express said an aid worker at the camp has corroborated the statement of Ananda Sangaree.
The Channel 4 , showing a face of a man claiming to be an aid worker, speaking in Tamil , alleged that there was talk of the rape and deaths. No unnatural deaths have occurred at the IDP camp , records show. The news channel failed to substantiate the story.
Both Sangaree and the aid worker said the government should allow media to go into the camp to find out the truth for themselves and report.
Many sources close to the camp said the Channel 4 story was a plant by vested interests.
The Indian Express report also said: “Around 1,500 Tamil civilians have been killed and over 2,000 injured in the landmine blasts triggered by the LTTE to stop the mass exodus from the war zone between April 20 and 27, says moderate Tamil leader V Anandasangaree.
“He told Express here on Thursday that while most of the deaths during the exodus were due to the landmines, some were due to firing by the Tigers.
Over 100,000 people had fled to the government-controlled side in a matter of days, putting a heavy strain on the Vavuniya district administration and the armed forces, he added. While Anandasangaree, who heads the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and is considered close to the government, says there are about 165,000 civilians still in the No Fire Zone which has become the de facto war zone, the government puts the figure between 20,000 and 50,000. He also said that contrary to the government’s claims, food is a major problem in the war zone.
“The weekly requirement is 578 metric tonne but the availability is far short of that. About two weeks ago, the judicial magistrate in Vavuniya had certified seven deaths in the refugee camps, among the new arrivals, as being due to starvation,” he claimed.
“Of course, we cannot find fault only with the government for this, as the pro-LTTE Tamil politicians do. The administration is doing its best under the circumstances. The LTTE should also be held responsible for keeping the people in the war zone under terrible conditions,” he added.
A Sri Lankan Tamil aid worker told The New Indian Express that government should have been prepared for the massive influx of people from the No Fire Zone. “The lack of preparedness is obvious,” the aid worker, who did not want to be identified, said.
“Both Anandasangaree and the aid worker denied that there was any significant harassment of youth in the screening centres, as alleged by the pro-LTTE media abroad. The refugees did not mention screening as a major problem, they said.
“One thousand in a refugee population of 185,000 is not a huge figure. And many of those taken in had said that they were LTTE cadre and wished to surrender,” the aid worker said.