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Last updated: 16 August, 2010 - Published 12:16 GMT
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Military presence "irks people"

Mr Anandasangari (file photo: by Elmo Fernando)
TULF leader says the expansion of military establishment would only cause further resentment
A senior Tamil politician in Sri Lanka has questioned the government’s increased spending on housing for defence personnel in the north and east.

Mr Anandasangaree, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has questioned this rationale when thousands of displaced Tamils are sheltered in bare minimum tenements.

Testifying before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) the TULF leader said that the expansion of military establishment would only cause further resentment among the people on the North and East.

“Many thousand people are living in the open with the sun as their roof” in the Vanni region according to Mr Anandasangaree, a former Member of Parliament and a moderate Tamil leader.

'From frying pan to fire'

The senior Tamil politician told the BBC Tamil service that “only hatred will grow among the Tamil people” who see the fast track construction activities for the defence personnel going on in the North and East of the country.

Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
Commission was told that there is no move towards reconciliation or justice in the north

The status of the displaced Tamil people has been that of “from frying pan to fire”. The lives of the people who were caught in the conflict are no way better than it was during the war time observes Mr Anandasangaree.

He also says that the people find no betterment in their lives than it was under the LTTE.

Opening up of more and more military camps and check posts will not only hinder reconciliation but also cause further distrust in the minds of the Tamil people according to him.

Even sounds of a toy gun make the Vanni people very fearsome he says.

Expanding defence presence under the guise of providing security to the people is unacceptable and will further cause bad blood between the Tamil people and the security forces Mr Anandasangaree told the Tamil service.

Commission proceedings 'fair'

In spite of his criticism against the government and the defence establishment while testifying before the commission, he says that contrary to expectations the attitude of the commission appears to be fair.

“Based on the questions posed to me and the patient hearing to my reply I felt that the proceedings of the commission appeared to be fair in their approach," he said.

He also says that though many of his views would have caused embarrassment to the commission and the government, they did not object to him placing his opinion before them.

The TULF leader also says that he was given as much freedom and time to testify before the LLRC.

The hearings before the commission continues.

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