NEW DELHI, MARCH 17, REUTER — An Indian « cabinet minister said on Thursday that Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels were killing fellow Tamils to establish dominance over a third of the Island.
Minister of State for External Affairs Natwar Sinmgh told Parliament Indian peace keeping forces in Sri Lanka would continue to prevent the tigers the largest guerrilla force on the Island, from sabotaging the Indo Sri Lanka agreement.
The accord was signed last year to end a four yearlong Tamil separatist revolt on the Island by giving greater autonomy to Tamil Majority areas.
More than 25.000 Indian troops are in Sri Lanka as part of the agreement and now mainly involved in putting down rebellion by the Tigers.
Singh, in one of the most strongly worded statements made in Parliament about Sri Lanka, said Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were killing Tamil leaders.
The Tigers, he said, have “indulged in systematic decimation of those Tamils civilians in the northern and eastern provinces who refuse to toe their line”.
“They have also systematically killed Sinhala and moslem civilians in the eastern province with the obvious intention of sparking off communal strife,” he said.
He said LTTE statements that it wanted peace and supported the agreement were invariably found to be misleading.
“It is clear that LTTE wish to establish their sway over one third of the country by the sheer force of arms, by the brutal exclusion of all other Tamil parties and without going through the democratic political process,” Singh said.
More than 8.000 people have died in Sri Lanka in the ethnic conflict in the past five years.
“We wish to make it absolutely and unmistakably clear that we have no connection with these atrocities,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday made available to Reuters.
Residents in Jaffna said a strike called by Tamil rebels halted the northern city for a second day on Wednesday
Shops were shuttered school: and government offices closed and there was no transport as resident: answered a call to back demand: for an end to fighting between Indian troops and the Tigers.
The group has said it was willing to negotiate a peaceful end to the fighting without laying down their arms a negotiating condition set by Indian troops deployed in Siri Lanka.
‘The Tiers group has rejected a peace accord signed by Sri Lanka and India to end an ethnic conflict on the Island that has killed more than 8,000 people in the past five
Fifty thousand Indian troops have been deployed to hunt down and disarm the Tigers.
At Batticaloa Indian doctors are treating 58yearold Devi Annamma whose 25 day fast for peace was stopped by troops after her children said she had been fasting against her will under pressure from the mother’s front. a group whose families have been affected by ethnic violence.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 25, 1988