‘WE SILENCE OUR GUNS – TO SAVE THE LIVES OF OUR PEOPLE’ say Tigers

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Tamils sat in the street outside Parliament to protest against the slaughter of 2000 civilians in 24 hours last week
Tamils sat in the street outside Parliament to protest against the slaughter of 2000 civilians in 24 hours last week

SELVERASA Pathmanathan, head of the Tamil Tigers International Diplomatic Relations, issued an urgent statement on Sunday morning.

He said: ‘Despite our plea to the world to save the thousands of people in Vanni from the clutches of death, the silence of the international community has only encouraged the Sri Lankan military to execute the war to its bitter end.

‘In the past 24 hours, over 3,000 civilians lie dead on the streets while another 25,000 are critically injured with no medical attention.

‘To save the lives of our people is the need of the hour. Mindful of this, we have already announced to the world our position to silence our guns to save our people.

‘We have appealed to the countries of the world and called on them to halt the unrelenting massacre of our people by the Sri Lankan armed machinery.

‘We are extremely saddened that this plea has fallen on deaf ears.

‘This battle has reached its bitter end. Against all odds, we have held back the advancing Sinhalese forces without help or support, except for the unending support of our people.

‘It is our people who are dying now from bombs, shells, illness and hunger.

‘We cannot permit any more harm to befall them. We remain with one last choice – to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people.

‘We have decided to silence our guns. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer.

‘We can no longer bear to see the innocent blood of our people being spilled,’ Mr Pathmanathan said.

The LTTE had for almost three decades fought the Sri Lankan military and defended its right to carry arms as a means of protecting the Tamil people living in the island.

After unilaterally walking away from the Peace Process that began in 2002 with Norwegian facilitation, the Sri Lankan Government opted for a military solution to end the crisis.

Since the war intensified in 2007, several thousand Tamil civilians have died.

The recent thrust by the military into the Northern strongholds of the Tamils have seen an escalation in the deaths and has resulted in untold misery with people succumbing to starvation and lack of medical supplies.

Mr Pathamanathan added: ‘We need to do everything within our means to stop this carnage.

‘If this means silencing our arms and entering a peace process, that is something that we have already agreed to.

‘This is the need of the hour. These are historically unprecedented times and require historically prudent decisions. If this means saving the lives of thousands of people, it needs to be done.

‘There is not a person who can doubt the LTTE’s fearless and unending commitment to this cause with which we have been entrusted by our people.

‘Know that the Tamils are a people deeply rooted in culture and history.

‘No force can prevent the attainment of justice for our people.

‘Our sons and daughters have taken up this call without question and without hesitation or fear of death.

‘None have hesitated to make the supreme sacrifice for the cause of liberating their motherland.

‘We have not forgotten that it is for our people that we fight. In the face of the current conditions, we will no longer permit this battle to be used as a justification by the forces of the Sinhala state to kill our people.

‘We willingly stand up with courage and silence our guns.

‘We have no other option than to continue our plea to the international community to save our people.’