CHENNAI: Political leaders and activists in Tamil Nadu condemned the elevation of Shavendra Silva as Army Chief of Sri Lanka. Shavendra Silva, who commanded the Sri Lankan Army’s 58 division during the final stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009, has been accused of grave human rights abuses including genocide and war crimes.
C Mahendran, CPI national executive committee member, who undertook several protests against the then Sri Lankan government during the last phase of the Tamil Ezham War in 2009, said that his elevation as army chief would lead to riots. “He committed various human rights violations and war crimes blatantly during the last phase of the civil war. His elevation would lead to a riot in the country since it added insult to injury of Sri Lankan Tamils. The CPI severely condemns the irresponsible act of the Sri Lankan government,” he said.
Pazha Nedumaran, president of Tamilar Desiya Munnani, said in a release that he was ‘shocked’ by the move. “He (Silva) killed thousands of Tamils when he commanded the 58 division of the Sri Lankan aarmy during the last phase of the civil war in 2009. He killed a team of LTTE commanders who had surrendered before him carrying white flags.
His appointment has ulterior motives. It only shows that the Sinhalese government is planning to continue the genocide against the Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said. He added that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights must take up the charges of war crimes against Silva.
Thirumurugan Gandhi, the founder of May 17 movement, told Express that the Sri Lankan government had made their racist agenda clear through this appointment.
Commenting on the development, Professor Ramu Manivannan of University of Madras, who is also the author of ‘Sri Lanka: Hiding The Elephant Book’, which discussed war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka, said that more than to Tamils, the move is a clear message to the international community that the Sri Lankan government did not care about the opinions of the United Nations Human Rights Council nor about those of the international community. “Sri Lanka has gone back on its commitment to the United Nations in keeping those accused of war crimes out of office,” he pointed out