About 1,000 ex-LTTE cadres are expected to be united with their families in two weeks in keeping with a government directive. They are among some 11,000 detainees held in various parts of the country after the end of the war last May.
Authoritative government sources told The Island that the Justice and Law Reforms Ministry was in the process of finalising a list of LTTE cadres who could be released probably ahead of presidential polls on January 26.
Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda and Commissioner General of Essential Services Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake during a brief visit to a detention facility at Chettikulam last Saturday (January 9) assured detainees that more would be released shortly. The women only facility holds about 1,000 persons, who had been with LTTE fighting formations as well as administrative units.
Accompanying them were V. Neelakandan, President of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Rajan Asriwathan, former Bank of Ceylon Chairman, Mrs. Kamala Kailasapillai also of the Congress and Mohammed Abdiker, Chief of Mission of the International Migration Organisation, who had unrestricted access to the detainees. The detainees complained about the inadequate water supply. Quoting some of the detainees, Mrs. Kailasapillai told the Justice Minister that erratic water supply remained their major concern. Mrs. Kailasapillai assured them that they would do everything in their power to ensure their early release.
Maj. Gen. Ratnayake said that since last May, the government had released 805 ex-LTTE cadres in batches. Responding to our queries, he said that several hundred could be released shortly. He expressed the belief that congestion at detention facilities could be eased by accommodating some of the detainees at the former IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) facilities.
He said that women cadres who had children less than five years of age were released on humanitarian grounds. A senior Army officer in charge of detention facilities said that some detainees had made an abortive bid to produce infants in a bid to take advantage of the decision to release women with children under five years of age.