The Defence Ministry is seriously considering accommodating Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member Ananthi Sasitharan at a rehabilitation facility to prevent her from propagating separatist sentiments. She represents the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the dominant partner of five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R. Sampanthan, MP. She was elected to the NPC last September.
A senior Defence Ministry source told The Island that those who hadn’t been arrested/surrendered at the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 missed the government rehabilitation project. Ananthi was among those who had avoided rehabilitation , the official said, adding that a decision would be made soon.
Ananthi is the wife of Sinnathurai Sivakumar alias Elilan in charge of LTTE political section in the Trincomalee District. The Defence Ministry alleged that Sivakumar had been masquerading as a political activist during the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).
Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp in charge of the Office of Global Criminal Justice received a briefing from Ananthi during his recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka. Since her election to the NPC, Ananthi toured Canada, the US, India, Germany, Denmark and Norway, where she met government officials and LTTE activists.
Asked whether the government was planning to hunt for those who had managed to avoid rehabilitation, the official said perhaps Ananthi wouldn’t have adopted such a hostile stance towards the government and the military if she had undergone rehabilitation.
The government has released over 11,000 LTTE cadres in batches following rehabilitation over past four years. The release of LTTE personnel took place under the supervision of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The project was funded by several countries, including the UK, the Netherlands and Japan.
The spokesman admitted that the detention of Ananthi at a rehabilitation facility could trigger strong protests from the international community ahead of the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva as well as the TNA. However, the government was of the opinion that Ananthi would continue to undermine post-war reconciliation process unless she underwent rehabilitation, he said. (The Island)