May Sri Lankan girls love Indian boys

■ Almost two months after the India-Sri Lankan agreement to resolve the Tamil question, the Tamil guerrillas in northern Sri Lanka are still determining the political direction / The farmers in the destroyed villages are trying to cultivate their mined fields / Skepticism towards the Indian troops is overshadowed by relief the end of the area bombing / The Sinhalese administration has nothing to say

From Jaffna Biggi Wolff

“I'm losing my senses. I feel this will be my last speech. The enthusiasm and determination of my people give me the strength. You all have to contribute to making this a mass struggle. ”Shortly after these words, Thileepan, 23-year-old spokesman for the Tamil guerrilla group“ Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), died last Saturday after a ten-day hunger strike in the famous Hindu Nallur temple in Jaffna . Three weeks earlier, when I met him in a squatted private house that the LTTE had converted into headquarters across from Jaffna University, he had already announced the end of the temporary rest period for the guerrillas: “After the India-Sri Lankan agreement was signed on July 29th our cadres have four weeks to visit their parents and relax. But from tomorrow we will take over the security services on Jaffna again. ”The guerrillas have decided to maintain their position in their old stronghold in the north of Sri Lanka in any case, the administration of which they and before the agreement were under theirs for two years due to the lack of functioning civil alternatives Have wings. So whoever is involved in a traffic accident in Jaffna or is robbed will soon have the choice between the “Tigers” offices, Indian peacekeepers and the city hall in Jaffna to get rid of complaints. "Anarchist" conditions are only noticeable in the center of the 200,000 inhabitant city, where fully packed trucks from the south use one-way streets at will, followed by bunch of cyclists and jeeps of the Indian peacekeepers with a white flag on the hood. "There is a risk that people will get used to this extremely strange condition," fears Jaffna's highest government official Panchalingam. A cellular telephone connects his office in the town hall with the headquarters of the Indian troops in Palali, 20 kilometers north of the city and with the capital Colombo, 350 kilometers away. It will be months before the public telephone system, which was destroyed by the tiger bombings earlier this year, is even temporarily reinstalled. Until then, Panchalingam is, as it has been since the Tigers took over the administration in 1985, essentially concerned with the administration of its unemployed employees. He is hoping for 4,000 Indian police officers to arrive to reinforce the situation. I asked Thileepan whether the LTTE was ready to join the new political process. “It all depends on the conduct of the Sri Lankan government. One thing is clear, however - if the LTTE does not get its due share, we will have to fight on by other means. "The LTTE calls for a majority of seats in the interim government -" The MPs of the bourgeois party TULF ran off to India when Jaffna was bombed . Now they are coming back and claiming the same rights as the LTTE, which lost 600 of its cadres in the fight against the army, ”said the young spokesman, explaining the Tigers' point of view. It was also assumed that the police would only be recruited by the interim government. "Instead, the Sri Lankan government has already started sending the same police officers responsible for the atrocities and support of the Tamils ​​back to the northern and eastern provinces of the country." And so - trust is good, control is better - governs at least still or again the LTTE on the 2,150 square kilometer Jaffna Peninsula in the north. Propaganda broadcasts flicker twice a week - combative music to pictures of trained guerrillas - on the television screens; the tigers issue licenses to serve alcohol and provide information on the current situation by means of a blackboard on street corners. The first train to arrive at Jaffna Station on September 1, after a 17-month break, was decorated with the LTTE flag. In the city's amusement park, which is particularly popular with young people, instead of imported coke, people drink “Nelli Crush” made from local fruits, which is produced in LTTE companies; the peacefully trotting elephants are named after tiger martyrs. Between relief and rejection But despite the seemingly peaceful coexistence of guerrillas, Indian soldiers and Sinhalese bureaucrats, many Tamils ​​in Jaffna are not very happy with the newly won peace. With the words "We want to be liberated by our own fighters and not by Indians", the eleven-year-old Mayoran meets the mood of a large part of the population in the north. In front of him he has built up a collection of hand grenades, empty ammunition casings and parts from land mines. When the Sri Lankan Air Force flew attacks on Jaffna in early summer, he escaped from the in-house bunker and, sitting on a palm tree, watched "as two flaps opened at the bottom of the aircraft and two bombs were always triggered at the same time by a large spiral". And the 45-year-old B., former chairwoman of the “Mothers Front” in Jaffna, is