Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 5 October 2014





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Government Gazette

Peace changes people's lives in North

With the restoration of peace the lives of the people have changed. Those who lived in fear are free today. People look for jobs, education, development and a better life.

Fulfilling these aspirations became a significant part in the reconciliation process. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission made a number of suggestions to fulfill the demands of the rising nation. Equal opportunities in employment is recommended in it and the number of venues for employment started to increase with more Tamil youth applying for jobs available in many fields.

The Sri Lanka Army continuing to serve the needs of the rising nation decided, nearly two years ago, to recruit Tamil youth in to the Army. Today, 46 Tamil youth are serving the Army with the previous two batches of Tamil girls.

The Tri Services have been a place where a significant number of officers and other ranks in the service, especially before the terrorist threats of the LTTE emerged.

As terrorism got in to its height, the number of youth joining the Sri Lankan Tri Services decreased.

New era

As peace dawned and warmed the hearts of people with love and compassion, society became more harmonious. In this peaceful atmosphere many institutes, government and public resumed operation of abandoned offices in the North.

More venues for jobs became available for Tamil youth. When the Sri Lanka Army opened opportunities for Tamil youth to join them there was a huge response from them despite obstructions from a few extremists.

The youth were keen on finding better venues to build a steady future for their families based on their qualifications and suitability.

Alexis A. Madiyalagan

They have learnt the bitter lessons in life through the hard way since their childhood. The Army in November last year enlisted its biggest ever batch of 103 Tamil girls from Kilinochchi to the 6 SLAWC of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force during a landmark ceremony at 6 SLAWC Headquarters at Bharathipuram, Kilinochchi.

Although the Army has a fair number of Tamils and Muslims serving the organisation, it was the first time in its history a mass-scale recruitment of Tamil girls of this magnitude, took place as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation.

Over 200 girls applied for recruitment, but the Army was able to accommodate only 103 applicants after selecting the best in three rounds of interviews.

The majority of the girls were from the Northern Province yet there were a few from other parts of the country too. The initial batch was from Kilinochchi and the second was from Mullaitivu.

There are more than 400 Tamil women recruited to the Army. The first batch of men is from Mullaitivu.


They will be messengers of peace and harmony to the North and South.

“Recruitment, training and duties are all the same” said Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake.The Army has a set of criteria to follow in recruitment and accordingly they invite all Sri Lankan citizens to apply for the vacancies. These citizens need to be fit to serve the country under any circumstances and guard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country at any given time.

“Anyone joining the Army is trained to defend the country from enemy forces. The Army has not restricted or limited selections based on ethnic, religion or social strata. Whoever is fit for the job will be recruited,” Lt. Gen. Ratnayake said.

What was the response from society?

“There was a positive response from the youth as well as their parents,” said Security Forces Commander of Mullaitivu, Major General Jagath Dias, commenting on the new recruitment conducted on the instructions of the Army Commander.

“This move will encourage others to join the Army. The young men are disciplined and cooperative. The recruit gets a good salary and it will serve as a base for him to build a better future for him and his family,” he said.

“These communities underwent a difficult period under the LTTE before 2009 and the enemy they saw was the terrorists. We had to specifically guide the new recruits to understand that the enemy is any party which poses a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland,” Maj. Gen. Dias said.

We recruited youth from Mullaitivu to serve as soldiers in the fields of construction, motor mechanics, electrical and agriculture. There was a good response from youth in the area. We have encountered some challenges because due to the LTTE rule before 2009 they were more interested in increasing their cadre strength rather than creating opportunities to secure the future of youth. Many of them did not have their birth certificates and educational qualification certificates. The youth have the required skills but they are unable to produce paper qualifications. But with proper training today they have become excellent craftsmen,” he added.


Their life as trainees will not be confined to camp. They were shown the world that existed beyond boundaries. They were taken all around the country to important places – a privilege they missed for a long time. Language was not a barrier to understand the excitement and thrill of joy they felt during the Colombo tour which was the first time to many of these young men. Their first day in Colombo could have been chaotic with journalists, cameras, interviews around in a different atmosphere. Yet it was evident the newly recruits were slowly but steadily absorbing the discipline of the Army and not losing their vibrant nature.

Many young men lead a hard life during the terror times. Soldier Aleixis, 23, was ready to reveal the bitter truth.

“I lived in Kalalpadu village in Mullaitivu and the LTTE was using my father as he was comparatively fluent in Sinhala. More than that LTTE used him to transport weapons and ammunition. One day he did not return home but the LTTE did not give a reason. We do not know what happened to him,” he said.

As the eldest son he went to work for daily wages to feed his grief struck mother, sisters and brother. He had been just eighteen. By then due to LTTE threats his education was hampered but he did not want that to happen to his siblings. He gave up his youth for them.

“Joining the Army is an opportunity that was only in my dreams. Today, I believe dreams can come true,” the happy youth said.

Another youth, A. Madiyalagan, 21, had been working in a shop in Vavuniya for hundred rupees a day. “I was living in Chettikulam with my family. We experienced a difficult life then. My father was a daily wage worker and it was not sufficient at all to feed the family,” said Madiyalagan.

His dream for a better education got hampered and all his efforts to find a job with better pay were not fruitful. “With the job in the Army I can serve my country in a more efficient way while creating a better future for my family. I’m capable of taking care of my responsibilities to my family,” he added. Their happiness revealed peace and harmony. The training, language and computer classes, discipline and etiquette that they were being taught has brought out the gentlemen hidden inside these boys.Northern youth joining the Army is a positive sign that young blood of the Tamil populace could start a new life in a peaceful world in harmony with the brothers and sisters of all communities. This will energise the future of the country.


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