Yet another group of Tamil pre-schoolchildren were taken on a tour of the Sri Lankan army base located inside the Palaly High Security Zone this week, on land which the military occupies and remains off limits to local Tamils.
Tamil pre-schoolchildren from Jaffna were escorted by informed soldiers around the base, where they showed off aircraft used by the military during the armed conflict in which countless Tamil civilians were massacred.
The group are part of an increasing number of schoolchildren taken on tours of the military base, as the military looks to consolidate its presence in the Tamil homeland. Several groups of Tamil children have been escorted around the occupying base, despite calls from Tamil civil society that the region be demilitarised and the security forces cease from involvement in civilian life.
Despite calls for demilitarisation, the military declared on its website,
“The Number of students who visit the Palaly Airport continues to increase as Commander Security Force - Jaffna, Major General Darshana Hettiarrachchi stretches the hands of harmony in view of building up the peace and harmony among the communities within the Jaffna Peninsula (sic)”.