Women’s Action Network Flays Sri Lanka Military
Posted on March 15th, 2013

 Asada M Erpini

A report headlined “Sri Lankan group flays military role in civil life”, which  appeared in Deccan Herald on 15 March, and which was reproduced in the local media, shows that various groups and alliances emerge with the prime motive of denigrating the armed forces of Sri Lanka. Not surprisingly, all these allegations of violation surface to coincide with the sessions of UNHCR of UN (or more correctly of US) have their annual sessions in Geneva.

 Women’s Action Network (WAN) is described as a network of 11 organisations based in the North and the East of Sri Lanka, which also means that women in the other seven provinces are not a party to this union. Yet, the title of the news report starts with “Sri Lankan group flays military role”¦”, deliberately leaving room for the unwary reader to conclude the anti-armed forces stand pervades the entire island nation. Additionally, all these action groups that benignly carry non-sinister identification labels obviously have aims that are not so benevolent to any ethnic group in Sri Lanka.

 WAN laments “”…” nay, hits out at – the entrenched militarisation of the northeast (Incidentally, WAN as well as the Deccan Herald correspondent would do well to remember that there is no northeast, but that there are two distinct provinces that are named the Northern Province and the Eastern Province.) The military is accused of engaging purportedly (writer’s italics) in civil administration, agricultural and developmental activities. There is nothing purported in the role played by the armed forces: they certainly and very visibly are involved in infrastructure development and in assisting in civilian administration. It is unreasonable for anyone or any group to demand the immediate handing over of the administration to any so-called elected group: over 84,000 Muslims were kicked out of the North and ordered by Pirabhaharan to leave within 24 hours and a higher number of Sinhalas was evicted from the region in his macabre pursuit of the mythical Eelam. Until and unless all persons among the evicted have the opportunity to return to the North, if they wish to do so, any election will be lopsided and would not reflect the will of the people.

 The women of the North and East are complaining of takeover of land by Buddhists and Sinhalese groups. The terrorist LTTE that was born in the northern tip of the Jaffna peninsula expanded, using mass killings and massive financial contributions amounting to nearly US $ 300 million a year from Tamils oversees, to grab a third of the land mass of the country, and threatened the very survival of Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation. If Sinhala or Buddhist groups “”…” they constitute 75% of the population “”…” settle especially in the North there may be some chance of detecting any re-emergence of armed insurrection by the anti-Sri Lanka Tamils.

 It is a heroic achievement that the valiant armed forces of Sri Lanka vanquished the military leadership of the LTTE in May 2009. But if WAN or anyone else cares to read what is going on in the rest of the world today – in Geneva, the UK, Australia, Canada and the US – the LTTE is more active now than ever before, waging a verbal war through electronic and print media against Sri Lanka using its lackeys. It is essential that the military is ever vigilant so that any moves by the LTTE to rise up from the ashes are nipped in the bud. The latter can be ensured only by increasing the military presence in the North and through “building military camps in the interiors of the villages”.

 “The universities in the region had been militarised”, accuses WAN. The University of Jaffna had served as a convenient base for anti-Sri Lankan, pro-LTTE groups for many decades. The university is funded by the Central Government of Sri Lanka, but sadly serves only the Tamil community. The Sinhala students had been chased away during the ethnic cleansing that the LTTE carried out.

 Additionally, the armed forces had to intervene a few weeks back to bring order when there were violent protests by some students in Jaffna University. Just as the Sri Lanka government can have the military in any other part of the country or institution if deemed necessary, the very same administration has all the right to locate appropriate numbers of the armed forces to provide security within and around Jaffna University premises. The members of WAN should be told in plain language, in Tamil if necessary, “Dear sisters, what is good for the rest of the country should be good for you”.

 It is only the women of the North and East who seem to be irked by the presence of the armed forces in the neighbourhood, as if the men in uniform are vultures all out for any opportunity to rape the first thangachchi in Jaffna or Trincomalee that they come across. WAN complains today of the armed forces presence, although it clearly did not have any worries when the LTTE in their battle-ready gear, carrying deadly weapons, kidnapped women and children to serve possibly as sex slaves for some  LTTEers, or to become suicide bombers or cannon fodder against the legally constituted armed forces of Sri Lanka. In contrast to this attitude, the picture in the rest of the country is very different. There are reports that the armed forces have built a sports facility and a reception hall in Boyagane “”…” many even in Kurunegala town may not know where the locality is, as it is a village in the interior “”…” and that the complex will be available for use by the civilians. Just four days back there was another media report of an impressive facility that the Air Force had constructed in Katunayake that civilians could use for their wedding receptions and other functions. Strangely, we are yet to hear of anyone in Boyagane or Katunayake complaining about the role played by the armed forces in contributing to civilian affairs! On the contrary, the people will rush to make use of the facilities, thanking the armed forces for their contribution.

 It is the Sri Lankan military that gave those rescued from the LTTE clutches or those who surrendered to the armed forces a chance to get back to civilian life. Instead of showing a modicum of gratitude, all that WAN can do is to complain of sexual abuse and cheating of women by the military.

 The statement that the (pristine) women are being cheated by members of the armed forces is the most hilarious accusation directed at the military by WAN. There is an old saying that goes as, “It takes two to tango”, and unless the Tamil woman had been a willing partner it is difficult to understand how she ended up pregnant even if all the army men have nothing else to do other than sowing wild oats, unless the encounter was rape. If there is any truth in the accusation by WAN, the woman, too, has an equal proportion of the blame to shoulder for the predicament she put herself in.

 Even today women in Sri Lanka decide to become pregnant only after they get married. Pre-marital alliances ending in pregnancy is not the norm, unlike in many of the so-called developed countries. The writer himself has been in Jaffna a few times in the sixties, and the young women who were the sisters or cousins of his Tamil friends at the time were the epitome of virtue, decorum and modesty. It is the LTTE and its supporters that transformed young girls who had every opportunity to become well brought up young ladies into ruthless killers, and as purported by WAN, to be today’s Jaffna women of loose morals. WAN has no grounds to blame the military at least on this count!




One Response to “Women’s Action Network Flays Sri Lanka Military”

  1. thirdeye Says:

    The forces in civil clothes or with uniforms should be present in the area and actively involved in the development activities. the extra number of forces cannot be kept idle in a camp and get paid by the government for nothing. our countries economy is not in a good shape, each cent spend should provide good returns. there are countries that make use of such forces to the development of the economies, so let our country too make use of it. the issue of woman getting pregnant of involved in sexual activity should be controlled by the relevant authorities. if any solder is involved in such activities he should be brought in front of the justice. our leaders must make sure to give strict instructions to those who are at the ground level. the disciplined of the forces should be maintained at all the times since they are young and thinking power is very limited. its a respectability of the officers.

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