Dec 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says that women from the North have been forcibly recruited to the military and are prevented from leaving even when they have requested to do so.
TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran has told the media that 13 women, who were forcibly recruited from the North, wanted to leave the military after several other women have managed to leave after their relatives intervened.
He has said the women who have asked to be released had been brought to the Kilinochchi Hospital and admitted into a separate ward and the ward was guarded by military personnel.
He has noted that the military, when questioned, had said the issue was minor and that the women were homesick.
According to Premachandran, the women had been given counseling and are expected to return to the training session.
The army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the recruitment process was a pure voluntary recruitment which was open to all female citizens living in the north who are of that age group with required qualifications.
However, the Women's Action Network (WAN) has released a statement last week condemning the recruitment of some 109 women from Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to the army.
WAN has said the women were recruited but told that they would only be doing a little clerical work, perhaps with the local Grama Niladhari official and promised Rs. 30,000 a month.
However, several of the women had panicked and said they did not wish to join when they had realized they were meant to join the military for a training course in Sinhala and English.
The army spokesman said the LTTE diaspora and other interested parties are making a "hue and cry" on the issue since they seem to be worried that the success of the process would mark the end of their campaign for false propaganda.