The Government has announced an amnesty period starting from September 1 for Tiger cadres trapped in Eastern jungles to lay down their weapons and surrender to the Security Forces.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake urged the Tiger cadres to take up the offer, saying their safety would be guaranteed.
Addressing a public meeting in Horana on Saturday, the Prime Minister said the misguided LTTE cadres were also sons and daughters of Mother Lanka and it was the Government`s intention to channel their talents towards development. They will be rehabilitated and given vocational training.
He said the few Tigers left in various Eastern pockets could not hope to stay forever in hiding and attack the Security Forces, who are consolidating their positions in the province. The Forces will continue to track them down. It would be a far better option for them to surrender to the Forces, than risk their lives by confronting the latter.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the Eastern military operation was a humanitarian mission to liberate the masses oppressed by the LTTE. It can in no way be interpreted as an offensive against the Tamil people.
The Government was only battling a ruthless terror group which has subjected the Tamil people to untold hardships.
In fact, civilian casualties were minimal during all humanitarian missions in the East. He observed that the Government as well as the Forces did not practice ethnic or religious discrimination.
The Government facilitated the entry of pilgrims to the Madhu shrine. Nevertheless, certain security measures have been implemented with minimum inconvenience to the pilgrims, primarily to ensure that the LTTE does not transport warlike material to uncleared areas taking advantage of this mass movement.
Prime Minister Wickremanayake said it was immoral for the LTTE to talk of liberating the Tamil people while recruiting children to their baby brigades. On the contrary, children of LTTE leaders are sent abroad for higher education.
The Government was committed to defeat the LTTE militarily and a political solution is also being pursued via the All Party Representative Committee to bring peace, he added.