The LTTE on Sunday agreed to re-open the Mavil Aaru Dam in Eastern Sri Lanka, the closure of which on July 20, ruined 30,000 acres of paddy and precipitated a short but sharp land, sea air war leading to much death and destruction.
The LTTE’s political wing chief, SP Tamilselvan, told media persons after meeting the Norwegian peace broker, Jon Hanssen Bauer, in Kilinochchi, that the LTTE would see to it that the dam was reopened on Sunday.
Tamilselvan said that the LTTE would “convince the Mavil Aaru Tamils” to reopen the sluice gates. It has been the LTTE’s contention that it was the angry and frustrated people of the area who closed the gates, and not the LTTE.
While agreeing to get the gates opened, the LTTE demanded that the government of Sri Lanka, should stop its military operations, especially aerial bombardment, ensure water supply to the LTTE-controlled areas, and lift the embargo on the movement essential supplies.
The LTTE also made it clear that continued military action on the part of the Sri Lankan armed forces would be taken to as a Declaration of War.
The LTTE has appointed a committee headed by the Trincomalee district political head, S Elilan, to liaise with the truce monitors in regard to the movement if humanitarian relief supplies to the war-affected parts of Trincomalee district.
Muslims accuse LTTE of abducting youths
Meanwhile, the Muslims of Mutur, who had praised the LTTE for its conduct till Friday, vehemently criticised it on Saturday for torturing and abducting Muslim youths on suspicion that collaborated with the Sri Lankan army or were activists of the Jihad or Osama groups.
According to the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, the refugees fleeing Mutur were diverted by the LTTE to Kirandimunai, a jungle area under rebel control, and there, the suepects were tortured and allegedly even shot dead.
“There were eyewitnesses to the torture and they fear that some of the boys held could have been killed,” Hakeem said.
The eyewitnesses said that had it not been for a shell attack by the Sri Lankan armed forces, the LTTE would have tortured and killed more.
The LTTE cadres fled when the shells killed some of them. In the melee, the refugees too made good their escape.
Hakeem said that he was appealing to the LTTE to release the captured youth, and the international community to investigate the matter.
In the meanwhile, the LTTE told a Colombo-based Tamil FM station, that only some youths, who were suspect, were taken in for questioning, and that the innocent would be released.
Movement of supplies impeded
Hakeem complained that the movement of relief to the 6,000 people still in Mutur, was being impeded by the Security Forces, who said that safety could not be ensured.
Relief for the 40, 000 people lodged in seven crowded camps on the road to Kantalai, was highly inadequate, he said.
“For a camp having 14,000 people, only 4,000 food parcels were sent,”
The refugees accused an international relief agency of taking food only for the LTTE in areas around Mutur. At places, they stopped the convoys of this agency.
The Sri Lankan government has sent its Muslim Ministers to Kantalai and the forward areas, to supervise relief work.
The Sri Lankan navy is trying to being relief by the sea route. Mutur is on the Koddiyar Bay south of Trincomalee.