Jaffna Government Agent, Imelda Sukumar who was the Mullaitivu GA during the war, yesterday vehemently denied claims that those who crossed over from LTTE controlled areas to Government controlled areas carrying white flags were fired at by the army during the height of the war.
Mrs. Sukumar said this while responding to a question posed to her by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Chairman, C.R de Silva, on the issue, during a LLRC session held yesterday.
Ms. Sukumar maintained that reports of alleged atrocities by the Sri Lankan Army were false. No one was shot by the army when they crossed over carrying white flags. If it had happened I would have known about it. Not a single case of this nature was reported to me,” Sukumar said, adding that two of her drivers escaped the LTTE controlled zone carrying white flags and that they informed her of their safe return.
She said that civilians had been used by the LTTE as human shields to serve their own ends. “These civilians wanted to escape but were unable to do so. The LTTE could not have sustained themselves without these civilians. They were necessary for their survival. Although civilians wanted to get away from their grip they were caught in the middle with no way out,” she said.
Mrs. Sukumar said that she had been in Mullaitivu till January 22 during which time there had been around 350,000 civilians in the Pudukudiyiruppu area in Mullaitivu. She said that majority of them fled the area and that their lives were saved due to the support they got from the Army. She said that the then Vavuniya Commander, General Jagath Jayasuriya ensured that food and medicine was provided for the civilians. “80% of the food and other goods sent to the civilians were transported to them but I’m not sure about the other 20%. It is likely that those goods went to the LTTE,” she said.