relieved that no more bombs are falling, but not happy about the fact that “now every tenth car on the road is an Indian military vehicle”. Shanti, a 32-year-old teacher, represents the female population with their outrage at the demands of Indian commanders that girls who ride bicycles should not wear short dresses. The unclear competencies of the Indian troops are lamented across all strata of the population. Radjini, the young doctor, also expresses astonishment at the role of the Indian “peacekeepers”: “Instead of going as a buffer in areas where the border between Tamil and Sinhala settlements runs, they splurge on Jaffna, where only Tamils ​​live with the machine guns. ”Mines sown like rice Meanwhile, the Indian troops have other worries. "900 of our men are currently defusing mines," explains Colonel Brar, the Indian commander in charge of Jaffna. “Of 40,000 land and anti-personnel mines, only 8,000 have been found. Since the plastic-coated anti-personnel mines are difficult to spot, other people have to move forward centimeter by centimeter with detectors. ”During a drive through the north-eastern region of Vadamarachi, which was razed to the ground by Sri Lankan troops at the end of May during the so-called“ Operation Liberation ”, I am called to the house of a Tamil. After eight months, he has now returned to his property, and the day before, when he started cleaning up the site, he promptly came across a mine. “It was just by sheer luck that I didn't touch the ignition mechanism with the rake,” he explains. A blue something lies half-buried in the earth at his feet. He wants to demand 28,000 rupees (2,000 marks) from the government as reparation for his destroyed mud house. Bushpananthan, a farmer in the coastal town of Velvettiturai, which today mainly consists of ruins, is afraid for the next harvest. “The Sri Lankan Army sowed the mines like rice. If the land is not cleared within the next 40 days, we will miss the monsoon rains with the sowing. ”Between the bombed and abandoned houses of VVT, as the home of LTTE chief Prabakaran is called, two government officials from Jaffna climb around; they take stock of the destruction. The official war balance came from the Jaffna City Hall on September 2nd: 24,000 houses were destroyed on the Jaffna Peninsula alone, the total damage to property amounts to 500 million marks. “Between the devil and the deep sea” Indian Red Crossers have posted signs everywhere on the walls of houses and half-collapsed walls, warning of the danger of mines not to leave the main roads. “We are currently living here between the devil and the deep sea,” says a 49-year-old teacher in Point Pedro, the northernmost town in Sri Lanka, cynically. Behind him, the two-story market building, whose supporting pillars have been hit by grenades, threatens to collapse. "At times during the offensive I regretted that I am already too old to take up arms." Behind a Gandhi statue, which symbolically lacks its head, and only 200 meters from the former city center, the Sri Lankan one is located Army holed up behind sandbags and thick beams. Exact information on how many Sinhala soldiers are still stationed on Jaffna cannot be obtained. The numbers vary between 600 and 2,000. Why they haven't returned to the south yet, I ask three young Sinhalese, whose rifles protrude uninvitingly from the loopholes pointed at me. - “Isn't that peace yet?” “No,” says a 27-year-old who has been serving on Jaffna for five years and gives only a wordless explanation: “Terrorists”. The Commander in Chief of the Indian Armed Forces Major General Harkirat Singh, the only one authorized to issue press releases, is also unwilling to provide data on the strength of the Indian troops in the north and east of Sri Lanka. A threefold “peace, peace, peace” is everything that you get to know about it at the headquarters in Palali. Insiders speak of at least 10,000 Indian soldiers, half of whom are stationed on Jaffna. The Indian Colonel Brar, who is housed in the old fort in Jaffna, recently received a visit from around 1,000 demonstrators, sympathizers of the "Eelavar Front", the political wing of the militant Tamil organization EROS (Eelam Revolutionary Organization). They called on the Indian troops, to whom they had to hand over their weapons, to carry out their tasks as guarantors of the peace agreement: disarming the Sinhalese vigilante groups, an immediate end to the Sinhalese colonization of Tamil areas in the east and the immediate release of all 6,000 political prisoners were their demands. The march was led by a seven-year-old boy whose father is imprisoned under the Terrorism Act. His sign read: "As long as my father is still in prison, I am not free either." When Major General Harkirat Singh wanted to speak to Thileepan, the death fasting officer last week, young LTTE cadres kindly but firmly asked him to get out of his jeep and approaching Thileepan on foot across the temple grounds. The commander-in-chief of the Indian troops returned to Palali without having achieved anything. The next day in Colombo the newspapers reported in headlines that the "Tigers" had given Singh the marching orders ... In one of the next issues Biggi Wolff will report on the Eastern Province after the peace agreement.