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North-East under close watch of Sri Lanka's military

A Sri Lankan military official said the army was keeping a close watch on the activities of Tamils to prevent any promotion of “terrorism and anti-state activities”.

Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, head of the security forces in Kilinochchi, said that this was necessary to prevent a revival of the LTTE, reported the New Indian Express.

“What is ‘spying’ for you is ‘being aware’ for us. It is a thin line which divides spying from being aware,” he said.

Ranasinghe justified the presence of military personnel at civilian events.

“We do not interfere with the proceedings. We just listen to find out if anyone is promoting terrorism and anti-state activities,” he said.

The general said TNA politicians tried to put “the germ of terrorism” into young people’s minds, referring to a “seditious” poetry book with “provocative headings” by Father Anthon Stephen, which a TNA MP asked to be included in government schools’ libraries.

“The politico tried to put the germ of terrorism in young impressionable minds. We prevented this from happening,” Ranasinghe said.

He said that former LTTE fighters who had gone through the military’s rehabilitation programme have not indulged in any disruptive activity.

“Cadre like Appan and Gobi, who were caught trying to revive the LTTE, had not gone through rehab,” he pointed out.

Referring to the Tamil National Alliance’s demand that the army quit the north, he said: “If a referendum is held on this, the people will vote for the army to stay because it has ensured a peaceful, crime-free district.”

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