Former LTTE cadres get new lease of life at camps


18-year-old Satiswari is now a happy woman after undergoing tailoring orientation course at the rehabilitation camp in this northern Sri Lankan town, where she is being lodged since the end of the war in May 2009.

She is one of the hundreds of former LTTE cadres who are being imparted training in various courses at rehabilitation camps across northern Lanka.
Satiswari was arrested by the Sri Lankan army during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war for fighting for the LTTE.

"I have undergone a tailoring orientation course," she told journalists at the camp.
"I am married and my husband is in the adjoining welfare camp. He was never part of the LTTE," she said.
The camp has imparted various training courses to 293 former LTTE cadres. After checking her previous records, the authorities have decided to release Satiswari from the camp.

"I am looking forward to starting a new life," Satiswari, who hails from Mullivaikal in Wanni, said.
In all, more than 35 LTTE ex-combatants including males detained in the Poonthotam detention camps in Vavuniya are being released.

Vijitha Balabhawan, another former LTTE cadre, said she too had almost completed her tailoring course.
"The officials and the security personnel treat us properly and understand our efforts to come to the mainstream," said Tharshini from Puthukudiyiruppu.
The instructors said the female cadres were forgetting their past and getting interested in their work.

A senior official in charge of  the rehabilitation centre here said the authorities were still vigilant though some of the cadres claimed they have been with the LTTE for only a few months and that they were forcefully recruited.
He said the pattern showed that the girls joined the group after the age of 12 and many of the former female cadres undergoing the vocational courses were 17 and 18 years of age respectively.

This suggested that some could have been with the LTTE for much longer period, the official pointed out.

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