Kurangupancham camp in LTTE controlled area, says TULF General Secretary Sampanthan
TULF General Secretary and Trincomalee district Parliamentarian R. Sampanthan told Parliament on Wednesday that he had been asked to inform the House that a group of journalists including Sinhalese journalists were being taken that morning to visit the controversial LTTE camp at Kurangupancham camp to see for themselves the camp was situated within an area under LTTE control.

However Mr.Sampanthan did not specify as to who had asked him to inform the House of the matter other than to say he had received a telephone call that morning requesting him to do so. Mr.Sampanthan, referring to the Kurangupancham camp (Manirasakulam), which according to a ruling by the SLMM, has been set up by the LTTE after the ceasefire agreement was signed, said the camp had been in place even earlier and was within a LTTE controlled area.

"LTTE martyrs are buried there. It is an emotional and sentimental issue where the LTTE is concerned. Not a single camp had been sent up since the ceasefire agreement was signed. The so-called new camps are all within LTTE controlled areas", he said while speaking during the adjournment debate on the security situation in the country.

Mr Sampanthan also said that reports of new camps being setup by the LTTE was just imagination by the so-called investigative journalists. He also criticised these so-called investigative journalists saying, "Investigative journalists have now turned into imaginative journalists. There are no sources quoted in their stories. These are a "sexed-up" version of the real incidents".

Mr. Sampanthan said that during the Jayasikuru operation LTTE cadres were brought in from the eastern sector to fight in the north and now that fighting has ceased they are going back to their camps in the east. He said that this was the reason why rumours are being spread that new camps were being set up.

Mr.Sampanthan also criticised former Foreign Minister Laksman Kadirgamar who had told Indian leaders during a recent visit to India that there was a threat to the Indian Oil Company operations in Trincomalee.

"We in the TULF and the Tamil people are the ones who protested at attempts by the former UNP government to handover the Trincomalee oil tanks to an American company. We did this because we love India. Now Mr. Kadirgamar goes to India and says the oil tanks are susceptible to attacks by the LTTE in an effort to make India hostile towards the LTTE", he charged.

In the course of his address to the House, Mr. Sampanthan appealed to all opposition political parties to desist from scuttling the peace process saying the country's survival depended on the success of the peace process. Mr. Kadirgamar speaking during the adjournment debate said that Mr. Sampanthan was not the man he was a few years ago.

"Then he was a moderate, objective and a well balanced person but now he has abandoned objectivity completely", he said. Mr. Kadirgamar said that Mr.Sampanthan had become a passionate defender of the LTTE and exhibits a kind of hysterical fascination for the group.

He said that Mr. Sampanthan as well as the TULF had always espoused the cause of the Tamil people, so many of whom had died in the process. Mr. Kadirgamar said it was unfortunate that Mr. Sampanthan now sees only through a tunnel and as such misses out on the wider picture.

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