With a view to reintegrating them into military service
By Camelia Nathaniel
Maj. Gen. (Retired) Ashok Kumar Mehta, Division Commander in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) recommended a Presidential pardon for ex-LTTE combatants with a view to reintegrating some of them into the military selectively as they are trained experts on many fields of unconventional war.
Speaking to Ceylon Today at the conclusion of the Defence Seminar 2012, he said, “It is my opinion that some of them should be reintegrated into the military selectively as that is true integration.”
Mehta said when he came here last year; he honestly did not think the Sri Lankan Government was serious about the Five Rs; Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation, especially Reconciliation.
However, having attended the present conference, as well as the previous one, he said his doubts have been cleared by about 90%. “I am not a doubting Thomas, but the Sri Lankan Government, and especially the army, has demonstrated their sincerity through this conference and through various other action plans. Therefore, I go to India very assured that Sri Lanka is on the right track with the Four Rs,” he said, adding, the final R –reconciliation – can only be determined by some form of devolution and political reconciliation.
Mehta, commenting on the doubts he had about the army getting too deeply involved in nation building training, recommended there be a cut-off date for the army to separate itself off the duties that are in the realm of civilian organizations and not the army.