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UNHRC calls for investigation on former LTTE leader over ‘wholesale recruitment’ of child soldiers

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Colombo:  The UN Human Rights Council has called for an investigation on former LTTE deputy leader Karuna Amman over the “wholesale recruitment” of child soldiers for the Tamil separatist group.

The UN body’s demand came as Karuna was being probed over his recent claims glorifying the killing of Sri Lankan soldiers during the brutal civil war.

Karuna alias Vinatagamurthi Muralitharan was on Thursday questioned for over seven hours by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) over his remarks that he killed over 2,000 Sri Lankan soldiers in the island’s north during the LTTE’s separatist war which lasted for over three decades.

Addressing a public gathering in the East on May 19, Karuna had claimed that he was more dangerous than the coronavirus as he had killed between 2000- 3000 troops on behalf of the LTTE in Elephant Pass during the war.

Following his revelation, a number of individuals, including politicians, had called for Karuna’s arrest and an investigation to be launched into the matter.

“He should also be investigated for wholesale recruitment of child soldiers, a crime under international law,” the UNHRC tweeted.

Karuna, who is contesting the August 5 parliamentary elections through his own political party, was the LTTE deputy leader and its eastern province commander when they ran a parallel state in their bid to militarily create a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka’s north and east regions.

He was the deputy to LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakaran.

In 2004, he walked out of the LTTE with his eastern province cadres and later formed his own political party.

Karuna’s leaving the LTTE with his cadres severely weakened the LTTE, leading to its ultimate defeat at the hands of government troops in 2009

He was elected to parliament in 2010 and became a deputy minister in the then Mahinda Rajapaksa government

Even after leaving the LTTE, the UN had accused Karuna of recruiting the underaged to his own political outfit Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP).

Karuna’s claim of killing soldiers has led to a political storm in the run up to the August 5 polls. He is being seen as an ally of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa’s party, however, has publicly disassociated from Karuna after his claim of murdering soldiers.

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