Thousands of young lives were lost in the war which lasted for 30 years. These young lives belonged to the security forces, the LTTE, and normal civilians who got caught between the clashes.
The loss of these lives resulted in the country stagnating far behind other countries in the region. The story might have been quite different if these young lives were not lost.
Even though the brunt of the war was faced by those in the North and East, many youngsters in the South took it upon themselves to join the security forces and put an end to the war.
Their sacrifices have resulted in the peace that we experience.
On the other hand, thousands of families continue to suffer because of the loss of their loved ones. The emotions of the families of LTTE cadres, and of the armed forces are the same. The battleground may have divided them, but the emotions are the same.
The month of November is a controversial month as far as the Northern political circle is concerned. Since 1989, November 27 was observed as their heroes day. It was a day dedicated to commemorate the deaths of the LTTE cadres who had died in battlefields.
Over the years leading up to 2008, the LTTE had commemorated this day until it was militarily defeated. However, even after its defeat, commemorations continue to be held in several parts of the world by LTTE front organizations and its sympathizers.
In Sri Lanka however, the commemorations were held secretively as the government had disallowed to commemorate a terrorist outfit.
Even today, security forces are on the alert in several parts of the Northern Province, especially during this period.
Future of the youth
It was important for the government to provide a good platform for the youth of the North to ensure that they were not misled by extremist elements.
There are several sides to this aspect. One is that the authorities should seriously look into those who incite such sentiments.
The other thing is that the government should do a self-analysis on whether its actions are interpreted in a certain way that could provoke youngsters towards extremism.
The government therefore has to ensure that whatever information that had been misinterpreted needs to be clarified. So far the current regime had been accommodative of the demands and requests of the minorities.
But, the sad truth is that there have been elements that have encouraged violence among the youth. On the other hand incidents in the South where even religious leaders have indulged in hate speech.
This definitely would paint a wrong picture in the North, even if the government has nothing to do with it.
In the recent past, several youngsters in the North had been taken into custody due to alleged involvement in groups such as ‘Aava’. These groups emerged a few years after the war. They were involved in several criminal activities including robbery, and gang fights.
Even though such groups are not politically motivated at the moment, it won’t take much of an effort to divert their minds towards politically motivated extremism.
The arrests of these youngsters are just one part of addressing the situation. The bigger picture is different.
The government should also keep in mind that the people in the North had lived among the violence for decades. Even though the majority of the people would not be comfortable with violence after suffering for decades, its re-emergence is not preventable if the issues are addressed.
It is important that the South convinces the North that it cares. It is important that the families of the cadres are not looked down upon by the South. They continue to suffer even after war was over.
True reconciliation is when the family of a cadre a soldier could sit together and share their emotions, leaving aside their differences. At the end of the day It was Sri Lanka who lost her sons and daughters. Some were on the right side while other thought they were on the right side.