05/14/2013, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Former Tamil Tiger leader goes from terrorism to educating war orphans

by Melani Manel Perera
Known by the initials KP, Selvarasa Kumaran Pathmanathen opens a hostel for children victims of the civil war. "Education," he says, "is the only way to help them overcome their trauma." Released from prison last October, he is still wanted by Interpol.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "Children have to study, not take up arms," said Selvarasa Kumaran Pathmanathen.  Known by the initials KP, the former head of the international section of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) was released in October 2012 for collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Although still on the Interpol's wanted list, the former arms dealer opened a hostel for children civil war victims called the Senchcholai Children Care Home in Kilinochchi today (Northern Province), which is the home of 300 children, orphaned or disabled during the conflict.

For the former terrorist, "the only way to put such a trauma behind is to give them an education."

"This is how I think today. The lack of a proper education fuelled the violence, and pushed us Tamil backward. This is a community that has lost all hope; restoring its sense of confidence is the biggest challenge of the moment." For this reason, the hostel makes sure the children go to a nearby school.

Yet, KP is concerned about the military presence in the north of the country. "On the one hand," he admits, "the presence of the military has increased the sense of security. On the other though, it is intimidating to people who still feel under [someone else's] control."

 

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